Potential TikTok Ban: Where Would Advertisers and Users Go?

With the rise and fall of various social media platforms, users and advertisers are constantly looking for the next big thing. The article in ‘Insider Intelligence’ recently presented five insightful charts demonstrating where users (and advertisers) are likely to turn their attention after TikTok diminishes.

Here are a few statistics and information provided to help better understand the future of social media and advertising. 

Short-Form Video Content Platforms: Instagram Reels Takes the Lead

One of the most significant trends in the post-TikTok world is the continued growth of short-form video content platforms. YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Spotlight will become the most popular alternatives to TikTok. Instagram Reels took the lead, with a 26% share of user preference, followed by YouTube at 21%, others at 13%, and Snapchat Spotlight at 3%. It demonstrates that users are still interested in short-form video content, and these platforms are capitalising on this by offering similar features to TikTok. However, 37% of the respondents showed no interest in shifting to other platforms after the TikTok ban.

If Tiktok gets banned, YouTube Shorts will attract a more diverse age range, with 15% of 18-24-year-olds, 19% of the 25-34 age group, 24% of 35-54, and 26% of 55+. On the other hand, Instagram Reels will have a higher concentration of younger users as 37% of 18-24 age group users will switch from TikTok to Instagram reels.  

Facebook and Instagram Still Have More Users than TikTok

Both Instagram and Facebook support the Reels format. It makes sense why they already have over 130 million users. From 2019 to 2026, US social network users of Facebook are expected to increase from 173 billion to 177.6 billion. At the same time, the number of active users of Instagram will increase from 110.8 billion to 148.3 billion during the same period. The users of other social networks are lower than Facebook and Instagram; however, they will also increase during these years. On the other hand, the US social network users of Twitter tend to decrease from 54 to 50.5 from 2019 to 2026. 

Despite TikTok announcing 150 million monthly active users, whether it is an average or monthly number still needs to be clarified. This number might also include business, duplicate, and spam accounts. It further implements that the number of active TikTok users will be lower than this. 

Instagram Dominates In Downloads 

In 2022, Instagram topped the list of most downloaded social media apps in the US, according to Apptopia. The statistics show that Instagram ranked first with 72 million downloads. Whatsapp got the second position with 63 million downloads. While both Messenger and Facebook got the third rank with 46 downloads, followed by Telegram, Twitter, BeReal, Reddit, Discord, and Life360 in the mentioned order. 

Interestingly, TikTok is no longer classified as a social media app but an entertainment platform. It makes sense as TikTok contains digital entertainment videos. In case of a ban, TikTok users may have to replace the entertainment-focused app with a more social platform like Instagram as they won’t have any other option. 

Entertainment Platforms In Focus

While comparing Tiktok with entertainment platforms, i.e., Netflix and YouTube, in terms of the average time spent per day by US adult users, TikTok overtook YouTube in 2022. In 2020, the average time spent per day by US adult users on TikTok was 39 minutes, which increased to 47 in 2023 and is expected to increase to 48 minutes in 2024. On the other hand, YouTube active users spent an average of 44 minutes on the platform in 2020, which increased to 46 in 2023. Now, it is expected to remain almost the same till 46.

Regarding Netflix, the average time US active users spent on it in 2020 was 60, and it remained the same until 2022. Now it is expected to increase to 61 in 2024. As TikTok expands its media formats, it could leave Netflix behind. However, if TikTok gets banned, users might increase their time on YouTube or explore other media options, such as OTT TV platforms like Netflix.

Ad Spending Could Diversify Into Other Sectors  

As social media ad spending growth slows, retail media ad spending is rising. As statistics show, E-commerce channel search ad spending in 2020 was $13.90, while E-commerce channel display ad spending was $5.08. Currently, the Ecommerce channel search ad spending is $29.66, while the Ecommerce channel display ad spending is $8.86. Both ad spending formats are expected to increase to $51.72 and $15.89, respectively. According to the Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg, the ban on Tiktok would affect the retail media positively.

Regardless of a ban, advertisers should focus on where users spend time and where ad investments yield the best results. Currently, retail media seems to be a promising option.

Wrapping Up  

As TikTok’s influence diminishes, users and advertisers seek alternatives offering similar experiences and features. This article provides valuable insight into the platforms likely to dominate the social media landscape shortly. YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Spotlight have emerged as the top contenders, offering users short-form video content and advertisers an opportunity to reach their target audiences. By understanding these trends and user preferences, marketers can make informed decisions and effectively navigate the constantly evolving social media landscape.  

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