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Chameleon Communications

TikTok Ban Graphic

If the TikTok Train Derails

As I think about a potential TikTok ban in the US I realize that changing my LinkedIn description is the least of a marketer’s worries. Even though Chameleon doesn’t do a lot of marketing on TikTok (except organic), the repercussions of a ban for heavily invested marketers is enormous.

I remember in 2020 debating about heavy to get on the TikTok train before it gained steam. Then there was a potential ban from Trump that same year in August. Since that time, the TikTok train has left the station at great speeds creating ad opportunities after rivaling the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

TikTok’s popularity last year led to significant ad spends with Hubspot reporting a “20% increase in ad spend” during the first three quarters of 2022, and it was reported that some agencies have committed 25% of their social spend to TikTok ads alone.

Now, with a potential ban looming, some companies are pulling back their TikTok advertising spend to see how things shake out, while others are continuing to invest to continue getting reach on the platform while they still can. And don’t think the competition isn’t going to make the most of this. For TikTok, this could mean a switch to other platforms due to fear of marketing investments going dry. Sort of sounds like the banking sector, doesn’t it? But we won’t go there.

Apart from ads, a TikTok ban could also limit organic marketing plays and viral moments, which could be detrimental as well. I believe a solid play is considering a swivel to substitutes like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts that are gaining in popularity.

In conclusion, a potential TikTok ban could have a significant impact on marketers who have invested heavily in the platform over the last few years. Especially if a government ban initiates a broader shift in how brands, creators and consumers choose to spend their time on social media. If the TikTok train derails, there is going to be a lot of clean-up!