Is the clock ticking on TikTok?
TikTok is facing restrictions in some U.S. states, with some government figures pushing for more comprehensive, and even federal, bans. This could have big implications for how much time, effort and money brands and retailers are focusing on promoting content on the single most popular app in the world.
A number of Republican politicians at the state level have already banned the app for use by government employees, CNN reported. Furthermore, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is being urged to pressure Google and Apple to be tougher on TikTok, and a group of senators led by Republican Marco Rubio introduced a bill to ban the app entirely nationwide, citing concerns over national security.
Reports indicate that some or all user data is seen by the app’s parent company in China. While the U.S. government has been negotiating with TikTok to implement features that would protect U.S. user data, such discussions appear to have stalled. Outside of the political arena, TikTok has also grown controversial over questions about the age appropriateness and potential danger of the content for young audiences.
Yet retail marketers big and small want to be where customers’ eyeballs are, and businesses have been investing more in putting content there as the app remains a huge fixture in social media.
Even as TikTok was coming to prominence, its reach allowed, for instance, San Diego-based candy retailer Candy Me Up to save itself from closing early in pandemic by marketing around a viral candy meme and pivoting to e-commerce during lockdowns.
Today, stories of TikTok’s power to drive trends in product purchasing have become common.
An Insider Intelligence report found that TikTok is positioned to overtake both Facebook and YouTube in influencer spend by 2024, according to TechCrunch. YouTube currently holds the top spot.
There has been some stateside competition from U.S. platforms in the short-form video space. Google launched its Google Shorts feature, which serves up TikTok-style short videos, in July 2021.
Some influencers with big TikTok presences that began posting content on YouTube Shorts early on reported rapid subscriber growth and views in the millions, according to a Hollywood Reporter article.
- TikTok might be too big to ban, no matter what lawmakers say – CNN
- Retailer saves itself at the buzzer with TikTok – RetailWire
- TikTok to overtake Facebook in influencer marketing spend this year, YouTube by 2024 – TechCrunch
- TikTok Creators Turn to YouTube Shorts Amid “Insane” Subscriber Growth – Hollywood Reporter
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers keep the potential state or federal banning of TikTok in mind when building out marketing strategies? What does this say about how a retailer or brand should approach utilizing social tools to reach audiences in general?