DUBAI: TikTok has overtaken online giant Google as the most popular website of the year, according to internet security company Cloudflare.
Google.com, which includes Maps, Translate, Photos, Flights, Books, and News, among others, was the undisputed leader of Cloudflare’s 2020 rankings, with TikTok failing to make it to the top five.
However, this year told a different story. TikTok soared to the top spot for a day on Feb.17. It also saw some high-traffic days, commanding the top spot, in March and May. But it was not until August that TikTok started taking the lead consistently.
This trend continued through October and November when TikTok ranked the highest, including on high internet-traffic days, such as Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) and Black Friday (Nov. 26).
The short-form video platform has run into trouble in the past. In 2019, it was temporarily banned in India and was under fire from lawmakers in the US. In 2020, Amazon asked its employees to delete the app — a move it later called a mistake — and this year, in September, TikTok’s lead data privacy regulator in the EU opened two inquiries related to the processing of children’s personal data and transfers of personal data to China.
But TikTok’s popularity continues to grow. The platform has been downloaded 3 billion times and was the most downloaded non-game app in the first six months of 2021, hitting 383 million installs from January to June 2021 alone, according to SEO consultancy Backlinko.
The popularity of content on TikTok, from fashion to food, has given rise to trends and alternate business opportunities for the company. The platform announced TikTok Shopping earlier this year during its first global virtual event, TikTok World.
“Over the years, we have seen the platform evolve into a place to shop and tell,” said Tao Baecklund, director of product management, during the event.
Users on the platforms like to share details of what they are buying and make recommendations to their audiences — a behavior that emerged organically, explained Baecklund. In fact, the trend led to the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, and videos with this hashtag have amassed 4.6 billion views in 2021.
More recently, TikTok ventured into the restaurant business through TikTok Kitchen in partnership with Virtual Dining Concepts and Grubhub.
Launching next year, TikTok Kitchen will allow consumers to order their favorite TikTok dishes, including baked feta pasta, pasta chips, smash burgers and corn ribs.