TikTok is a winner takes all platform—the brands that can crack its enigmatic algorithm are rewarded with a surge in followers and views. In other words, they go viral. This phenomenon has created a digital gold rush for market share within the short-form app, which is expected to reach 1.5 billion monthly active users (MAUs) this year.
Conviva’s third annual TikTok Benchmarks and Strategy Guide examined more than 1,500 verified brand accounts from 15 different industries and categories to determine how the most successful ones were able to add an average of 527,000 new followers from March 2021 to March 2022.
Data was collected using Conviva Viewer Insights and independent analysis of 150 news and media accounts, 75 sports leagues, 125 sports media accounts, 300 sports teams and 350 TV and entertainment accounts. Conducted between March 2021 and March 2022, the study looks at several industries, including beauty and fashion, technology and the Premier League. Together, these accounts boasted a following of 1.43 billion while the most successful of the lot committed to doing two things: posting quality content and doing so consistently.
Conviva’s guide includes a number of key statistics that can help inform your TikTok strategy, including:
- Accounts posted more in 2022; 13 percent more frequently this year than they did in 2021 with an average of 189 times.
- Posting consistently has a notable impact on growth. The 20 accounts with the highest follower count growth averaged about 7.1 times more posts over the past year than all accounts on average.
- Newer accounts are experiencing a high engagement rate. The average engagement rate for accounts with under 100,000 followers is 28 percent, showcasing TikTok’s ability to offer new accounts the organic reach necessary to grow.
- Between March 2021 and March 2022, sports leagues experienced the highest average annual growth at 970,000, followed by sports media at 825,000 and streaming accounts at 785,000.
According to Conviva, average followers increased in every category over the past year. The sports leagues category grew faster than every other segment in 2021, beating out sports media which had the fastest-growing accounts in 2020 and the second-fastest growing in 2021. Sports media is also the category with the highest average followers. Streaming accounts were the third fastest-growing category with 785,000 new followers in the last year.
Notably, the categories sports media (1.8 million), sports leagues (1.7 million), TV and entertainment (1.3 million) and streaming (1.1 million) each averaged over 1 million new followers gained since March 2021.
Social marketers seeking examples of effective strategies for growth should look to the TV and entertainment category. These accounts experienced the highest average shares (1,565), comments (548) and likes (79,621) per video, found Conviva. And though the brands category captured the highest average engagement rate of 17.3 percent, the category also had the lowest average number of followers (601,546).
Sports leagues (60,602) and sports teams (39,494) had the second and third-highest average likes per video, respectively. In terms of shares per video, the news and media category came in second place with an average of 817 shares.
The average engagement rate by followers displayed a familiar trend. The more followers an account within this category had the lower the engagement rate was on average. The average engagement rate for brands with under 100,000 followers was uniquely high at 28 percent—twice as high as the engagement on accounts with between 100,000 and 199,999 followers (14 percent) and substantially higher than that of any other follower count.
Accounts with about 300,000 followers experienced a 5 to 10 percent decline in organic reach until the account reached 1 million followers and then experienced less than 5 percent engagement on average: a new phenomenon that may be explained by concerns regarding relatability or perceptions of honesty. Conviva considers accounts with over 1 million followers with an engagement rate of 5 percent or higher a highly-engaged account.
Frequent and consistent posting is an effective way to gain more followers. Conviva’s study found a very strong correlation between accounts that gained the most followers and those that posted the most frequently. On average, accounts posted 189 times in 2021—a 13 percent increase from 2020’s average.
The top 20 most-followed accounts averaged roughly 7.1 times more posts over the past year, with an average of 1,345. For the most successful of the bunch, that equates to about three or four posts every day. Comparatively, the average number of posts per day for top performers in 2020 was two or three.
Accounts that posted more gained significantly more followers on average. Accounts that posted up to 250 times in the past year gained an average of 319,000 followers, compared to an average increase of 2.3 million followers for those that posted over 1,250 times. Notably, accounts that posted between 250 and 499 times and 750 and 999 times gained a similar number of followers.
According to Conviva, TikTok has more than doubled the number of brands it has verified in the past year, suggesting the power of its organic reach potential and ability to generate awareness for new products and services.
Here are some of the top TikTok accounts Conviva ranked based on follower count and growth across various industries.
Top three accounts by a total number of followers:
- Flighthouse – 28.1 million total followers
- PSG – 25.2 million total followers
- ESPN – 22.9 million total followers
Top three accounts by follower growth YOY:
- Tottenham Hotspur gained 12.9 million followers to reach 14.5 million total followers.
- Champions League gained 12.5 million followers to reach the same number of total followers given that it launched its TikTok account last year.
- Manchester United gained 11.8 million followers to reach 13.6 million total followers
Top three TV and entertainment accounts:
- Nickelodeon has 12.5 million total followers, 2.4 million followers gained YOY, 2,539 total videos, 608 videos posted in the last year and a 0.8 percent engagement rate.
- Wildnout has 11 million total followers, 3.3 million followers gained YOY, 364 total videos, 236 videos posted in the last year and a 5.4 percent engagement rate.
- AFVofficial has 9.5 million total followers, 1.1 million followers gained YOY, 1,991 total videos, 361 videos posted in the last year and a 1.6 percent engagement rate.
Top three news and media accounts:
- LADbible has 8.4 million total followers, 1,841 total videos, 645 videos posted in the last year and a 2.8 percent engagement rate.
- Complex has 5 million total followers, 300,000 followers gained YOY, 3,437 total videos, 950 videos posted in the last year and a 1.2 percent engagement rate.
- NowThis has 4.4 million total followers, 1.9 million followers gained YOY, 1,160 total videos, 549 videos posted in the last year and a 3.1 percent engagement rate.
Top three streaming accounts:
- Netflix has 22.4 million total followers, 10 million followers gained YOY, 1,158 total videos, 645 videos posted in the last year and a 0.9 percent engagement rate.
- Netflix Latinoamérica has 13.7 million total followers, 7.3 million followers gained YOY, 1,202 total videos, 615 videos posted in the last year and a 1.2 percent engagement rate.
- Prime Video has 10.8 million total followers, 7.4 million followers gained YOY, 3,550 total videos, 1,716 videos posted in the last year and a 0.7 percent engagement rate.
Top three brand accounts:
- Guinness World Records has 19.1 million total followers, 7.8 million followers gained YOY, 795 total videos, 275 videos posted in the last year and a 2.4 percent engagement rate.
- Roblox has 7.9 million total followers, 4 million followers gained YOY, 243 total videos, 182 videos posted in the last year and a 1.9 percent engagement rate.
- Fortnite Official has 7.7 million total followers, 4 million followers gained YOY, 208 total videos, 166 videos posted in the last year and a 3 percent engagement rate.
Top three technology accounts:
- Xbox has 3.8 million total followers, 1.8 million followers gained YOY, 224 total videos, 171 videos posted in the last year and a 3.8 percent engagement rate.
- DuoLingo has 3.4 million total followers, 3.3 million followers gained YOY, 128 total videos and 125 videos posted in the last year.
- Breathwork has 3.1 million total followers, 777 total videos, 328 videos posted in the last year and a 2.4 percent engagement rate.
Top three fashion accounts:
- SHEIN has 3.7 million total followers, 2.3 million followers gained YOY, 1,558 total videos, 919 videos posted in the last year and a 0.5 percent engagement rate
- Gymshark has 3.5 million total followers, 1.1 million followers gained YOY, 470 total videos, 369 videos posted in the last year and a 3.3 percent engagement rate
- Fashion Nova has 3.2 million total followers, 1,440 tota videos, 783 videos posted in the last year and a 0.5 percent engagement rate