Pathmatics Blog

TikTok Advertising: Leaning into Mobile Display

August 20 2020 by Sarah Fleishman

Between talks of a Microsoft acquisition and a US ban by President Trump, the short-form video platform and social network TikTok has continued to make headlines in the second half of 2020. But even before the recent buzz, the platform has grown steadily over the past four years, amassing over a billion users globally, according to Seeking Alpha. 

While we don’t track ads on the TikTok platform (yet), we wanted to know how TikTok advertising is getting in front of future app users, and if any of the recent buzz had changed their strategy. 

Year to date, the platform has spent over $5 Million on digital advertising, utilizing a diverse media mix that strongly favors display, especially beginning in early May when spending on mobile display jumped by 58% from June to July, and still rising in August.

The reasoning behind the uptick in mobile display isn’t directly clear by their strategy, which features a diverse list of websites with broad audiences, including news, weather, and recipe sites. Five of the 10 most popular creatives on mobile display are basic banners, similar to the one pictured below. 

Desktop display ads show a bit more purpose, with several top creatives aimed at businesses. We begin seeing TikTok for business ads in May, with messaging urging businesses to “make a comeback,” perhaps alluding to the downtrodden economy and shifting ad budgets for many brands across the US. 

On Instagram, we do see TikTok make use of their video content. Not surprisingly, we see Instagram ads shutter to a near halt in late June--possibly a nod to the Facebook and Instagram boycotts, and now, more than likely, an acknowledgment of Instagram’s “Reels,” which some are calling a TikTok knockoff. If you’re having flashbacks to Instagram’s “story” launch and Snapchat similarities, we are too.

We’ll be keeping our eye on TikTok advertising as the brand moves through the rest of 2020. 

About Author
Sarah Fleishman

With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.

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