Will TikTok be banned in the UK?

Category: Social Media
Will TikTok be banned in the UK?

With the UK Government and the BBC moving to remove TikTok from their devices, the rumour mill continues to spin around whether the platform will be banned altogether in the UK and US.

Andrew Stephenson the Director of Marketing EMEA & India at enterprise customer data platform, Treasure Data asks what this means for retail advertising and ecommerce?

Long-term investment in TikTok as a channel once felt like a no-brainer, as current projections forecast there will be as many as 15 million UK TikTok users by 2025. However, retail marketers must now keep their ears to the ground as they put contingency plans in place for a post-TikTok Britain. In uncertain times, marketers will need all the insight they can get. 

To help navigate these waters, Andrew suggests:

  • Don’t expect one platform to do the work for you – even the prospect of TikTok’s demise will remind retailers of the inherent risks that comes with over-investment in any one platform. The proliferation of retail media networks – as well as the growing prevalence of shopper marketing – is a lesson to all brands, that collecting and leaning on first party data is the best way to stay on top of evolving consumer trends. 
  • Gone but not forgotten? Whilst TikTok’s downfall could be imminent, the trends that began there will endure for years to come. New influencer communities, branded hashtag challenges, live selling and #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt are all part of the beginning – whether it be live commerce or the power of the influencer marketing, retailers must remain experimental as they carry with them the lessons of the TikTok era. 
  • Life will go on – the end of TikTok in the UK and US may or may not be looming, but it’s only a matter of time until the next-best-thing pops up. In the meantime, it’s crucial that retail marketers draw as much insight as they can out of consumer behaviour data, as they look to predict what the next TikTok may look like. 

Taking a more prosaic view, I think that it’s unlikely that we will see a blanket TikTok ban in the UK. However when employees of government and other large organisations block the use of the platform on business devices it will have an impact. For the average consumer however, once hooked on TikTok they are unlikely to care as much about their personal data as perhaps they should. It’s hard to desert a platform once you’re addicted to it, but marketeers should still bear in mind that platforms come and go at a relatively fast rate in today’s fast moving world.

Take Skype for example, I can remember a time when Skype was the go to communications tool, but it’s been usurped by the likes of WhatsApp and Messenger for day to day usage with Zoom, Meet and Teams for group calls. Having once been an almost daily tool I personally used, I can’t even remember the last time I had a Skype call.

And we should never forget the fall of Yahoo! from what was once my chosen portal to the Internet to almost total irrelevancy in today’s world. Internauts from GenZ age probably don’t even know what Yahoo! is.

Drawing on lessons from marketplace selling, the message is clear that you shouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket and you should be ready to pivot to new social and entertainment platforms as consumers change their preferences. TikTok is currently a brilliant marketing tool and likely to remain so in the years ahead, but we still don’t know what the next big thing will be.

One Response

  1. Well once again you write an article about TikTok without even a mention of China, the CCP or Chairman Xi. Maybe you need to educate yourself on China’s methods of psychological warfare and the true purpose of this platform. I for one hope it is banned.


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