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How to Use TikTok Demographics: A Guide

October 28, 2021
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A few years ago, the words “tick tock” were mostly spoken by behind-schedule parents tapping their watch at their children, clockmakers, and avid Super Mario 64 players. Now, when you search for “tick tock,” you’re met with one simple question: did you mean tiktok?

“TikTok” has taken on a whole new meaning—one that could significantly boost your business. 

As a social media app, TikTok has amassed millions of users across the world, especially in the younger generations. Its addictively short video content has made it a rising social media star, and in turn, a hot advertising social platform. Curious if TikTok has an audience for you? From trend-starting dancers to influential personalities, here are the primary TikTok demographics and how to target them for your business.

Who Use TikTok?

So, who’s creating all the viral content on TikTok? In short, young people. But the app’s user base has widened extensively, spanning continents, races, and ages—and the available TikTok marketing opportunities for growth-minded businesses.

With users averaging 52 minutes on TikTok per day, it’s not too hard to grab the right person’s attention.1 To investigate your potential target customers, let’s explore TikTok’s user base.

Ages

TikTok has one incredible advantage: novelty. As a social media platform, TikTok is definitely part of the newest generation, drawing younger users with its personal, unfiltered, and creative content.

As of April 2021, the ages of TikTok’s userbase in the United States break down as follows:3

  • Below 18 years old – 22% 
  • 18 to 29 years old – 48% 
  • 30 to 49 years old – 22% 
  • 50 to 64 years old – 4%
  • 65+ years old – 4%

The clear message? TikTok is a youth-oriented playground. While user ages have diversified since the app’s launch date in 2018, it’s an optimal platform for businesses targeting Gen Z and Millennial audiences. 

If you’re looking for more international reach, it’s also useful to know these global TikTok user facts:3

  • Total international users – 732 million
  • 16 to 24 years old, globally – 42% of users
  • Under 30 years old, globally – 60% of users
  • 45+ years old, globally – 7% of users

Race

Overall, TikTok is relatively secretive about its racial demographic breakdown. However, the Pew Research Center has examined the app’s popularity among US users, reporting on the percentage of adults in each racial demographic that use the app:2

  • 31% of Hispanic adults
  • 30% of Black adults
  • 18% of White adults

Gender

Currently, this social app is dominated by women, both creating and consuming TikTok content. The app’s global user base is split between:1  

  • 59% female
  • 39% male
  • 2% other genders (non-binary, genderfluid, etc.)

The US user base is similarly split, with 61% of users identifying as female and 39% as male.4

Location

Another promising feature of TikTok is the app’s global popularity. Since 2018, TikTok has spread to users across 154 countries, exhibiting serious potential in the worldwide advertising marketplace. 

To start, here’s how TikTok performs in different geographical regions:

  • Asia – TikTok originated in China, so it only makes sense that Asian markets dominate its user base. TikTok is Southeast Asia’s most downloaded app, with over 300 million downloads and 198 million users.5 In China alone, over 600 million viewers access TikTok (still called Douyin, the original name under Chinese media company, ByteDance) every single day.1 
  • North America – US is by far the most dominant North American TikTok market. As of 2020, the US holds 65.9 million of North America’s 105 million engaged TikTok users.6 US users are also especially active, spending an average of 68 minutes per day on the platform.1
  • Latin America – While less popular in this region than many others, TikTok still has 64 million Latin American users as of 2020.1 And when you compare this to the region’s 3 million users in 2018, you’d be hard-pressed to ignore the value of this geographical market.
  • Europe – European countries have a small but steady place in TikTok’s audience. Out of the continent’s 98 million users, Russia accounts for 16.4 million, France for 9.3 million, Germany for 9.1 million, and the UK for 8.5 million.7 

The most impressive part? TikTok amassed a global following of 732 million monthly active users in just three years since the app’s official launch in 2018.8 To compare, Facebook and Instagram took four and six years, respectively, to earn the same number of international users. And the growth isn’t stopping. By 2022, TikTok is predicted to have one billion users.9

So while TikTok might be today’s trendiest social platform, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and it’s anything but a blip on the advertising radar. This social media platform is global, expansive, and increasingly diverse. 

How to Use TikTok as a Brand

If you’re itching to access TikTok’s impressive audience, you have a few options. Tiktok opens its doors to businesses via three main avenues:10

  • User-generated content – Business channels allow companies to upload their own TikToks and interact with other users, the same way an individual would. Funny, creative, and compelling content is especially likely to gain traction among younger audiences who tend to dictate in-app trends.
  • Influencer marketing – If there’s a particular TikTok creator who matches your brand or target audience, then your business can partner with them via TikTok’s Creator Marketplace.
  • Advertisements – While only available in certain countries, brands can pay TikTok to run various ad content on users’ feeds.

To reach a maximum audience, most brands combine the above methods in some fashion. Let’s explore the ins and outs of each strategy when it comes to how to advertise on TikTok

User-Generated Content

As business owners know, branding is everything. Luckily, TikTok is the perfect space to shape a professional online brand, where your business can create videos that highlight your style, humor, aesthetics, and values.

To start, you’ll need a business TikTok account (not a creator account). These accounts open doors to professional resources like:

  • Performance and audience data
  • TikTok’s Business Content Guide
  • A commercial, royalty-free music library
  • The Web Business Suite with data and content tips

With a business account, you can start creating and sharing content. On TikTok, that means short videos up to three minutes long. From highest to lowest, the most popular video categories currently are:11

  • Entertainment
  • Dance
  • Pranks
  • Fitness & Sports
  • Home Renovation & DIY Projects
  • Beauty & Skincare
  • Fashion

Whether on the searchable Discovery page or scrolling For You feed, users receive precisely curated TikTok content. Every like, share, comment, and action informs the TikTok algorithm for each user. In the end, this helps businesses place their organic content and paid ads in front of the most viable TikTok users.

From here, further options like influencer marketing and direct advertising open up.

Influencer Marketing

Like Instagram or Youtube, TikTok offers businesses the chance to partner with influencers—content creators with established followings. 

On TikTok, businesses can select influencers on the Creator Marketplace, an exclusive database that holds vital information on the app’s certified creators. When picking an influencer, consider the creator’s:

  • Channel content
  • Total following
  • Engagement metrics (likes, shares, etc.)
  • Audience demographics
  • Relevance

The right influencer sharing the right content can expose your company to a target audience and significantly boost business. 

Just remember the inherent differences between TikTok influencer posts and traditional ads. To put it simply, the teens and young adult TikTok users currently dominating this social app have very little tolerance for salesy, inauthentic content on their feeds. With this demographic, you’ll have to keep it real, especially if your influencer partner is known for their unfiltered honesty.

TikTok Advertising

As the newest advertising opportunity, TikTok’s direct ads show incredible promise. Across 25,000 TikTok users, 67% agreed that the app’s ads capture their attention, giving them a 10% lead compared to any other social media platform.12 Additionally, 72% of viewers agreed that TikTok ads were “inspiring.” 

Not only are users watching ads, but they’re also enjoying them.

The best part of TikTok ads? They’re incredibly targeted. The platform’s Ad Group function lets businesses push their campaigns towards specific user demographics,13 such as:

  • Placement (or location)
  • Gender
  • Age bracket
  • Language
  • Interest category

Once you’ve established an Ad Group, you can run single or multiple ads based on in-depth demographic information. 

The four main types of advertisements that TikTok offers include:14

  • In-feed ads – Like Instagram ads, in-feed ads pop up in the middle of a TikTok user’s For You scroll. Companies often create short, trendy, and snappy videos for in-feed ads, since they must immediately attract the viewer. 
  • Branded hashtag challenges – Appearing on the Discover page, branded hashtags are a TikTok-exclusive opportunity. If your company hopes to spark a viral trend, you can “challenge” followers to make videos with a branded hashtag related to your business. While expensive (up to $150,000 for six days of promotion), they’re an effective and organic ad method, with options to appeal to all ages and demographic groups.15 
  • Branded effects – Filters are popular camera effects for creators to use, particularly in a “selfie” fashion among Gen Zers. Like branded hashtags, custom filters are a great way for businesses to entice users to interact with their brand. 
  • TopView or brand takeover ads – If you open TikTok andhttps://powerdigitalmarketing.com/blog/five-tips-for-your-tiktok-marketing-strategy immediately see an advertisement video, that’s a TopView ad. This method creates unavoidable ads with serious engagement potential, often containing clickable links and hashtags. While expensive, they’re incredibly effective. TopView ranks #1 on TikTok’s ad engagement index, and 71% of users agree that they grab attention.

Take TikTok by Storm with Power Digital Marketing

Yes, TikTok is a young person’s game—but that doesn’t mean you can’t win. With a growing audience across countries and age brackets, TikTok is just beginning to show its true marketing value. And with Power Digital Marketing, you can create a TikTok marketing strategy that even the cool kids will love. 

No matter the platform, Power Digital Marketing has the expertise and tools to help your business shine online. Explore our professional digital marketing services today.

 

Sources: 

  1. Business of Apps. TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021). https://www.businessofapps.com/data/tik-tok-statistics/
  2. Pew Research Center. Who uses TikTok, Nextdoor. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/chart/who-uses-tiktok-nextdoor/
  3. NME. TikTok users watch app for average of 89 minutes per day. https://www.nme.com/news/tiktok-users-watch-app-for-average-of-89-minutes-per-day-2923460
  4. Statista Research Department. Distribution of monthly active TikTok users in the United States as of March 2021, by gender. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095201/tiktok-users-gender-usa/
  5. Tech Wire Asia. Is SEA now the key to TikTok’s global strategy? https://techwireasia.com/2020/10/is-sea-now-the-key-to-tiktok-global-strategy/
  6. ContentCareer. TikTok Demographics – Age, Country, Gender & Income. https://contentcareer.com/blog/tiktok-demographics-age-country-gender-income/
  7. Insider Intelligence. TikTok Users Around the World 2020. https://www.emarketer.com/content/tiktok-users-around-world-2020
  8. DataReportal. Global Social Media Stats. https://datareportal.com/social-media-users
  9. TechCrunch. New forecast pegs TikTok to top 1.2B monthly active users in 2021. https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/10/new-forecast-pegs-tiktok-to-top-1-2b-monthly-active-users-in-2021/
  10. AdEspresso by Hootsuite. TikTok Advertising: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers. https://adespresso.com/blog/tiktok-advertising/
  11. Statista Research Department. Most popular content categories on TikTok worldwide as of July 2020, by number of hashtag views. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1130988/most-popular-categories-tiktok-worldwide-hashtag-views/
  12. TikTok for Business. Kantar finds ads on TikTok are seen as more inspiring, trendsetting and enjoyable than on other platforms. https://www.tiktok.com/business/en/blog/6-takeaways-from-our-latest-kantar-study
  13. TikTok for Business. Business Help Center. https://ads.tiktok.com/help/article?aid=9539
  14. TikTok for Business. It Starts on TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/business/en-US/apps/tiktok
  15. Hootsuite. The Complete Guide to TikTok Advertising for Marketers. https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-advertising/

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