TikTok Is Officially More Addictive Than YouTube, Report Reveals

TikTok engagement 2021
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TikTok engagement 2021
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Photo Credit: Hugh Han

Pound-for-pound, Americans now spend more time watching TikTok than than the equivalent session on YouTube, a new report shows.

App analytics firm App Annie regularly evaluates the most popular apps in its State of Mobile report. The report tracks trends in consumer behavior, highlighting up-and-coming mobile apps. This report found that Americans who use Android phones spend more time with TikTok per session than the equivalent session on YouTube.

Those Americans spent an average of 24.5 hours in TikTok per month. That’s compared to about 22 hours per month spent in YouTube. That’s a difference of more than 10%, a gulf that appears to be widening. Examining past State of Mobile reports reveals just how fast TikTok’s monthly engagement is growing.

In December 2019, Americans spent just 16 hours per month on TikTok.

During the same period, they spent around 21.5 hours per month on YouTube. In other words, TikTok’s engagement rate is continually growing, while YouTube’s remains flat. It also explains why YouTube Shorts are now a thing — and why short-form video dominates all platforms.

TikTok is also ahead of YouTube in the number of watched hours per month in the UK. Android users in the UK spend 26 hours per month on TikTok versus 16 hours per month on YouTube. While TikTok is growing rapidly in America and the UK, that’s not true for every country.

In South Korea, YouTube is vastly more popular than TikTok. South Koreans spend an average of 40 hours a month on YouTube, compared to just 17 hours per month on TikTok. App Annie says that TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user “grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 70% in the US and 80% in the UK.”

TikTok engagement is also growing faster than Facebook, based on this app analytics report.

That also explains why Facebook is pivoting to make short-form videos a part of all of its platforms. In 2019, Facebook users spent an average of 15.5 hours per month in the app – TikTok users only spent 12.8 hours per month. But by 2020, TikTok’s engagement numbers had doubled, while Facebook’s only grew two hours at a time.

TikTok engagement is growing faster than Facebook, Instagram, or any of Facebook’s messaging apps. It highlights just how addictive the TikTok algorithm can be, serving up video after video in a never-ending feed. TikTok has continued its meteoric rise despite facing pressure from the Indian and US governments.

It will be interesting to see if any of its rivals can replicate its success in engagement. Instagram has been totally redesigned to accommodate the new Reels platform.