TikTok Tells Nervous Advertisers ‘We Are Not Backing Down’

TikTok advertisers
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TikTok advertisers
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Photo Credit: Jon Tyson

As the clock ticks down for TikTok in the US, the company’s president of global business solutions tells concerned advertising execs that it would fight tooth and nail against the potential ban — ‘We are not backing down.’

TIkTok’s NewFronts presentation to ad buyers started off addressing the elephant in the room: the looming US ban of its app in approximately nine months, should Chinese parent company ByteDance fail to divest the platform in the States. But the company’s opening remarks asserted TikTok would fight the proposed ban in court.

“I want you to know that we are not backing down,” said Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s president of global business solutions, during the company’s invite-only NewFronts presentation. There, attendees were treated to lavender and elderflower cocktails to soothe their fears of a looming ban while TikTok rocked them to sleep with stories about fighting the US bill in court.

It’s no secret that advertisers have become all too infatuated with TikTok and its uncanny ability to reach elusive Gen Z consumers. “Advertisers love TikTok because their target audiences love TikTok,” said Jon Morgenstern, head of investment at VaynerMedia, in a statement to WSJ.

President Biden signed a bill into law last month that will ban TikTok in the US if ByteDance fails to find a buyer in less than a year. TikTok encouraged its users to campaign against the bill before it was passed, calling it unconstitutional and vowing to challenge it in court.

Meanwhile, TikTok’s US ad sales will grow by 31% this year to $8.66 billion — accounting for 2.8% of all digital ad spend, estimates Emarketer. The platform has been eager to offer advertisers the tools they want, marketing execs tell WSJ, with a range of ad types, custom products, and branded hashtag “challenges” that encourage users to participate in marketing campaigns.

The platform’s Creative Exchange, launched at the end of 2021, has gone a long way in streamlining brand deals with TikTok influencers. This and similar tools have gone the extra mile for advertisers in a way other competing platforms have not, according to marketing executives.

Despite the significant pains that a US ban would cause advertisers, most brands distribute their ads evenly among social media and digital companies — so they’ll continue to go wherever the users are.

For example, many ads distributed to TikTok, which favor vertical video and a “DIY-style” production quality, are already repurposed for other social media platforms, such as YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

“A lot of people go to TikTok for the creators who are on there, more than the platform itself,” said Chris Cheever, director of paid social at media agency Exverus. “So whoever is able to offer those opportunities to creators will probably see that the audience will follow.”