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TikTok began testing in-app ads last month, a monetization option many advertisers had been waiting for.
What Was The First TikTok Ad?
TikTok’s first ad was from GrubHub. The full-screen video ad played when users opened the TikTok app. The video lasted for about five seconds with an option to skip the ad displayed in the right-hand corner.
A GrubHub spokesperson acknowledged the TikTok ad, saying, “We’re always looking at new ways to engage with and attract new diners, and you likely saw an ad run as part of a test campaign we’ve recently executed.”
But the GrubHub ad sparked backlash as consumers noted it broke the flow of the TikTok app. User Chris Harihar, a partner at Crenshaw Communications who saw the GrubHub ad on TikTok said, “The content on TikTok is so insanely creative and user-driven. It’s not like Snapchat or Instagram. People go all out to create these videos. It’s more of a performance platform. So the bar [for ads] is high to stand-out.”
Why Have Marketers Been Waiting For Ads On TikTok?
Before Musical.ly was integrated into the TikTok platform, advertisers could purchase ad space on Musical.ly. Surprised that advertising wasn’t initially an option on TikTok, many advertisers – especially those who target TikTok’s creative audience and recognized TikTok’s immediate popularity (3.8 million downloads in the U.S. in October 2018) among Gen Zers and other demographics – have been awaiting TikTok’s further monetization.
Because advertising is now being tested on TikTok’s platform, we predict marketers who target Gen Zers will come running and ready to test innovative campaigns.