After numerous viral videos to get us through quarantine, Tik Tok is making advertising more readily available to advertisers! In early July, Tik Tok announced its ad platform will be made available to advertisers in countries where the platform is operational. And as part of this ad platform announcement, they are branding it not as making ads, but rather Tik Toks, according to the slogan on their website, “Don’t Make Ads, Make Tik Toks”.

Now to be clear, they did previously have an advertising platform, but it was quite difficult for advertisers to gain access to the platform or establish an account. In addition, there were numerous workarounds for advertisers who were actually granted an account.  With the launch of their new and improved ad platform, advertisers are chomping at the bit to get their hands on it and put it to work. However, take one look at their website, and one can deduct that there isn’t much information regarding how the ad platform operates. Advertisers are left in the dark as to what they can expect their investments to look like.  In fact, the only real pieces of information on their website are the locations in which they operate and three case studies that, well, are generic at best. These case studies show “results” for Guess, Clean and Clear, and Universal Pictures.


So How Do You Advertise on Tik Tok?

When one does more research on the social media’s ad platform, they are going to be met with much of the same things outlined in the first two paragraphs of this article. But, one Tech Crunch article does stand out. According to Tech Crunch, there will be 5 different ad formats available to users. The first being Tik Tok’s marquee product, the TopView. This ad format is the first ad that is displayed when the user logs onto the social media app. The second format will be Brand Takeovers, which is essentially a 3-5 second video or image ad with no sound. The third will be In-Feed videos, which are your standard social media video ads that are allowed up to 60 seconds in duration.

These next two ad formats are a bit different from the rest in that, we haven’t seen them in any other social platforms before. The fourth available ad format will be a Hashtag Challenge. This is where a brand can invite users in the community to create content around a hashtag of the advertiser’s choice.  The Tech Crunch article did not provide any insight on how this would work, and we were unable to find any documentation on this ad format as of now. Included in the Hashtag Challenge will be Hashtag Plus, which is an e-commerce shopping feature.

The final ad format that will be available is what Tik Tok calls, “Branded Effects”. This is their newest ad format and is a part of their ad platform overhaul. Branded Effects allow an advertiser to immerse themselves and their brand into the content creation experience by being able to add 2D, 3D, or Augmented Reality (AR) formats to either the foreground or the background of Tik Tok videos.

This is a major move by Tik Tok, especially in the digital marketing realm. Until now, the video app has been adamantly against ads being on their platform.  Launching these new advertising options and branding them as “Don’t Make Ads, Make Tik Toks”, could change everything advertisers think about social media advertising. This shift may cause marketers to be more strategic and spark users’ engagement and ingenuity rather than just be selling machines.

These changes also make it easier for smaller brands to access new audiences and younger demographics where they are. As mentioned before, getting access to the old ads’ platform for Tik Tok was an exhausting, nearly impossible task. Now, pretty much anyone with an email and credit card can sign up.

Wait…We Might Not Even Get to Use It? 

The White House and Congress are looking at Tik Tok, WeChat, and many other apps that pose a potential national security threat to the United States. Many of these threats are tied to data privacy surrounding the apps. Tik Tok is owned by the Chinese-based company, ByteDance. Because of this, and other issues, Tik Tok is now under investigation by the United States Government.  Many lawmakers are worried that the social media platform is sharing data with the Chinese Communist Government, which then poses a national threat to the United States. Large corporations like Amazon and Wells Fargo have encouraged their staff to delete the social media apps off their phone due to these concerns.

Tik Tok has denied any allegations of wrongdoing by the US government.  They claim to have made several changes internally to combat these allegations including distancing themselves from their sister company, Douyin (China’s version of Tik Tok), and appointing former Walt Disney Executive Kevin Mayer, as their current CEO.

National security concerns regarding Tik Tok and other apps align with previous moves made by the United States government. Recently, the FCC has banned Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese-based telecommunications corporations. Whether US marketers will get a chance to utilize the popular platform is unclear as of now.

This could also mean that we wrote this article for nothing and everything mentioned above this line is completely irrelevant and I wasted a few solid hours researching and writing this article… But, until we know for sure, let us venture into this new realm together and see what Tik Tok is made of.