TikTok ban threat: Mitigation plan for marketers.
Published: March 20, 2023
Bytedance’s successful social media platform, TikTok has come under fire in recent years after several government agencies and experts charged and convicted it of sharing user information with the Chinese government.
New Zealand is the latest country to prohibit the use of TikTok on devices with access to its parliamentary network in response to rising cybersecurity concerns.
Countries like the United Kingdom, the European Union, Belgium, Denmark, and Canada already prohibit the use of TikTok on government-related devices.
Now, TikTok is facing an official ban threat from the United States if its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, does not sell its stake. The threat of a TikTok ban in the United States is not new.
While TikTok bans spread across Western governments, marketers are concerned and waiting to see what must come in the future.
While some of the DTC brands have started to prepare for the app’s possible ban, many don’t have plans to change their approach.
I'll believe it when I see it. The platform isn't just for sharing dance videos—so many people's businesses and brands are built on the app. I don't think they're going to delete it overnight.
Marketing consultant for the US-based wellness company
In the face of this, TikTok executives hosted a "Beyond Brand Safety" meeting with advertisers and brand owners.
The social giant is making all efforts to prove that the platform is safe and does not pose a data security risk to not only the government but also brands and agencies.
As valued partners, we wanted to give them a transparent look at how we're approaching today's most pressing issues, which go beyond 'brand safety' into a slew of related topics across the user and advertiser experience.
TikTok’s spokesperson also added that this is an invite-only event for key partners and agencies, and more of these meetings are also planned by the company.
Points to consider for marketers to sustain the possible impacts of TikTok Ban:
End of the day, if this popular social media platform gets banned, it is outright going to be a big chunk of change for brands and marketers.
As of now, many businesses solely rely on TikTok to tap into target audiences. TikTok, in particular, has been the key platform for brands to gain Gen Z and Millennials’ attention. More than sharing, connecting, and building online communities, millennials started to use it as a search engine for their everyday needs and requirements.
Most brands in the industry feel this TikTok heat will eventually settle, as it has in the past. Moreover, there is no concrete proof available against privacy and data security issues on the platform.
It is also hopeful that the video sharing app is going to greater lengths—holding various meetings with agencies—to persuade and prove the platform is secure for brands and marketers, as well as to the government.
However, it is important for brands to get prepared for the change and re-evaluate their marketing strategy to meet their marketing goals.
Here are the steps we believe marketers must take to mitigate the potential TikTok ban:
Although a complete migration to another platform is not required, brands must focus on increasing their presence on other platforms. It is difficult to find an apparent replacement for TikTok-like apps immediately. But dipping the toes on other potential platforms is crucial to facing the negative ending of the TikTok Ban story.
Brands must consider crafting a holistic social media strategy rather than channel specific ones. While testing new platforms, it is always a good idea to try combinations of different platforms instead of focusing on one. Aside from Instagram reels and YouTube shorts, there are many platforms in the market like Clapper, Like, Clash, etc. that could potentially be an alternative to TikTok in the future.
It is too early to predict how far they would be helpful, though. However, whenever a platform plummets, a new platform would emerge in the immediate term. Just like how Mastodon gained popularity when Twitter was tumbling.
Brands should also start moving away from channel-specific influencer strategy to a holistic one by collaborating with creators who are famous on other social media platforms. It in turn can amplify the brand’s reach and help gain more attention on new platforms.
In a nutshell, it is still a wait-and-see situation for marketers to know what the end point of TikTok’s ban threat will be. However, it is also important for brands to prepare ahead of time for the potential ban of TikTok so that they do not vanish in the competitive market space.
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