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What is TikTok and Why It's So Popular?

11 min read

To some people, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the only social media apps that matter. But those people… are wrong. There’s a new kid on the block, and he’s taking the world by storm!

The name? TikTok.

TikTok has quickly joined the list of high-performing apps with its increasing growth over the year. But because it’s so new, hip, and young, many people find themselves intimidated by this video creation and sharing app. So, we’re here to change that.

TikTok is one of the most prominent and trending apps on the internet today. According to a recent Digital 2020 report, TikTok now has over 1 billion monthly active users.  As a social platform for short videos, TikTok is largely powered by algorithms. Creators and users can upload videos of up to three minutes and pack their videos with special effects, music, and clips from other videos.

With massive and significant success recorded by the company so far, the question then is: what are the attributes of TikTok’s success? In this article, we will discuss this and things you’d probably like to know about TikTok.

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What is TikTok?

TikTok is an app, much like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, which people can use to create their sounds, or choose songs and express themselves creatively in any way they’d like. TikTok is enabled for users to create short, fun, and appealing videos for other people on the app.

It is masterminded by a 35-year-old Zhang Yiming, whose company, Bytedance has witnessed tremendous growth over the years. Forbes says Zhang is worth more than $16 billion—and is the 13th richest man in China.

Having started Bytedance in 2012, which relied heavily on AI, Zhang created TikTok a few years later. The idea is that TikTok users can video themselves and record their acting out sketches, lip-syncing, or duet creations which enables users to react to other persons’ TikToks. The videos should last up to three minutes, but users can do a live video on the platform for a longer stretch of time.

The app has a user-friendly interface for users to scroll through videos in a seemingly endless stream. You might hear people say that it’s addictive—this is likely what they’re referring to.

TikTok also allows for editing using special filters, and videos can be slowed down or sped up for comedic or dramatic effect. These short videos have earned the app a place among popular social media platforms. TikTok has also gained widespread usage among young teenagers and so-called “Zoomers.”

In addition, the user’s ability to pick music and express themselves makes TikTok abundantly attractive to many content creators and small businesses. The app is constantly adding new features that fans can enjoy. But generally speaking, users have enormous freedom of expression on the app. And this has been a major contributing factor to its overall success.

TikTok is a well-executed social network, which is not in the same category as Instagram and Facebook. TikTok is so powerful for so many reasons. It has some nice UI choices that are worth looking at and learning from. Also, its UI is super simple and non-penalizing, while the swipe-up or down- to the next video feature is astonishing.

Interesting TikTok Stats

  • As of 2019, the TikTok user base had reached 800 million, with an estimate of a billion users by 2020.
  • Teenagers made up 32 percent of the app’s active user accounts as of June 2020.
  • About 50% of the app’s global audience is below the age of 34. People within the age range of 18-24 account for 26% of all TikTok users.
  • The app has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times across the globe.
  • The average TikTok user spends approximately 1 hour (52 minutes) on the app every day.
  • The founding company, Byetdance, is valued at $75 million. It is the world’s most valuable startup.

Why is TikTok So Popular?

Before the advent of TikTok, there was an app called Vine. Vine reigned supreme in the bite-sized content creation front between 2013-2015, but was shut down in early 2016. Since then, people have sought other ways to make comedic videos and have fun with their social media. That’s where TikTok came in. TikTok bought Musical.ly, and their parent company ByteDance decided to modify the app from what people knew it to be.

Rather than focus on dancing and lip-syncing, the creator decided to make an app where people can share short videos and make their sounds with their voices. That is, in addition to what Musical.ly was known for.

TikTok then became a perfect replacement for Vine as users were now able to make new videos and publish to the larger millions of people on different platforms, even beyond TikTok.

Meanwhile, the fact that TikTok appeals more to the sense of millennials does not mean it is solely for that category. Adults can have fun with the app, too. With more than 500 million active users every month, it is obvious that people of all ages enjoy using the app.

Now, let’s talk about how TikTok has helped people, and why it has gotten so popular so fast. TikTok can provide a vast majority of people with new opportunities to make short videos on the platform. Songs of artists featured on the app have consequently grown to become very popular too.

Put in perspective, Old Town Road by Lil Nas X climbed the billboard’s top 100 because of TikTok. And there are many other songs and artists whose success could be practically attributed to TikTok. The money-making potential of users of the app cannot be underemphasized. 16-year-old Jacob Sartorius blew up and gained massive fame with millions of followers because of TikTok.

First, TikTok can boast of that much success because the company has adopted the knowledge learned by companies from making intriguing advertisements and handed the creativity to the larger masses. Thousands of dollars, and millions in some cases, go into a commercial on TV of up to 30 seconds.

Second, the app’s connection with Instagram is another reason for its fame. Thousands of people share TikTok videos on their Instagram pages, and this plays a huge role in the download and usage rates of the app due to the large user base. More so, a considerable number of people only came to know about TikTok through IG influencers and Insta stories.

Elsewhere, TikTok was able to boast of being a success because the original model of Vine- which was a success on its own- was adopted. Nobody knows the exact reason why Twitter had to shut down Vine, but it had some great stars like Shawn Mendez. And TikTok has a similar concept. The growth of TikTok can be further ascribed to the dire need for teenagers to have a place of their own. That is, away from Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram- where they could not be seen by their parents.

TikTok has pushed its way into the ranks of the giants on social media. Consequently, it has made social media fun again. According to research, videos are the most popular form of content, especially with how it combines Snapchat and Vine.

The app is easy to navigate as you get on other social media apps. You can like, share videos, and comment the way you please. Navigating the app from the “For You” page, through which you can comment, follow the creator of content, like, or share or what the next videos, makes TikTok very popular and successful. Besides, the fact that you don’t need an account with TikTok makes it one of the fastest-growing apps globally.


With the growth and evolution of the platform, and the way it captures the interest of a variety of persons, celebrities, and brands, the prominence of TikTok has become incredibly evident over the years.

The most interesting aspect of TikTok is the user’s ability to post about almost anything ranging from music, to travel, dance, photography, fitness, humor, hobbies, to mention a few. Each category keeps getting massive attention over time and offers users a degree of exposure, especially those that can tailor their content to the short-form video model.

Although entertainment is seemingly the main draw as it stands, the app has gained tremendous use in educational, business-related, and aspirational content. Therefore, you can join the train too, and leverage these numerous, unprecedented opportunities to grow your ecommerce business by identifying with Ecwid.

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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