2023 on TikTok: A year in review and what’s next

Photo courtesy of Mariia Shalabaieva on Unsplash

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

With 2023 coming to a close, it’s time to look back on the year that was. TikTok certainly had an eventful one as it dominated the social media scene. It kicked off various global trends, keeping everyone entertained throughout the year’s highs and lows. It also became a go-to marketing tool for businesses who wanted to express their creativity and tap the growing Gen Z market.

But that doesn’t mean everything was smooth sailing for the social media giant. It faced a slew of bans as different countries grew concerned about data privacy. The United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand are just a few of those who have banned TikTok on government devices. 

Despite the setbacks, TikTok is here to stay. The platform will continue to shape pop culture in 2024, influencing people’s buying habits and brands’ marketing strategies. And we can expect more improvements to the app that will benefit viewers, consumers, and businesses. 

Growing user base and revenue milestone

TikTok’s user base expanded by 16% in 2023, reaching 1.5 billion users. It’s a milestone for the company and a huge advantage for businesses on the app. This year, many brands capitalized on the platform’s growth and leveraged TikTok marketing to capture the Gen Z market. 

According to Celebian, a TikTok promotion service, TikTok ads reach 17.9% of global Internet users above 18 years old. That’s 884.9 million viewers, or 15.9% of the world’s population within this age bracket. Through its study, Celebian discovered that TikTok’s Gen Z reach surpasses all other social media platforms. It taps 25% of female users and 17.9% of male users between 18 and 24. The app’s ability to launch trends is what drives its impressive reach.

These numbers show that TikTok remains an invaluable business tool amid the government bans and potential forced selling. Its record-breaking revenue further proves its power and influence. TikTok recently became the first non-mobile gaming app to generate $10 billion in gross revenue. Nearly $4 billion is from virtual coins that viewers gift content creators. According to data.ai, consumers spend $11 million daily to show appreciation to their favorites.

That’s not the only impressive feat from the tech giant this year. It is also the first mobile app to produce $1 billion in global consumer spending within a quarter. That happened in the first quarter of 2023. With that level of business success, TikTok is on its way to becoming the highest-earning mobile app in history. 

Game-changing tools and heightened security

TikTok is a leader in innovation, placing high value on creativity and community. In 2023, it rolled out new tools to help content creators and businesses build more effective ads. It also made improvements to the platform to enhance user experience. 

Early this year, it introduced the Keyword Insights tool to assist advertisers in keyword searches. The game-changing feature can spot trending script keywords in ad captions, text overlays, and voiceovers. It also provides insights on keyword performance, including click-through rates and how advertisers use them. It helps brands produce better ad copies and develop new marketing strategies

TikTok also embraced e-commerce in 2023, launching the TikTok Shop in the United States. It allows brands and merchants to post content like videos and livestreams on the platform. They can feature their products directly on their profiles or promote them as TikTok Shop ads. Users can browse, shop, and pay without leaving the app. 

TikTok even rolled out a “Fulfilled by TikTok” service to help businesses with logistics and shipping. It ensures that customers get their orders on time and receive proper customer service should issues arise. To complete the e-commerce experience, TikTok also started an affiliate program. It’s an added earning opportunity for content creators and free exposure for sellers. 

Text posts are another memorable addition to TikTok this year. The focus may be on short-form videos, but TikTok decided there’s also space for written creativity. Users can type poems, recipes, and short stories of up to 1,000 characters. Text posts are customizable with audio, colored backgrounds, and stickers. 

Aside from platform improvements, TikTok also reaffirmed its commitment to safety. Partnering with technological experts, it developed solutions to protect brands on the platform. Marketers can now have a safer advertising experience, confident that their ads will appear on brand-appropriate content. TikTok also leveraged AI and machine learning to review the safety and suitability of content for ads. 

TikTok predictions for 2024

2023 was a banner year for TikTok, but will the platform experience the same success in 2024? Its record-breaking revenue in 2023 is a good sign that it will retain its lead. As a powerful cultural force, it will continue to deliver unparalleled reach and engagement and grab the attention of more brands and marketers. It will also be the birthplace of more Internet trends that will keep the world watching.

One trend to watch for in 2024 is longer content. TikTok is pushing for longer-form videos to rival the platforms that came before it. According to TikTok spokesperson Zachary Kizer, they are taking the direction of content creators. The platform wants to explore ways to encourage users to stay longer on the app and generate more profit for advertisers and creators. Only time will tell if viewers will appreciate the change since they initially came to the app for short-form videos.

Niche communities are another trend that will take off in 2024. Because of the stiff competition on the app, we can expect content creators to adopt highly-specialized niches. That will help them build a loyal audience of like-minded individuals. An upcoming niche to look out for is environmental consciousness. There will be more eco-friendly influencers advocating waste reduction and sustainable living to make the world a greener place. 

Technological trends will also be making their way into TikTok. AI-generated music will be the soundtrack to many videos. That will open the door to more music creators, even those who don’t have professional experience with traditional methods. Users will also see more AR on the app. Late 2023, the platform introduced a new mobile editing feature that lets users create AR effects. It’s much easier to make realistic and seamless filters.

Embracing TikTok and its ever-changing landscape

The only way for businesses to succeed is to ride the waves of change. And TikTok is the best platform to help them with that. It pushes the boundaries of creativity, encouraging brands to step out of their comfort zones and try better strategies. Despite the challenges it’s facing, TikTok is dominating pop culture. Now is the best time to take advantage of it. 

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