TikTok is as well quickly becoming marketers’ new darling, mainly because of the access it gives brands to creators and also consumers of middle India. Despite a recent controversy over explicit and inappropriate content spotted on the platform that resulted in a temporary ban on app downloads, the brands that use TikTok have stuck by it. Voonik, a fashion e-store for women, was the first brand to explore TikTok in India. According to Prem Suganth V.T, associate director, Voonik, TikTok as a marketing platform is maturing and Voonik’s approach to it is shaped by a longer term strategy. “The product is undergoing a lot of transformation based on the needs of the advertisers, which means it’s too early to park a huge budget there. Currently, not more than 20% of our digital marketing budget gets allocated to TikTok.” But, he adds, by the end of the second quarter the number is expected to go up to 50%.
The recent border skirmishes with China and also subsequent calls by many Indians to boycott Chinese goods may have immediate repercussions for the video sharing app TikTok in India as well. Advertising experts told brands may be wary of using that ByteDance-owned Chinese app to market and also promote their products in the short run despite its popularity. Launched in India in 2017, TikTok has been bullish on India with more than around 600 million lifetime downloads so far. The platform has brands as like Pepsi, Puma, Dettol, Flipkart, and Myntra advertising on it very well.
Sanjay Vasudeva, the founder of influencer marketing firm BuzzOne, said both Chinese apps and products may bear the brunt of people’s ire in the near term.
“Brands like to work in a safe environment. Even a modicum of discomfort or the fear of being trolled will keep them away from TikTok. While they may not abandon the platform, they could be inactive in the immediate future,” as he told. He ideally cited the example of his customer a Chinese mobile brand whose campaign was trolled on Instagram a month ago and also had to be dropped. Samit Sinha, brand expert and managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, also told that some brands may relocate from TikTok to other platforms as well.
Queries emailed to TikTok remained unanswered.