Fueled by Douyin Coins, ByteDance’s TikTok Bests Google’s YouTube in User Spending for April


TL;DR: According to analytics firm SensorTower, for the first time such metrics have been tracked, video blogging platform TikTok surpassed YouTube in user spending. Revenue of $78 million for April 2020 alone showed how tipping in the app’s virtual Douyin Coin can be a powerful revenue-generating tool.

TikTok Bests YouTube in User Spending

“The top grossing non-game app worldwide for April 2020 was TikTok with more than $78 million in user spending, a 10x growth from April 2019,” SensorTower revealed. “Approximately 86.6 percent of TikTok’s revenue was from China, followed by 8.2 percent from the United States.” Better known incumbent YouTube wasn’t far behind, racking up $76 million worldwide, “which represented 57 percent year-over-year growth from April 2019. About 56.4 percent of YouTube’s revenue was from the U.S., followed by about 11 percent from Japan,” the analytics firm noted.

TikTok’s besting of YouTube is notable for a few reasons, and could give insight to user experiences on such platforms going forward. The micro-video site is owned by ByteDance and is paired in China with Douyin, its predecessor and Chinese-language version twin application. Douyin has a proprietary virtual coin known as Douyin Coin, and users can purchase it more or less pegged 1:1 to the US dollar.


Douyin Coins allow users to seamlessly and frictionlessly tip creators and video-makers alike, forcing up in-app purchase numbers and making the TikTok experience an advertiser’s dream platform. Users are young, tech-savvy, and the social aspects of appreciation tokens redeemable for harder currency prove there is a desire for digital money outside of fiat.

The trend only appears to be growing. Back in March, SensorTower documented a $75 million boom for TikTok’s App Store and Google Play in-app purchases. “TikTok users spend real money in the app to purchase coins,” the analytics firm explained. “These can be exchanged for gifts that users can bestow on others during their live streams. Coins are available in bundles from 100 to 10,000 that range in price from 99 cents to $99.99. Sensor Tower data shows that the 100 coin bundle is the most popular among users, followed by the 500 coin bundle priced at $4.99.” Such growth is even more impressive “when you consider that ByteDance has thus far done little to promote that these coins can be purchased, or explain how they are intended to be spent by users.”

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