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Tik Tok’s Rise In The GCC


Tik Tok’s Rise In The GCC

The title might’ve felt a little misleading right? Considering everything that’s happening with the platform right now around the world; banned in India, undergoing a bidding war in the US. Sheesh, tech companies can never catch a break these days. But despite these issues, research from analytics and technology consultancy AnaVizio highlights how the platform has experienced a massive surge in popularity in the GCC. The study sampled 8000 videos posted by the most popular TikTok users – based on follower numbers – in each of the six GCC countries between January 15 and August 15, 2020. Here are the highlights of the report.

Growth in the region

  • Just like other markets, TikTok has created a wave in the Middle East, especially among Generation Z users who have taken to the platform to create and watch fun, lighthearted content. This has led to the emergence of a new breed of content creators who produce engaging, entertaining, and often sophisticated video skits around their fields of interest.
  • The app consistently ranks among the top 10 downloaded apps in GCC countries and the latest figures show that it has managed to retain that popularity, despite the growing controversy.
  • The app’s origins as a lip-syncing app mean the activity still accounts for a strong proportion of the videos on the platform. Lip-syncing made up nearly half of the content posted to TikTok from Saudi Arabia (48%) and a significant portion of the content posted from Kuwait (39%), Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (both 21%). But as the popularity of the service kept growing, the nature of the continued to diversify into other formats such as dance, cooking, comedy skits and acting.

  • The sampled posts which were used for the study showed an average engagement rate of 3.12% across all countries and all topics in the GCC region.


  • TikTok in Bahrain has the highest average engagement levels in the GCC with influencers managing to build a strong following.
  • The most engaging type of TikTok content in the country is singing (6.4%) followed by general content (4.6%). For more context, general content refers to generic content and chatter with no specific subject or theme.

Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia has a lively TikTok scene with a large number of content creators emerging on the platform along with a  strong fan engagement.
  • The most engaging type of TikTok content in the country is comedy content (6.7%) followed by fashion (4.9%). Another interesting type of content which is not seen in any of the other countries is Q&A (3.9%)


  • Kuwaiti users show a very strong interest in fashion-related posts, although the number of videos on the topic remains low.


  • TikTok users from Oman are highly active with dance (10.5%), fashion (9.0%), beauty (6.6%), and comedy (5.4%) generating strong engagement.


  • Comedy (3.0%) and dance (2.6%) generate the highest engagement among TikTok posts from Qatar.


  • UAE-based influencers have the highest average number of followers at 4.8 million.
  • The most engaging type of TikTok content in the country is beauty content (6.1%) followed by general content (3.0%).

Opportunities For Brands

  • Brands in the GCC region have yet to take to TikTok in a big way, with product promotions making up just 1% out of the sample of 8000 analyzed influencer posts. Moreover, such posts had a poor average engagement rate of 1.2%.
  • Success on the platform will depend on creating the right content and presenting it in new and engaging ways.

2020 has definitely turned out to be an eventful year so far, despite putting every auspicious event to a halt. As uncertainty looms around the battle for the future of TikTok, brands and the market continue to watch as new developments unfold every day.

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