TikTok Means Business

Oct 03, 2021

I’ll admit it… I’m not a TikTok aficionado.

But I don’t need to be an app enthusiast to understand that the company means business.

Just look at this chart of the major players in social media, showcasing platform Mention growth alongside consumer sentiment.


TikTok is expanding at a rapid pace.

The company isn’t just growing fast, it’s growing much faster versus peers in the same time frame.

TikTok surpassed 1 billion users last week… in around half the time it took for Instagram to accomplish the same feat.

So… should traditional social media sites competing for the same bucket of ad dollars be worried?

Not necessarily.

Luckily, at LikeFolio we can dive in to understand consumer perception of (and usage rates for) TikTok peers thanks to real-time consumer insights.

Here’s what we know:

Facebook is still the dominant player

  • Four out of five of the most popular social networks worldwide (through July 2021) were owned by Facebook, with Alphabet’s YouTube being the only outsider to crack the top five.
  • LikeFolio data confirms Facebook’s user growth is driven by its messaging platform WhatsApp and Instagram of late, both recording levels higher versus 2019: 19% and 7%, respectively.
  • With more than 3 billion users, FB has the broadest reach by far.

Pinterest boasts the happiest users

  • Pinterest sentiment is 74% positive and leads the pack versus traditional social sites… by a long shot.

  • Pinterest was made for brand and product discovery, so advertisements aren’t viewed as intrusive. In fact, this type of “you might like this” placement is welcome.
  • Pinterest platform Mentions remain above 2019 levels, but growth is slowing. This was cause for concern after the company’s last report sent shares tumbling -18%.
  • However, long-term investors are sticking around due to monetization potential and international growth. Last quarter, U.S. active users declined by 5%, but international active users increased 13%.
  • Building on that, international average revenue per user (ARPU) increased +163% YoY. Even with this rate of growth, international ARPU was $0.36 versus $5.08 in the U.S.
  • On one hand, this displays why U.S. users are so valuable. On the other hand, it supports the enormous growth opportunity argument.

Snapchat Spotlight retention is key for continued growth

  • After a disastrous redesign burned sentiment levels in 2018, Snapchat Consumer Happiness has recovered and continues to improve: 55% positive, +2 points YoY.
  • However, the company may be struggling with user-generated content creation.
  • Creators have indicated they are leaving the platform’s “Spotlight” feature in favor of TikTok and Instagram after the company ramped down its payment policy in June.
  • LikeFolio data shows user Spotlight Mentions remain high, but have dropped -32% QoQ. Keep an eye on this, as this discovery segment is the ideal placement for advertisements, versus within personal messaging and friend stories.
  • Big picture, it does appear the Spotlight discovery feature has helped move the needle for SNAP. On a near-term basis, Snapchat’s Purchase Intent (downloading and using Snapchat) has increased +5% QoQ.

It also turns out that users aren’t social media platform exclusive.

You can see a really nice chart of social media overlap here.

But the key takeaway is this: +98% of users with at least one account use other platforms.

So for now, each social platform can be expected to continue coexisting.

But we wouldn’t be surprised to see TikTok snatch up some advertising spend in the near term.

Megan Brantley
Head of Research, LikeFolio