Where would your brand go if TikTok was banished?

Andrew StephensonSince its rapid rise in 2020, TikTok has garnered over a billion monthly users worldwide and, along with it, made a colossal stamp on the world of social media and digital brand communications.

However, as the platform sits in the line of fire due to privacy and security concerns, its potential fall looms over marketers, consumers and creators alike. Understandably, this raises concerns for many about what the future holds.

Whether the app ultimately does survive a potential ban or not, any resultant changes it makes will have cascading impacts that could be make or break for marketers relying on the channel to reach their customers.

TikTok or no TikTok, it’s clear that vigilant marketers must be ready to change tact and set in place contingency plans as they navigate this uncertain landscape. How exactly can they do this? Here’s three things for marketers to consider.

Don’t expect one platform to do the work for you
In a digital age where social platforms can fall just as quickly as they rise, marketers need to be prepared for all possibilities and remember that there can be too much of a good thing.

But this doesn’t mean that marketers’ investment in TikTok so far has been an error in judgement – it goes without saying that the platform has been a valuable source of insights for countless businesses, and has transformed shopper marketing.

As TikTok’s future remains hazy, marketers must prioritise building a unified profile of their customer that incorporates all possible data sources – online or offline – to ensure a 360-degree view of their customer in the event they do lose this vital channel. This way brands enhance their understanding of their customers’ behaviour and are granted endless opportunities to effectively communicate with them – no matter which platform their customers go to next.

Legends never die: TikTok’s enduring legacy
Whether TikTok falters or not, the trends, influencer communities and new ways of shopping it has built have had an immeasurable impact on the way brands market themselves online.

It has also reshaped the social media landscape as we know it and has led its competitors to think twice on how they engage with their audience. Take for instance the famous ‘For You’ page – this feature has had such an impact on the market that other platforms like Twitter have rolled out their own version to prevent losing out.

For marketers, TikTok’s existence (or future lack thereof) should serve as a reminder to stay nimble and experimental as they ride the shifting trends and patterns in consumer behaviour to come.

Staying connected with your audience
Whilst a firm decision on TikTok’s future still remains up in the air, this moment offers a stark reminder to marketers of the importance of drawing upon a wealth of first party data sources – especially as the deprecation of the third-party cookie approaches.

Just like content creators who fear their content not being able to reach their audience, marketers face being “shadowbanned” in their own way if they don’t understand how to engage with their customers at the right time on the right channel – with or without TikTok.

This means the time is now for brands to invest in knowing their customers and ensuring they’re prepared for whatever comes next.

Andrew Stephenson is director of marketing EMEA & India at Treasure Data

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