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If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll have heard of the major social media platform ‘TikTok’. As of now, TikTok is everywhere, and is continuing to grow every single second. The global downloads since the app began has shot up to unimaginable numbers.

TikTok almost seemed to appear out of nowhere, didn’t it? All of a sudden, the world had been consumed by these short, funny, musical videos. Our questions are why, how and what’s to come in the future?

Who are the Competitors?

TikTok is globally known as THE ‘lip syncing app’, yet it isn’t the first popular one of the genre. In the past there have been others, such as Dubsmash (released in 2014) and MadLipZ (released in 2019). However, neither of these (or any of the many others) have been anywhere near as popular.


Dubsmash is another ‘lip sync’ app that’s known for ‘smashing’ your videos with pre-recorded audio, which are called dubs. The app was created (similarly to the well-known app Vine) to produce humorous videos, and replace standard messages with something that encouraged a little more imagination.

Popular videos on Dubsmash included animal videos, funny dances or acting the part of the audio. The app was designed and developed by Mobile Motion GmbH in Berlin, then released officially onto mobile in 2014.

However, although the idea of the app is amazingly similar to that of TikTok, it still isn’t close to their 1.5billion downloads. However, initial growth was good, gaining 50million downloads by 2016. This slowed down though, and Dubsmash has slowly faded away.


MadLipZ is a newer development (2019), which could mean it’s more of a competitor to TikTok (although, I can’t see it being much of a threat currently).

Different to TikTok and Dubsmash, MadLipZ allows you to change the audio of a clip, rather than the video. By going in this different direction, I think they had the idea of sticking with the trend, but being more original.

The videos created in MadLipZ are humorous, again, like TikTok and Dubsmash, but you don’t have to show your face. In taking a different direction, I think they attracted a different range of audience and creators alike.

MadLipZ has rocked up around 30 million downloads as of now, which if you put it into perspective is a lot, since it only came around in 2019. Will this be the next big thing?

Why aren’t they as popular?

Although both apps are like TikTok, they both have their differences.


Although Dubsmash is very similar to TikTok, it hasn’t become anywhere close to as popular. Why?

Dubsmash is, first of all, a lot more clunky than TikTok, and when you first open the app you aren’t taken directly onto the feed. Through the plainer and harder design of the app, it didn’t resonate with as many people as expected.

Furthermore, in December of 2018, The Register reported that some hackers had managed to gain access to multiple apps, including Dubsmash. Collectively, the hackers stole the information of 617million users- 161.5 million of those accounts for from Dubsmash. The information was then being sold as Bitcoin, for the equivalent of $1,976.

This was obviously a big issue to a lot of people, and turned them away. These days, security and personal data being kept safe is extremely important, so a data breach that large definitely made an impact on their audience.

Drüppel from Dubsmash also spoke out and said one of the reasons they haven’t done as well is because ‘we didn’t listen to our users’. He said they’d ‘be in the clouds’ about developing new features that would roll out and not work.


Now, since MadLipZ is still quite new, there isn’t as much evidence against it. As just released in 2019 and already at 30million downloads, there’s no telling how large it could become in the future. We can make predictions, though.

Since MadLipZ takes a slightly different direction than TikTok and Dubsmash, one could think it has more of a chance of ‘blowing up’. However, is it really what people are looking for?

TikTok as a platform has achieved so many downloads, since it has a little something for every type of user. Whether you’re a creator or a watcher, there’s a place for you. TikTok has many different genres, such as art, dance, funny videos, challenges, vlogs, style and more. MadLipZ, on the other hand, is mainly based just around humour (currently), which won’t be for everyone.

My predictions are that MadLipZ will do very well, but it won’t become as big as the likes of TikTok or Instagram (1+billion).  


Rise of TikTok’s and its Growth

TikTok almost seemed to come out of nowhere, randomly becoming one of the most popular apps out there; how did this really happen?

A lot of you may have heard of the once popular app, which was also a lip syncing app. The app was popular among young teens for uploading videos lip syncing to songs while performing hand actions. This app disappeared though didn’t it… why?

Well, TikTok is actually the second iteration of It was purchased by the Beijing-based tech company, called ByteDance, which already owned TikTok. However, in August 2018, TikTok merged into, automatically acquiring all past accounts.

So, although TikTok was founded in 2016, it wasn’t popular until it absorbed and took over, which is why the app seems quite new to the world. disappearing definitely helped TikTok grow, for example: In 2017, TikTok gained a total of 130million downloads, while having 655million downloads in 2018 (when it took over). It didn’t stop there; in 2019 it gained 738million downloads. As of now, TikTok has surpassed even Facebook, with a total of 1.5billion global downloads- all in the matter of (practically) three years. Shockingly, it took Facebook around 16 years to gain this amount, nearly 6 times longer than TikTok.

If you really wanted to know how popular TikTok has become with its audience, then you’ll be interested in this: 90% of TikTok’s users access the app at least once a day, with the average user spending 52 minutes on there.

TikTok in Advertising

TikTok is an ever-growing competitor to the likes of Facebook and Instagram, as it’s attracting the younger generation, but it doesn’t have the same advertisement types.

Before you start advertising on TikTok, you need to understand your target audience and who you’ll be able to reach through the app. For example, TikTok is mainly dominated by the younger generation, as 41% of its users are between the ages of 18-24; 60% under the age of 18.

For this reason, TikTok advertising isn’t for every brand, but it doesn’t fit perfectly for some, such as Nike and Disney. If you think TikTok may work for you, here are the advert types they currently allow:

Brand Takeovers

A brand takeover advert will appear instantly when a user opens TikTok. Within the add can be redirections, such as to an internal or external link (a TikTok video or a different website/app). As great as this sounds, this ad type is limited to one advertiser per day.

It’s rumoured that these ads can cost the brand between $50,000 - $100,000 (£38,690 - £77,380) to take a popular channel over.

Hashtag Challenges

With this type of ad, you partner with TikTok to create a sponsored hashtag to trend. The hashtag challenge will encourage the users to share content on the app on your brand’s behalf. On average, hashtag challenges last for 6 days.

An example of a brand using this method of advertising is MAC and PulseAdvertising, who created the #YouOwnIt campaign. The campaign was to celebrate exerssiveness and individuality, and was launched during Fashion Week.

With a positive message (that resonated with the young audience) being spread, the hashtag challenge did amazing and gained over 2 billion views.

This is the most popular method of advertisement, but it’s very expensive. The cost of a hashtag challenge has a flat fee of $150,000 (£11,605) for 6 days.

In-Feed Adverts

In-feed advertisements are either put on the bottom of organic videos or actually in the user’s feed in the queue. Whichever one of these it is will depend on the advert and the brand involved.

These adverts can redirect the user to your website, app, video or anywhere else you need them to go. On average, these adverts cost a total of $10 (£7.74) CPM, and is therefore the most affordable- by far.


So, TikTok has really taken the world by storm, beating Facebook and Instagram’s downloads in as little as 3 years. As it appeared so suddenly, so you think another app is going to come along and steal the limelight? Or, do you think the rate of its growth is only going to continue?

As it’s still in its early years and there are minimal adverts as of now, do you think that, in the future, business will take TikTok over (similarly to Facebook and Instagram)?



About the author

Fern Hargreaves