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TikTok surpassed YouTube as the third-most-popular influencer platform among US marketers in 2021

TikTok will have more US users than Snapchat and Pinterest in 2022


January 24, 2022 (New York, NY) – YouTube is the “OG” of influencer marketing platforms, and it’s still a major player in the influencer market. But its relevance is waning, according to the latest influencer marketing forecast from Insider Intelligence. Last year, TikTok surpassed YouTube as the third-most-popular influencer marketing platform among US marketers, and the gap between the two will widen through 2025.

In 2022, we expect 45.7% of US marketers from companies with 100 or more employees to use TikTok for influencer marketing versus 42.5% for YouTube.

“YouTube hasn’t kept up with the short video trend,” says Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “YouTube Shorts is no match for TikTok or even Instagram Reels, as it continues to struggle to attract both creators and viewers. At the same time, TikTok and Instagram are encroaching on YouTube’s territory as they lean into longer-form video.”



In terms of engagement, TikTok has seen explosive growth in time spent over the last several years, rocketing past Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram among users of each platform, and approaching that of YouTube—a feat no other social network has been able to achieve. Daily time spent on TikTok among US adult users of the platform hit 40 minutes in 2021 and will be 38 minutes this year, as the pandemic-fueled consumption of social media wanes slightly. Meanwhile, time spent among adult users of YouTube this year will jump about one minute to reach nearly 46 minutes per day, on average.

“TikTok is truly giving YouTube and other social platforms a run for their money, both literally and figuratively,” said Enberg. “Longer videos, along with new features like livestreaming and shoppable content, will continue to lock in more user engagement, and thus marketing dollars, on TikTok. YouTube isn’t going anywhere, but it will have to innovate to stay relevant.”



In terms of monthly users, YouTube is still well ahead of TikTok in the US, but TikTok will reach a major usage milestone in 2022. According to Insider Intelligence’s November social users forecast, TikTok will surpass Snapchat and Pinterest in terms of US users this year. That will make it the third-most-popular social app in the country, behind only Facebook and Instagram.

After multiple years of double-digit growth, TikTok’s US user base will increase another 5.1% in 2022 to reach 90.6 million users. For comparison, Snapchat will grow to 88.8 million monthly users and Pinterest will reach 89.6 million. YouTube will have 226.8 million US users this year.

“US consumers fell hard and fast for TikTok, and it’s a relationship that will last,” said Enberg. “Snapchat has the most to lose as TikTok rises through the ranks due to their similar user bases, but Facebook and Instagram aren’t immune to the threat of TikTok as they struggle to attract teen users.”



Forecasts and estimates from Insider Intelligence are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms, and public companies, as well as from interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers, and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends, and economic changes. 


About Insider Intelligence 

Insider Intelligence aims to be the world’s leading research service focused on digital transformation. Our mission is to empower professionals with the data, insights, and analysis to make grounded decisions in a digital world. Each year, we produce nearly 300 reports, 7,000 charts, 1,500 newsletters, and 200 forecasts across the industries of Advertising, Media, and Marketing; Financial Services; Healthcare; and Retail and Ecommerce. Insider Intelligence is owned by European media giant Axel Springer S.E. and was formed in 2020 from the combination of eMarketer and Business Insider Intelligence (BII). 

Posted on January 24, 2022.