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Social video platform TikTok continues to outperform its rivals

TikTok has now been downloaded 1.5 billion times and counting

Tik Tok is now only third to WhatsApp and Messenger, outside of gaming, as the most downloaded app on mobile phones and poses a potential threat to Facebook and Instagram which are already showing their age by their users. Young people definitely do not want to be on the same social platform as their parents so are flocking to Tik Tok in their droves.

Tiktok is super fun. It features stickers, filters and augmented reality, usually with music playing, so budding creators can direct, produce, edit and share their own masterpieces quickly and easily. It was developed in China and has been described as ‘karaoke for the digital age’ but has evolved into much more than just that.

You have to be 13 years old to get an account (same as Instagram) and the platform replaced Musical.ly in August 2018 and inherited it’s 100 million users at the time, which was built of the concept of lip-syncing along to your favourite songs and posting the videos. Parents should be careful, however, as the app uses popular and uncensored music that could be explicit and jam packed with swear words.

Lip syncing and dancing videos dominate the content in the app, although celebrities including Will Smith, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran and Lizzo have flocked to the app, putting their own spin on content.

Major brands such as the NBA, LadBible, Apple Music and Liverpool football club are also now catching on.

Several influencers have become famous from their creations along with a number of songs – ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X can credit its incredible viral success to its massive popularity on TikTok.

Lil Nas X uploaded the song to TikTok himself, and credits the app with its success.

“I promoted the song as a meme for months until it caught on to TikTok and it became way bigger,” he told Time.  There are hundreds of thousands of videos using “Old Town Road” on TikTok.

But the song’s big boost came from a hugely popular meme where people drank “yee yee juice,” transforming them into a cowboy.  Not sure what we mean, just search #yeeyeejuice in the app. All this propelled “Old Town Road” to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Lil Nas X’s success story highlights how talented artists are using TikTok to grow a fanbase and promote their music,” said TikTok.

Interestingly, the lion’s share of TikTok’s users are downloading it in India (31%), with China being only second with 11.5% of downloads and the US accounting for 8.2%. It is also the only app in the top 5 that is not owned by Facebook so is a potential challenge to Facebook’s comfortable position at the top of its game.

In fact, TikTok has now been downloaded approximately 238 million more times that Instagram which is a sizeable gap indeed. However, it is important to note that despite this gap, TikTok is not bigger than Instagram overall…yet. Instagram had 1 billion monthly active users in 2018 with TikTok hitting that milestone in June 2019.

Zuckerberg has fought back with Lasso which is basically a copycat version of TikTok, with BuzzFeed reporting that Facebook actually spent 6 months trying to acquire Music.ly before it exploded into TikTok last year. Instagram has also started testing a new feature in Brazil which is remarkably similar to TikTok called Reels. Facebook has strategically launched Reels and Lasso to markets where TikTok have not yet got a foothold. How this strategy works out will be very interesting to watch over the coming months.

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