Alix Earle is universally considered TikTok’s latest ‘it girl.’ If you haven’t heard of her, the University of Miami student first came to popularity by sharing GRWMs (get ready with me's) before a night out at college. Fans love her content, which feel like candid FaceTimes with your most popular but down to earth bestie.
While Alix’s rise to fame has been nothing short of astronomical, one metric doesn’t seem to make sense — her follower growth. While her TikTok following of 4.6M is impressive, it doesn’t seem to correspond with her level of fame.
Alix first took off in October 2022, when she had around 500K followers. In a similar vein, the original TikTok it girl, Charli D’Amelio, first started growing exponentially three years prior, in October 2019, when she also had around 500K followers. However, by February 2020, Charli had over 51M followers. Considering their current levels of popularity are similar, it feels like something has shifted since the era of Charli.
To investigate further, we took a look at the list of TikTok creators with over 50M followers. It’s a short one, with only 20 creators making the cut. We found that all of them have been both active and popular since 2020. Many of the people we think of as the most relevant creators today (e.g. Mikayla Nogueira, Keith Lee, and of course, Alix Earle) aren’t even close to hitting that number.
Why is this happening?
While we can’t be 100% sure, the most obvious one is that the creator field today is much more competitive than it was three years ago. The number of TikTok annual users has increased from 381M in 2019 to over 1.6B by the end of 2022. Back in 2019, Creators like Charli were able to standout in a much less crowded field and reap the benefits of increased followers.
So are these newer creators less relevant?
Definitely not. While Alix Earle has only 3% the followers that Charli does, her other metrics come much closer to Charli’s. For example, despite only having 3% of the followers Charli has, Alix gets 25% the views and 37% the likes Charli gets on her videos.
👀 Average views per video: 3.1M (Alix), 12.5M (Charli) → Alix has 24.8% of Charli’s
💕 Average likes per video: 370K (Alix), 1M (Charli) → Alix has 37% of Charli’s
📲 Average shares per video: 1.6K (Alix), 5.6K (Charli) → Alix has 28% of Charli’s
✍️ Average comments per video: 1.2K (Alix), 8.8K (Charli) → Alix has 13% of Charli’s
👍 Engagement rate: 11% (Alix), 7.7% (Charli)
So how should we consider follower data?
While there’s no doubt follower data is still helpful, we may want to take it with a grain of salt (and a heavy sprinkle of other stats) moving forward. Creator Noah Beck, for example, has 34M followers (seven times more than Alix) yet averages 913K views per video, which is only 30% of what Alix pulls in. Therefore, we can’t assume that key metrics like average views/likes/shares grow proportionally to a Creators’ follower count.
Our key takeaways
1. While follower count is still a big thing, it’s definitely not the only thing
2. Creators with a fraction of the following of a D’Amelio can have a similar level of influence as one
3. Metrics like average views/shares/likes can be just as important, if not more, than follower count
4. Use Trendpop to find all this data so you can allocate resources on the right Creators