First there were boycotts of Facebook to challenge digital marketing on that platform. Now TikTok is under fire from an entirely different source, for entirely different reasons, and with even more dramatic potential consequences.
The short video-sharing site is under fire in the US because President Trump has singled out security concerns related to its Chinese ownership. He’s even set a deadline for it to be shut down, and there are serious questions as to what might happen between now and then.
There are also related questions about how the outcome will impact digital marketing. Fortunately, many campaigns will not be affected, as TikTok hadn’t really penetrated the digital marketing landscape yet. But some advertisers were beginning to experiment with it, and we’ve personally speculated that it might turn out to be the next great frontier for social media marketing.
We’re actually going to stand by that in the face of these new threats to the platform. That may seem like an unlikely position to take if there’s a possibility that TikTok will be shut down. But for now, it is only that: a possibility. It’s just as likely that TikTok’s American operations will be purchased by another company, or that the whole thing will blow over after efforts are made to bolster security.
And even if the entire platform vanishes from the American social media landscape, it will probably leave enough of an impact to make it worth investing in digital marketing on TikTok right now. This is to say, something will inevitably come along to take the app’s place, and those who have gotten comfortable with advertising on TikTok will be in a better position to adopt whatever new platform comes along to fill the same niche.
Bear in mind that TikTok itself was in many ways a replacement for Vine, which shut down in 2017 after less than five years in operation. That wasn’t long enough for digital marketing agencies to really get a foothold, but it was long enough to show what influencers and trends would look like on TikTok years later.
Whether or not TikTok sticks around as an outlet for digital marketing in the United States, it exists as a tool for learning about the social media landscape now. It should not be overlooked or left out of a digital marketing strategy because it is “too risky” as an investment. In reality, the greater risk comes from disregarding anything that is growing in popularity, just because it might not continue to do so.
Few social media platforms can be expected to continue their growth indefinitely. But each of them sets the stage for the next big thing, and gives attentive digital marketing professionals an idea of where they should direct their focus in the future.