Does TikTok have too many TikToks?
Future. TikTok has signed up so many users and has become the go-to social strategy for so many labels and brands that less is seemingly breaking through to a wider culture. So, marketers are pivoting to scoring wins within smaller communities on the platform and building out influence from there. But TikTok may be another example (like Netflix and Spotify) of how oversaturation of both content and users mixed with personalized, algorithmic recommendations actually works against generating big, consensus hits.
Searching for virality
There may be fewer breakout TikToks today than in recent years.
- That’s because users on the platform ballooned from 270 million monthly active users to over a billion in just over three years.
- And every marketer is turning to TikTok for their viral dreams, meaning a lot more content is getting pushed into users’ For You page to vie for their time.
So, when both users and content is oversaturated, recommendations get more narrow and targeted — lots and lots of echo chambers. Or, as New 11 Records co-founder David Kaufman told Billboard, “people are less likely to all see the same thing, like Charli D’Amelio dancing, and are more likely to see content from niches the algorithm recommends specifically for them.”
TikTok tick off
So, if the TikTok of old meant just getting Charli D’Amelio (or Addison Rae or Josh Richards) to use, say, a song that a label is pushing in a video in order to push into the stratosphere, how does a song today reach the same cultural penetration? According to Rebecca Versteegh, head of music partnerships for Creed Media, “the era of having a few big influencers post a song and it becomes a hit is not reality any more.” Heck, Lucas Thomashow, Senior VP of AVEX USA, says that “if anything, bigger influencers actually don’t move the needle on music consumption.”
Thomashow continues that TikTok has matured to a place where it’s more about scoring multiple singles and doubles in “different micro-communities” than in swinging for a blanket home run. No wonder many influencers are hedging their bets and posting their TikToks directly to Reels… which Instagram is really trying to discourage.