In just over 6 years since the video-sharing app launched in China, TikTok has evolved beyond lip-syncs, viral dances, and even the teenage demographic that put the social media service on the map.
And while I can somehow resist doing the latest TikTok dance here — despite the incredible numbers that video would do, no doubt — I must share some of the headlines TikTok is making. Because with a billion active users worldwide to date and eight new users joining each second, every TikTok trend — whether that’s the catchy choreography in user videos or the overall patterns in user behavior — is a pulse journalists and publishers alike need to keep a finger on.
The most recent trend that caught my eye was Pew Research Center’s reporting about the growing share of adults who use TikTok to get their news. Opposed to other social media sites whose news-consumption numbers have either plateaued or are decreasing, TikTok’s numbers have tripled, with the share of U.S. adults regularly getting their news on TikTok growing from 3% in 2020 to 10% this year.
Likewise, the share of TikTok adult users who regularly get their news on TikTok grew as well to 33%, outdone in 2022 only by the decreasing numbers of users on Twitter (53%), Facebook (44%), and Reddit (37%) — all social media sites that one might have more traditionally associated with news.
Additionally, 26% of U.S. adults under the age of 30 regularly get news on TikTok, along with 10% between the ages of 30 and 49.
News is only one of the sectors in which TikTok is making surprise splashes, however. As previously covered by The Magazine Manager Blog, TikTok is making changes to allow creators more characters in their posts, all in an attempt to better position itself as an ad-targeting search engine.
And while TikTok might still need to iron out the kinks of, for instance, catching false and misleading messages in those ads, becoming a viable search engine is not beyond the scope of possibility.
Skeptics need look no further than the words of Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s own senior vice president, who said, “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”
Outside of News and Search, TikTok is also carving out a niche as the top app for driving consumer spend.
Better add the marketing and advertising teams to those who need to keep a constant eye on all things TikTok.