How to Navigate the TikTok Ban as a Higher Ed Marketer

Carnegie Higher Ed Jun 17, 2024 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

TikTok for Higher Education

With over 1 billion monthly active users of all ages worldwide, TikTok has a broad reach to prospective students, parents, alumni, and other critical stakeholders for higher education institutions. 1 in 5 teens say they’re on the platform almost constantly. In fact, according to TikTok, approximately one-third of its users utilize the platform to research schools, courses, or training programs. Given the number of people on TikTok and the large amount of time they spend there, the looming TikTok ban is a big deal for digital advertising.

We’re here to help you understand the potential ban, its current effects on your marketing efforts, and your best strategies to reach prospective students during these changes.

A Quick Recap on the Ban

TikTok is an app owned by Bejing-based parent company, ByteDance. Security concerns have been raised about the privacy of user data associated with this app for several years. In March 2024, the House of Representatives proposed a measure that would force TikTok to split from its parent company or potentially face a national ban. In April 2024, President Biden signed the bill, giving TikTok’s parent company 9-12 months to split or sell. In response, TikTok is suing the US government, calling the law ‘unconstitutional.’

How To Navigate And Who’s Involved

Let’s break down what this ban could mean for colleges and universities targeting 170 million Americans using TikTok daily. As of late April 2024, several dozen universities have taken a stand against TikTok by limiting access to the social media platform via their WiFi networks.

Our contacts at TikTok have expressed confidence in their platform’s resilience and commitment to navigating through this period of uncertainty. So, here are our recommendations when building your digital strategy for TikTok in 2024:

There is no immediate need to pause any ongoing TikTok campaigns or delay the launch of new campaigns.
Continue leveraging TikTok as part of marketing efforts while remaining vigilant and responsive to further developments.
Monitor the situation closely and update yourself on significant changes or developments affecting TikTok campaigns.
TLDR: Stay the course, but be prepared to pivot.

Digital Strategy Management at Carnegie

At Carnegie, we diligently stay informed on our clients’ behalf so we can make the best possible decisions for their campaign strategies. We have trusted relationships with TikTok reps, ensuring our digital marketing campaigns are based on the most up-to-date information and effective routes to target markets.

Want to be on our list of clients who are in the know as the TikTok ban unfolds? Learn more about how we use data to drive our digital strategies and explore recent case studies to see our strategies in action.


This blog was co-written by Silvana Gargione, Senior Digital Copywriter, and Amy Szablak, Director of Social Media Marketing & Digital Strategy. 

Never miss an update.