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New Report Suggests TikTok Will Surpass 1.5 Billion Users in 2022

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Despite ongoing challenges from rival platforms, along with regulatory concerns, and even restrictions in some regions, TikTok continues to go from strength to strength. And according to the latest data from App Annie, the app’s growth momentum won’t be slowing down any time soon.

As per App Annie’s 2022 Mobile Forecast report, TikTok is set to surpass 1.5 billion users in the next twelve months, as its cultural influence continues to spread around the world.

App Annie 2022 predictions

That would put it well ahead of Instagram, which remains on a billion actives, a number it first reported back in 2018 and hasn’t updated since. Which, in itself, is a little strange. Has Instagram’s growth simply stopped – and if so, what does that mean for the app’s broader popularity?

App Annie’s predictions have been solid in the past too. Last November, App Annie predicted that TikTok would surpass a billion active users in 2021, which it did back in September.

App Annie TikTok prediction

As App Annie notes (above), TikTok’s growth rate is unprecedented, with the app becoming a cultural force faster than any other platform in history. Some of that, of course, comes on the back of established trends – Facebook and Instagram had a harder time reaching their first billion users because they needed to establish new habitual behaviors, which TikTok has benefited from in its rise.

But even so, the app’s rapid ascension is significant – and this is without India, which, at one stage, was TikTok’s biggest user market, at 200 million monthly actives. It’s fairly safe to assume that had TikTok not been banned in India back in June 2020, that its Indian user base would now be closer to 500 million, which would mean that TikTok would already be at that 1.5 billion user market at this stage.

It’s amazing to consider how TikTok has been able to achieve such strong performance in an increasingly crowded social media market. Snapchat once appeared to be set for similar massive growth, till Instagram copied Stories and slowed it right down, which is the same playbook that Instagram’s parent company Meta has followed with TikTok, by adding Reels on both Facebook and Instagram in an effort to steal audience share back from a rising potential rival.

But even more than just that, YouTube has also added Shorts, Snapchat added Spotlight, and other apps have tested similar TikTok-like tools. And yet, even with all of these competing tools being pitted against it, TikTok has remained resilient.

Far from slowing it down, if anything, TikTok has only gained more audience as a result of these counter-growth efforts.

How has TikTok been able to keep winning, where others have wilted in the face of the established giants?

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The key lies in its algorithm matching, which is still far better than any other platform at providing a never-ending stream of content that’s highly attuned to your specific interests.

As anyone who’s used TikTok a few times will know, the customized ‘For You’ feed of videos that you’ll likely be interested in is very addictive, and very good at quickly aligning with your personal interests.

The advantage that TikTok has over other platforms is its full-screen feed, which means that every action you take when each video is on screen is indicative of your response to that specific clip. Swipe past quickly and that video’s content is clearly not of interest, watch the whole thing through and that’s a strong signal, while tapping on any element also provides clear response data for its matching.

Instagram doesn’t have the same, as there are often several posts on screen, and while Reels can be more specifically attuned in this way, its algorithm is not as good as detecting your interests, with Reels often being overly sensitive to trending content, then showing you more of it without taking into account broader context.

TikTok’s system is far better at determining more intricate matches in response to your actions, which is why it’s so addictive to so many, and that’s helped it continue to add users, even as other apps have tried to replicate its key features.

Because, really, they can’t, or at least they haven’t been able to as yet. And while it seems like both Meta and YouTube should, at some stage, be able to figure it out, the fact that neither has made significant ground as yet may well point to TikTok simply having better capacity, and better audience understanding, than its rivals, which again points to ongoing success for the app, which is now arguably the cooler place to be for creators either way.

Monetization is the next step, and providing comparative capacity for top stars to make as much money on TikTok as they can in other apps. But that, too, is moving along, with the platform’s eCommerce and brand/creator partnership tools evolving quickly, facilitating more opportunities on this front.

If you haven’t considered TikTok as a potential platform for your marketing efforts, in 2022, it may be time to give it some more thought. Not all brands will thrive on TikTok, and it does require a more dedicated, organic-type approach, so you do need to know the platform-specific trends, or work with creators that are in-tune with such. But the opportunities, for the right brand, with the right approach, can be significant.

And they’re growing more every day, with its growth momentum building. At this rate, TikTok could well have over 2 billion active users by 2023, and even more cultural relevance around the world.

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It may not be a platform that comes naturally for your promotions, and it may not be one that you yourself are interested in. But in 2022, it’s likely worth familiarizing yourself with the latest TikTok trends, and getting a better understanding of the app.

You can download App Annie’s full 2022 App Predictions report here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar

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Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.

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Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.

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“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.

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“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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