Video sharing platforms that offer variations on TikTok's core features saw a surge in downloads at the beginning of August after President Donald Trump said on July 31 that he wanted to ban TikTok from operating in the United States.
Services such as Clash Video, Triller and Byte picked up thousands of users as TikTok fans started to search out possible alternatives.
Century City-based Triller shot to No. 1 on the list of free apps on Apple’s App Store on Aug. 1, up from No. 77 the previous day. The app saw 357,000 U.S. downloads over the first weekend of August, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower Inc.
Clash, which had a soft launch at the end of July, had 59,000 U.S. downloads during the first weekend in August. Clash co-founder and Chief Executive Brendon McNerney worked as a creator consultant at Musical.ly and a launch strategist at TikTok, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Byte, which was created by Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann and launched in January, recorded 400,000 U.S. downloads Aug. 1-2, the most by any short video platform during that period.
Facebook Inc., meanwhile, rolled out its TikTok rival Reels on Instagram on Aug. 5, pouncing on the uncertainty surrounding the Chinese-owned app.
But industry observers say brands and advertisers have yet to step away from TikTok. With more than 100 million users in the United States, the app has a much larger base than other short video platforms.
“Many brands realize that this is just Trump fueling xenophobia and are actually taking advantage of this with the lower prices. However, the larger brands are more asking questions about whether their campaigns can be complemented with campaigns on Snapchat and Instagram if there was a ban,” said Timothy Armoo, chief executive of Fanbytes Ltd., a London-based digital marketing startup.
Trump has suggested he would ban TikTok through an executive order, which would likely face a legal challenge. But it could still hit the business hard if the app is abruptly removed from the U.S. app stores on Apple and Google.
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