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What Could Happen if TikTok Gets Banned: Insights for Brands and Social Media Lessons in 2023

Tanya Cruz
Written By
Tanya Cruz
Published On
Jun 07, 2023
The word “TikTok” written by a typewriter

Is TikTok getting banned for everyone? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the answer is likely yes if a widespread TikTok ban gets approved.

Consumers love the app. Businesses have seen their popularity skyrocket because of it. Some of the biggest social media stars got their big break on this platform. 

With over one billion active users to date, a massive audience base of 47.4% for the 10 to 29 age group, and an average influencer engagement rate of 18%, this social media platform has opened up countless opportunities for people and brands to be seen by their target market. 

However, this could all change if it’s banned. 

Keep reading this blog to learn more about how TikTok being banned will affect businesses—and what you should do if it happens! 

Table of Contents: 

The Origins and Timeline of the TikTok Ban

The TikTok app was developed by ByteDance, an internet technology company based in China. But why ban TikTok? The concern surrounding TikTok primarily revolves around its Chinese ownership and the potential risks associated with data privacy and security. The platform, which is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance, has faced allegations of mishandling sensitive user data and potential ties to the Chinese government. These concerns have raised questions about the extent to which user information is being collected, stored, and possibly shared without consent.

In March 2023, both the U.S. and Canada issued orders for TikTok to be permanently banned from U.S. government-issued devices after much public deliberation and media scrutiny. This rule was officially introduced as the RESTRICT Act—or the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act” Senate bill—in March 2023 and backed by full White House endorsement. 

In May 2023, Montana became the first U.S. state to officially ban the app through SB 419, making it “illegal for app stores to give users the option to download TikTok and illegal for the company to operate within the state.”

How a TikTok Ban Would Hurt Brands 

TikTok is more than just a social media app for discovering entertaining short videos, it’s developed into an innovative platform where business and shopping transactions thrive. Consumers spent a total of $2.3 billion on the app in 2021 alone; a figure we know has grown exponentially year over year since. 

Not only would a widespread TikTok ban make it harder for companies to reach potential customers online—especially the younger crowd—it will considerably impact their sales. 

Here are several ways a TikTok ban could negatively impact brands:

  • Loss of a vibrant and engaged community
  • Disrupted influencer marketing strategies
  • Limited user-generated content opportunities
  • Reduced brand visibility and exposure
  • Disruption of ad campaigns and partnerships
  • Hindered market research and insights
  • Potential loss of brand authenticity
 A person opening the TikTok app on their phone

Alternative Platforms In Case TikTok is Banned

We know TikTok marketing is powerful, but there’s unfortunately not much anyone can do to stop it from being banned. 

In the interim, all brands can do is start exploring alternative platforms to help offset the damage of a potential ban.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start exploring what tools and features Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat have to offer and how they can help you reach your target audiences. Here are some of the features you can use to succeed on each of these apps:

Instagram

Aside from maintaining cohesive branding and high-quality visuals in your feed, you might also want to try these things out:

  • Instagram Shopping: Leverage this set of features that allows people to conveniently shop your brand’s photos and videos all across the app.
  • Instagram Reels: Take your creative TikTok videos to the IG platform via the Reels feature. Whether it’s 90 seconds or 15 minutes long, your content is welcome here.
  • Influencer Marketing: Partner with the internet’s biggest celebrities to create exciting content or host Instagram takeovers through which they ‘take over’ your account for a set period.
  • Instagram Advertising: Reach your target demographic with targeted ads. Paying to post sponsored content on the platform through Instagram advertising is often worth it.

YouTube

As a video-centric platform, YouTube provides an excellent opportunity for brands to create longer-form content, tutorials, product reviews, and branded entertainment. It offers a wide audience base and robust advertising options to effectively promote products and services. YouTube is a platform that offers immense opportunities for discoverability through marketing strategies such as:

  • YouTube Shorts: Your short-form TikTok content can continue to live on YouTube Shorts, which enables you to upload vertical or square videos at a maximum length of 60 seconds. 
  • Youtube Advertising: Leverage YouTube’s variety of video and banner ad options that allow brands to target users based on location, topics, keywords, strategic placements and takeovers, video remarketing advertising, and a variety of other demographic features.
  • Influencer Marketing: Just like on TikTok and IG, influencer marketing thrives just as much on YouTube. From product reviews to how-to videos, a stellar collaboration can take many forms.

Snapchat

Particularly popular among younger demographics, brands can leverage certain platform features to create engaging content, reach a younger audience, and experiment with interactive marketing campaigns, such as:

  • Snap Spotlight: Proving that it can keep up with the short-form video trend, Snapchat released “Snap Spotlight” in November 2020. This feature enables users to upload videos up to 60 seconds long with an option to also add background music.

Pinterest

With its focus on visual discovery and inspiration, Pinterest is an ideal platform for brands in industries such as fashion, home decor, beauty, and food. Some top strategies include:

  • Branded Content: Pinterest allows brands to craft visually compelling and inspiring content that resonates with users, driving engagement, brand loyalty, and potential conversions.
  • Pinterest Advertising: Effectively promote your brand’s products or services through targeted campaigns using visually captivating content.
  • Pinterest Shopping: Allows users to discover and purchase products directly through the platform, transforming inspiration into actionable shopping experiences.
 Social media icons on a phone screen

Lessons and Takeaways

With more than five million businesses using TikTok (a majority of which are small businesses), over a hundred thousand influencers on the platform, and average earnings of $197 (for macro influencers) to $1500 (for mega influencers) per post, it’s become abundantly clear that the app truly means business for so many users. TikTok being banned would have an enormous effect on the visibility and income of these businesses and influencers.

Brands may experience negative impacts if TikTok is banned, including the loss of an engaged community, disrupted influencer marketing, limited user-generated content opportunities, reduced brand visibility, disrupted ad campaigns and partnerships, hindered market research, and potential loss of brand authenticity.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. 

As we await a TikTok ban update, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the importance of diversifying your social media strategies. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket—each alternative platform offers unique features and opportunities for brands. You’ll benefit from doing this even if TikTok doesn’t get banned and sticks around. 

Let’s Explore Your Options Together

So, is TikTok banned? Fortunately, not quite yet. 

However, if TikTok is essential to your marketing strategy, then the best thing to do is start exploring alternative social media platforms. Whether that’s Instagram or YouTube, The Influence Agency can help you survive—and thrive through—a TikTok ban.

We’re a leading digital marketing agency in North America with top-tier influencer marketing, content strategy, and online advertising services.

Get in touch with us today to get started!

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Author

  • Tanya Cruz

    Tanya Cruz is the Director of Communications at TIA. She always loved a good story, which is why she chose a career that let her tell them. These days she's telling brand stories through digital, by developing social content that resonates and helps build strong communities online. You can follow her at @thetanyacruz

    View all posts
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Author

  • Tanya Cruz

    Tanya Cruz is the Director of Communications at TIA. She always loved a good story, which is why she chose a career that let her tell them. These days she's telling brand stories through digital, by developing social content that resonates and helps build strong communities online. You can follow her at @thetanyacruz

    View all posts


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