Published on

TikTok, Winner of 2023 Social Media

Yes, it’s early to call it, but we expect TikTok to surge again in 2023.

In an upcoming year where much of the ad industry continues to struggle — digital ad spending is forecast to inch up only 5% — TikTok is on fire in its growth. The social net was the most downloaded app in Q3 2022, with user growth of 571 million, and now reaches more than 20% of all global Internet users. TikTok has surpassed Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest and Snapchat in monthly active users, has replaced TV as the primary video channel among Gen Z, and is encroaching upon Google search as a starting point to find what you think you want.

One of TikTok’s secrets is its unique algorithm for surfacing good content. Most social networks, from LinkedIn to Twitter to Facebook/Instagram, connect you to your acquaintances (friends, family, or ahem old boyfriends and girlfriends), via what coders call your social graph. TikTok instead uses a content graph to bubble up material its algorithm deems you will find interesting, based on what you clicked on or lingered over previously.

Scroll through TikTok, watch a bee-keeping video that you didn’t know you might like, and suddenly you’ll find more snippets of bees and honey (and yes, believe it or not, TikTok led to an unexpected surge in beekeeping interest during the pandemic!). Content interest begets more similar content, triggering those glorious dopamine chemicals in your brain that make you feel so good. It’s basically a video candy store.

We’re not judging, but perhaps the TikTok algo that surfaces content you really might like is more appealing than arguing politics with your uncle on Facebook. Whatever TikTok is doing right, it remains the social platform to watch.