If you feel like the app TikTok came out of nowhere, you're not wrong.
Since launching in early 2018, TikTok's been covered by seemingly every major news publication and racked up millions of downloads globally.
Despite TikTok's major early success, the app still feels like a bit of a mystery, especially to marketers. In fact, until recently, its parent company, ByteDance, hasn't disclosed many metrics at all.
In TikTok's first year, all we really knew was that an odd-ball video app was going viral, topping global app store charts, and gaining a huge fanbase from Gen-Z.
Even if you still aren't quite sure what TikTok is, you've probably seen a video meme on social media that was created and published in the app first. Here's one for example of a TikTok post which went viral on Twitter:
When making decisions about your social strategy, you're probably more interested in numbers than virality as proof of an app's staying power.
As someone who's gotten sucked into the app, blogged multiple times about it, hearted hundreds of posts, and even made a few embarrassingly mature videos of my own, I'm fairly certain that this platform will stick around for quite some time. But, luckily, with mounting data on TikTok, you don't just have to take my word for it.
To help you make informed decisions about your strategy and whether TikTok is right for your brand, I've compiled a list of 26 interesting stats and facts to know before venturing on to the app.
26 TikTok Stats to Know in 2019
Userbase, Downloads, and Growth
Within TikTok's first year, it reportedly reached 500 million monthly active users. Wondering if this was just a fluke or a viral trend that will simmer down? Think again. According to TikTok and its company heads, the audience might be larger and more promising than we think.
According to a leaked advertising pitch deck from October 2019, TikTok reports having 800 million monthly active users worldwide. (AdAge)
From my own experience, I've found that TikTok can easily cause you to spend more time than expected watching an endless stream of often comedic videos. Since these videos are usually between 15 seconds and one minute, it makes the app ideal for people who need quick entertainment on their morning commute or when they're bored at home.
Because of TikTok's quick pace and entertainment factor, the stats below aren't that surprising:
The average user spends 52 minutes per day on TikTok. (BusinessOfApps)
90% of TIkTok users visit the app more than once per day. (GlobalWebIndex)
Users open the app eight times per day on average. (Digiday)
TikTok claims that the average session is nearly 5 minutes, which is longer than Snapchat or Instagram's. (Digiday)
Viral Trends and Influencers on TikTok
Like YouTube, Vine, Instagram, as well as other past and present video apps, TikTok has opened doors for influencers, comedians, meme creators, and even some brands. While it's still a bit too early to see how successful its influencers and trends will be in the long run, here are a few interesting tidbits:
The most followed individual on TikTok is a comedic poster and influencer named Loren Gray. She has 34.4 million followers. (TikTok)
One of the earliest branded hashtag challenges was Guess' #InMyDenim challenge. According to TikTok, videos marked with this hashtag have received a grand total of 38.8 million views. (TikTok)
Rapper Lil Nas X credits the success of his song "Old Town Road" to TikTok. The song was propelled to #1 on the Billboard Top 100 in 2019 after the artist uploaded it to TikTok. (BuzzFeed News)
Here's a compilation of TikTok's #CowboyChallenge where people wearing normal clothing cut to themselves in cowboy costumes to the song "Old Town Road."
Business, Revenue, and Competition
The launch of TikTok not only put its parent company, ByteDance, on the map, but it also resulted in competition from apps like Facebook, which launched a very similar app called Lasso shortly after TikTok went viral. While TikTok and ByteDance are less transparent about revenue and other major details, here's what we know:
TikTok now offers five advertising tiers aimed at big brands. One of which, a branded hashtag challenge, reportedly costs $150,000 per day. (TikTok Pitch Deck Notes First Reported by Digiday)
TikTok's revenue more than tripled between 2017 and 2018. (Sensor Tower)
In 2018, TikTok made $3.5 million on in-app purchases from users. (Sensor Tower)
TikTok has a 4.7-star rating in the Apple App Store with over 2.1 million reviews. (Apple App Store)
Lasso, a competing app launched by Facebook in November 2018, has been downloaded by over 70,000 users. (Sensor Tower)
Bytedance, TikTok's parent company is valued at $75 million, making it the world's most valuable startup. (CBInsights)
ByteDance's collection of apps, including TikTok, has a total of 1 billion monthly active users. (CNN)
The Mysteries of TikTok
Although TikTok is a top social platform and is ramping up its options for advertisers, it's still rather new. When a company or startup is new, it's not uncommon for leadership to hide early numbers, even when a brand is successful. In fact, we've seen this with other major companies like Snapchat and Netflix.
There's still a lot more to learn as TikTok's global teams and ByteDance continue to remain hush-hush about major metrics. In the coming years, as TikTok tries to woo advertisers, it wouldn't be surprising if we started to see more transparent information about the app and its user base.