What the Potential TikTok Ban Could Mean for Media Plans
You've seen the headlines that the U.S. could ban TikTok in the near future. Even as the ban looms, many brands are spending more ad dollars on the platform than ever. So what does this mean for your advertising plans in Q2 2023 and beyond?
TikTok is a serious performer for brands looking to reach the under-35 consumer. According to Jungle Scout, 71% of Gen-Z consumers and 52% of Millennials are likely to purchase directly from TikTok. And while overall ad spend is flattening or even decreasing in some cases, spending on TikTok is up - a reported 20% in 2022.
But the U.S. has said they'll look to ban the app if ByteDance, the China-based company that owns TikTok, doesn’t sell its stakes in the platform.
TikTok has been outspoken about the perceived privacy risks on the app, attempting to reassure users and marketers and saying the bans are "misguided and do nothing to further privacy or security."
Sean Cuthbertson, VP of Media & Performance Marketing at BOLD, says that while changes may be ahead, it's unlikely to cause much chaos.
"For brands that have been building their equity on this platform, it will be disappointing if TikTok gets banned in the US. It has leveled the playing field for small(er) brands to get noticed in feed without battling deep pockets and algorithms on other platforms.”
Disappointing, yes. But Cuthbertson points out that good content flexes.
“Whether TikTok stays or gets banned, its presence has impacted other channels, and success of this type of content will continue to build across other platforms.”
He has this advice for brands preparing for a potential ban:
“Never put all your advertising eggs into one basket. If we've learned anything, digital advertising can change in a heartbeat, and there is always something new on the horizon. Learn the channels, but ultimately study the consumer behavior of what works as pieces of it will be in other channel innovation and the next big thing."
Cuthbertson also points to consumer behavior as another reason to quell concerns.
"From a user perspective, these customers don’t disappear; they migrate. Brand ad dollars will follow. If the ban goes through, people will complain on Twitter for a few days but ultimately will move to other social, video, and content channels like YouTube (shorts), Instagram (reels, stories), or Snap."
For these reasons, Cuthbertson says that without legislation that would force a change of plans, most agencies and brands don’t seem likely to move away from TikTok as long as the customer reach potential remains strong.