Riding the Waves: Navigating TikTok’s Shifting Growth Dynamics

3 min readJul 27, 2023

By Brendan Gahan, Chief Innovation Officer at Mekanism and Claire Cohen, Director of Marketing @ Trendpop

TikTok was once known as the ‘Million Follower Factory’ for its ability to turn ordinary people into viral sensations quickly.

But, are those days over?

Recently, high profile creators have been grumbling that views and follower growth has slowed.

So, we did the research to find out… are views actually declining?

Or, are some creators just complaining and their performance is the byproduct of their content vs an indictment of the platform?

We partnered with Trendpop, a social listening tool that tracks video, hashtag, profile, and sound data to comb their archive of video views and profile data over the past three years.

Looking back at the last year and a half, the data showed that the average views per video have fallen slightly since a peak in December 2022. However, this decrease is not necessarily abnormal as it falls within the standard deviation of the data set.

In short, overall average viewership has more or less stayed the same.

The thing that has changed is the rate at which views are accruing. They’re coming in at a slower rate than what many creators are used to.

So, if overall viewership has more or less stayed the same, what’s going on? Why all the outcry?

So, why does it feel like views are down?

We have a couple of theories.

Theory #1: Increased Content & Competition

With TikTok’s user base now at 150 million, there is more competition for attention than ever. It’s possible that as new creators join TikTok they divert the growth away from previously established creators.

Theory #2: The algorithm has switched to a slower burn model.

Part of the assumption that views are down could be associated with a very real slowdown in the rate of views being accrued. Many creators have noticed their videos take longer to hit the fyp than usual, leading to the theory that TikTok has adopted a ‘slow burn’ model.

That seems likely. Our data shows that videos posted in late January or early February are still seeing up to 20% growth weeks after being posted.

Despite the decline in popularity, there are still opportunities for creators to succeed on TikTok. Creators can differentiate themselves by creating unique and engaging content that resonates with their audience. Additionally, creators can collaborate with other creators to expand their reach and gain new followers.

TikTok may still be a volatile platform, but there are still opportunities for creators to succeed on the app. While the decline in popularity is concerning, it is not necessarily abnormal, and creators can still differentiate themselves by creating unique and engaging content.

See the data for yourself via Trendpop.

Originally published at https://www.adweek.com.




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