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Who Is Growing Faster on TikTok: Digital or Celebrity Creators?

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In 2020 the term “shelter-in-place” and “stay home” globally took on a whole new meaning due to COVID-19, driving the population indoors and increasing connectivity through mediums like social media. One such social media platform that has exploded in the recent times has been TikTok. In May 2020, TikTok was included in one of the top 10 most downloaded apps. This peaked our curiosity – with shelter-in-place and the popularity of TikTok growing, what effect did that have on follower growth?

Methodology: Captiv8 ran an analysis of TikTok creators across our platform, and separated creators into two categories: digital creators and traditional celebrities. Digital creators are public figures who gained success and notoriety via social media. Traditional celebrities are public figures who have had careers in entertainment, music, sports, etc. first.

We monitored growth rates across both creator categories since shelter-in-place orders, with the end of February 2020 being the baseline date. We continued to track the rate of change until June 2020, as to account for reopening occurring across specific states.


  • On average, TikTok digital creators have seen an increase of 67.23% followers on the platform. 
  • Traditional celebrities’ followings have increased by an average of 182.53%
  • The two breakout stars on TikTok have been Addison Rae (follower growth rose by 228.66%) and Charli D’Amelio (follower growth rose by 169.67%).
  • On the celebrity side, JLo’s account has grown by 733.33% followed by Jay Balvin 653.90%. 

C8 POV: Shelter-in-place created an opportunity for users to create and consume TikTok content in droves. Whereas digital creators had been on the app for longer and had been growing followers at a steady pace, the shelter-in-place allowed traditional celebrity activity to ramp up on TikTok, which attributed to their overall follower growth. Celebrities who had a presence on the platform for longer, such as Will Smith, had 94.86% follower growth which was more consistent with that of digital creators.

Digital creators and traditional celebrities continue to optimize TikTok brand opportunities. And one thing is for sure, with the talent on the platform, there will be no shortage of captivating content on the platform.

Interested in more TikTok creator insight? Reach out to our team – we’re here to help!

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