TikTok beats Google.com as the most popular web domain in 2021

TikTok’s rapid rise is well-recorded, but milestones like this may still surprise the non-Gen Z crowd. According to cloud services firm Cloudflare, the social media platform’s website has spoofed Google. com as the most popular web domain in the world. The five-year-old app has overtaken Internet Goliath Google Search along with the rest of Google’s digital properties (like Maps, Shopping, News, Images, Translate, etc.). Last year, TikTok ranked seventh on Cloudflare’s web traffic rankings, behind Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix and Amazon.

Owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, it’s also the only non-US site to earn a spot in Cloudflare’s top 10:

  1. TikTok.com
  2. Google.com
  3. facebook.com
  4. Microsoft.com
  5. Apple.com
  6. Amazon.co.uk
  7. Netflix.com
  8. youtube.com
  9. Twitter.com
  10. whatsapp.com

Cloudflare notes that this ranking is calculated using aggregate data it has on internet traffic patterns. This data includes statistics on a domain’s popularity, percentage change in web traffic, and ranking change over the selected time period (in this case, a month). It does not necessarily track with different data the total number of visitors or unique users of a website in a month. For all users, Facebook still takes that cake.

But TikTok is an undeniable force in almost every way: one report estimates that some 167 million TikTok videos are streamed every minute of every day. Their number dwarfs the activity of other websites: Google, which handles about 90% of all searches on the Internet, performs 5.7 million searches per minute. YouTube and Netflix users stream a mere 1 million hours of content every 60 seconds, combined. But TikTok says it has 1 billion active users, almost half of whom are between 16 and 24 years old. These numbers also don’t really reflect its true ubiquity, as it’s easy to embed TikTok videos into platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, potentially increasing visits to their site instead of TikTok’s.

This, coupled with the fact that TikTok videos are out-of-the-box advertisements, is why advertisers now regard TikTok as the “holy grail of marketing”, as a New York Times yesterday’s article put it. The story notes that on the app, the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt – which sounds nonsense out of context – has now been viewed over 7 billion times.

Cloudflare’s summary of the most popular web domains of the year contains a few other notable trends. For one thing, Instagram didn’t make the best of the year list at all. And the race for those top spots can be tight, as Facebook’s outage in October showed: After that six-to-seven-hour downtime, the site went from #3 to #4 in the Cloudflare for seven full days. What’s more, Microsoft’s website — a kind of baby boomer anti-TikTok stronghold — still clings to No. 4, putting it above Amazon, YouTube and Twitter.