Just when advertisers were starting to pay close attention to TikTok, a global pandemic wreaks havoc on the world and leaves brands thinking twice about investing in the platform.

In the midst of the app’s rising popularity amongst U.S. users, marketing budgets have plummeted in the wake of the Coronavirus, particularly for mid- and upper-funnel spending. In today’s unstable economic climate, advertisers are looking to execute campaigns in areas where they are confident there will be longevity. And with the ensuing drama that has surrounded TikTok in recent weeks, the platform has not proven to be a viable, long-term staple of American social media.

This is not to say that it won’t be either, as software giant Microsoft is looking to purchase TikTok by the September deadline. It’s also not to say the ensuing drama around TikTok won’t affect advertisers’ plans for 2020 and beyond.

“We’ve had two of our clients hold back their influencer campaigns on TikTok until September to avoid being caught in the middle of the storm around it,” says Joe Gagliese, CEO at Viral Nation. The award-winning influencer marketing agency works with advertisers like Campbell’s, Tencent and Activision Blizzard. “The reality is the prospect of TikTok going away is at the bottom of the list of priorities for larger advertisers that are having to furlough people in multiple markets and reallocate media dollars into next year.”

TikTok has often been accused of exposing its young user base to an unsafe, often unchecked environment. But while the platform has placed further emphasis on the safety of its app, there still aren’t that many advertisers on TikTok (in comparison to other platforms). This works both ways, in the sense that campaigns stand out more because of this largely untapped market, but that rings true during both the good and bad moments. This is not often a desirable situation when it’s concurrent with the geopolitical dispute and an increasingly dire global pandemic.

“The reality is the prospect of TikTok going away is at the bottom of the list of priorities for larger advertisers that are having to furlough people in multiple markets and reallocate media dollars into next year.”

Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of Viral Nation

 

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