Following up on our recent article about how music professionals read into artist engagement rates, we wanted to focus on TikTok and its particularities. The social app is now essential for many young artists to promote their music. However, measuring fan engagement and success for artists on TikTok - or any other UGC (user-generated content) platform - differs from other traditional social media platforms. We not only measure how fans engage with their favorite artists but also measure to what extent their music gets used in fan-produced videos.
Whether you are already a legend like Queen, or producing music in your bedroom like ElyOtto, your songs can become TikTok phenomena. To understand how engaging is your music on TikTok, you can look at two main metrics:
- Total number of TikTok videos created featuring your music
This number will tell you how many users created videos with your sounds, therefore telling you how many people actively engaged with your music. It’s a number indicating your reach: the more the better. While megastar like Megan Thee Stallion or Drake quickly reached billions, TikTok’s global Top 50 highlights songs with video counts ranging from 200K to 5M.
- Top Song Share
Here’s how you calculate it:
Top Song Share =
Number of videos created with your top song on TikTok / Total number of videos created with your music
This share indicates whether you have a one hit wonder that got viral, or produce music that regularly engages users to create videos. There is nothing wrong with any of the two. This percentage will tell you in which category you tend to fall.
Top song share > 90%: One (viral) hit wonder
His hyperpop song Sugarcrash! became a trend this year in early January, counting over 5M videos created up to this date.
Sugarcrash! videos account for more than 95% of videos created on TikTok featuring ElyOtto’s music, therefore demonstrating how his top song outshines by far the rest of his catalog. There is plenty of time for him to build up on this trend and further his catalog.
Top song share < 60%: Established among creators
Imagine Dragons or The Weeknd are good examples of overall established artists, but also among TikTok creators. For example, the song “Believer” accounts for about 36% of the total 8.6M videos created using Imagine Dragons’ catalog.
Emerging artist Flo Milli gets a total of 1.7M videos created featuring her music. Among those, her title “May I” has a count of 981K videos, establishing her top song share at 57%, an indicator that is promising regarding her ability to create music appealing to TikTok users.
However, getting music featured on videos doesn’t necessarily mean that your artist has an active audience on TikTok.
How engaging is your artist on TikTok?
Is your artist a TikTok influencer? Definition of engagement rates vary from one analytics platform to another. Some will divide post engagements (likes+comments+shares) by followers, and others by video views. Both approaches make sense. If you do compare rates on several platforms, just be careful that you are looking at the same number.
Overall, TikTok fans are more engaged than on Instagram or Youtube. According to Hypeauditor, the average engagement rate (per video views) on TikTok in 2020 is 17.5%, a rate much higher than Instagram. Usually, engagement rates decrease as follower bases grow. On TikTok, it does happen but to a lesser extent:
- 1,000 to 5,000 followers - 21.10%
- 5,000 to 20,000 followers - 18.40%
- 20,000 to 100,000 followers - 15.64%
- 100,000 to 500,000 followers - 15.53%
- 500,000 to 1,000,000 followers - 17.02%
- 1,000,000 to +∞ followers - 17.28%
Here, we’ll look at engagement rates per followers to compare them more easily with other platforms:
TikTok Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments + Shares) / Followers * 100%
Megastar Megan Thee Stallion demonstrates a 20.9% TikTok engagement rate “despite” her 7.4M follower count, versus 5.5% on Instagram and 2.3% on Youtube. Emerging artist Flo Milli reaches 23.6%, versus 8.8% on Instagram and 13% on Youtube. The immersive video experience of TikTok is to factor in to explain such a difference with other platforms.
Despite the hype around this platform, TikTok is not necessarily the one platform for your artist to get in touch with their fans. It all depends on the story your artist wants to tell and the type of social media content he or she feels at ease creating. Whether or not your artist is active on it, you should distribute your music there and pay attention to what is happening. Trending TikTok songs come from current stars as well as emerging artists and come quite often to a surprise!