Despite Bans and Controversies, There's No Stopping TikTok From Taking Over the Planet
TikTok is no stranger to controversy. The Chinese social media app, which has exploded in popularity in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world, has been banned in countries like India and Armenia, and has faced scrutiny from the Trump administration in the United States.
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Yet despite numerous allegations concerning content, privacy, and security, TikTok is more popular than ever. But just how popular is it?
The iPrice Group gathered data from Deepaso, an app store data analysis platform, to determine which countries had the highest TikTok download index as well as the top three entertainment apps in each country. The study also indicates the number of new user acquisition for these apps and reveals the surge in Google search interests of products that are included in TikTok videos that have gone viral.
So who’s at number one? Surprisingly (or not), the country with the most number of TikTok downloads between January to September 2020 is the U.S. This is despite President Donald Trump’s threats against the app and its parent company, ByteDance. At number two is China, its home country and where the app is known as Duoyin. Thailand follows at number three.
Interestingly, India is still high up at No. 8 in the rankings despite being banned last June and having zero downloads since then. iPrice chalks this ranking up to the app’s stellar number of downloads before the ban.
According to the study, the Philippines ranked 11th in the world in terms of the most number of users who downloaded TikTok during the study period, which is strange considering how much Filipinos love the app. iPrice says this is likely because, like China, the Philippines is already a mature market and that users may have already downloaded the app before 2020.
Despite crashing out of the Top 10 in world rankings, TikTok is still currently the No. 1 downloaded entertainment app in the Philippines. Elsewhere in the region, Vietnam and Indonesia have also logged numerous downloads, enough to land those countries in the top 10.
The impact of TikTok
Meanwhile, iPrice also studied TikTok’s effect on businesses and brands, especially after warehouse worker Nathan Apodaca gained worldwide recognition for his video of himself drinking cranberry juice, and singing along to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”
In addition to the 43-year-old song resurfacing on current music hit lists, iPrice reported a surge of search interests for Apodaca’s choice of drink in the video—Ocean Spray’s cran-raspberry juice. Google trends recorded a 1,329 percent increase the Ocean Spray brand compared to the number of searches in September before the video went viral. Ocean Spray is even reported to expect a surge in sales by next quarter. For any brand marketer, this was nothing short of a dream scenario.
iPrice adds that Ocean Spray wasn’t the only product that saw a sharp spike in search interests due to a viral TikTok video. Urban Skin RX saw a 2,558 percent increase in Google search volume last January, after a video from @niceoneashley showed the world the amazing effects of the skin product in reducing her acne scars. that brand reported that since January, monthly sales have increased by 150 percent, and cleansing bar sales have increased by 220 percent across all channels.
There were similar results with Essence Kiss and The Ordinary AHA 30% and BHA 2% Peeling Solution, which saw an increase of 340 percent and 116 percent, respectively during the period the videos went viral. In The Ordinary’s case, its search volume interest kept increasing for two more months as it attempted to reproduce more organic videos from users talking about the product.
Not always effective
But iPrice cautions that this sort of awareness and interest for brands isn’t always guaranteed. The meta search website cited videos that began to circulate in May 2019 of people spraying shaving cream in their Crocs shoes before wearing them. While the videos are satisfying to watch, it hasn’t really translated to an increase in search volume interest for the footwear brand on Google.
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iPrice says this could be an indication that more renowned and established brands like Crocs don’t really garner more Google searches through guerilla TikTok videos and, instead, continue to thrive through brand ambassadors (In Crocs’ case, Justin Bieber).
iPrice’s full study can be accessed here.