On 6th August, President Trump signed two orders banning transactions with WeChat and TikTok.
The decree is set to take effect after 45 days. The Government of India had already issued a TikTok ban in June 2020, with a cartload (actually 59) of other applications. These actions are in response to a dispute with China.
(Latest Update – As of August 8th, India is considering lifting the Tiktok ban. Reliance is said to be interested in purchasing TikTok as well)
It is certain to affect brand strategies for consumers and digital marketing budgets alike. It has also created a void. Other alternatives are expected to rise to fill that void.
The dynamic has changed. With global recession, disruption due to COVID-19, lack of competitive product avenues and the notorious boycott of Facebook has reflected negatively on digital consumption.
Can Indian app developers rise to the challenge and come up with apps that can fill the void left by Chinese apps? Can they create apps that solve a global problem of digital dependency?
Anybody and everybody could create videos and upload them. No design knowledge, no worry about targeting an audience, just share content that people could enjoy or engage with.
Samit Sinha from Alchemist Brand Consulting says, “The TikTok ban is big for the industry just as it had begun to attract a huge number of users and also significant to digital advertising budgets over the last year or two”.
Samit is right. TikTok saw massive spend on ad budgets as well as influencer spend by brands. Now with TikTok banned, that ad budget needs to be re-circulated or re-planned. The ad budget spent on influencers is now termed a loss.
Content creators and curators who spent hours developing content for TikTok will now have to do the same for another platform. They will need to understand the user persona and come up with engaging storytelling.
Brands will have to reach out to different influencers now. Similar audiences have to be targeted, but those who are active on alternative apps. The same TikTok influencers can now build their audience on Instagram Reels for example. Couple of examples of Indian apps that work on an influencer marketing system are Chingari and Mitron.
The ban also paved the way for a short-form video ecosystem. Indian app developers need to grab this opportunity and think of creating a globally renowned app.
Flipkart is in the process of building an influencer marketing system. Numerous wallet apps can be seen bridging the demand-supply gap thanks to the absence of the 59 banned apps.
The super app ecosystem will encompass content, social and performance facets. YouTube already does all of this and will be the biggest earner.
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