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Advertisers see early promise in TikTok’s self-serve ad platform

Digiday 21 Jan 2020 05:01

Advertisers with beta access to TikTok’s self-serve ad platform are, for the most part, optimistic about the global media sensation’s attempts to reach marketplace parity as an ad-supported platform.

ByteDance’s TikTok knows it needs to grow up, primarily because it would be leaving money on the table by not making it easier for ad buyers to, well, buy advertising. The self-serve ad model, introduced last fall, gets high marks from advertisers for being relatively easy to use and increasing brand awareness. But it lacks robust targeting and an application programming interface critical for automated buying, and it offers inferior metrics compared to more mature platforms like Facebook.

“The platform has most of the bells and whistles of other self-serve social ad platforms,” said Carly Carson, director of social for PMG, but she added, it’s “missing a few key reporting metrics.”

TikTok would not comment on the existence of a self-serve ad model in beta.

“So far it’s been a challenge to drive really good performance on the platform,” said Asher Chester, director of performance marketing for Agency Within. Chester said he’s seen high engagement on his clients’ TikTok ads, but he added, “You’re not able to be as precise with targeting on TikTok as you are with most of the other platforms.”

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