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08/17/2022

TikTok launches new ad solution in time for holidays

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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TikTok is rolling out Shopping Ads.

TikTok is expanding its capabilities as an advertising platform.

The China-based short-form video app is partnering with social advertising automation platform Smartly.io to introduce TikTok’s new ad solution, Shopping Ads, for advertisers to begin testing ahead of the 2022 holiday season.

TikTok Shopping Ads content includes video shopping ads, which deliver hyper-relevant, smart videos with personalized recommendations based on their interactions; as well as catalog list ads which pull product information directly from an advertiser’s catalog to promote beyond TikTok’s “For You” page.

Other features include automatic catalog updates, automated budget optimization, real-time granular insights for both TikTok and cross-platform, and customizable view and data integrations. In late 2022, TikTok will release additional features including scaling and automation of creative production across a product catalog; creative elements such as discounts, social proof, or star ratings; and dynamic video templates with custom fonts and colors. 

According to data from TikTok, 56% of its users say that ads on TikTok lead them to discover new products or brands, and 48% say they are interested in making a purchase on or from TikTok in the next three months. Close to nine in 10 (86%) of Smartly.io's test advertisers saw a performance lift for Shopping Ads test campaigns against core performance metrics, including cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on ad spend (ROAS).

A limited number of companies can start testing TikTok Shopping Ads starting Wednesday, Aug. 17, and additional advertisers will be able to leverage Shopping Ads throughout the rest of 2022.

“The TikTok community is fundamentally shifting how people experience commerce,” said Gabe Nicolau, Global Head of Product Strategy and Operations for Commerce & Gaming Ads, TikTok. “Building on this momentum, we're thrilled to introduce Shopping Ads, a smart, simplified solution that maximizes the potential for sellers' product catalogs, supercharges e-commerce campaigns, and helps brands meet their customers wherever they are throughout the purchase journey.”

“We’re excited to take part in supporting this ecosystem as our customers look to leverage their TikTok accounts to create personalized, native shopping experiences,” said Ryan Jamboretz, president at Smartly.io. “From simplified buying and new products and optimizations to scaled catalog potential and creative automation, this will be particularly critical for brands as they begin to strategize for the 2022 holiday shopping season. For us, the possibilities to leverage Shopping Ads to aid our customers in reaching their desired TikTok audiences in more authentic ways are vast.” 

TikTok comes under new U.S. scrutiny
TikTok is launching its new ad solution even as some members of the U.S. government are calling for Apple and Google to remove it from their app stores. In a letter sent to Apple and Google parent Alphabet leadership, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr referred to a BuzzFeed article which cites leaked audio from internal TikTok meetings in Beijing that indicates China-based employees of TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance have had at least some access to private data of American TikTok users.

TikTok has publicly stated that 100% of its U.S. user traffic is now being routed to U.S.-based Oracle Cloud infrastructure as a default storage location. The company said it will still use its own U.S. and Singapore data centers for backup, but expects to delete U.S. users' private data from its own data centers and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US. The company said it is also working with Oracle to develop data management protocols for U.S. users that Oracle will audit and manage.