TikTok Reveals Hashtag Challenge Changes and Big Brand Media Incentives: Email Leak

Social media apps often give free media to brands to test new products and ad campaigns, but TikTok’s giveaway is significant by most standards, advertisers said. “They’re going after brands that aren’t fully invested in TikTok yet, or are platform agnostic,” said a marketing manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “These are for the big advertisers. These advertising credits are quite significant. This person said ad credits for TikTok could be over six figures, other ad executives said they were usually around $50,000.

A TikTok spokesperson said the platform offers credits based on individual customer campaigns, where a certain amount of spend unlocks auction ad credits for programmatic ads when brands bid on inventory.

Ad Age also received a copy of a recent email from TikTok ad sales reps to marketers that showed the company is “evolving” in how hashtag challenges work. Hashtag challenges arise when a brand promotes a trend, draws attention to a campaign, and is among TikTok’s largest and most expensive advertising products. Pricing for the challenges started at $150,000 for six days.

TikTok has a complex advertising platform, with a variety of products like full-screen video ad takeovers and options for brands to partner with creators. TikTok is considered an effective marketing platform, but it’s also difficult for brands to decipher its unfamiliar culture. TikTok teens have a unique style of video consumption, which doesn’t lend itself to easy commercial interruptions. TikTok has tried to teach brands this style of video and create advertising products that are better suited to the trends, memes, dance, music, and editing tricks that come naturally to TikTok users. TikTok is also trying to impress on brands that it can be a safe atmosphere, even if some user-created videos are risky or involve sensitive topics.

Related: What Sprite’s Viral TikTok Challenge Could Teach Brands

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and is expected to hit $6 billion in U.S. ad revenue this year, according to eMarketer, up from $2 billion last year. At the same time, TikTok is strengthening its presence in the advertising world by participating in major industry events such as the digital NewFronts in May. She is also sending her advertising team to Cannes this month, marking her first official appearance at the advertising festival.

In recent months, TikTok has made substantial changes to the advertising platform. TikTok has made a series of announcements about new partnerships with marketing technology companies, including social analytics firms like Sprout Social and Sprinklr, and measurement firm IRI.

“There’s a lot they’re up to and a lot they’re evolving,” said an executive from a new TikTok marketing partner. “TikTok is very iterative on its ad products.”

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