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After ban on TikTok, advertisers look for Indian alternatives

In a conversation with, industry experts said the ban on the Chinese app has forced brands to switch to newer alternatives to engage with consumers and has come as a blessing for Indian social media platforms

In the last couple of years, short video app TikTok had started gaining popularity as a marketing platform for many brands. There was an emergence of TikTok celebrities who benefited by tying up with brands for marketing different products and services. It was gaining popularity among the younger generation of consumers and brands were also taking into account TikTok in their marketing spends.

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After the government’s ban on 59 Chinese apps, including ByteDance’s TikTok, a lot of brands will have to revisit their strategies. Their overall business will also be affected, especially for brands that resonate with the younger audiences.

TikTok has gone entirely offline and is no longer working for users in India, and the impact is going to be very high for multiple stakeholders.

In a conversation with, industry experts said brands are now switching to alternative platforms. Many brands have turned to indigenous Indian social media platforms to engage with consumers.

B K Rao

B K Rao, Sr. Category Head, Marketing, Parle Products, said, “TikTok’s ban will not have any impact at all as advertisers have many other alternatives to reach the audience. TikTok is not the end of the world.”

“ShareChat and other social media apps are the way out. There are OTT platforms as well,” Rao added.

Rao said Parle did a small campaign on TikTok but the platform was never a leading option for the brand. “On the contrary, we rely more upon our indigenously developed application ShareChat.”

Parle did many campaigns on ShareChat, an Indian social media platform, and has got tremendous response there. “As an advertiser, TikTok’s ban makes no difference to me,” said Rao.

Anand Bhadkamkar

Over the last one year, TikTok was facing the heat due to certain issues, but it was still becoming quite a costly player, said Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network India. “The platform’s user belt increased, giving a right sort of spread for advertisers who were investing in TikTok to reach out to consumers across demographies the platform had.”

Bhadkamkar said with TikTok gone, the campaigns already planned by advertisers will get disrupted for a while.

Shradha Agarwal

Shradha Agarwal Co-founder and COO, Grapes Digital, said they had booked a hashtag challenge on TikTok for the next 60 days and now all plans related to driving awareness and engagement have to be done again.

If any campaign had been suggested or closed keeping TikTok in mind, then it means a whole lot of rework because now agencies have to identify new platforms. It could also mean a huge loss of revenue as clients might not use that money for anything else at all.

A hashtag challenge used to cost approx Rs 35 lakh, with a 5-10% media commission, which is now gone. Coming to retainers, a lot of clients were giving a fixed amount to drive content on TikTok. Now that the app is banned, that fixed revenue also goes down the drain.

 “Advertisers will look to negotiate with others. And as consumers shift their base, advertising would move accordingly. The existing platforms will get traction over there,” said Bhadkamkar.

Reckitt Benckiser chose not to comment on the impact of TikTok’s ban.

Manish Chowdhary

Manish Chowdhary, Co-Founder of Wow Skin Science, said the brand was exploring TikTok and so had launched a few campaigns in it, but had stopped using the platform a while ago.

Chowdhary said no brand focuses on only one social media platform so he does not think the ban will have any significant impact on the marketing industry. They will just have one channel less to reach out to the consumers. Marketing companies can use existing channels in innovative ways to continue to engage with their audience, he said.

Advertisers have to think of the strategies they had adopted when TikTok wasn’t in the market, Rao said. “There is already a new alternative, a Raipur-based social app ‘Chingari’. The app has more than 2.5 million downloads and if it works out to be a better platform, I will be happy to put my monies behind the indigenously developed app.”

Rao said the brand will always prefer promoting Indian than any other.  “I would be extremely delighted to support any other Indian platform than TikTok any day.”

According to Rao, Parle won’t advertise on the platform even if Tiktok returns. Wow, Skin Science said they will take a call depending on the consumer engagement scenario at that time.

Bhadkamkar said if the ban remains, other platforms will try and get on to the space TikTok had created in the market. Even advertisers will find different avenues of connecting with consumers.

In the absence of TikTok, brands will need to look at other platforms for engaging with customers and in the process similar Indian apps can leverage this situation and increase their visibility and popularity.

Advertisers have to understand and test the alternative platforms, not only for downloads but also the value of the apps, the kind of content and other policies and then decide, Rao said.

Pragya Upadhyay

I think YouTube is going to be one of the immediate alternatives for brands, said Pragya Upadhyay, VP, Growth at Pee Safe.

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