By Obinna Ezenwa
The pace at which TikTok rises in its quest to overtake the global advertising scale of Twitter and Snapchat this year, and to compete with YouTube within two years, has become worrisome to Facebook as trendsetting teens and young adults make it the hottest social app of the moment.
The Chinese-owned video-sharing platform is forecast to catch up with YouTube by 2024 when both are predicted to take $23.6bn (£18.2bn) in ad revenue, despite TikTok being launched globally 12 years after its Google-owned rival.
Last year, Tiktok overtook the global ad take of Snapchat, previously the digital hangout of choice for teens and young adults in their twenties, and by the end of 2022 will have surpassed that of Twitter. This year it is predicted to triple worldwide ad revenues, to $11.6bn, more than the $10.44bn for Snapchat and Twitter combined.
Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence which compiled the ad spend forecast, said TikTok’s user base has exploded in the past couple of years, and described the amount of time users spend on the app as being extraordinary. According to her, “It has moved well beyond its roots as a lip-syncing and dancing app. It creates trends and fosters deep connections with creators that keep users engaged, video after video.”
The company is winning the battle for the “sweet spot” of social media users, those in the 18- to 25-year-old demographic where Facebook is seeing its biggest declines, with parent company Meta trying to stem the exodus by attracting them to stablemate Instagram.
TikTok is also becoming increasingly addictive. Despite the platform supposedly being restricted to those aged 13 and over, about 16% of three- and four-year-olds view TikTok content, according to research commissioned by media regulator Ofcom. This rose to 29% of all children in the five- to seven-year-old age group.