What does the future hold for TikTok under a Joe Biden-lead White House?
According to app analytics provider App Annie, big things - in its predictions for 2021, App Annie says that TikTok will exceed one billion users over the course of the next year.
As per App Annie:
"TikTok has seen sharp growth in active users by amassing a sizable global footprint in 2020 — nearly tripling in size since 2018. In 2021, we expect TikTok to not only achieve a coveted spot in the 1 Billion monthly active users club, but to sail straight past to 1.2 billion."
App Annie also notes that TikTok saw the second-highest consumer spend among non-gaming apps in Q3 2020, which underlines its earnings potential.
"Whilst TikTok monetizes through ads, it also allows users to transact in the app through sales of virtual gifts used for tipping streamers."
That, seemingly, puts TikTok in a strong position heading into the new year - but it does, of course, assume that TikTok will still be operational in the US, which, technically, is still in question.
I say technically, because thus far, TikTok has avoided any penalties scheduled to be imposed on it as part of the Trump Administration's Executive Order issued back in August, which ruled that TikTok needed to be sold to a US-owned business or it would be banned in the US completely. But it's not totally free of any impacts just yet.
At last check, the Pennsylvania District Court had ruled against the proposed ban on TikTok after a group of prominent TikTok users sought an injunction, arguing that banning the app would impact their livelihoods. The court agreed, which essentially suspended the final element of the EO, meaning that TikTok could continue on, as normal, in the US, with no impacts, regardless of whether it ends up being sold to Oracle/Walmart or not.
But that ruling, and all others, are subject to appeal by the US Government, if it so chooses to enforce the original order. Some had suggested that the Trump administration would be seeking to push harder for a TikTok ban if it won the election, as the public perception that TikTok has successfully avoided a ban could look bad for its authority. But with Joe Biden now the President-elect, that changes things significantly.
According to reports, a Biden administration is likely to take a less critical stance on TikTok and the concerns around its ownership.
As per The Denver Post:
"Robert Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, which is funded by U.S. tech companies, said the TikTok ban was “much more of a Trump issue” that Biden might drop."
Indeed, additional reports have suggested that the proposed Oracle-lead deal for TikTok is likely to come under heavy scrutiny by the Biden Administration, and is unlikely to be approved. Which would mean that TikTok would come out of the process unharmed - not totally free of impacts, as it did lose a CEO in the scuffle with the Trump Admin. But from a practical standpoint, it would remain available, utilizing the same systems, the same algorithms. TikTok, as users know it, would be exactly the same, if these projections are correct.
That could mean that it's time for brands to get on-board. If TikTok is set to join the billion-user club, that will present significant opportunities, and with the platform adding in more eCommerce tools and other options, it could present significant value as a brand promotion vehicle.
Some will remain hesitant, and the current legal challenges by the Trump Admin will need to play out before there's any concrete path forward for the app. But it seems like TikTok could be the place to be - as based on this analysis, many, many more users will be flocking to the app.