As President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly hinted at potentially banning TikTok in America last week due to concerns over safety, TikTok competitor Byte saw record downloads last week. While India banned Chinese apps including TikTok at the end of June, Byte does not currently operate in India.
According to SensorTower, Byte received more than 600k app downloads in a single day last week — the highest number since the app launched in January — and reached the top spot on the App Store charts in the US last Thursday in direct correlation to the US talking of taking “strong action” against TikTok.
With uncertainty rising over TikTok’s future, many users are looking to alternative platforms and ways to connect with their audience.
Byte seems the logical place to go as the short-form video app reached 1.3 million downloads in its first week after launch. However, its growth throughout lockdown still doesn’t come close to the rise of TikTok during the pandemic. Sensor Tower reported TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app in June with over 87 million installations — a roughly 53% increase from June 2019. While it doesn’t come close to TikTok’s user count, Byte is currently the top-ranked free download on the Apple App Store, while TikTok is number three, after Zoom.
Byte launched in January 2020 and was created by former Vine co-founder Dom Hofman. The app is similar to TikTok in that users can record and edit short videos to post to social feeds. Earlier this month Byte made more updates to the app following requests from users, including more control over your algorithm, faster performance, better notification and better text tools.
Although TikTok has 2.3 billion users globally, and offers a huge opportunity to reach a younger audience and humanise your brand — especially with the recent launch of TikTok For Business — users may be put off by the fact that what you share on the platform could perhaps be accessed by the Chinese Government. Therefore, they may be looking to branch out to mitigate the risk if TikTok did one day shut down.