TikTok, the short-form video app that combined with Musical.ly in August, has yet to launch ad units for brands or formal monetization products for creators. But over the last month, agencies have been paying closer attention to the app.
With headlines from CNN and the Washington Post touting TikTok videos as viral sensations, marketers see another shiny object with potential for solid engagement. And it isn’t linked to Facebook, Google or Amazon — which is frustrating for ad tracking and, simultaneously, intriguing for diversifying budgets.
“TikTok is becoming more and more interesting. I am starting to see more Vine-style type content. I think TikTok is great in terms of promoting record labels, artists, their albums as well as creating brand-awareness campaigns. TikTok has a ways to go, but I do think they are headed in the right direction,” said Chris Strong, account director at influencer marketing agency Viral Nation.
Indeed, some brands have experimented with running influencer campaigns on TikTok. Universal Pictures, for example, had influencers on TikTok promote “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” working with popular users like Gabby Murray, Rebecca Zamolo and Chris Kerr and Sharla May of “Our Fire” ahead of the film’s launch in September.
For the most part, these partnerships are orchestrated by brands and the influencers themselves rather than TikTok being involved and taking a share of the revenue. One creative agency told Digiday they’re currently working with a client on a TikTok campaign to launch in the coming weeks. But TikTok has been prepping to work more with media companies and agencies in the coming months. In 2017, Musical.ly inked content partnerships with NBCUniversal, Viacom and Hearst. A spokesperson for NBCUniversal told Digiday that its deal is no longer active.
“We’re focused on consumer experience first, but we do have plans for that,” said TikTok’s head of global marketing, Stefan Heinrich.