Despite ongoing content concerns, data safety issues, and other controversies of varying degree, TikTok was once again the most downloaded non-gaming app in June 2021, according to the latest data from Sensor Tower.
That means that TikTok has held onto the top spot for basically all of the past 18 months, with the only two exceptions being November last year, when WhatsApp briefly re-took the top spot, and January this year, when Telegram saw a sudden download surge (as a result of WhatsApp's controversial data privacy update).
As per Sensor Tower:
"TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide for June 2021 with more than 65 million installs. The countries with the largest number of installs were from Douyin in China at 13%, followed by Indonesia at 12%."
So Sensor Tower is counting the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, in these numbers, which probably should be separated out, as the two are, according to TikTok, wholly separate entities. But even so, the enduring popularity of the short-form video app is pretty amazing, especially when you consider that these are primarily new users coming in.
Like, surely everybody who's at all interested in the app has downloaded it by now, right?
Clearly not, which can be attributed equally to TikTok's rising popularity, its younger user base (meaning more and more youngsters are downloading it and signing up as soon as they're able) and its focus on expansion into new markets.
Which is where Facebook has traditionally been able to bully upstart rivals off of its turf. Facebook's massive global presence means that it has vastly greater reach than any other platform, which means that when it duplicates the functionality of apps like TikTok - be it with Instagram Reels or other features - it can launch these tools into regions where TikTok, and other apps, haven't yet been able to reach.
That actually gives Facebook first-mover advantage, despite them being the replicants, which can then slow the take-up of these new tools when they actually do make it to these same regions.
TikTok has largely avoided these impacts by broadening its global focus quickly, which has seen it gain significant traction in regions like Indonesia, Korea and all across Europe.
Indeed, last October, TikTok announced plans to hire around 3,000 more engineers over the next three years, as it sets up new operating centers in Europe, Canada and Singapore, among others. That's helped TikTok maintain that growth momentum, which it's hoping to now transition into an eCommerce machine which can generate significant income both for the company itself and its top platform stars, keeping them aligned to the app.
Whether it can provide comparable compensation to Facebook and Google's apps remains to be seen, but again, looking at the pure user growth charts and download stats, it's continuing to answer lingering doubts on its potential.
Overall, however, Facebook is still dominating the overall download trends, with four of the top five most downloaded apps for the month.
Sensor Tower says that the majority of new downloads of Facebook, specifically, occurred in India, where it's slowly gaining steam. WhatsApp remains the dominant connection tool in the emerging region, and with the Indian Government putting pressure on Twitter over censorship concerns, and TikTok still banned, Facebook looks to be doing all it can to play nice with Indian authorities, with a view to becoming the dominant digital platform in the second most populous nation in the world.
Which means that, despite the rise of TikTok, Facebook is still the clear leader, but it is worth taking note of TikTok's ongoing momentum, and considering what that may mean for your digital marketing approach moving forward.
You can check out Sensor Tower's full monthly download report for June 2021 here.