The new TikTok video lifecycle: a closer look at a video's growth rate over time

Blog Author
Claire Cohen
September 14, 2023
1:40 pm

Have you ever wondered what happens to a TikTok after it's posted to your feed? Who sees it first? When does it rack up the bulk of its views? When is it officially "done" and you can no longer expect it to gain any additional views?

We conducted research over several months and presented our findings at VidCon last week. If you weren't able to make it to Anaheim, we're giving you a deep dive below:

What we currently know about typical TikTok video growth rates

The world of TikTok meta-analytics is pretty much a giant mystery. TikTok keeps their algorithm under wraps, though some creators have developed theories around video views that include:

📱The typical video racks up the majority of its views within the first 24 hours of being posted

📱The TikTok algorithm is switching to a “long tail” approach where it’s taking longer to serve videos in the fyp, resulting in longer, slower video growth patterns

📱Videos tend to be served to a Creator’s followers first and then to the fyp at large

How did we conducted our research

This was a three step process of:

1️. We tracked a subset of the 2B videos in our database to determine the typical growth trajectory of a TikTok
2️. We tracked each video’s performance within the first 24 hours, 48 hours, 7 days, and up to 90 days of posting
3️. We normalized the views, likes, comments, and shares per video, per day to standardize our dataset

Finding 1: the first 48 hours up to the first week are critical for a TikTok's success

We found that the typical video gains:

📈 32% of its total views in the first 24 hours
📈 38% of its total views in the first 48 hours
📈 55% of its total views within the first week of posting
📈 ~100% of total views within the first 90 days of posting

The typical TikTok video racks up 32% of its total views in the first 24 hours after posting. It's rare for a video to gain more than 1% additional views after 90 days of going live.

Unsurprisingly, you'll likely see the highest video growth rates in the first 24-48 hours of posting. While views tend to taper off after the first seven days live, our research has found that the typical video will still gather a small amount of new views for up to 90 days after posting.

TikToks tend to see the highest amount of growth in the first 48 hours live

Finding 2: if your TikTok is going to rack up a lot of engagements, it'll happen fast

We found that:

📈 53% of the typical video's likes are attained in the first 24 hours of posting
📈 81% of a video's total likes are achieved in the first week of posting

A video gains the majority of its likes within the first 24 hours of posting

💡Our theory: It seems likely that the algorithm may serve videos to a Creator's fanbase first, who are more likely to like and engage with a post than the typical viewer later on.

This is even more pronounced with comments and shares, with:

📈 64% of the average video’s comments and
📈 81% of its shares come within the first 24 hours with very slow growth after

The first 24 hours after a video goes live is critical for gaining comments and shares

💡Our theory: Fans want to comment at the time when a creator is most likely to interact with them. Since creators rarely check-in on days-old videos, comments tend to peter off more quickly.

Finding 3: the average video reaches 80% of their total views after a month live

While videos have seen the vast majority of their views by the 30-day mark, they still typically see the light of the fyp after that first month. On average, they rack up an additional 20% of views between 30 and 90 days of going live. After 90 days it is incredibly rare for their total views to increase by more than 1%.

What this means for you

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the world of TikTok. With these findings in mind, we'd recommend that you:

⏰ Think about when you post: The first 24-48 hours are critical for a video’s success, so posting at a lucrative time is important
👋 Prioritize working with Creators with strong engagement rates: It seems that videos that perform well among a Creator’s followers are more likely to be pushed out to the broader fyp, meaning likes, shares, and comments in that initial 24-hour window are key to a campaign’s success.
💰 Don't overpay for usage: 80% of views are achieved within 30 days and nearly 100% within 90 days. Paying for usage beyond that isn’t worth the investment since they won’t be seen without running paid media behind the posts

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