TikTok has continued its meteoric rise in 2020, despite various, significant challenges that have impeded its growth.
The biggest blow for the platform came in late June, when India banned TikTok, along with 59 other Chinese-originated apps, due to ongoing conflicts with the Chinese Government. At that time, India was TikTok’s biggest market (outside China), with some 200 million users – and then, TikTok faced the prospect of being banned in the US as well, with the Trump Administration issuing an executive order for the sell-off of the app back in August.
But despite this, TikTok has continued on, and while discussions are still ongoing about what the US order could mean for the app, it seems that TikTok will remain fully available for Americans, while it continues to negotiate with the Indian Government.
And more than just get by, TikTok has continued to thrive, adding more users and expanding its cultural influence. Indeed, TikTok’s projected to reach a billion users in 2021, and the app has become a key entertainment platform for many, especially amid the various lockdowns.
That will see a lot more brands considering the opportunities of the platform over the next year. And if you’re thinking about whether it could be a good fit, this week, TikTok has shared some insights into its best performing content of 2020, including top creators, rising stars, trends, effects, and more.
That could help frame your approach, and get you thinking about how to connect with the TikTok audience – here’s a look at some of the keynotes from the listing.
First off, TikTok has shared the top ten viral videos of the year – which, in a surprise, doesn’t have Dogface and his skateboard ride on top.
- @bellapoarch – Bella does M to the B.
- @420Doggface208 – Skateboarding his way to fame.
- @itscaitlinhello – The coworker you love to hate because WFH is hard.
- @nba – Jalaiah shows us how it’s done at the NBA All-Star Game.
- @willsmith – Will wipes it down.
- @awa_de_horchata_uwu – An obscure cereal jingle that isn’t bread becomes a bread sensation.
- @lizemopetey – Is it meatier or meteor? Hmmm.
- @iamtabithabrown – Do you see carrots? Bacon? It’s carrot bacon.
- @thejulianbass – Who’s your favorite hero?
- @hartyt_ – A goose throws it back.
That provides some perspective on what works best on TikTok – simple, often repeatable, clips aligned to music.
Of course, creating a viral hit is as much art as it is science, but taking a look at these clips could help you better frame your approach to your own TikTok clips.
Then there are the platform stars – TikTok has shared a list of rising creators on the platform, which could also help you better understand what resonates with users.
- Charli D’Amelio
- Tabitha Brown
- Bella Poarch
- Devon Rodriguez
- Wisdom Kaye
- Addison Rae
- Michael Le
- Chriselle Lim
- Noah Beck
These users are highly attuned to the key platform trends, and going through their profiles could further help you understand the TikTok ecosphere.
TikTok’s also provided a listing of top niche communities in the app, showcasing the breadth of communities growing on the platform.
- #AltTikTok – You’ve landed on Alt TikTok.
- #WitchTok – The community that cast a spell on us in 2020.
- #DracoTok – Scared Potter?
- #CottageCore – The peaceful simple life aesthetic.
- #RugTikTok – Where every rug is a winner!
- #ArtTikTok – Mesmerizing art for all.
- #PlantTok – Because plants need love too.
- #TheatreKids – My way. My way to Broadway!
- #HolidayTikTok – Where the season officially starts on November 2.
- #AnimeTikTok – Welcome to the secret anime society.
And these are just some examples – TikTok has also provided top ten lists for visual effects, songs, memes, celebrities and more. In a separate report, via Campaign, TikTok has also shared a listing of the most creative brand campaigns of 2020.
As noted, this can be a great way to learn more about what’s working on TikTok, in order to better frame your own brand approach – which could be important, given that TikTok has now firmly established itself as a key platform, particularly among younger users.
TikTok still faces several challenges, which have been exacerbated further by the launch of Instagram Reels, adding extra pressure to the app. And while Reels is not the same as TikTok, it’s probably ‘good enough’ in a lot of respects, and that means that, if TikTok stumbles, users have an alternative. This adds that little extra push for TikTok.
Will the app be sold off? Will it face more bans? Will its links to China impede its growth, given China’s more aggressive stance on international trade and negotiation over the past year?
TikTok faces some significant potential issues, but the app itself is growing, and these trends provide some key insight into what works best.