Engagement on TikTok

12 Days of Data 2022 Day 8: Engagement on TikTok


Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2022 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2022. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was, something we’ve been saying for three years straight now…) from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year. Sit up, get your coffee ready, and let’s celebrate some data and look forward to the year ahead.


Engagement on TikTok

TikTok, the short-form video platform that stormed the world in 2020 and has been on a tear ever since. We’ve seen search traffic about the app steadily on the rise over the years:

TikTok Trending

However, many marketers struggled to understand what TikTok even was, much less how to use it for any kind of marketing in the early years. TikTok is well known for its selection algorithm, designed to keep people watching.

This year, more marketing analytics tools started to offer a bounty of TikTok data, so it’s time to jump into the data and see what can learn about the most engaging videos on TikTok.

Key Statistics

Using a sample of 1.13 million highly engaging videos exported from social media monitoring software, what sorts of things can we learn?

Let’s start with the basics. In this dataset:

  • The median number of engagements is 4,234 interactions per post
  • The median number of followers is 680,400 followers
  • The median number of videos produced is 42 for the year, per account

Next, let’s dig into the most engaging content producers.

Top Content Producers

On a total basis, the top content producers by engagement on TikTok are:

  1. Barstoolsports
  2. ESPN
  3. IamFerv
  4. HouseofHighlights
  5. Khaby.Lame
  6. Joe.Bartolozzi
  7. BrookeMonk_
  8. Ox_Zung
  9. MDMotivator
  10. AnnaXSitar

As with many things marketing, we also want to look at a measure of centrality; in this case, let’s look at the median level of engagement across users’ videos, since some users pump out thousands of videos which can collectively accrue a ton of engagement, but individual videos might not resonate as strongly:

Top Median Engagement Videos

Here we see a very different list of engaged producers:

  1. BTS
  2. Billie Eilish
  3. Bad Bunny
  4. Noah Schnapp
  5. Karol G
  6. Arimura Taishi
  7. Khaby Lame
  8. Margo Food
  9. Adin Ross
  10. Stokes Twins

These users garner high median engagement on their videos, which means that in general, they consistently put out engaging content on any given video.

How much content is being pushed out on TikTok? For top producers in 2022, let’s see the numbers:

Prolific Producers

The top producers all published more than 2,000 videos on their TikTok accounts in 2022. The top producer, Asahi News, published 9,563 videos, or roughly 27 TikTok videos a day, more than 1 per hour. That’s an astonishing amount of content for anyone to generate.

Even at 2,000 videos per year, that’s still 6 videos a day. Does your organization create that much content?

Finally, let’s dig into these videos’ hashtags.

Top TikTok hashtags

From our sample of 1.1 million videos, 20% of the use #fyp (a reference to For Your Page, TikTok’s recommendations page), and variations of that tag show up throughout the list.

While customary, it’s unclear whether using that hashtag does anything to assist visibility in TikTok; hashtags are generally used by users to find various topics, so with the limited space we have available in video captions, we’re better off saving those characters for more relevant, topical hashtags.

Finally, let’s talk emoji. Which emoji are most prominent in the captions of TikTok videos?

Top Emoji in TikTok videos

The top 10 emoji are:

  1. 🤣 (Joy)
  2. 🤣 (Face with Tears of Joy)
  3. ❤️ (Red Heart)
  4. ❤️ (Heart)
  5. 🤣 (Rolling on the Floor Laughing)
  6. 🤣 (ROFL)
  7. 🔥 (Fire)
  8. 😍 (Smiling Face with Heart Eyes)
  9. 😭 (Sob)
  10. 😭 (Loudly Crying Face)

The duplicates in the list exist because of different naming conventions in different operating systems.

So What?

What do we take from this large analysis of TikTok videos with high engagement? A few key lessons.

First, quality and quantity are dual strategic imperatives. The top producers on TikTok manage to create both highly-engaging content and quite a lot of content. If you want to achieve any level of success on TikTok, you’ve got to figure out how to create quality video content at massive scale.

Second, culturally, TikTok is a microcosm of our overall culture. We see this most clearly in the use of emoji; if you’re considering using emoji in your marketing content, TikTok would be a great place for some cultural anthropology. Look at how people with large, engaged audiences use those emoji, the context around them, and how they don’t use things like emoji and hashtags. That will provide guidance to your marketing so that you don’t appear completely out of touch.

Third, whether we want to admit it or not, TikTok is unquestionably part of mainstream social media. It has a huge draw, its search volume is at all-time highs, and it shows no sign of going anywhere. If you’re in marketing, there’s a good chance at least some part of your audience is on TikTok as well, so better late than never to determine if it should be part of your overall marketing strategy. At the very least, establish an outpost there and try posting at least something.

Trust Insights used social media monitoring platforms to extract 1.1 million TikTok videos using top emoji and English stopwords as the search terms, deduplicating them. The timeframe of the dataset is 1 January 2022 – 10 December 2022. The date of the study is December 12, 2022. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.


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