Since its release in September 2016, TikTok has been a haven for creatives to publish content, and a popular entertainment source for the rest of us. The social media app has rapidly gained fans, threatening to overtake Meta’s stronghold* of the social media realm. (*Meta owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Using data from QuestBrand, TikTok saw the highest growth in brand equity within the technology industry in Q1 2022. They boasted 3% brand equity growth from Q4 2021. Comparatively, runners-up Instagram and Twitter saw 2.8% and 2.4% brand equity growth respectively.

TikTok Change in Brand Equity

TikTik Equity Growth

QuestBrand. Base: General Population of U.S. Adults. 10/1/21-12/31/21 n=2,609. 1/1/22-3/31/22 n=2,640.

Equity markers across all four components of brand equity (familiarity, quality, consideration, and momentum) increased from Q4 to Q1. The most significant change is seen with familiarity. Consumer familiarity with the TikTok brand increased by +4.4 points quarter over quarter.

The second highest increase is seen in consideration. Consideration of app use among U.S. adults increased by +3.8. Greater consideration suggests that more adults are open to downloading and experimenting with the TikTok app, leading to more active users.

TikTok leads the download charts in Q1

TikTok was the most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2022, and experienced a record level of in-app spending ($840 million). This represents a 125% quarter-over-quarter increase in user spending.

Since the start of the year, TikTok has been downloaded more than 175 million times. In Q1, the app reached a huge milestone, surpassing 3.5 billion all-time downloads. TikTok is only the fifth app to achieve this level of users.

Want to learn more about this quickly growing platform? Read our report The Next Fontier: Striking Gold On TikTok for more insights.

Is Facebook falling behind?

Compared with TikTok’s positive momentum, Facebook appears to be flagging. In the first quarter, Facebook’s revenue only increased by 7%. This was Facebook’s slowest quarterly growth over the past decade. Their active users grew by less than 2% from the end of 2021.

While Facebook still has more active users than TikTok (2.9 billion versus 1.6 billion active monthly users respectively), TikTok’s growth out-paces Facebook’s. TikTok’s active user base is 45% higher now than last year.

Is TikTok a social media platform?

While we are comparing TikTok’s growth to that of other social media platforms, TikTok is trying to position itself as an “entertainment platform” rather than a “social media platform.”

They point to the fact that most people use the app to watch videos, rather than engage in direct user-to-user communication. Only 15% of TikTok users report using the app for communication purposes. Additionally, many of TikTok’s users watch content without ever creating and posting their own. About one-third (33.9%) of TikTok users publish content to the platform versus 69.9% of Instagram users.

TikTok’s desire to distance themselves from the social media label may be due to the negative stigma that surrounds social media apps. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been heavily criticized for many controversial issues, including: online bullying, body dysmorphia, election interference, censorship, and the spread of disinformation.

Can Meta recapture the conversation?

While Meta has not enjoyed the same growth as TikTok over the last quarter, they are hoping to recapture consumer attention through innovation. Facebook tried to directly compete with TikTok’s short form videos by launching Facebook Reels, but they will need to do more than imitate TikTok to reverse the flow in momentum.

Rebranding to Meta in October of 2021, Facebook hoped to revive their brand as a cutting-edge social space for the future. While not fully developed, Meta looks to move beyond static platforms, to an immersive space where people can interact as avatars for work and play. 

Only time will tell if this new imagining of the social media landscape will sufficiently draw user attention away from TikTok’s videos and towards the Metaverse.

Are you curious about the emerging Metaverse and how it will impact marketers? Check out our report A Marketer’s Guide to the Metaverse Consumer to learn more.


Catherine Ake

Senior Marketing and Content Strategist

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