TikTok is such a global phenomenon these days, and growing so fast, it’s not always easy to take stock and understand precisely just how big Bytedance’s app has become.
Luckily, a rare semi-official snapshot of TikTok’s numbers has just emerged – one which illuminates much about the short-form video platform’s reach and audience in 2021.
Taking stock of TikTok: How many users?
TikTok’s US company has recently been contacting advertising agencies in the States using a B2B pitch deck under its TikTok For Business sub-brand.
This deck has now leaked online, and contains an array of new information about TikTok’s audience and their behavior.
Perhaps the most headline-worthy of these stats is this one: as of October 2020, according to TikTok’s own analytics, the TikTok app was reaching 732 million monthly active users (MAUs) around the world, and more than 100 million MAUs in the United States.
To put that into perspective: 732 million active users is more than double Spotify‘s global monthly active user base as of the end of 2020 (345 million), but less than half the 2 billion-plus logged-in monthly active users YouTube pulls in around the world.
That said, while we’re taking stock of TikTok’s progress, we should also say that October 2020 was six months before this article was published (in April 2021). As we address later in this post (see: ‘When Will TikTok Hit A Billion Users?’ below), TikTok is likely to have added tens of millions of monthly active users to that 732 million number since it was recorded.
Taking Stock of TikTok: How much does the app’s audience actually use the platform?
Another key piece of information about TikTok’s audience growth in the leaked pitch deck concerns the daily behavior of the app’s audience, and the level of engagement they demonstrate on the platform.
According to the deck, TikTok’s average user opens the app no less than 19 (nineteen!) times in an average day.
This stat is credited as coming from TikTok’s internal data sources as of January 2021, although the deck doesn’t make clear if it refers to US-only users or the totality of the app’s global user base.
Alongside this data point comes another memorable piece of information: According to TikTok’s deck, the average TikTok user actively uses the app for 89 minutes per day – i.e. nearly exactly an hour and a half.
This stat is also credited as coming from TikTok’s internal data sources as of January 2021 (see below).
Taking Stock of TikTok: What does TikTok’s audience look like?
The leaked TikTok pitch deck, as per Business Insider, also reveals some demographic information about TikTok’s modern-day audience.
It reports that, based on TikTok’s internal data sources as of October 2020, nearly half (42%) of all active users on the platform were between the age of 18 and 24.
A further 17% of TikTok users at this point were aged between 13 and 17, says the deck.
Just 7% of TikTok users, however, were over the age of 45.
Taking stock of TikTok: What’s the commercial opportunity?
The majority of the leaked deck, as you might expect for a B2B presentation for ad agencies, focuses on the spending habits of TikTok’s audience.
It reveals that TikTok is set to roll out a number of new ad formats in the second half of 2021, which will allow advertisers to show their products and services, retarget consumers who’ve shown an interest in their products, and highlight discounts and promotions.
The biggest development for TikTok’s ads business out of these four is likely to be Dynamic Product Ads, which automatically retarget product advertising to consumers who’ve demonstrated online interest in those ads before.
At one point in the deck, TikTok claims that 47% of its users say they have “bought something seen on TikTok” in the past, and that 67% of its users agree TikTok “inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so”.
When will TikTok hit a billion users?
When will TikTok hit the billion-user milestone? Perhaps sooner than you’d think.
The 732 million monthly active user figure hit by TikTok in October 2020 is the first official number we’ve seen from TikTok regarding its global reach for a while.
However, as part of its lawsuit filed against the US government in summer 2020, TikTok officially revealed that it counted 689,174,209 global monthly active users (MAUs) as of the end of July 2020.
In other words, from the end of July 2020 (689.2m MAUs) to October 2020 (732m MAUs), TikTok added approximately 43 million monthly active users to its service worldwide.
That’s the equivalent of adding approximately 14.3 million MAUs around the globe each calendar month during this period.
“If TikTok can keep up the global growth it demonstrated between July and October 2020, we’d expect it to top a billion global monthly active users (MAUs) by May 2022.”
Considering that the 732 million MAU figure just published actually relates to a period six months ago (October 2020), MBW would expect TikTok’s moden-day global MAU number to have climbed to somewhere in the region of 818 million today (April 2021).
If TikTok can keep up the global growth it demonstrated between July and October 2020, we’d expect it to top a billion global monthly active users (MAUs) by May 2022, or in 13 months’ time.
TikTok is well used to speedy growth. In the lawsuit against the US government last year, TikTok revealed that its global MAU figure stood at 507.5 million in December 2019, and 271.2 million in December 2018.Music Business Worldwide