Even with the launches of numerous competing applications and functionalities, and an increasing drive to steal away its top stars, TikTok continues to expand, with new numbers from Sensor Tower showing the app's persistent popularity and resiliency, as it takes on the bigger competitors.
According to Sensor Tower, TikTok, including its Chinese version 'Douyin', has already crossed 3 billion cumulative installs globally, making it the first non-Facebook app to do so, while it also continues to show significant growth momentum in 2021.
As said by Sensor Tower:
"TikTok was the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching nearly 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending. Although new downloads of the app were down 38 percent year-over-year from nearly 619 million in 1H 2020 - a decline partially attributable to its removal from India’s app stores - consumer spending in TikTok was up 73 percent from $530.2 million in the year-ago period."
Which is crucial for TikTok's future growth, because while user growth is important, the ability to convert that captive audience into actual income is the true measure of a company's success.
More spending will also help TikTok sustain its development, because both Facebook and YouTube, identifying the significant threat that TikTok now poses, have been striving to improve their creator monetization tools in an attempt to attract popular stars across to their platforms, offering both greater reach and income potential in exchange for their efforts.
In order to keep up, TikTok needs to be able to provide comparable value for creators, and while size still favors the bigger players (for the time being), the real money side of the equation could still sink TikTok if it can't find ways to match up, and its most popular stars eventually move to greener pastures, taking their audiences with them.
That's what happened to Vine, which lacked a sustainable monetization strategy, which is why TikTok is working hard to develop its eCommmerce capabilities and allow more brand/creator collaborations.
However, it is still an uphill battle. With its TikTok-like Spotlight feature, Snapchat went straight for this element, awarding $1 million per day to the finest Spotlight clips (which it's subsequently cut to'millions each month' instead). Facebook just launched a new $1 billion creator fund to give its apps greater incentive.
TikTok may not be able to spend at the same rate as Facebook, but the ultimate objective is to create a long-term creator ecosystem, which it hopes to achieve with these components.
Again, the spend data from Sensor Tower is encouraging in this regard, indicating that consumers are willing to pay in-app purchases.
"In Q2 2021, TikTok saw its greatest quarter-over-quarter growth in consumer spending since Q2 2020, climbing 39 percent to $534.6 million from $384.7 million in the previous quarter. TikTok’s adoption has also accelerated in 2021, as first-time downloads climbed 2 percent Q/Q to 177.5 million in Q1 2021, and surged 16 percent Q/Q to 205.4 million Q2 2021, the most growth the app has seen since its record-breaking Q1 2020 when it accumulated more than 315 million installs, the most any app has seen in a single quarter."
t's incredible to think about the app's growth, especially when you realize that it lost its second-largest user market (India) in the middle of last year, which should have resulted in a bigger jump in its numbers.
However, TikTok continues to grow in popularity. Which has Facebook and YouTube worried (and possibly whispering in Washington's ears about the threat presented by Chinese-owned applications), and it's simple to understand why, given the graphs above. TikTok, especially among younger viewers, has the potential to become the dominant app, similar to how Facebook overtook MySpace in the early 2000s.
Although it isn't quite there yet, Facebook understands that gaining a presence among the youth is the key to market dominance.
Facebook is no longer in that position, and neither is Instagram.
And, like Facebook, you can't ignore the implications of what it could entail in the long run.