How will the TikTok ban change the dynamics of Digital Campaigns?

Divanshi Gupta

Divanshi Gupta, Director, The Marcom Avenue charts out the possibilities of what’s next in the wake of TikTok ban in India.

The year 2020 is turning out to be a roller coaster ride for not just humanity but all the businesses across the world. One can say that the year 2020 has seen it all, from a life-threatening worldwide pandemic, fall in the global economy, Indo-China geopolitical tension, ban of Chinese apps to a lot more, that has left the general public, advertisers and brands puzzled and in distress. At the advent of COVID-19 outbreak in India and other parts of the world, all the brands immediately withdrew their investments from BTL (below the line) and ATL (above the line) media and started pumping budget in TTL (through the line) platforms to gain the attention of the massive influx of people on the platform.

In the last three months, the maximum percentage of the brand’s marketing budget has been distributed amongst the highly visited digital media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Helo, Snapchat, Twitter and others. However, in the last week, the digital scenario has changed concerning the geopolitical tension between the two countries, India and China, and the ban on the Chinese apps in the country. Further, the brands will now have to re-analyze their customer base’s attention span, time spent on each platform, and type of content consumption behaviour to strategically target the audience that brings ineffective return on investment while engaging the audience in meaningful experience this pandemic.

The ban on TikTok has raised a few questions in the minds of brand managers and advertisers related to the next course of action, and how will they re-plan the brand’s budget that can bring in more or matching results as TikTok would have.

What is the next big thing after TikTok in short video format?

Started with Dubsmash till TikTok, the short video format content has become a THING worldwide. People have gone overboard with this type of content to create and shoot all kinds of videos from baking to fashion, health & fitness or any kind of storytelling. But, with the ban of TikTok in India, the content creators are struggling to establish their base. Fashion bloggers/influencers are moving to Roposo, artists are returning to Instagram, and storytellers are moving to YouTube or other similar platforms.

But, what is the next big thing? Around the ban of TikTok in India, one Indian company launched a social media app, Mitron TV, which enables users to create short-video format content. The app has seen over 23 million downloads since then, and it is still growing. Apart from that, recently, Instagram has launched Instagram Reels, which is a similar offering to TikTok. So, to say what is the next big thing? We have to wait and analyze the movement of users, time spent and content produced on the platform.

How will the boycott of Facebook and Instagram by all major brands impact the whole digital outline?

Major brands across the world are boycotting Facebook and Instagram concerning the hate speech issue in the US market. Though this may come as a blow, the overall impact on the whole digital outline will be minimal as the social media giants will continue to earn revenue from other millions of businesses associated with them due to their low cost and well-targeted ads.

Further, Instagram Reels may draw attention soon and pull-in budget from businesses.

Also Read: [In-depth] How TikTok ban impacts marketing plans?

What choices will the brands make to be amongst their target audience, their next plan of action?

At this point of time in the marketing scenario, the brands will tend to choose a platform that enables storytelling in a creative, musical and most-effective way. Going forward with the ban on TikTok, major brands will choose a platform like Instagram and YouTube to state their brand message, as the platforms see 165+ million and 265+ million monthly active users respectively and enable the marketers to share long video format content on their platform.


  • As per the industry insights, YouTube is testing short video format content, YouTube Stories, and
  • The launch of Instagram Reels in India will draw ex-TikTokers to the platform and beyond. 

What kind of digital campaigns can be expected to be seen in the near future?

Brands will have to be more creative, given that there are restrictions on the choice of platform and the variety of formats. In the near future, the kind of digital campaigns that will make the mark will originate from the likes of Influencer marketing, social commerce, brand challenges and minimalistic art form using Snapchat AR filter, Instagram Swipe up feature, Hashtag Challenge, Use-Case Storytelling and people-oriented contexts that not only will attract the users towards the brand but will also engage them in brand experience and shopping.

This article has been authored by Divanshi Gupta, Director, The Marcom Avenue.