TikTok Tests Sponsored Ads Pointing to Websites


• TikTok is running tests for native video ads that will direct the user to the advertiser’s website from the app. A Twitter user, for example, can watch the native ad from a video clip and find their way to a retailer through the ‘Learn More’ button. The ads must be labeled as ‘sponsored.’

• The music accompanying the clip is marked as ‘promoted music.’ If the user taps on the label, they get an error message revealing that the video does not support the feature. The profile page for the testing site showed a verification badge.

• While the video ad unit is in texting, the public cannot access it. The parent company for TikTok, ByteDance, started running the tests in the UK and the U.S. The company refuses to comment on the tests.


The video ad by TikTok is possibly one of the new products the company is planning to develop. Other products include hashtag challenges, brand takeovers and lens filters for photos according to a document leaked to Digiday. The report also listed an AR lens and a 3D lens to be 'projects in the works.' Last month, an ad to install an app for a food delivery service showed up on Tiktok. It is not clear if one of the new ad formats included five-second video ads.

ByteDance is working to monetize content that is generated by users. TikTok was one of the top five ranked apps for downloads that are not Facebook-owned. As of November last year, the app had reached 80 million downloads in the US and close to 800 million all over the world. In December, there were 75 million more downloads from across the globe. Before then, ByteDance had bought Muscial.ly and moved the users to a version of TikTok.

TikTok has found a global audience for its challenges that are user-driven that urge people to work together to create mobile content. This feature for collaboration allows users to stay on TikTok than they did on Musical.ly. Younger audiences feel more engaged than on traditional platforms like TV which otherwise appeal to advertisers in Gen Z. For TikTok, the major challenge will be in ensuring that brands are safe. This is a significant issue with platforms where users like with Twitter and YouTube generate content. Meanwhile, the company is harshly scrutinized in India following complaints of inappropriate content.


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