Why TikTok Is So Popular

It is hard to pinpoint the exact reasons one social media platform becomes a success and another fails, but TikTok is clearly in the winner category.  

While there’s no doubt some luck involved, when it comes to TikTok’s success, the most likely reason for the platform’s success is that it’s fun. TikTok is filled with short, entertaining videos looking for laughs, helpful tips, or their new favorite song. Another contributing factor is that it’s generally seen as more positive than other social media platforms. 

For advertisers, TikTok has become a way to connect with their target audience, and amplify their message through influencers. It’s quickly become a very popular digital ad platform for reasons we’ll share in a moment. 

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a video app and social media platform with over a billion monthly users. The TikTok app (available for Android and Apple/ioS) allows users to create and share short videos from 15 seconds to ten minutes long. Longer videos were introduced more recently, but most are still very short. 

It’s wildly popular, and was the most downloaded app in 2021 and 2020, reaching more than 3 billion cumulative downloads in 2022 according to BusinessofApps. It reports more than one billion active TikTok accounts per month. 

In terms of demographics, the audience tends to be younger (Gen Z and younger millennials), and skews female, but not but not exclusively so. It has a worldwide audience. 

Why Is TikTok So Popular?

It is both hard and easy to say why TikTok is so popular. It’s not the first social media app to feature shorter videos. Vine did something similar; it was later acquired by Twitter then archived. Snapchat also features videos but a fraction of the users TikTok has. And then, of course, there is YouTube which offers short videos - YouTube Shorts. 

What has TikTok done differently to set themselves apart? For one thing, it’s addictive. Once on the app, users often find themselves scrolling much longer than planned. 

Some say it’s done a better job than others in keeping the platform fun and engaging. The TikTok algorithm has been described as “scarily good” at finding new content for the ‘“for you” page in the app, which helps bring people back and increases engagement. It also encourages video sharing and makes it easy to do that. 

6 Reasons for TikTok's Success

Here are six specific actions and characteristics of the platform that have made the platform so successful: 

1. User Acquisition

The acquisition of Music.ly in 2017 helped TikTok increase their initial user base. It allowed them to quickly expand in the US, and removed their main competitor. That bump in growth could have taken years to achieve otherwise. 

2. Short Videos

TikTok videos started out as very short, mostly dancing and lip syncing videos of 15-60 seconds. Since then it has offered increasingly longer formats, but it’s not YouTube where videos can be very long. This was a differentiator that also keeps users scrolling through their feeds looking for that next must-watch video. 

3. Interaction Encouraged

Facebook and Instagram may have groups and live video streaming, but TikTok has interaction and collaboration built into the platform. It encourages users to create videos and offers suggestions of what to create. It offers lots of video formats, including duets, where someone responds to someone else’s video, the ability to stitch videos together, tools to easily use effects you see on others’ videos, hashtag challenges, and more. All of these features and effects create a collaborative platform.

4. Personalized Experience

Unlike other social media platforms that try to keep your feed full of posts from your connections or friends, TikTok’s algorithm focuses on what you seem to be interested in. Spend time watching certain types of videos and you’ll see more of them, and then TikTok will make suggestions based on what you react to. 

5. Music and Trends

Perhaps one of the most unique things about TikTok is the way music and trends are embedded into the platform. Trends are constantly circulating throughout the platform and picking/creating the right audio is often as big a piece of making a successful TikTok as the video content itself. This is very different to any other social media platform. It is also worth noting that TikTok offers users the ability to use copyrighted music under certain conditions, which is also unique. 

6. Easy Content Creation

TikTok provides numerous tools to make it easy for anyone to be a content creator. It includes tools and suggestions that allow anyone to start creating videos on TikTok.

Challenges for TikTok

But just because TikTok has seen incredible success, that doesn’t mean it has no challenges ahead. Regulations are likely to continue to affect it and other platforms. 

Social media companies as a whole have been under increased pressure to collect less data on consumers and to at least have clearer data collection disclosures with the option to opt out. TikTok has received extra scrutiny in the U.S where there are concerns about the data it collects from users and how it uses it, especially concerning since a Chinese company owns TikTok.

As the app has grown in popularity, so have the types of content shared. Like any social platform it struggles with political and health misinformation, which is drawing criticism and regulatory scrutiny, as well as affecting user experience, 

Then, of course, there’s the normal concern of slowing growth, new competitors, and users jumping to new platforms. You don’t have to look far for examples of that: Vine, Periscope, Friendster and others were once very popular, though not at the level of TikTok.

What This Means for Advertisers

The rise in TikTok’s monthly active users is driving more and more businesses to add TikTok marketing to their advertising strategy. This is great news for TikTok along with its influencers and content creators who are looking to partner with companies. 

Some advertisers are reporting great results at an affordable cost on TikTok. The New York Times shared stories of advertisers who are seeing much better results on TikTok than on other platforms like Instagram or Facebook. But it also highlighted missteps and skepticism by some that aren’t sure the metrics they see are accurate. 

More advertisers flocking to the platform also means more competition. Costs will likely rise and it may be more difficult to get results from TikTok ad spend. But for now it is still a very effective platform for many advertisers. 

Coming Soon: The Complete Guide to Advertising on TikTok

FAQs

Who Is The Creator Of TikTok?

Zhang Yiming is the creator of TikTok. TikTok, which was originally Douyin, and remains Douyin in China, is not the only business Yiming created. He also started ByteDance, which is the parent company of TikTok, and Toutiao. The tremendous success Yiming has achieved has put him on the list of richest people in China. 

How Does TikTok Make Money?

TikTok currently makes money through advertising revenue and selling virtual coins.

Advertising revenue is significant: it reached $4 billion (USD) in 2021 and was expected to double by 2024, according to Statista. A New York Times story reports it is estimated to make $10 billion in ad revenue in 2022, blowing by that estimate in just a year. 

While advertising revenue is the common model for most social media platforms, virtual coins are largely unique to TikTok’s platform. TikTok users can buy TikTok Coins using real money and then buy gifts for others, who can then turn them into real money. It’s described as a way to tip creators.  

Why Do People Like TikTok?

Everyone has different reasons for liking the app but here are a few for each type of user:

Content Creators: It’s easy to become a content creator on TikTok. You don’t need to invest in expensive editing software, or learn a lot about video editing. TikTok has made it as easy as possible to do what they need right within the app.

Digital Marketing Teams/Advertisers: Digital marketers will find a lot of data in the app, all of which makes it easy to analyze performance and run ad campaigns in the future. It is also very easy to find and work with TikTok influencers, and there is a range of ad options to help businesses get the best results possible.


Users: Many TikTok fans report that the platform isn’t as negative as some other social networks. In general, it’s considered positive, fun, and helpful. And now TikTok is being acknowledged as a search engine, which will only help to grow its popularity.


Advertising

Ecommerce Website Builders: Design & Development

12 minutes read

Create a successful ecommerce website using these 6 best website builders and grow your ecommerce business with the right tools.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

What is Performance Marketing? Strategies for Success

11 minutes read

Performance marketing can help you achieve your business goals. But how does it work, and is it the right strategy for your company?

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

dash.fi vs. Jeeves Cashback Offer Comparison

8 minutes read

Here is a head-to-head comparison between dash.fi and Jeeves and their cashback offers to help you better decide the best option for your business.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Advertising

Ecommerce Analytics: Using Data To Drive Sales

11 minutes read

Learn how to use ecommerce analytics to drive sales from five experts who share their top tools and strategies.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Announcement

Crypto, Visibility, and Video Support highlight dash.fi September release

3 minutes read

dash.fi makes it possible for advertisers to amplify rewards and better manage their transactions with industry-leading support tools.

by Ty Kiisel
Read more
Advertising

Omnichannel Advertising Strategy: What, How, and Why

12 minutes read

Omnichannel advertising integrates multiple advertising channels to generate a smoother customer experience and cohesive brand identity.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

Amex Business Gold Card Benefits

9 min read

The American Express Business Gold card provides many advantages over its competitors. Read on to learn more about some of this credit card’s unique benefits.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Advertising

Marketing Analytics: What, How, & Why

10 minutes read

Marketing analytics can help provide an unbiased look at the results you’re getting from your marketing efforts, uncover areas for improvement, and help you know when to double down on what’s working.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Credit Cards

Business Virtual Cards: The Important Benefits

10 minutes read

Virtual cards offer many benefits for businesses, including enhanced security and spending controls. Learn more about how virtual cards can help your business.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

Travel Inflation

9 minutes read

Travel inflation is a gradual cost increase of travel, which may include a slow devolution of rewards miles and points. Learn more here.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

What is a Virtual Card?

11 minutes read

Virtual card numbers offer an extra layer of security for online transactions and let you do things like set custom spending limits.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

How To Choose The Best Virtual Credit Card Service

11 minutes read

Virtual credit card services can help consumers and businesses reduce fraud and increase flexibility. Here’s how to find the best service.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Credit Cards

What Is A Virtual Credit Card Number?

9 minutes read

Learn how a virtual credit card number can help your small business reduce risk and better manage expenses.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Advertising During A Recession

9 minutes read

Is the current recession squeezing your business’s marketing budget? Combat budget crunches with these creative advertising strategies.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Credit Cards

What Is A Virtual Credit Card Number?

9 minutes read

Learn how a virtual credit card number can help your small business reduce risk and better manage expenses.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Inventory Costs

7 minutes read

Inventory costs are a big part of managing a product-selling business. Keep reading to learn more.

by Eric Rosenberg
Read more
Advertising

Here's What The Future of Ecommerce Looks Like

13 minutes read

Ecommerce continues to grow. Five experts share trends that will continue to accelerate ecommerce growth over the next decade. Here’s what to expect.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

8 Ecommerce Metrics to Track to Measure Success

10 min read

Tracking key metrics are key if you want to optimize and grow your ecommerce business. Keep reading to learn more.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

Ecommerce Artificial Intelligence: Everything You Need to Know

9 minutes read

Ecommerce businesses can use artificial intelligence and machine-learning to find customers and sell them what they want. Here’s how it works.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Advertising

The Top Affiliate Networks in 2022

12 minutes read

For digital marketers looking to create passive income, the top affiliate networks are a great place to find the best affiliate programs.

by Gerri Detweiler
Read more
Newsletter Card

Newsletter

Stay up to date on the latest news, articles, and announcements from dash.fi. It’s easy and it’s free.