TikTok Continues World Domination

One of the highlights of last week’s Localogy 2022 conference was TikTok. After attending 17 years of local media and advertising conferences, there tend to be ongoing themes that evolve over time such as SMB software needs. But every few years, brand new topics emerge. That’s TikTok.

This took form in discussion throughout the conference program. But it all culminated in a session that spotlighted real-life TikTok creators. One takeaway was that TikTok is very different than other feed-based social platforms and requires a dedicated and native approach (more on that in a bit).

The other factor underscoring TikTok’s opportunity is that it’s a level playing field. In other words, it’s more of a content graph than a social graph. Its relevance algorithms feed content to the right people, regardless of the creator’s follower count. That democratization can benefit smaller SMBs.

TikTok Unlocks Creator-Economy Scale

World Domination

Underscoring all of the above is TikTok’s continued world dominance in terms of user adoption and traction. It surpassed 1-billion users late last year, and it continues to roll out new features. Most recently, it launched its AR lens creation platform, Effect House, which will scale up Snap-like effects.

To validate this ongoing growth trajectory, TikTok’s latest milestone came in its Q1 dominance. Sensor tower reports in its Q1 2022: Store Intelligence Data Digest that TikTok was the most downloaded mobile app globally. This happened to the tune of 175-million downloads during the quarter.

This is followed by several Meta properties including Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp (in that order). Other TikTok milestones reported by Sensor Tower include nine consecutive quarters exceeding 10-million downloads. It also has more downloads than any other app since the beginning of 2018.

Given the global scope, most of these downloads have happened on Android (Google Play), but TikTok also shows dominance on iOS. And if we zero in on the U.S., TikTok likewise takes the top spot according to Sensor Tower. In fact, it’s lead is more pronounced in the U.S. than globally (see below).

Speaking of the variance in rankings between the U.S. and worldwide, Meta didn’t fare as well for the former. Instead of taking the second through fourth spots in the rankings (as referenced above for global rankings) YouTube and HBO Max are sprinkled in, exceeding Instagram downloads.

Raw and Genuine

Back to TikTok’s success factors for SMB marketing, it requires a purpose-built approach. In other words, content should be created specifically for TikTok, rather than repurposing or porting over a company’s existing ad spots. This is because there’s a certain “language” on TikTok.

As shown by last week’s TikTok creators on stage at Localogy 2022, that “language” includes being raw and genuine. These are attributes that the TikTok community appreciates. Examples include “slice of life” moments of people enjoying a given product, or behind-the-scenes footage for a given product.

“Brands should approach the platform in a way that feels native and is similar to the way any user would approach the platform,” TikTok Head of SMB & Operations Rebecca Sawyer told us at Localogy Place.  Get to know the language and style of the platform, she advises, and “create with intent.”

For SMBs, that could translate to things like restaurant kitchen activity or pizza delivery ride-alongs. This playbook will continue to be written as TikTok makes its way to new SMB verticals – everything from Bars to Beekeepers. As best practices develop, we’ll track them closely… on the page and the stage.

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