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Why Is TikTok So Popular? Top 4 Reasons for the App’s Success

Published August 11, 2023

In the last five years, TikTok has emerged as one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Its success has been the subject of wonder for many, especially considering how quickly it won over the younger generations.

So, why is TikTok so incredibly popular? What are the main reasons for the app’s success on the current social media scene? Follow along to find out as we delve deep into what makes the app so beloved.

Perfect Timing

In 2017, just before TikTok’s official launch, Twitter shut down Vine. For those who don’t know it, Vine was an app that was quite similar to TikTok in that it allowed users to upload short videos. Vine’s videos could be up to 6 seconds long, and they were usually humorous and entertaining.

So, when Vine was no longer available, the market was left without an app that would put short videos first. The creators of TikTok saw this opportunity and launched a platform that took everything Vine was great at and made it even better.

Within only a few years, TikTok made hundreds of millions of dollars more than Vine. Today, it allows users to post videos up to 10 minutes long, but the vast majority are still short and humorous, just like Vine’s were.

Thus, the app came out at a perfect time, both market and user-wise. It offered people a new platform where they could create and consume content they’d been missing, so it comes as no surprise that it took the world by storm.

Catering to Short Attention Spans

According to research, the average human’s attention span in 2020 was somewhere between 8 and 9 seconds. With how quickly technology is developing, scientists expect this number to shrink even more in the years to come.

With such short attention spans, most people struggle to focus on longer videos or other pieces of content. Thus, watching short TikTok videos is the perfect way for them to consume content without getting tired, overwhelmed, or overstimulated.

Even now, when posting longer videos is possible, shorter ones are still the most watched. This fact comes as no surprise, as users find it easier to watch a few 1-minute clips than a single 10-minute one.

The Algorithm Is Highly Personalized

According to the majority of TikTok users, they love the app because it offers them the most personalized experience. This fact makes a lot of sense, as TikTok’s algorithm is indeed highly complex.

For one, it takes into account which videos you like, comment on, or save and curates similar content based on that. Moreover, the app also takes note of what you skip or mark as ‘not interested,’ all in order to reduce undesired content in the future.

What’s more, TikTok curates your For You Page (FYP) according to the captions, hashtags, and phrases you search for in the discover section. In other words, your timeline will always match your interests and thus lure you into spending more time on the app.

The Content Is Engaging

Last but not least, TikTok owes a lot of its popularity to its millions of creators. Namely, the app offers a lot of different creative content, so there is truly something for everyone. Compared to other social platforms, TikTok experiences the fewest unfollows, making it an ideal choice for creators.

For example, you can find content about topics ranging from politics and healthcare to true crime and sports. In addition, a huge chunk of TikTokers are creatives who express their individuality through the app — whether through dance, acting, drawing, or singing. This type of content is compelling for a lot of people, and consuming it through TikTok is effortless and costs nothing.

Finally, it is important to mention that many brands and famous people use the app — Taylor Swift, Prada, and Dwayne Johnson, to name a few. This fact comes as no surprise, as TikTok offers them a new way to raise brand awareness and connect with new fans.

As a result, many people join TikTok to watch content from their favorite brands, idols, or influencers. And once they register, the algorithm ensures their FYPs are full of compelling content, so scrolling through the app is always entertaining.

The Future of TikTok

At the moment, TikTok is the 7th most used social media platform in the world. However, with its current growth rate, it is expected to reach the top 5 in just a few years.

Thus, the app’s future is even brighter than its present. And if it keeps putting user experience and app personalization first, TikTok will undoubtedly become a social media industry giant, allowing it to stand shoulder to shoulder with Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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