TikTok’s global users download figures may have hit a bump, but, in the couple of years the short-form video app has been available in the US, younger teens have picked up on it to the point where they’re now as likely to use it as Facebook or Twitter.

A new study from Morning Consult – The Influencer Report, based on over 2,000 survey interviews with 13-38 year-olds – indicates that just over 40% of 13-16 year olds say they use one of these three platforms.

That figure, however, is still far behind Snapchat (68%) and Instagram (79%), while YouTube enjoys near total penetration .

It’s a “familiar trajectory”, Axios noted: new app overtakes Facebook as the preferred destination for a younger age group. And “as its popularity rises, so does the scrutiny that comes with it, putting more pressure on it to innovate commercially and arm itself politically”.

The growth of the app, which claims almost 1.5 billion downloads globally, has been extraordinary, adding more than 500 million users this year. But, at 177 million, the number of first-time users it acquired in the third quarter was 4% down on the previous year, the first time it has seen new installs drop on quarterly basis.

“With any app growth, there will come a time when it plateaus, especially since TikTok had grown so much,” observed Alvin Foo, managing director of Reprise Digital, a Shanghai-based online marketing agency.

“They should worry more about monetization and evolving,” he told Bloomberg.

As part of that process, the app has introduced new features that will allow users to edit videos in other apps and publish them directly on TikTok. This integration with third-party services follows the path trodden by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

But, Bloomberg noted, it also raises privacy issues, at the same time as the US government is reported to be investigating whether the Chinese-owned app poses a threat to national security.

On past performance, however, these issues are unlikely to deter advertisers determined to target a younger demographic.  

Sourced from Morning Consult, Axios, Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff