As a famous philosopher once said, more money more problems.
The most valuable startup in the world, ByteDance ($PRIVATE:BYTEDANCE), is in the news pretty much every day now. Sometimes it's because of something the company actually did, like make billions of dollars and then getting slapped on the wrist by the Chinese government. But most of the time it's because of the startup's runaway success, TikTok, which gets wrapped up into any story about viral videos or political grandstanding. So much of our current cultural climate is centered around TikTok now, which warps real news, comedy, and everyday life into one app.
It's hard to remember when Twitter's Vine was essentially the same idea, years ahead of its time, and yet didn't make the same impact TikTok did only a few years later. The need for a social media competitor, the small changes to video length, and the innovation around using sound effects and music to pair with recording has ultimately led to ByteDance being worth $140 billion. TikTok has two billion downloads under its belt and breaks records with its quarterly earnings; calling it a sensation is an understatement of epic proportions.
TikTok cracked five million user reviews on the Apple App Store this month, and has been able to maintain a 4.6/5 or higher for quite a while. Iterating and updating and improving the app has led to capturing the imagination and attention of a very large userbase.
It also certainly doesn't hurt that social media platforms inherently feed off of dopamine hits, which just engineers us to put out more content to get more likes which drives engagement. The next great superstar is just around the bend, and your next video is bound to go viral, just keep scrolling and watching, don't worry, you'll get there soon enough!
The 'Talking About' count on Facebook (the actual biggest social media platform) for TikTok hit a new record in June. The number of Likes also more than doubled over the last two years. When you're getting record engagement as a social media app, on the social media app that earned the film title "The Social Network," it's safe to say you've made your mark.
And, that's not all. From October 2, 2018, to October 2, 2019, TikTok's Twitter followers went up 38%. From October 2, 2019, to right now, it's gone up another 115%.
There's no stopping ByteDance right now; in the first half of 2020 the company grew by 35% and TikTok itself grew by 151%.
The only thing you could poke a hole in is that job openings have been more or less the same all year. The pandemic obviously does not help any situation, but after a slight increase in March the numbers came back down to an average of around 650 job postings. But if you think TikTok is a fad, or has any real competition, you might want to bite your tongue for a while. Unless millions of young people suddenly grow up and get over making dumb videos, then maybe TikTok slows its roll on revenue and growth.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.