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Data Snack

Who's Winning the Attention Wars: TikTok or Insta?

July 15, 2021
October 6, 2021
Kelsey Donk

TikTok has joined the selective group of apps with more than 1B monthly active users — alongside Instagram. Which of the apps are users more obsessed with?

Table of Contents

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Source: Sensor Tower

TikTok reached 3B downloads in July, and you can see exactly how it got there above. (Notice the spikes in the first quarters of quarantine!)

Then last week, TikTok hit 1B monthly active users (MAU). 

That put it in an elite club with the app it’s most often compared to: Instagram. But are the two apps really capturing the same level of attention? 

We dug into the data — and our analysis took us pretty far from this graphic. 😬

Which one hit 1B MAU faster?

  • Tiktok took 5 years
  • Instagram took 8 years.
  • Winner: TikTok

Caveat: As noted by Social Media Today, mobile connectivity and usage are higher now — which gives TikTok a potentially unfair edge.

Which one converts downloads to MAUs better?

  • TikTok converts ~33% of downloads to MAUs, per stats above.
  • Instagram converts ~36%, according to the Business of Apps. 
  • Winner: Instagram

Which one do MAUs in the U.S. spend more time on? 

  • TikTok MAUs average 21.5 hours per month on the app, according to App Annie.
  • Instagram MAUs average 7.5 hours per month on the app
  • Winner: TikTok

Overall winner: TikTok

Instagram has slightly better user retention, but Tiktok is growing faster, and its MAUs spend nearly 3X as much time on it. 


Feels like time to test organic or paid TikTok!

Kelsey Donk
about the author

Kelsey Donk is a writer at MarketerHire. Before joining MarketerHire full-time, Kelsey was a freelance writer and loved working with small businesses to level up their content. When she isn't writing, Kelsey can be found gardening or walking her dogs all around Minneapolis.

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