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Social video TikTok sets the pace

Report by Richard Broadhurst
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20,000 foot view:  Social video is optimising lean-through engagement for digital natives, with simple editing features, filters, and music. Value for younger digital natives (those aged        lies in co-creation, sharing and liking. User-generated content (UGC) creation has contributed to the success of short-form video, as users seek to have an impact within social media ecosystems through creating and sharing unique experiences. TikTok is driving this lean-through consumer behaviour, with weekly active user (WAU) engagement for the platform increasing by        between        2020 and        2021. Despite this, TikTok monetisation still lags behind social video leader YouTube, which generated        billion in ad revenues 2021. This contrasts with the MIDiA estimate of        billion total TikTok revenue generated in 2021. Optimising lean-through monetisation will help close the gap for TikTok.

Key insights 

  • TikTok’s WAU penetration grew from        in        2020 to        in        2021 
  • Younger digital natives (those aged between        and        seek content creation and lean-through consumption:        of        use TikTok, while        use Instagram at least every week
  • Among the leading social video apps, Twitch active users are the most ad-receptive segment, with        not skipping relevant ads compared to the        consumer average
  • Older digital natives (those aged between        and        prefer YouTube. YouTube penetration for this segment is        compared to only        for TikTok and        for Instagram
  • Competition for        social video engagement is increasing, with TikTok extending maximum video length to        minutes in 2022 in response to YouTube launching its short video integration, Shorts, in 2021 (beta version of Shorts was launched in India in 2020)
  • Short videos drive increased attention but remain less suitable for ad monetisation 
  • Monetising lean-through behaviour will enable TikTok to close the revenue gap with YouTube

Methodological note: 

  • MIDiA Research defines social video as user-generated content (UGC) video content that is uploaded, distributed, and engaged with on social media apps
  • MIDiA Research defines ‘lean in’ as interactive consumption (YouTube likes, comments, Facebook shares, etc.)
  • MIDiA Research defines ‘lean through’ as creative behaviour adjacent to consumption (creating replica and interactive user generated content (UGC) for distribution on social apps)
  • MIDiA Research defines younger digital natives as those aged       
  • MIDiA Research defines older digital natives as those aged       

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: ByteDance, Dubsmash, Facebook, Fit Analytics, Instagram,, Shopify, Snapchat, SoundOn, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Vine, YouTube 

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