The US government is on the warpath against TikTok, and is considering banning it entirely. But the app’s American users feel very differently.
People now spend more time on average using the red-hot video sharing app than Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat — and only marginally less than Facebook.
That’s according to a new survey by financial services firm Cowen, which routinely surveys how thousands of American consumers use various mobile apps. The survey found that in the second quarter of 2020, users of TikTok spent an average of 41 minutes a day on the app.
Instagram users spent 31 minutes on that app, meanwhile, while Twitter saw 29 minutes, and Facebook enjoyed 45 minutes, Cowen said in a recent research note to clients.
TikTok’s high engagement time — which jumped from 37 minutes in the first three months of 2020 — illustrates just how popular the app is among its users, and why established American firms view the Chinese challenger as a significant threat.
This data does not show how popular an app is overall, or how many people use it compared its rivals. It shows how much time people who do use a given app are spending on it each day, on average — a vital indicator as to the loyalty of its users, and how compelling its content is.
Cowen’s survey comprised around 2,500 US consumers, and was conducted in May 2020.
Owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, TikTok has become a cultural phenomenon over the past two years in the US — spawning a new generation of memes, viral challenges, dance crazes, and more.
In doing so, it has become one of the first major new challengers to Facebook in years, which has long dominated the social media space through the US through its stable of apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger) bolstered by acquisitions, its aggressive cloning of competitors, and the beneficial network effects of its ubiquity.
We’ll get a better idea of whether TikTok’s popularity is cutting into Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snap as the companies report their quarterly earnings reports over the coming weeks.
For now, TikTok’s engagement numbers are very good news for the company. It can only hope they aren’t fleeting.
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