TikTok is looking to grow as media buyers say the app needs to expand its U.S. team to keep up with demand. The company is currently seeking candidates for at least 17 positions for its ads business: two brand strategists, two influencer campaign managers, an ad products specialist, an ad operations manager, a trust and safety policy manager, among others, in its U.S. headquarters of Los Angeles, as well as offices in New York, San Francisco and Mountain View, California, according to jobs listings on LinkedIn.
The Bytedance-owned short-form video app launched in the U.S. in 2018 but its popularity has skyrocketed in recent months, drawing more big-name advertisers like Ralph Lauren and Chipotle, as well as a number of beauty companies like Eos, Too Faced and Elf to the app.
The allure of TikTok for advertisers isn’t just the potential to be among the first major advertising wave on the app, which has captured the attention of younger audiences, but the ability to run campaigns with sound as it is native to the way users watch content on the app, according to media buyers.
Buyers say the company is in a growth phase and that TikTok’s ad business now resembles early Snap Ads with low CPMs, a buggy self-serve platform (for those who have access to it), few metrics and unproven sustainability. Buyers have other complaints, like wait times of up to 24 hours for campaigns to appear on the platform and a junior ads team in need of help, too. For advertisers expecting the maturity of an ad platform like Google, TikTok will be a letdown. But for advertisers looking for a new platform to experiment on while it’s still growing, even with the current hiccups, buyers are bullish.
“They need to scale up a bit to meet the demand on the platform,” said one media buyer who has run multiple TikTok campaigns for clients. “We saw the same thing with Snap and Snap Ads a few years ago.”
“They don’t have the ad tools built out or measurement tools to really help us figure this out and justify it to compare it to some of the more established digital platforms,” said Matthew Rednor, founder and CEO of Decoded Advertising. “That’s a big complaint and one of the biggest reasons that big advertisers and agencies are not yet on the platform, even though everyone is there.”