Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has gone on to become one of the most popular platforms in the world. However, it wasn’t until the tail end of 2017, one year after its inception, that the Chinese social media phenomenon truly started to gain traction after acquiring one of its main rivals, Musical.ly, and ported over the latter’s 200 million account list.
From there on in, the floodgates were opened, and TikTok was unleashed on the global stage. After just a few short years, TikTok was well on its way to a seat at the table with social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, mainly thanks to a series of high-profile endorsements and a seemingly instant connection with the younger generations.
But has this relatively new platform already managed to go one step further and eclipse these more established platforms in just six short years in terms of website visits?
According to a recent CBS News piece, the answer appears to be… yes. In the article, CBS goes on to claim TikTok has surpassed Facebook and even Google search as the most popular internet destination in the world – not just the most popular social media platform. However, for those of you thinking that this sounds like a bit of stretch, you’re probably right. According to Similarweb’s leaderboard, TikTok doesn’t even make it into the top 30 of the most visited websites in the US, never mind on a global scale. While TikTok’s numbers are rather incredible, it may be a little early to proclaim them as the king of the internet for the time being.
How Does TikTok Stack Up to the Current Industry Leaders?
Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that it’s difficult to find an objective number when it comes to web traffic statistics, unless you manage to pull the data straight from the horse’s mouth. Similarweb, for example, measures and analyzes billions of data signals from various sources to get their results.
Occasionally, companies share their first-party analytics with Similarweb, which means that the information you see is 100% accurate. However, when this information is not divulged, which is usually the case with most of the top-performing sites, machine learning algorithms use aggregated data and prediction models to accurately estimate the statistics. In short, this means that we will never be able to get a concrete overview of the global web traffic rankings, although the data from Similarweb is pretty darn close.
Moving back to the leaderboards then, we can see that TikTok is, in fact, nowhere near top-dog status on the top ranking charts in the USA. At the time of writing, Similarweb has TikTok ranked as the 38th most visited site in the USA.
In terms of visits, Facebook (3rd), Instagram (8th), Reddit (9th), and Pinterest (31st) all surpass TikTok, demonstrating that the Chinese social media giant still has a long way to go before it can be considered the most popular social network on the web, let alone the most popular online destination in the world.
The Primary Factors Responsible for TikTok’s Meteoric Rise
According to a DataReportal report from October 2021, TikTok ranks 7th amongst social media networks based on the number of active users. Despite TikTok not quite being the dominant force that many have claimed, the social media platform’s rise to prominence has still been nothing short of spectacular, but how did they manage to pull off such an outrageous feat?
In many ways, TikTok’s astronomical popularity can be attributed to its novel approach to social media, which had become a somewhat stale form of digital interaction by the mid 2010s. Right from the get-go, TikTok has always promoted and aided in developing a sense of community inside its platform, which has clearly paid dividends.
This resulted in thousands, if not millions, of sub-communities of content providers, each of whom now had a direct channel of communication with their audience. This is demonstrated by the fact that 77% of TikTok users believe the platform is a place where people can openly express themselves, and 84% believe they come across content to which they can relate. This is all made possible thanks to TikTok’s sophisticated algorithm, which utilizes advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze user behavior before displaying content that better matches their specific preferences and interests. If you want to grow your TikTok following, there are a lot of services out there, make sure you check them out.
TikTok to Eventually Reign Supreme?
So, should we anticipate TikTok to continue its hurried march to the top, or will it plateau and fall into obscurity, as many social media sensations have in the past? Well, with Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta and new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal continually looking for new ways to better his service and innovate new products, it’s safe to say that competition isn’t going to be easing off anytime soon.
Meta is now investing heavily in the development of the Metaverse (hence the name), which may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi movie script for those unfamiliar with the concept. In fact, many people believe that this will herald the arrival of Web3, which will chart a new course that will determine how we communicate with one another in the future.
This begs the question of whether social media networks as we know them today will exist in the next ten or twenty years, or if an entirely new industry will take over and leave the rest of the platforms in the dust.
For the time being, the answers to these questions remain to be seen, but if one thing is certain: the world-renowned Chinese social networking platform’s short to medium term future appears bright, and you can expect to see them continue moving up the web traffic rankings as their user base undoubtedly rises.