The Most Downloaded Social Media App of 2020 Was…
Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
It was TikTok!
The Gen-Z-centric video editing app ranked highest in downloads this year according to App Annie’s 2020 Download Charts, which considers data from both iOS users and Android users. It also came in second for time spent by consumers in-app, second only to Tinder (which is kind of remarkable, considering how fervently singles have been swiping since quarantine hit.) One study reports that the app is on track to reach a billion users by 2021, which is honestly, pretty insane.
TikTok is clearly capitalizing on its recent triumphs, implementing new monetization and e-commerce strategies within the app to entice creators to join—and bring followers from other apps with them.
TikTok’s uptick in success makes total sense. Streaming platforms, in general, had a banner year, as people stuck at home looked increasingly for new content and forms of entertainment (or total distraction). The results have had a ripple effect across multiple industries, particularly the music industry—top trending sounds on TikTok include music from artists as big as Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion, lesser-known artists like Frances Forever, to the resurgence of oldie faves like Fleetwood Mac—we’ve all seen the cranberry juice videos—have found their way to the top of charts (and definitely into my Spotify 2020 Wrapped).
The app’s reach and influence goes well beyond what users are listening to and watching. There’s a reason #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is almost always trending on the app. These short-term, poppy videos are a great way to get direct consumer access, and TikTok wants brands to take notice.
TikTok HQ released a categorized list of the branded campaigns that did the best this year, including the most successful hashtag campaigns, small businesses that garnered insane followings, and a special “Editor’s Pick” category for brands that “didn’t make ads, they made TikToks,” which included Jansport and Bumble.
The app hasn’t quite surpassed Instagram or Facebook in terms of its reach and advertising capabilities, but it’s certainly on track to reach its 1B user goal come 2021. And, it looks like they’re actively working towards more advertising capabilities: TikTok announced that it is considering adding an option for users to record three minute long videos in-app to share to their For You pages, which opens the door to an onslaught of new opportunities for the creation of branded content, in-app ad campaigns, and of course, more screentime directly to consumers.
It’s been fascinating to watch TikTok’s trajectory over the last few months. Its presence in the United States was truly touch-and-go for a minute and so many in-app competitors suddenly surfaced, including Instagram Reels and the very new Snapchat Spotlights. But, the app is going strong, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. What started as Music.ly (a dancing and lip-syncing app) has evolved into so much more, without losing sight of its initial purpose. We can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring!
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