It’s Official: TikTok Dominated 2020. Here’s Why

It’s Official: TikTok Dominated 2020. Here’s Why

It’s official! TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2020, but do you know why? How did the app jump from 315 million total downloads in the first four years to 850 million by the end of 2020?

Do you remember Flappy Bird? The free game from 2013 that was quickly removed from the app store for being “too addictive”? If you had previously downloaded Flappy Bird onto your phone you got to keep the game, but if you hadn’t downloaded the game your chances were gone forever.

By 2014 the game was off the app store and people were selling their phones, with the game downloaded, for anywhere between $300-$5,000. eBay intercepted an auction in 2014 with 74 bids at a whopping $99,000. So when everyone heard the rumors that TikTok was going to be taken off the app store in the same fashion … Well, we knew what to do this time. 

The Haps

In September of 2020, Donald Trump announced that American’s would no longer be able to download TikTok, and a handful of other Chinese owned apps, from the app store. After giving them several extended deadlines, the company was able to get enough American investors to keep this from happening.

But that didn’t stop everyone from flocking to the app stores to avoid another Flappy Bird Catastrophe. Over 850 million people downloaded TikTok in 2020. In total TikTok has been downloaded to 2.6 billion devices world wide. 

TikTok went from number 4 in 2019, below Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, to number 1 in annual app downloads in 2020. In September, after Trump’s decision to delete it, TikTok was downloaded 32 million times. Seeing as this was after the peak of the pandemic, we are led to believe that Trump’s threats against the app are what created this rise in attraction.

Before this point the app had been on the market for four years, TikTok ended 2019 with a total of 315 million downloads. By the end of 2020 this number almost tripled. 

The Impact for Marketers 

Even though 62% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10-29, the event is a perfect demonstration of both scarcity and time-limited promotional methods. Since everyone thought the app was going away and they only had a limited amount of time to download it, everyone downloaded.

How can you apply that to your own promotions? While you don’t have the power of a presidential executive order, you can still create promotional offers for limited time packages. The product or service doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but the way you present and sell it does.

For example, if you sell a digital marketing service like social media marketing, maybe you could offer a package of “Instagram Stories for the Month” wherein you would outline and create 3 stories a day for 30 days, and only offer it for the next 3 days. It’s a crazy offer you could make to existing and potential clients to generate revenue, showoff your capabilities, and entice your prospects to take action.



The lovely content team here at DigitalMarketer works hard to make sure you have the best blog posts to read. But some posts require a group effort, and we decided to stop the rock-paper-scissors tournaments that decided the byline so that we had more time to write. Besides, we all graduated from kindergarten: we can share.

Subscribe to the DM Insider Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter that delivers the most actionable, tactical, and timely marketing tips you actually need in 7 minutes or less. Get an edge over the competition, for free.