If you’re an American business or marketer who hasn’t yet made your way onto TikTok, you’re not alone. But that move may be just around the corner, come 2023. While TikTok’s original release was in China in 2016 (as Douyin), it didn’t go worldwide until 2018, after which it quickly became the most downloaded app in the US in October 2018. However, due to its primary user demographic at the time it broke into the US market, many marketers have long seen the app as only worth the effort if you primarily needed to reach Gen Z, or perhaps younger millennials. Here, I’ll recount why, as 2022 draws to a close, it may be time to finally consider including TikTok in your social media strategy in 2023.

TikTok’s Continuing Rapid Growth

TikTok is still in a phase of rapid growth, both in the US and abroad. You may have already heard that TikTok surpassed 1 billion active monthly users in 2022*. However, that’s on a global scale. So how is it faring in the US, specifically? Well, it was the second most downloaded iPhone app in the US in 2022, despite that a large portion of its users are Android-based. TikTok now has 80 million monthly active users in the US alone. The United States is also TikTok’s largest national market (outside of China, where it is still known as Douyin). To give you an idea of TikTok’s growth in recent years, it experienced 45% growth from July 2020 to September 2021, to the 1 billion active user figure it reached earlier in 2022. Although that is still only one-third of Facebook’s and one-half of Instagram’s monthly active users, TikTok is predicted to reach 1.8 billion by the close of 2022, effectively putting it on par with Instagram. Yet, much of its growth still lies ahead.

TikTok’s US Audience

So, if TikTok’s US popularity originated with Gen Z and young millennials, where is it now, and where is it expected to go? According to an Influencer Marketing Hub article updated as recently as December 2022, half of its US users are now 18 – 34, an age group that is quickly becoming TikTok’s largest demographic. Slightly overlapping that demographic, 60% are 16 – 24, 30% are 20 – 29, and 26% are 25 – 44. That last figure, put another way, is just over a quarter of its user base, which, as the saying goes, is still nothing to sneeze at. After some early safety concerns regarding viral hoaxes, just over a third of US adults surveyed in November 20212 viewed the app unfavorably. However, the number of adults moving onto the app is increasing since TikTok updated its Community Guidelines in February 2022 to improve safety. TikTok users are also aging with the app, which means the proportion of older demographics will keep going up. Yet, a likely even more appealing figure for marketers is the following: 40% of US TikTok users are from a household with an annual income of $100,000 or more. Now that you have a taste of the expanding desirability of the US TikTok market, let’s look at its promise for marketers.

Promise for US Marketers

Not only are TikTok’s demographic figures becoming a more appealing platform for marketers looking to reach audiences beyond Gen Z and young millennials, but the app also has an engagement edge on other platforms and is continually adding more tools to marketers’ toolbox on the platform. First, TikTok has a nearly 11-minute average session length, which not only exceeds that of both Facebook and Instagram but is double that of Pinterest, the social app with the second-highest engagement rate. Further, unlike Facebook, TikTok users report their number one reason for logging onto the app to be entertainment, whereas Instagram users report their primary motivation is to post, and many Facebook users are driven to keep track of family, rather than follow or engage with brands, which TikTok users are happy to do. For example, 77% of TikTok users surveyed said they like when brands come up with new challenges, trends, or memes. 55% use the app to research brands or products, 67% say the app inspires them to shop, and 73% say it makes them feel a deeper connection to companies. But the ever-increasing promise of the platform going forward doesn’t end with the figures themselves.

Not only are TikTok users heavily engaged with the app and its brands, but TikTok is also making it easier for marketers to shape their audience engagement to meet their business goals. In fact, according to Hootsuite, in 2022, 24% of marketers considered TikTok effective for reaching business goals, compared to only 3% in 2021; that’s already a 700% increase in a short amount of time. In comparison, Facebook saw a 25% decrease in this figure, and Instagram a 40% decrease. Much of this likely stems from the advertising tools TikTok continues to add, in conjunction with its appealing figures. For example, TikTok for Business appeared in the US mid-2020. TikTok Ads Manager arrived in October 2022, and its Audiencec Insights feature just recently arrived in the US. During its TikTok World summit in October 2022, the company announced a slate of new features for marketers. These include new elements to their Lead Generation offerings, including increased customization for Lead Generation forms; adopting the carousel feature from Instagram; a Creator Marketplace, for brands and creators to find and match with one another; and a new 35-page playbook download, among others.

TikTok 2023: It’s Time

So, if you haven’t made it onto TikTok yet, there’s still lots to learn! Not only are older generations increasingly joining the app, particularly the 18 to 34 demographic, but the first generation of TikTok users has already aged nearly 5 years. And, particularly with such a young first generation, half a decade can mean a significant shift in agency and purchasing power. The clock is ticking, and it looks like 2023 might finally be the time to make the move to TikTok.

Be sure to check out the sources below if you’re interested in learning more!

*According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the 1 billion active monthly users figure accounts exclusively for users 18 years old and over, which has not been clarified in many mentions of that figure.

Sources

Bump, Pamela. “43 TikTok Stats to Know in 2023.” Hubspot Blog. August 15, 2022. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/tiktok-stats

Cyca, Michelle. “23 Important TikTok Stats Marketers Need to Know in 2023.” Hootsuite Blog. March 9, 2022. https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-stats/

Geyser, Werner. “Top 64 TikTok Stats You Need to Know in 2023.” Influencer Marketing Hub. December 20, 2022. https://influencermarketinghub.com/tiktok-stats/

Hutchinson, Andrew. “TikTok Launches New Audience Insights Tools to Dig Into Your Audience Data.” Social Media Today. November 16, 2022. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/TikTok-Adds-New-Audience-Insights-Data-to-Ad-Manager/636748/

—- “TikTok Announces New Ad Tools and Performance Insights at Second ‘TikTok World’ Event.” Social Media Today. October 13, 2022. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/TikTok-Announces-New-Ad-Tools-at-TikTok-World-Event/634083/

Schaffer, Neal. “The 16 TikTok Stats Your Business Needs to Know in 2023.” NealSchaeffer.com. December 13, 2022. https://nealschaffer.com/tiktok-stats

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