TikTok Demographics: Who’s Using TikTok Now?

TikTok demographics are evolving - as more older age groups join, TikTok is still highly appealing (and growing) amongst younger users. Here’s what marketers need to know.
Fanbytes | TikTok demographics

In 30 seconds:

  • What ages make up the current TikTok demographics? We’ve got the down-low.
  • Let’s talk about the TikTok “perfect storm” with our very own Head of Creative Strategy, Tom Sweeney (he really knows his stuff).
  • We’ve listed the top tips on how to nail your reach for specific target audiences on TikTok.

TikTok demographics are evolving. Although many of the app’s users are from younger generations, TikTok has grown up from its “Musical.ly” teen years. What has it matured into? The go-to place for entertainment for an enormous – and growing – user base

Over the last few years, the advancement of the TikTok app has been colossal. Since 2020 the TikTok audience has more than doubled and now sits at a hefty one billion monthly active users. It’s now the most downloaded app in the world, with a total of over 3 billion downloads

It’s true: TikTok demographics sway more to younger generations, with Gen Z declaring it their favourite social media channel. But it’s not just Zoomers who are regularly consuming and creating TikTok videos. There are more and more daily active users from older age groups on TikTok – and interestingly, the Gen Z user base is still growing.

Unlike other social media platforms, the maturation of TikTok doesn’t mean it’s becoming “passé” for younger users. In fact, this growth is only a positive for brands looking to reach a wide variety of target audiences. Here’s what we know about the TikTok demographics now – and how you can reach ideal customers of any age on the platform.

What age group uses TikTok most?

What is the largest demographic on TikTok? Answer: Gen Z.

According to Statista, over 40% of TikTokers are under the age of 25, so it’s clear that this social media app is a Zoomer favourite. TikTok makes Gen Z feel happy. This was the most common emotion Gen Zers said they felt after spending time on the platform. So it stands to reason that this age group is not going anywhere.

The same can be said for TikTok’s sister app in ChinaDouyin (owned by parent company Bytedance). A Wechat report showed that over 49% of their users are under the age of 30. TikTok and Douyin are clearly creating the perfect environments for Zoomers to enjoy the content they love, and they’ll keep coming back for more. 

But Gen Zers are not the only ones scrolling through their FYP (For You Page). Increasingly, older Millennials are joining TikTok, and brands should take note. 67% of Millenial TikTok users say they come to the video-sharing app for entertainment, so their motivations are similar to Gen Z. Not to mention that 6 in 10 millennials on the app are parents, so the influence of their children may have also rubbed off. 

TikTok is becoming a multi-generational place for fun (more on that later). While social platforms like Instagram may still be majority Millennial, there’s increased interest in TikTok across the board – meaning many more age groups are contributing to the TikTok downloads.

24% of TikTok users are aged 35 or older. Although this sounds smaller, it’s actually a significant chunk (out of 1 billion users, this is still 240 million people – and it’s growing). Users aged 60+ have even started making a stand on the social media platform through their low-fi videos and open conversations. 

The picture is clear. Even though there is a majority of younger users, TikTok is becoming more and more multi-generational. So why is TikTok so powerful in attracting different age groups?

The perfect storm

Fanbytes by Brainlabs’ Head of Creative Strategy, Tom Sweeney explains that “TikTok is the perfect storm”.

This is down to three aspects:

1. “It has democratised content creation”

“It’s giving people the best toolset ever to create content at scale without the need for secondary apps.” he explains. Effectively, TikTok has made it faster and easier than ever to create social media content as well as consume it, making it highly effective (even for boomer technophobes). 

Amongst TikTok’s incredibly high number of users, a significant portion (83%) have posted their own videos. The app’s “rough and ready” video style also means users don’t feel they must present a picture of polished perfection to succeed on the platform – meaning more ‘normal’ people feel encouraged to join in, thus feeding the snowball effect.

This means more videos than ever are available to consume and enjoy – which feeds the next point.

2. “It uses hyper-personalisation”

Tom states that “the hyper-personalisation is very deep-rooted, not self-selected and very intuitive to what you consume and how you’re consuming it.” The TikTok algorithm is what makes TikTok so effective as a space for entertainment. Instead of it being social network-based (like Meta-owned Instagram), it’s based on interest. 

It’s this personalisation that means that TikTok can be anything to anyone. Imagine a TV channel that was customised to every individual viewer on a very personal level – this is what we’re talking about.

As more and more content for every person and taste emerges, this means the only obstacle for users downloading and enjoying the app is their own resistance to it. “If you don’t like the idea of TikTok, you won’t use it. But once you’re on it, it knows you so well and so quickly, why wouldn’t you use it?” Tom explains. “It’s like the highlights reel of all the content that you’d like.

3. “Other platforms try to emulate TikTok’s features.”

As TikTok took off, other social media platforms started to emulate its video-first offering in order to match its extremely high engagement rates. Although internet users still seek out platforms like Instagram, Youtube and Facebook for different kinds of experiences (our research found Instagram in particular is how Gen Z wants to ‘connect with friends and family’, for example), TikTok is becoming the top source of entertainment – which results in higher TikTok usage – and naturally, social media competitors have moved to offer this too.

However, this has had mixed results. Many Internet users who see Instagram’s Reels or Youtube Shorts become more intrigued to use TikTok as they discover their love of vertical short-form videos. Additionally, many Reels or Shorts videos are directly repurposed TikTok videos, so users’ interest is piqued to find the video at the source – and discover more like it.

This repurposing of TikTok influencers’ content has led to what Tom describes as “TikTok becoming the front page of the internet” – where the trends start, before they ripple into other offerings on the app store.

These three factors make up the TikTok perfect storm, and multiple generations across android and iOS are here for it. Brands now have the opportunity to utilise the TikTok app to skyrocket their reach and create campaigns that land throughout the marketing funnel. So how do you find your target audience and communicate with them effectively?

How can brands target their ideal demographic on TikTok?

So you know that TikTok is a triple threat and that it isn’t just teens using it anymore. How can your brand build a killer campaign that unlocks your target audience, speaks directly to them and delivers ROI? Follow these tips.

1. Use the right TikTok influencers

61% of consumers from all age groups trust influencer recommendations. This trust, however, is not given freely. TikTok creators have to earn their followers’ loyalty and esteem, which takes time, honesty and consistency. The fastest and most effective way for brands to find their target audience in the sea of TikTok users is by collaborating with the right TikTok influencer

This doesn’t mean seeking out the most followed TikTok influencer (titles held by Khaby Lame, and before him, Charli D’Amelio, by the way). This simplistic approach won’t deliver ROI – instead, leaning into TikTok’s hyper-personalisation will.

Using an influencer who aligns closely with your brand will help you build that much-needed trust between you and your target audience. The creator’s followers tune into them – and engage deeply with them – around certain TikTok content. This is why it’s also imperative to give the influencer creative freedom. To build trust and see conversions, don’t change something that’s already working.

So how can you find the perfect influencer? We created a solution. 

Bytesights is our in-house social listening and data insights tool (as well as our campaign management tool). Using this award-winning software, we can help clients find the ideal influencer for their target audience. We can spot rising creators before they’re about to go viral and work out the best trends for you to jump on to access the ideal TikTok demographics

laborious emails and messenger back-and-forths are a thing of the past – and Bytesights even delivers real-time TikTok stats on each piece of content, so we can always know and unlock what’s working. 

2. Keep it entertaining

TikTok is the new home for entertainment. When asked what they like most about the brands they follow on TikTok, 34% of UK Gen Z respondents said ‘they have funny content’, 31% said ‘they entertain me’, 11% said ‘they teach me new things.’

Notice a pattern here? 

Whether you’re a boomer or Gen Z, if you’re going onto the TikTok app, it’s to access interesting video content tailored to you. The TikTok algorithm tracks watch-through rates and engagement to ascertain what kind of content users want to see. If a user finds something entertaining, they’re likely to watch it more than once, comment, like or even share it. If brands want to expand their reach to target demographics, they need to keep their TikTok video content relevant and entertaining. The TikTok “perfect storm” will do the rest for you. 

3. Find & win over your community

TikTok is community-based. You’ll find all sorts of audiences and groups on the app via specific hashtags. If you’re looking to target 16-20-year-olds with acne-prone or dry skin, you might not want to tap into communities like #Granniesoftiktok or #Daddycool, for instance. Instead, #skintok might be more your vibe – or better still, niche hashtags within this community like #cysticacne or #dryskin.

The trick is finding the right community for your target audience and accessing it, either through influencers or your own TikTok video content. Creating content that fits seamlessly into the right niche is key.

Additionally, you may want to partner with out-of-niche influencers who still align with your brand or product offerings in more unusual ways. This is what Estée Lauder did in a recent campaign, as Lubna Mohsin, Estée Lauder’s Social Media & Communications Manager explained at our recent event. “A lot of the focus was on casting… getting people in the industry, that’s hygiene, and everyone’s doing that. But we wanted to tap into more communities that were most relevant to the benefits that we talked to.” The brand looked at conversations within more unusual communities to identify where they could tell more compelling stories about the benefits of their products.

Doubling up like this will supercharge your strategy and skyrocket your brand awareness campaigns.

Community builds organic growth, but it is also vital to your TikTok ads strategy. When setting up your campaign, you can of course select target audiences – but to create content that truly persuades this group to choose your product or service, you need to show you understand them.

If you access TikTok’s communities correctly, you won’t just see increased ROI on your campaigns: you’ll see an upsurge in organic growth through UGC and word of mouth as users show their appreciation for your message. 

TikTokers weren’t born yesterday

TikTok encourages its users to be their authentic selves. People go onto the app to experience peer-to-peer connections and honesty, and brands need to do this too. How? By creating content that aligns with these values. 

Gone are the days when marketers could run an ad on TV and just expect that the ROAS would be sufficient. Now, you need to take a different approach. Internet users are sceptical, and 65% of all age groups skip digital ads. To lead your consumers on a buyer’s journey, therefore, you must build trust, connection and interest. TikTok is one of the most effective places to do this, but unfortunately, companies are still making mistakes. 

When asked what brands get wrong on TikTok, we found that 39% of Gen Zers said ‘ads are false or inauthentic’, and 20% said ‘ads are too perfect and edited’. We’d put good money on older age groups saying the same. After all, TikTok users are on the app because they like TikTok. so it makes sense to create marketing content that harmonises with the app experience, rather than disrupting it.

No matter which generation you wish to target, your content needs to speak the truth and align with your audience. TikTokers really weren’t born yesterday, so you need to meet them in the here and now.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to do that, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch to chat about how we can help you unlock your target demographic on TikTok with thumb-stopping campaigns. 

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