TikTok officially overtakes Google as the world’s most popular website

TikTok officially overtakes Google as the world’s most popular website

Despite pushback from both the US and Indian governments, the Chinese social media platform TikTok has gone from strength to strength in the past couple of years. This viral video sharing platform has hacked its way into the forefront of popular culture, spawning memes, trends and even influencing music charts and making celebrities of some of its biggest creators. 

The size and success of TikTok is difficult to comprehend, with the app having over 1 billion monthly active users in Q3 2021. The most surprising stat, however, comes from Cloudflare. They claim that TikTok has leapfrogged the search engine juggernaut Google to become the most popular website in 2021.

Dethroning the home of the web

Cloudflare says this growth and dominance has been rapid but steady. In the same list in late 2020, TikTok was only the 7th most popular domain. This is still a huge feat on the back of TikTok’s almost 486% growth in 2020 thanks to lockdown-induced boredom across the world. 

However, it wasn’t until October 2021 that TikTok began to wrestle Google.com for the top spot. 

This, of course, firmly places TikTok as the most popular social media platform in 2021 -with the Chinese platform outperforming the previous social king, Facebook, for most of the year.

2020 wasn’t the easiest year for the relatively young website as it endured attacks from both the US and Chinese governments. In June 2020, Modi’s Indian Government banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese-developed apps – a ban that still hasn’t been lifted with the app being forgotten and vilified in the second-most populous country in the world. 

TikTok’s fate improved in the US as the incoming Biden administration ended former President Trump’s threats of banning TikTok by executive order. 

Throughout 2021, TikTok has seen a growth in popularity and a shift in public opinion from that of distrust to fun and good times. There’s no indication that this rise won’t continue in 2022. 

A new marketing paradigm 

As TikTok steals the top spot as the most visited website in the world, there are serious implications on the way businesses advertise online. Google has been the long-running champion of advertising, with Google Ads providing businesses with a great way to promote their content and products.

However, there’s a new kid on the block in the online marketing space: influencer marketing. This is the primary way businesses are building brand recognition on TikTok. Advertisers are looking to leverage the trustworthiness of user-generated content (UGC) and TikTok is the perfect place to do this.

Instead of working with advertising firms like Google Ads to push distinct ads, brands are increasingly sponsoring creators to push and showcase their products. 

“User-generated content gives advertisers a proxy with which to continue marketing without looking bad,” says Rebecca Winch, the head of creative and production at global communications agency Way to Blue.

Outside of UGC video and influencer marketing, TikTok’s official ads platform (which works in a similar way to Instagram’s and Facebook’s where ads are slotted into user’s timelines) is significantly cheaper than other platforms with a CPM (cost per thousand) of as little as $1. 

This makes TikTok a lucrative platform for digital marketing as the traditional heroes of Google and Facebook get dethroned by the hip and youth-friendly Chinese competition.  

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