Did you know that TikTok has become a massive phenomenon in the United States, with approximately 150 million Americans using the app? That’s almost half of the entire country! However, when we discuss TikTok’s success, we often overlook that paid strategies fueled a significant portion of its growth.

In 2018, the parent company of TikTok, Bytedance, invested a staggering $3 million every day on paid acquisition efforts. That adds up to a mind-blowing $1 billion for the entire year! At one point, TikTok even surpassed Snap as the biggest advertiser on the platform (before Snap discovered its unintended involvement in the arms trade).

Interestingly, we’re witnessing a similar pattern unfolding right now. Bytedance is actively promoting Lemon8, a unique blend of Instagram and Pinterest catering to Generation Z, while Pinduoduo is pushing its discount shopping app called Temu.

However, it’s important to note that not all companies have the luxury of relying on the resources of an internet giant to fuel their growth. They often have to figure out distribution strategies on their own, and the ultimate goal for them is achieving virality, symbolized by a rocket emoji ๐Ÿš€.

So, while TikTok’s success story may seem effortless, it’s crucial to remember the role that paid acquisition played in its growth. Other companies strive to crack the code of distribution and achieve viral success without the backing of a giant corporation. It’s a challenging task, but one that can lead to incredible accomplishments in the ever-evolving digital landscape.



CJ is an award winning marketer and brand strategist helping businesses take new ground. He shares his insights on industry trends and leads the team at Bamboo Creative.