Interview Synopsis

TikTok – short-form video strength and external challenges

  • Private Equity
  • TMT
  • North America

TikTok recently reported a near six-fold increase in its European operations turnover, driven by its “flourishing” user base.* According to a former senior executive at TikTok, the short-video platform could reach 1.8 billion global monthly active users (excluding China) by the end of 2022 and 2.5 billion by 2025 as it looks to push non-US growth.

Will TikTok surpass Facebook in number of users by 2025?

In an Interview with Third Bridge Forum, the specialist said the current macroeconomic environment is unlikely to have a “huge impact” on TikTok. However, they noted it could face challenges in attracting new advertisers and expanding business with existing ones. The specialist said TikTok “is not quite there yet” with some of the tools it offers advertisers, such as the ability to be “granular” with some of its targeting. 

The specialist told us that IDFA has had a “big” impact on TikTok (click here to read our recent insights on this topic). Whilst they were “a little bit behind” in dealing with the changes, they told us TikTok is now on “parity” with other platforms in dealing with the new changes. 

We also heard that 30% of TikTok’s revenue comes from performance advertising. They added that the platform’s CPM costs have historically been 5-20% lower than competitors YouTube and Reels. However, over the next 18-24 months, the specialist said TikTok could reach CPM “parity” with competitors. 

The specialist believes YouTube, not Reels, is TikTok’s largest competitor given it can share longer-form stories. But they said that Reels has benefited from uncertainty caused by the previous US administration’s attitude to the platform due to its China-based ownership. They told us creators had been “hedging their bets” by having a presence on both Reels and TikTok. However, this could be about to change in TikTok’s favour if recent reports are true that the Biden administration is close to a settlement with TikTok that will allow it to continue operating in the country. 

The specialist is “bullish” on TikTok’s ambitions to expand further into Latin America as it chases user growth. However, they said India is unlikely to be a growth market given the strict regulations introduced by the Indian government on Chinese-based tech companies operating in the country. 

The specialist said that the company could hit 1.8 billion users by the end of 2022 and revenue of USD 10bn by 2023. Its growth in users and revenue have drawn contrasts to Facebook. However, the specialist cooled comparisons between the two, claiming TikTok is likely to fall short in reaching Facebook-type user numbers in the next three years. 

Click here to access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s “TikTok – Short-form Video Strength & External Challenges” Interview.

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The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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