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Is TikTok Safe For Your Business?

The old saying is “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Well, TikTok may not be in agreement with that sentiment from some of the latest buzz surrounding the popular social platform. The short-form video app has come under scrutiny in recent months with concerns over data privacy and national security being cited as reasons for a potential ban.

In this blog, we’ll address whether or not your brand should be on TikTok because of the controversy or whether you can afford to miss out on its massive audience. Plus, Wheeler has pioneered a unique solution that will give you the best of both worlds!

First, let’s run down the main red flags that TikTok has raised and why some countries and states have banned it:

1. Data Privacy Concerns

Critics argue that the app collects too much data on its users and that this information is being shared with the Chinese government. TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, has repeatedly denied these allegations, stating that the app's data is stored outside of China and is subject to strict data privacy regulations. However, some governments remain unconvinced.

2. National Security Concerns

Some argue that the app's Chinese ownership could be used to spy on foreign governments and their citizens. This has led to some countries banning TikTok for government employees and military personnel. In addition, some governments have cited concerns over TikTok's potential to spread propaganda and disinformation.

3. Geopolitical Tensions

TikTok's potential ban has also been linked to geopolitical tensions between China and other countries. In particular, the app's ban in India has been linked to ongoing border disputes between the two countries. Similarly, TikTok's potential ban in the United States has been linked to trade tensions between the US and China. Some have argued that a potential ban is more of a political statement than an actual security measure, but is such controversy still a place your brand would want to avoid?

4. Lack of Transparency

Some governments argue that the app's opaque ownership structure and lack of transparency around its data collection practices make it difficult to trust the platform. This lack of transparency has led some governments to call for increased regulation of the app, with some even advocating for its complete ban.

Does advertising on TikTok provide ROI for businesses?

And if these controversies weren’t enough, there’s also the factor of considering the actual ROI or value of advertising on TikTok. With thousands of digital options out there, your business needs to carefully evaluate if this is one to invest in or skip. Some of the drawbacks of TikTok ads that Wheeler has found when beta-testing include:

1. Limited Targeting Options

Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok's advertising options are still in their early stages, and as such, the targeting options are limited. This means that businesses might struggle to reach their ideal audience, resulting in wasted ad spend. The available targeting options include age, gender, location, interests, and device type. However, compared to other platforms, these options are quite basic.

2. Limited Ad Formats

The platform's current ad formats include in-feed videos, branded hashtag challenges, brand takeovers, and top view ads. While these formats may work for some businesses, they may not be suitable for others. For example, if a business's product or service doesn't lend itself well to video content, then the in-feed video format may not be the best option. In addition, the limited ad formats may also result in ad fatigue among TikTok's audience, which could harm a business's brand reputation.

3. Limited Analytics

TikTok's analytics offerings are quite limited compared to other social media platforms. While businesses can access data on impressions, clicks, and engagement, they cannot track website conversions or other important metrics such as cost per acquisition (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS). This makes it difficult for businesses to determine the effectiveness of their campaigns.

4. Ad Creatives May Not Resonate with TikTok's Audience

Finally, it's important to consider whether a business's ad creatives will resonate with TikTok's audience. The platform's user base is primarily made up of younger generations, and as such, the content that performs well on TikTok tends to be more informal and playful. It may be the shiny, new toy but is TikTok’s audience the ideal target for your business?

What's the Wheeler Digital difference to reach the same audience?

Let’s say you’ve run through the above list and still come out feeling that TikTok is an important place for your business to be seen. But how can you accomplish this while avoiding any of the potential potholes listed above?

Being able to maximize your engagement with TikTok while not actually investing dollars on their ad platform is one of the many reasons that Wheeler offers Social Mirror ads. With Social Mirror, you can pick one set of targeting criteria, one geography, and one budget, and using creatives from TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and more, launch a united and consistent campaign that dominates all of social media with your brand!

It's safe, cost-effective, accurate and, best of all, the Wheeler Digital team is prepared to handle ALL of it for your business. If TikTok, or any social platform is a place you want to promote your business, then our Social Mirror platform is the perfect solution! Let us know if you have any questions or want to learn more.

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