- Social video app TikTok for the first time will pitch advertisers at the NewFronts, the Interactive Advertising Bureau's yearly series of presentations from digital media companies. TikTok will showcase its mobile video platform on June 25, when Google's YouTube, Samsung Ads, TiVo and AT&T's Xandr also are scheduled to appear, per an announcement.
- This year's NewFronts will be in a virtual format as the coronavirus pandemic prevents event organizers from hosting large gatherings. The yearly sales presentations to media buyers were rescheduled to June 22-26 from April 27-May 6 in New York City, giving digital platforms a chance to showcase their programming and audience reach.
- American Public Media, Condé Nast, Disney's Hulu, Ellen Digital, Facebook, Forbes, Fox's Tubi, Snap, Vice Media and The Wall Street Journal are among the companies that will present at this year's NewFronts. The last day of the event will be dedicated to gaming and e-sports, the announcement said.
TikTok's appearance at the NewFronts is a significant step in the social video app's efforts to make media buyers more aware of its power to engage audiences, especially younger mobile users who share videos, follow influencers and participate in hashtag challenges. TikTok's features include algorithms to identify videos that are most likely to go viral and a continual feed of videos based on the viewing histories of target audiences.
While TikTok lets brands post organic content to their accounts and offers a variety of ad formats, branded hashtag challenges are among the app's most distinct features. TikTok has user-friendly tools to make videos, add special effects and use soundtracks, giving people an easy way to participate when challenged to show off their dance moves or other activities.
Those challenges are shown to have the power to rack up billions of views while engaging people in a branded experience. Chipotle Mexican Grill, E.l.f. Cosmetics, the National Football League, Ralph Lauren, Walmart and Warner Bros. studios are among the marketers that have recently deployed hashtag challenges on TikTok.
TikTok in the past year has also expanded its range of ad formats and other features that are significant to mobile marketers. The platform is preparing to offer an augmented reality (AR) ad format that would compete more directly with Snapchat lenses, which are a key feature of the photo-messaging app, Digiday reported earlier this month. The apparent plans for AR ads follow this month's test of a format with a call-to-action button that links marketers to social influencers. Last year, TikTok introduced a Creator Marketplace to connect brands with influencers and started running beta tests that let creators embed links to product pages in their videos.
The NewFronts will be a chance for marketers to learn more about TikTok's audience and ad offerings, and perhaps address concerns around brand safety on the app. TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, faces multiple lawsuits from parents of underage users and a separate complaint from advocacy groups for alleged privacy violations, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The FTC last year fined the company $5.7 million for violating children's privacy laws in the U.S.
Various studies have estimated the size and demographic makeup of TikTok's U.S. audience, which tends to skew young. TikTok this year will boost its U.S. user base 22% to 45.4 million as its growth rate slows from the 98% jump of 2019, eMarketer forecast in March. The researcher estimated that TikTok will reach 60.3 million U.S. consumers, or about 27% of social network users, by 2024. TikTok's downloads almost doubled to 112.9 million in February from a year earlier, bringing the lifetime total to 1.9 billion, per app analytics firm Sensor Tower.