Why is TikTok the most downloaded app of 2021?

December 15, 2021 by
Frank Calviño
Photo by Franck 1Z87 for Unsplash

With over 2 billion downloads overall globally, TikTok is the most downloaded app of 2021. The numbers crunched by this app originally was tough to be “just another trend”, have turned TikTok into one of the global power players in the online marketing battlefield. 

And its success is due to TikTok’s huge untapped potential for global online marketing strategies: this social media has been able to develop a content style and format that transcends frontiers and languages, thus becoming a global cultural phenomenon that all brands want to exploit. 

Due to the virality and music-based content TikTok has become one of the most powerful tools for online marketing aimed at cross-border, multicultural trade. Today, we want to review the reasons behind TikTok success, join us! 

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Why TikTok is so popular? 

A combination of factors has made TikTok so popular: It appeals in format and style to Gen Z, who also happens to be the very first totally global and permanently online generation, and the funny edge in most of its content is also able to bridge generational gaps easily. 

If we combine this powerful community-created content with a remarkable efficient algorithm, capable of connecting an account to “possible interests” with nearly 80% efficiency, we end up having an incredible addictive social media that is at the same time, pretty effective to define buyers personas and compartmentalize its own follower base.    

This huge potential for marketing has propelled the value of TikTok to over $50 billion, and recent estimates place the value of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, at $200 to $400 billion. 

Zhang Yiming who founded TikTok in 2012, has a net worth valued at over $59.4 billion, according to Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires List, making him the 22nd-wealthiest person in the world. Forbes’ China Rich List ranks Yiming second among China’s wealthiest.

TikTok’s Top Shareholders

CMB Wing Lung Bank

Morgan Stanley

Goldman Sachs

Bank of China

K3 Investors

Primavera Capital Group

Kohlberk Kravis Roberts

Tiger Global Management

GGV Capital

*SoftBank Group Corp, also backs ByteDance, according to Bloomberg.

Why TikTok content is so viral? 

The mayority of TikTok conent is music based. This means that it is a content with no language barrier at all. 

A content created to appeal to some of humanity’s most basic instinctive pleasures and therefore, it is transgenerational and international. 

If we add to that the “exploit the bandwagon effect” of TikTok challenges - already proven to be incredibly powerful by many neuromarketing studies - we end up having an incredibly addictive, easy to relate and imitate content. This is the secret behind TikTok success and the reason why so many brands are getting closer and closer to this social media, to sell in new markets, open new cross-border trade opportunities and in general, reach people from different cultures. 

Photo by Mart Production for Pexels

How much can a TikToker make? 

TikTokers - content creators on TikTok - have a wide range of profits: from those who earn absolutely nothing from their contributions and video creations to those who literally make millions per year. 

In The United States alone, TikTok has over 37 million users and some studies show that TikTokers and content creators who spend - on average - over eight hours a month on the app and have large follower bases, can earn as much as over $5 million per year, via marketing campaigns, paid promotions and brand deals. 

The most successful TikTokers based in the United States are Charli D'Amelio, Loren Gray, and Zach King, all three of them are well over $5 million per year. But not only TikTokers are making money with this app, mainstream celebrities like Will Smith, who boasts over 12.5 million TikTok followers are making up to six figures per brand deal. 

All in all, TikTok will most likely continue to grow due to its cross-border content capabilities, content not based on language but on music, something that is universally appealing for humans.

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