Will TikTok’s New Ownership Influence Brand Relationships?

How creators could be impacted under Oracle acquisition

Oracle logo and Charli D
Will the platform going under new ownership influence brand relationships with influencers or the algorithm itself? charlidamelio, Oracle, TikTok
Headshot of Brian Freeman

It’s time for more brands to take a leap of faith and trust creators to give them the voice consumers in these smaller pockets of influence want to hear.

TikTok, a new-to-the-scene video platform with billions of users that’s on pace to outgrow Instagram soon, is mostly an untapped resource — especially for companies that sell to Generation Z and young millennials. The app has been in the news in recent months after President Trump threatened to ban it from the U.S. unless an American company took ownership. Fast forward to this week, when Oracle won the bid to take over TikTok’s U.S. operations.

What sets TikTok apart—particularly for brands working with influencers—is its unique design that prioritizes creators. Will the platform going under new ownership influence brand relationships with influencers or the algorithm itself?

Difference by design

Appearing on the “For You” scrolling page with recommended content is the equivalent of striking gold on TikTok. Innovative and authentic influencer marketing stands a good chance of making waves there, which means brands stand a good chance of getting their messages in front of an audience. Because TikTok rewards the most creative talent on its platform, brands have an opportunity to find and invest in creators who know how to tell their stories authentically.

Red Bull recently partnered with a young influencer who made a video that appears to show him doing a magic trick with a Red Bull drink. Even when the trick is revealed to be a prank, the ability to highlight the brand through humor and memorable content made a lasting impression on Red Bull’s target audience in a genuine, organic way.

@keeoh

yo but where did the Redbull go????????????‍♂️????????‍♂️ #sponsored

♬ original sound – keeoh

In terms of whether brands should be worried about the algorithm changing because of the acquisition, much remains up in the air, but the algorithm is what powers content’s viral potential on the platform. Any partnership will likely involve an agreement that allows the algorithm to process data on the app, but with oversight from a U.S. company that offers additional data transparency. The deal announced Monday illustrates a go-forward environment in which the algorithm stays intact and brands continue to thrive.

An authentic open door

Although nano-influencers can help brands establish their TikTok presence while carrying the chance of viral distribution, marquee talent will almost certainly land them on the “For You” page in front of millions of users.

By partnering with Charli D’Amelio, Dunkin’ regularly received praise from an excellent content creator with more than 50 million followers. This is the essence of authentic influencer marketing: D’Amelio’s early posts on TikTok show that she was a fan of Dunkin’ before the partnership, which solidifies her genuine interest in the brand while lending credibility to her voice.

@charlidamelio

#duet with @dunkin 1..2..3 with the caramel @patreeky #charlirunsondunkin #ad

♬ The Charli – dunkin

Because the Oracle acquisition is so recent, creators and companies working with the platform will have to watch for direction in the coming weeks to see what—if anything—changes about the way they collaborate. Because Oracle has historically focused on b-to-b acquisitions, it’s likely that creator relationships could stay largely the same for years before anything changes.

That means opportunities for influencer and brand collaborations on TikTok are ripe for the picking. Brands have a golden opportunity to enter a relatively empty playing field and reap the benefits of working with influencers. By embracing TikTok for influencer marketing, brands can set themselves up for incredible success.


Brian Freeman is CEO and founder of Heartbeat.
{"taxonomy":"default","sortby":"default","label":"","shouldShow":"on"}