As I’m sure many of you in the marketing and social media world are aware, and to be honest almost everyone period, TikTok had a brush with death recently but has possibly come out the other end stronger. At the tail end of last week, the US government announced that TikTok would no longer be available to download within its borders. Thus completely halting the growth of one of the largest and fastest-growing social media platforms in the world.
However, on Monday, emails and press releases shot across the web announcing that TikTok had reached a deal with Oracle, and Walmart to manage their US data and commercial dealings respectively. This means that all data is staying within the US, and the app will be allowed to stay intact – well at least we think. There hasn’t been any official word from Beijing regarding the sale of Chinese IP to overseas companies, which would have prevented the engine of TikTok, its algorithm, from being sold and therefore killing such a deal.
Where Does That Leave TikTok Now?
Although I don’t think that TikTok is ever going to be 100% out of the woods, which could probably be said about any social media platform, but I do think this move has bought TikTok some time.
The new partners which have been brought on board with this deal, and the security which it seems to have brought do make me much more bullish on the future of advertising on this platform.
TikTok is still arguably the most influential platform for Gen Z and younger Millennials, making it very attractive to companies looking to secure lifelong connections with very valuable demographics. Additionally, due to the nature of the content on the platform, it allows brands to explore a more authentic voice that resonates with this crowd. This is opposed to the more structured messaging which would be better suited for Television or Facebook campaigns that don’t seem to resonate with these younger consumers.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?
For those of you who have pulled resources away from the platform over the past month, I would say jump back in with both feet ASAP. As mentioned above TikTok draws the eyeballs and attention of several key demographics – so don’t let these opportunities go to waste.
I’d now like to jump on my “Soap-box” for a moment. During these discussions around TikTok, many marketers and business people thought the app would be dead in the water without its current algorithm. And although I understand the power of what the algorithm is doing, every time the algorithm of a platform changes the users are upset for a day or so, if they even notice, and then 99.9% of them just carry as before. Therefore, I think that even if the algorithm is lost due to IP issues, the brand, the remaining code, and the ingenuity of the controlling US firms will more than suffice to keep TikTok’s user base growing and satisfied.
Lastly, I’d like to just point out the very proactive way that TikTok and their Interim CEO Vanessa Pappas put out the “TikTok is #heretostay” video which can be seen below. This head-on approach has been somewhat absent from other major brands in recent years when facing an existential crisis, so I would like to commend them on this strategy.