Is it just us or do popular TikTok brands don’t seem to be as panicky as we might expect amid a potential US TikTok ban? In a nutshell, the ability to engage with young audiences by partnering with popular creators has made TikTok the platform of choice for many DTC (direct to consumer) brands on modest marketing budgets. But this could soon be at jeopardy with the Biden administration threatening a potential ban of the app.
For some brands, the reason for not slowing down is that the threat seems just like a threat and no more. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Hope Chambers, a marketing consultant for sleep brand Loftie. “This isn’t just a hub of dance videos—so many people’s businesses and brands are built on the app. I don’t think it’s something they’re just going to delete overnight.”
Perhaps many brands, understandably, also don’t want to believe it. DTC advertisers ranked TikTok as their “most valuable platform” in a September study from Triple Whale. The report also noted that ad spending from DTC brands on TikTok had surged 231% over the past year, hitting $30 million in the second quarter of 2022.
“Until it is banned—if it’s banned—our strategy remains the same; lean in where we have positive data trends and meet our customers where they are, including TikTok,” said Suze Dowling, co-founder of a portfolio of DTC brands called Pattern Brands.
“Threats of banning the use of TikTok in the U.S. are not new […] as a brand, it’s important to stay in the know, and that Pattern and its brands would pivot to meet users on similar platforms, like IG reels,” if the ban actually went through.
Nevertheless, while many brands are simply continuing their strategy as is, they recognise that it may not be the time to make any drastic changes. “We’re paying attention to how the story unfolds, but we’re currently staying the course of investing time/human resources into building our TikTok presence,” said Becca Millstein, co-founder and CEO of tinned fish brand Fishwife. “We believe that TikTok can be a powerful source of organic discovery and hope that we have the opportunity to utilise it as such.”