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FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone (REUTERS)

TikTok users shifting to alternative platforms yet to see any engagement: KalaGato report

Sharechat and Roposo gained the most number of unique installs within two days after the ban was announced on 29 June, showed user engagement data collated by research firm KalaGato

Chinese social media app TikTok lost almost half of its unique users to Indian competitors such as Mitron, Roposo, Sharechat and Chingari within just 48 hours after the Indian government placed a blanket ban on 59 Chinese mobile apps. Yet, user-level engagement among Indian social media apps is yet to catch up with TikTok's engagement levels, according to data by research firm KalaGato Pte Ltd.

Sharechat and Roposo gained the most number of unique installs within two days after the ban was announced on 29 June, showed user engagement data.

Chingari and Mitron app, two leading contenders in the video-blogging space, also witnessed a steady increase in unique users but trailed behind Roposo, and Sharechat.

As of 4 July, Chingari had a little over 4% of the unique users among the five apps mentioned above, while the Mitro app commanded a 3% share of unique users.

Among the five apps mentioned above, TikTok’s unique user base dropped drastically from 32.2% on July 29 to a paltry 10.5% as of July 1, according to KalaGato’s data. This significant drop in TikTok’s user base panned out in a matter of just 48 hours and only worsened ever since, data showed.

Comparatively, TikTok had a higher share of unique users of more than 40% in the month of May, among the five different apps mentioned above. But a blanket ban on Chinese app by the Indian government have wiped off most of TikTok's 200 million strong user base in the country.

Aman Kumar, Chief Business Officer, KalaGato said although many users shifted to emulated versions of TikTok, the user base is still a loyal one, and they may shift back to the Chinese app as soon as the ban is lifted.

KalaGato’s data on the five apps showed that although TikTok users shifted to other alternatives, user engagement indicators such as app open rates and average session times are yet to catch up with TikTok’s engagement levels.

Before the ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps in late June, the app’s daily session time—total time spent by a user in a 24 hour period—hovered between 45 to 50 minutes a day. TikTok’s open rates, or the number of times a user opens the app daily, stood anywhere between 9 to 12 times before the ban on June 29.

TikTok’s open rates currently trail between 2 to 3 times a day. Domestic competitors such as Chingari and Mitron are yet to catch up with TikTok with app open rates of just 4.4 times as of July 4th. However, Sharechat and Roposo had a higher open rate of 8.7, and 6.0 respectively.

As of July 4, Sharechat also had a higher daily session time of 22.1 minutes per user, and Roposo recorded a daily session time of 14.5 minutes. Chingari recorded total session time of 5.3 minutes, and Mitro recorded a session time of 7.7 minutes daily per user.

TikTok has a higher engagement rate than its competitors since it relied mostly on influencer and brand marketing campaigns in India to grow its user base and monetize content. From celebrities, models, and movie actors, to big brands such as Zomato, Lay’s, and Pepsi have all racked up billions of views and impression through TikTok.

TikTok’s owner ByteDance had raked in a sizeable profit worth 3.4 crore and total revenues of 43.7 crore in India during the financial year ended March 2019 (FY19). By the end of FY19, TikTok completed the first full year of operations in the country.

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