TikTok named No. 1 marketer of 2020

Short-form video app TikTok has been named the No. 1 marketer of 2020, media news and analysis website Ad Age found.

McDonald’s came in second place, followed by Lowe’s, anti-Trump super PAC The Lincoln Project, Etsy, meditation and sleep app Calm, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Lego, Adobe and State Farm, according to Ad Age’s 2020 Marketers of the Year list.

“Despite unprecedented hurdles, top marketers were able to create opportunities for growth by smartly connecting to their audiences in different ways,” Ad Age editor-in-chief Dan Peres said in a Monday statement. “Beyond delivering some exceptional creative campaigns, these marketers showed us how to move and inspire consumers, even under the most challenging of circumstances.”

A logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Ad Age mentioned the sudden explosion of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 song “Dreams” as one example of the massive marketing power TikTok holds in reaching and influencing users.

“Dreams” skyrocketed to No. 24 of Spotify’s Top 200 list in the United States in September after one user posted a video of himself skateboard to the song while drinking cranberry juice. By October, the song reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 10 chart.

The social media app popular among teens has garnered an estimated 850 million monthly active users, including 100 million U.S. users, since it launched in 2016. The app is set to reach 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2021 – nearly three times the number of users the app had in 2018, according to app analytics site App Annie.

TikTok also ranked No. 2 for global user spend in the third quarter of 2020 on the App Store among non-gaming apps, research from App Annie shows.

The social media app monetizes through ads but also allows users to complete transactions of virtual gifts and tips for streamers within the app itself. App Annie noted that the practice of tipping streamers increases a user’s chance of getting a shout-out and creates “a positive feedback loop which further encourages creativity and spending.”