How Should Advertisers Respond To the TikTok Ban?

By Tinuiti Team

Editor’s Note:The ban has seemingly been lifted, according to reports on September 21, 2020. We will continue to provide updates (brands and clients should stay the course as previously planned – see below).

According to recent reports the Commerce Department plans to restrict access to TikTok beginning Sunday, September 20th, as the Trump administration’s executive orders against the app are set to take effect. Any moves to distribute or maintain TikTok on an app store will be prohibited. Users who have already downloaded the app will be able to continue using it, but won’t have access to any updated versions, including upgrades, of the app. Full restrictions won’t be enforced until November 12th.

How will the ban on TikTok and WeChat impact advertisers?

From an advertising perspective, TikTok has been a hot commodity among brands this year as usage numbers have increased and early adopters have seen success with paid placements. However, the future remains unclear for media buys past November.  

“Advertisers who planned on running media on TikTok beyond November will need to speak with their respective Tinuiti team members on contingency plans (but we would not recommend abandoning any media running now through October.) Depending on the objective of the campaign, agency teams will advise which alternative partner and tactic would be most suitable as a replacement.”

– Kolin Kleveno, SVP, Addressable Audiences at Tinuiti


“There’s a lot of uncertainty if a full ban will actually happen. Given that the ban only affects new downloads, there may be a surge in sign-ups this weekend. However, we may see prominent content producers look to mitigate drops in the future by exploring expansions or complete moves to competing for social platforms,” Avi Ben-Zvi, Group Director, Paid Social at Tinuiti said.

We will continue to provide more information on this breaking news as it becomes available.

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