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75% of marketers expect to spend more on TikTok even as ban looms

Dive Brief:

  • Despite security concerns and the possibility of a ban by the US government, three in four marketers expect to increase spending on TikTok in the next 12 months, according to a Capterra survey of 300 marketers and businesses in the US
  • A TikTok ban would have a moderate to significant impact on achieving social media marketing or advertising objectives, according to 82% of respondents, with 70% expecting to expand in other digital channels outside of social media in the event of a ban.
  • As the battle over the future of TikTok intensifies, more than half (56%) of respondents believe it is highly or somewhat unlikely that the federal government will ban TikTok or prevent it from operating in the US, and most (87%) still believe it is a viable platform for long-term marketing strategies.

Dive Insights:

The Capterra survey paints a picture of a marketing industry that is committed to TikTok, despite threats of a ban by federal and state governments, with many planning to increase spending on the platform in the next year.

This bullishness comes even as survey respondents largely agree with concerns about the Chinese-owned platform’s security issues: 60% say concerns over its data privacy and national security are justified, 47% believe its algorithm are not transparent and 45% believe TikTok spies on US users. Despite these concerns, just 31% say brand safety is a top challenge of using TikTok.

While marketers are roughly evenly split on whether federal or state and local governments will actually ban or restrict TikTok, most would diversify their digital marketing strategy in the event of a ban. Digital media channels outside of social media, like email and video, could stand to benefit, with Facebook (80%) and YouTube (79%) being the most popular social media platforms for marketers seeking TikTok alternatives.

In the event of a TikTok ban, the industry consensus seems to be that Meta, YouTube and Snap could see spikes in revenue.

“This news does create more opportunities for other platforms to capitalize,” said Permele Doyle, president and co-founder of influencer agency Billion Dollar Boy, in emailed comments. “An immediate solution for brands and creators is to pivot to Instagram and YouTube’s equivalent short form video content formats — Reels and Shorts, respectively — which are increasing in popularity.”

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify on Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Biden administration has demanded that TikTok divest itself from parent ByteDance or face a ban, a move that China would strongly oppose, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chew this week made a direct appeal to TikTok’s user base, posting a video to the platform’s official channel, which has more than 69 million followers. Chew spoke about the “pivotal moment” for the platform, which he claimed is used by more than 150 million Americans and 5 million US businesses.

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