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Will Facebook and Google be the biggest gainers from TikTok ban?

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With products like Instagram Reels & YouTube Shorts, the two online giants are surely in a good position to leverage the ban on TikTok

Considering Indians spent around 5 billion hours on Tik-Tok last year, Indian video sharing apps are in the right place at the right time to leverage the ban on Chinese apps. The ban has also forced re-allocations of budgets, and apart from specific ecosystems within the Indian video streaming apps space, big legacy networks like Google and Facebook will be the beneficiaries, and better so with their new line up of products like Instagram Reels & YouTube Shorts.

“Facebook will be the biggest gainer. With a product like Instagram Reels in its arsenal, Facebook can quickly move in to take over the space now vacated by Tik Tok. On top of it, if Facebook could also do some integration with WhatsApp for seamless video sharing across these two platforms (Reels and Whats App), it will propel the growth of Reels,” opines Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO, Mirum India.

Kaushal Thakkar, Founder & Managing Director, Infidigit, meanwhile, feels that Google will now expedite the launch of YouTube Shorts considering that India is the largest market for short form of video content. “Once launched, Google would be the largest gainer and Facebook the second-largest,” he believes.

As per DAN-e4m Digital Report 2020, 28 per cent of budgets is allocated to social media and 22 per cent to online video. “More than 90 per cent of the social budgets would be for Facebook and its family of offerings. And 90 pe cent would roughly amount to Rs 3,500 crores annually for Facebook. I believe the budgets would now increase by 15-20 per cent in the short term, i.e. Rs 4,200 crores,” adds Thakkar.

However, it will be the consumer engagement and mass participation on TikTok that would need to be accounted for in terms of budget allocation. “Whether it is Reels or home-grown challengers like HiPi, I think what the ban has exposed is the gap in the media landscape for an active consumer engagement platform, a platform that is ‘action by default’. While media optimisations will ensure that budgets are smartly re-allocated across a mix of big legacy platforms like Google and Facebook suite along with specific ecosystems like Sharechat(and Moj), Mitro, etc to name a few, it’s the consumer familiarity, the active creator community and mass participation engineering of TikTok that needs to be accounted for,” says Manish Thanvi, Senior Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney.

Nicole Ferraz, Creative Director of Blink Digital, shares that the shifts of budgets will actually depend on the brand itself. “Performance-based brands especially in online gaming got better results using TikTok. So their budgets for the platform were generally higher. However, brands in retail and OTT get a higher ROI from platforms like Instagram and Facebook rather than TikTok, so obviously percentages for these two platforms were higher than Tik Tok.  So how much of a gain Facebook will see on this front depends on the brand itself,” explains Ferraz.

Some agencies feel that the overall social media boycott wave may keep budget allocation away from the large networks leading to more skew towards Indian video sharing social media apps. “Though Facebook and Instagram have gained a significant amount of active monthly users during this pandemic, brands will prefer channels like Roposo, Bolo Indya, Mitron TV, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and more. The reason behind this shift is not just the boycott of Facebook and Instagram by the advertisers but also the ban of TikTok social media app, leaving influencers to make their space and build engagement on these platforms,” says Divanshi Gupta, Director, The Marcom Avenue.

An advantage with these large networks coming up with video sharing apps is that influencers and content creators do not have to relocate their content. “As far as Instagram is concerned, they’re playing it very smart, making Reels also a part of the Instagram app itself. This ensures users, brands, and influencers don’t need to find alternatives to share their content on, stopping future relocations to other video sharing apps. If Reels does well, it will be a force to reckon with for other video sharing apps in India,” says Ferraz of Blink Digital.

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