Social network users spent $840 million between January and March to give virtual gifts to their favorite creators.
TikTok has just reached a minor revolution. In the first quarter of 2022, the Chinese video platform became the application that internet users spent the most money on. Usually the top of the leaderboard is reserved for mobile games, and more specifically those aimed at Chinese gamers, such as Honor of Kings True PUBG Mobile† TikTok is coming to shake up those old traditions.
According to Data.ai (the new name of AppAnnie), a staggering $840 million was spent on TikTok in the first quarter, or 40% more than the end of 2021. This jump is due to the US market, which alone is good for $310 million of expenditure, or 37% of the total. China follows with 218 million dollars (26%). †Other key markets include Kuwait, Germany, Saudi Arabia, UK, Russia, Japan, France and ItalyData.ai continues.
Virtual gifts to get noticed by influencers
But what do internet users spend money on? This is not widely known among non-TikTok users, but the app sells virtual currencies. The latter is used to buy ‘virtual gifts’, in the form of emojis. These gifts can be sent to content creators when they broadcast a live video.
For example, a virtual rose is worth 1 coin, a donut 30 coins, a cap 99 coins, a duck 299 coins, a cat 3999 coins, and a ram 9999 coins. A pack of 36 coins is worth 0.50 euros, a pack of 700 coins is exchanged for 11.39 euros and you have to spend 116.15 euros to get 7000 coins.
Sending virtual gifts serves two purposes. Donate money to the influencer first. The latter can convert his gifts into “diamonds”, another virtual currency that can be exchanged for euros or dollars. By the way, TikTok gets 50% commission. Sending gifts also increases the chance that the creator will be noticed, and that he will say a word for the generous spectator.
Some unscrupulous creators do not hesitate to abuse this system to encourage their most impressionable fans to send virtual gifts. Others promote third-party TikTok accounts and push their viewers to subscribe if their owners send them generous gifts.
Read alsoWhen social networks encourage internet users to fund influencers
Creators are also encouraged to buy coins to increase the visibility of their content on the platform. And get more fans.
It was Chinese live video platforms that invented the virtual gift system. This principle has since been adopted by other western social networks. You can also send gifts on Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook Live.
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