Why Is TikTok So Popular? Everything You Wanted To Know

Sep 15, 2023

Why Is TikTok So Popular—Deconstructing the Success of the World’s Most Downloaded App

Even though TikTok was originally geared to younger audiences, the platform has attracted the attention of all age groups. Even the older generations hopped aboard sooner than expected. What started as a Gen-Z-dominated app for posting lip-syncing and dancing videos has quickly turned into a space where content creators can express their creativity and brands can show their lighter side attracting new customers in the process. Today, the platform counts 1 billion monthly active users, which makes it a perfect spot for all kinds of marketing stunts. The app has turned anonymous teens like Addison Rae Easterling, Charli D’Amelio, and Bella Poarch into actual stars recognized all over the world, while brands such as Crocs, Chipotle, and Gymshark have seen engagement spikes thanks to their winning TikTok marketing campaigns. TikTok’s user base is still growing, and it doesn’t seem it will stop anytime soon since the platform is designed to turn passive users into avid creators by serving up the content they like on a plate and inspiring them to create their own. So, why is TikTok so popular, and why doesn't the craze stop? We’ve done research on its success factors and summarized the essential ones.

Cleverly Created Algorithm

Source: TikTokOne of the principal reasons why TikTok gained popularity is that its algorithm is well-made, and it keeps getting better. TikTok focuses on content optimization in a way that no other social media platform does. Its algorithm doesn't recommend videos posted by the people you know or those with high numbers of followers. The choice of videos that are featured on TikTok's For You page depends on a complex interaction of users’ habits and preferences. Here are some of the factors that the algorithm takes into account when recommending you videos:

  • What type of content users post comments on
  • What videos users like
  • Which videos are users sharing
  • Which videos users said they're not interested in
  • What kind of content is being hidden or reported

The algorithm targets all micro-cultures impeccably and supplies them with the content they enjoy. For instance, if a user watches a fitness-related educational video, they will see similar videos popping up on the For You page. TikTok does not only recommend videos that belong to the same general category as those you usually watch—the content of those videos will match your preferences, too.TikTok users do not have to bother too much with finding the content they will enjoy—content will literally find them, thanks to the algorithm. This makes TikTok a lucrative opportunity for brands—if you use it properly, its algorithm will maximize your brand’s reach, and this will result in increased engagement, more followers (even those who don’t match your target audiences’ structure), TikTok fame, and increased conversion rates.

Inspiring Trends

Source: Artem PodrezTikTok trends are highly contagious, and everyone using the platform can start one. They’re a great way to flex your creativity. In case you hit a creative block when coming up with ideas for your brand’s account, you can find inspiration by looking at what is trending at the moment. For brands, hopping on TikTok trends means getting instantaneously relevant on the platform and getting continuously discovered by new audiences—it’s one of the tried-and-true ways to drive organic traffic on TikTok and trigger user-generated content (UGC).Almost anything can become a trend on TikTok—the type of content you share (for example, behind-the-scenes videos), some of the TikTok features (such as Duet and Stitch), hashtags (such as #GuacDance), certain sounds, effects, or challenges. Even the way users edit their content can become a trend, as it happened with seamless transitions.https://www.tiktok.com/@bmw/video/7004828140581276934Source: BMW

Creative Liberty

TikTok operates on the creative expression of its users and stimulates it by regularly introducing new features and effects. On TikTok, everyone who wants to build their following, including brands that are planning their new marketing campaigns, can find plenty of inspiration and come up with unique ideas to share with the world. TikTok even rewards the best creators through the TikTok Creator Fund, which fuels their confidence to express themselves authentically.

Source: Malte HelmholdFor brands, TikTok offering versatile content means a lot of space for being innovative. Whether you are a fashion brand or a car manufacturer, you can find your content niche, create thumb-stopping videos, reach your target audience, and spark the interest of new viewers. There are all sorts of posts that brands go for on TikTok. As long as the format fits the message they want to convey, brands rack up followers as a result. Here are some types of content that usually perform well:

  • Tutorials
  • Challenges that trigger UGC
  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Recipes
  • Life hacks
  • Memes and humorous content
  • Seamless transition videos

Unique Content and Interaction Possibilities

Source: Christian DinaOne of the reasons people love TikTok is its unique content. While other social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, all share at least some similarities (for example, they are based on connections between people rather than content optimization), TikTok strikingly stands out. Also, most other socials operate on text, video, and photos being more or less equally represented, while TikTok’s content is completely centered around videos.No other social media network brings a similar combination of fresh content and opportunities for interaction with other users’ content. On TikTok, you can find everything, from lip-syncing videos and magic tricks to videos tackling more serious topics in a short format. Interaction possibilities are also attractive—for example, the editing tool Stitch allows users to incorporate moments from other users’ content into their own and share video reactions to someone else’s posts. This range of possibilities means plenty of ways to improve organic reach—you can make TikToks that are as persuasive as paid ads.

Videos That Suit Short Attention Spans

Source: Brooke CagleWhile it is generally beneficial that we can access any information we need with a few clicks at any time, this also comes with certain drawbacks—our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. For brands that use TikTok, it means that competing to catch their target audiences’ interest has never been tougher..While research points at the link between social media and a decrease in the collective attention span, this might be one of the reasons behind TikTok’s viral success. As the collective attention span is narrowing, the audiences are looking for the content that will fit into how long they’re able to stay focused—and they’re finding it on TikTok.Even though TikTok has introduced the option of posting 3-minute videos, this possibility doesn’t mean brands should go for this content format automatically. Shorter videos still perform better on TikTok because such digestible content, adjusted to short attention spans, is what the platform was built around. This means that convincing TikTokers that your 3-minute video is worth watching will be a tough job—but as long as you have a story to tell and value to back it up, go for it. If you’ve come up with an extensive topic to cover, a good alternative is to continue posting short videos and go live instead.

The Power of Lifting Users’ Spirits

Source: Priscilla Du PreezTikTok plays with its users’ brains more than we can understand at first. Researchers claim that TikTok, like all other social media platforms, operates on random reinforcement and rewards users with increased dopamine levels. Each time a viewer sees a post displaying something they find delightful, they get a little dopamine hit in the brain’s pleasure center. Naturally, they keep scrolling for more—the brain craves another dopamine shot. Yes, TikTok’s content, being short, fun, and snackable, plays an immense role in keeping users’ eyes glued to their screens, but the brain chemistry is another reason why it’s so easy to get lost in endless scrolling for hours.


Source: cottonbroTikTok is a platform that is easy to use, and this is yet another reason for its popularity. No one has to rack their brains over posting a video on TikTok, editing their content, or even figuring out how to deal with more specific issues such as getting unbanned from TikTok. Thanks to its user-friendly features and the simplicity of its interface, the app is extremely easy to navigate. You don’t have to make too much effort to learn how to use its features or find what you’re searching for on the For You page, the Discover page, or in your inbox.

Sense of Community

Source: Brooke CagleTikTok is now so vast that users group themselves into so-called TikTok communities that post videos with the similar subject matter, using similar effects, sounds, and hashtags. Nowadays, you can find all sorts of communities on TikTok, such as the alternative fashion community, the cleaning community, the travel community, and more.The primary reason for this is that the platform aims at being more than a hub for sharing entertaining content—its goal is to also connect creators and brands to those who share similar opinions and enable them to celebrate their common interests. People love the sense of belonging that TikTok creates and the fact they’re able to comment on each other’s posts, make collaborative content, and interact with those who are interested in the same topics.

Monetizing TikTok’s Popularity Requires a Strategic Approach

Figuring out what is so good about TikTok is crucial when thinking of how to use TikTok for growing a business and making money off of it. Brands that are shifting to TikTok from other social media platforms often experience difficulties figuring out how to adapt their message to the content that’s popular on this platform. Such challenges, and many others, usually come from not being familiar with how the platform works. This includes not having a clear understanding of who their target audience is, what common opinions they share, where they come from, and when they’re the most active on this app. As a business on TikTok, you need to know how to cross-promote your content, analyze the most relevant performance metrics for your campaign to determine the pain points on time, and much more. Without such knowledge, no marketing strategy is likely to bear fruit. As a result of relying on small in-house teams, brands usually see no return on investment from their social media strategies—their marketing campaigns result in a small reach, and they are left wondering why their TikTok videos aren’t getting views. As you’d probably like to avoid such a scenario, we’ve identified where most issues come from.

What Mistakes Do Brands Make?

Based on our experience, here are the common misconceptions that are most frequently the causes of unsuccessful social media marketing attempts:

  • Not being aware of how complex social media marketing is—Many businesses on TikTok don’t realize how much work it takes to come up with ideas for topics you should cover with your social media content and then execute those ideas successfully. Sharing a couple of posts and waiting for likes is far from enough—creating a social media strategy takes a lot of data analysis, time, and other resources
  • Relying on in-house teams with limited capabilities—While it’s possible to conduct a social media marketing campaign with the help of only a couple of social media managers, this approach is highly unlikely to pay off—high-quality strategies always come from large teams with different expertise and points of view
  • Failing to execute good ideas properly—Even though some brands have a clear picture of how individual social media platforms operate and know what type of content would cater to their target audiences, their content still fails to attract the viewers. They face various issues, from lacking creativity to translate ideas into actual videos to being unsure how to approach the latest trends and use them to their benefit
  • Not following the trends—Some brands are unaware of the fleeting nature of trends and miss out on the most lucrative ones by not recognizing them on time, or they don’t know how to adapt to trends so they make sense for their brand

We Know How Brands Can Use TikTok to Their Advantage

The vast majority of problems with social media strategizing comes from lacking the essential answers about how the platform in question operates. At Kubbco, we’re always on top of what is popular in the world of social media and approach every new hype analytically. As a social media agency, we have precise answers to questions such as Why do people like TikTok? and Why is TikTok different from other socials? This is how we come up with ways to exploit its full marketing potential and help our clients attract followers, increase the number of views, and go viral, with the end result of converting this success into increased sales. We can show you how to polish up your ideas and execute a perfect strategy, but we do much more.

How Kubbco Can Help Your Brand Stand Out on TikTok

Kubbco is here to help you use TikTok for growing your business and walk you through all the steps in the process—from brainstorming to monitoring campaign performance and making necessary strategic tweaks. Here’s our full range of services:

  • Data analysis—Based on your target audience's social media habits, we come up with topics you should tackle in your videos and content type you should stick with throughout the campaign
  • Community management—We can take care of all your daily social media interactions aimed at getting your brand into important conversations and expanding its reach
  • Content production—Our team creates all types of content for social media campaigns. Whatever type of content you opt for, our experts will be able to assist you—Kubbco’s team consists of content writers, photographers, graphic designers, video directors, editors, animators, etc.
  • Paid advertising—We can help you make the right paid advertising choice—for instance, just because influencer marketing is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your brand. We will come up with improvement ideas for your ad content and upgrade your performance along the way

Crowd-Puller Collabs That Demonstrate Our Success

We’ve helped some renowned names level up their TikTok marketing strategies and achieve success that goes beyond this app. Our collaboration with OLAPLEX is one of our shiniest projects—during our five-week collaboration, we created 28 videos and attracted a staggering 5.1 million views in total.Other major brands we’ve worked with have also seen a significant spike in their engagement figures. Check out the results of our collaborations with essence cosmetics, Matas, and NATURLI’ Foods:ClientCollaboration TimespanVideos PostedFollowers GainedTotal InteractionsTotal ViewsViral Videosessence cosmetics2 years 2 months556386,0007.1 million73 million12Matas8 weeks2513,500209,0005.6 million8NATURLI’ Foods23 weeks1125,200179,0006.2 million20If you’re at the very beginning of your TikTok journey and need help with finding the best way to use this app for your brand or want to revamp your approach to TikTok marketing and get better results, reach out to Kubbco anytime. You can also sign up for our newsletter and be the first to receive our take on the most important social media news.

Malene Hold
Head of TikTok

TikTok and social media expert helping clients leverage the power of viral concepts to grow their businesses.

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