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TikTok is still considered a niche social media site by some, but the platform has grand ambitions to keep growing into an even bigger platform in the future. 

In TikTok’s first-ever company event, held as part of the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the company’s leadership spoke about the challenges facing the platform and their plans to overcome them.

Company leadership addressed a range of topics, including shopping across the platform, user safety, iOS 14’s impact on online advertising, and more. Let’s go over some of the highlights:

Advertising Updates

Though it has already amassed hundreds of thousands of advertisers, TikTok’s president of global operations solutions, Blake Chandlee says the company’s current goal is in the millions.

To do this, TikTok is expanding its advertising toolset and creating new features to help advertisers measure the quality of ads.

Managing director and global head of monetization product, strategy, and operation, Ray Cao, also addressed the impact of Apple’s iOS 14 on its advertising operations. 

This update made it difficult to target and track ads to many users as it gave users the option to block many forms of online tracking. However, Cao says the social network will overcome this by increasing the options for contextual ad targeting.

At the same time, TikTok is working to improve brand safety by better assessing what type of content an ad may be associated with. 

As Francis Stones, head of European brand safety explained, the company’s review process now analyzes sounds, text, emojis, and imagery to ensure brands do not become associated with something problematic.

TikTok Shopping Features

Along with these updates to TikTok’s advertising services, the platform is also continuing its efforts to develop its live shopping functionality.

Global head of business marketing, Sofia Hernandez explained that the new feature is being developed to allow brands to take advantage of user-created content quickly and easily, though further details were unavailable.

As TikTok grows into a major force on today’s internet, it is working to provide brands and advertisers with the types of features they have come to expect from social networks. While this is just a small look at the platform’s direction for the future, it shows that the newly popular social network intends to keep growing with its userbase.

Advertising has undergone a massive shift in recent years. Instead of the sleek, high-end style that many associates with ads, consumers (and a growing number of brands) are embracing a more lo-fi, “imperfect” approach to ads. According to new research from Meta, this is especially true when it comes to social media ads.

In a recent blog post, Meta suggests this is about more than a change in visual trends. It is a shift in cultural standards and expectations, or “culture codes.”

As the post explains, this is “being driven by something more fundamental, which is a shift we’re seeing away from perfection and polish, towards a culture that instead celebrates what’s unpolished and real.”

Though it is unclear just how long this shift has been happening, Meta first noticed it in a study of Instagram Stories ads conducted back in 2019. 

The results of this study showed that ads that used a less-polished style performed far better in tests for both ad recall and content views compared to those with a more refined appearance.

This is particularly true for younger audiences who tend to spend a lot of time on social media. In a recent study from consumer behavior analysts YPulse, up to 84% of young consumers reported “I like it when content from brands is not perfect” and  79% said they are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising.”

With this in mind, the researchers at Meta dug deeper to identify 6 specific codes that brands should follow if they want to continue connecting with online audiences:

Include Real People Telling Real Stories

Including real people – especially your actual employees or customers – helps to give your message authenticity. This is crucial for getting through to today’s savvy audiences.

Use “The Language of the Platform”

Obviously, we aren’t referring to the actual language you or other users speak, such as English, Spanish, Afrikaans, etc. In this case, speaking the language of the platform is all about proving you are “one of us” to other users by taking part in the latest trends, such as participating in “challenges”, putting a new spin on a popular dance, or using the hottest filters.

This helps establish your brand’s relatability to your audience.

Establish Relationships with Creators and Influencers

No matter what your feelings are about social media influencers, there is no denying the impact they can have on social media audiences.

According to Meta, even adults aren’t immune to the reach of influencers, with 63% of adults between 18-34 saying they trust a popular creator’s view of a brand.

This is considerably more than those who reported trusting brands themselves.

The power of influencers really comes down to the fact that they have established a relationship with their viewers and have an incomparable reach. This helps build your own credibility with a whole new audience you might have never reached before.

Go Behind The Scenes

When users say they don’t want to see “perfection” in ads, they don’t necessarily mean they want low-quality or poorly made ads. They just want to know your message is based in reality. This is why viewers tend to respond strongly to brands who are willing to take them behind the curtain. 

Keep Your Video Lo-Fi

Today, it is easier than ever to get access to affordable editing and production tools that can make your ad look like a Hollywood movie. Don’t use them. Sticking with simpler, lo-fi editing and production techniques, such as the most popular editing apps for smartphones, keeps your ad feeling authentic and hand-crafted.

Use Humor to Connect With Audiences

Humor is consistently one of the most effective tools for getting audiences to lower their guard. It makes your brand more relatable and makes listeners want to hear what else you have to say. The obvious catch here is that brands must be careful because several brands have made tone-deaf jokes which missed the mark and hurt their reputation.

Video ads are coming to TikTok’s search results if a recently spotted test is to be believed.

David Herrmann, president of Hermann Digital, pointed out the ads earlier this week in a tweet that shows a clip with a small “Sponsored” label at the top of TikTok search results.

Based on the location in the ad – above the “Others searched for” section, it seems safe to assume the ads will typically appear within the first few search results shown. 

Unfortunately, information about this ad test is extremely limited. According to Herrmann, the ads currently can’t be targeted by keyword, though he implies the ability to do so is coming soon. 

Instead, the best way to ensure your videos get shown as relevant ads in the current iteration is to create video “how-to’s” aimed at solving specific problems. 

“Make your ads solve problems, don’t just sell. Drive them to advertorial pages,” Hermann tweeted. “This is Pinterest 2.0, but better cause people buy.”

Another detail that is unclear is how brands might get access to this ad experiment. With no official word about the ads from TikTok, the assumption is that you must be a brand with an established presence on the app and have a managed advertising account.

Once running these ads, brands will receive a list of search terms driving clicks on their video ads, helping them generate more focused and better-targeted content and ads in the future.

The ads are obviously in an early form and will likely be expanded before they are widely accessible to brands on the platform. At the same time, they show how TikTok is working to provide new ways to monetize your presence on the app and reach new audiences with high purchasing intent. 

Given that TikTok’s users already seem uniquely primed to buy products they discover through the app, this looks to potentially be a major upcoming advertising opportunity for many brands.

After years of criticism around Facebook ad targeting, Meta says it will be restricting the ability to target individuals based on sensitive information, such as their health conditions, religion, or political beliefs.

Specifically, Facebook will be removing targeting options for four distinct categories of audience data:

  • Health causes (targeting interests such as “Chemotherapy” or “World Diabetes Day”)
  • Sexual Orientation (including targeting interests such as “same-sex marriage”)
  • Religious practices or groups 
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and popular political individuals

Starting January 19, 2022, advertisers will no longer be able to target new ads using this highly specific audience information. However, existing campaigns will continue delivering to their targeting audiences using this data through March.

For existing campaigns, you will be able to edit campaign-level information (such as your budget or campaign name) without affecting targeting details until March 17.

If a campaign is paused, though, it will be updated using the new targeting restrictions when resumed.

The vast majority of advertisers should be unaffected by the new ad targeting policies. If you provide medical services or are using ads to promote political efforts, however, you will likely need to review your existing audience targeting and begin planning for a new approach to reach your target audience.

Snapchat has exploded in popularity over the past few years, and now the company claims its content reaches over 70% of 13 to 24-year-olds across the countries making up more than half of all digital ad spend. 

This reveal came as part of Snapchat’s first-ever investor day, this week.

Snapchat Details User Growth In Surprising Demographics

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Snapchat unveiled several key statistics to shareholders.

Broadly, the company says the “Snapchat Generation” includes up to 40% of consumers around the world.

Despite the perception that the social network’s users are overwhelmingly young, Snapchat also says approximately 80% of its audience is over the age of 18. Based on this level of growth with new audiences, the company believes it will see 50% annual growth in revenue every year for the foreseeable future.

Although most of the information provided focused on big-picture statistics like revenue and audience growth, the shareholder presentation did disclose a few more specific details about how users are interacting with the app. Specifically, they said that Snapchat users open the app 30 times a day on average, every day

Additionally, the company shared that users who try AR filters to try on products are 2.4 times more likely to convert, implying an interest in further investing in this area.

The Future of Snapchat Advertising

One of the main ways Snapchat aims to meet its goal of 50% YoY revenue growth is by continuing to expand its advertising platform.

In its current state, Snapchat’s revenue largely comes from the standard vertical video ads which appear between Stories. However, increasing the number of these ads could drive away users.

Instead of increasing the number of vertical video ads, Snapchat says it plans to find new areas of the app which can be monetized, including placing ads in the Snap Map and Spotlight sections.

With over 35 million businesses already present on the Snap Map, Snap Inc.’s chief business officer, Jeremi Gorman, believes they will see massive interest when rolling out ads in this area of the app.

Driven by the existing success of AR filters, Snapchat also plans to incorporate new augmented reality features and AR-based ad options.

Perhaps most importantly for smaller brands who can’t work directly with Snapchat for the more customized ad options (such as AR or custom filters), the company also says it will be investing in more comprehensive and easier to use tools to buy and run ads through its self-service ad platform.

This means smaller brands will potentially be able to get their hands on some of the more effective and exciting ad options which have only been available to a select few brands on the platform in the past.


Overall, the presentation from the company gives a very optimistic view for the future. With its user-base beginning to age into adulthood, Snapchat is positioned to directly connect brands with some of the most active and engaged users on any social platform out there.

Twitter is rolling out a new form of carousel ads which let you showcase between 2-6 images or videos in a single ad. 

According to the social network, the ads are particularly suited to helping businesses reach their advertising goal with a more immersive and interactive format which includes:

  • An edge-to-edge design
  • Third party measurement reporting
  • Accessibility support
  • New reporting features (such as swipes within the Carousel and breakdowns to measure individual Carousel card performance)

The ads have an edge on most other Twitter advertising formats because they allow you to approach an ad from a variety of different directions. You could highlight a variety of features and benefits of a single product, highlight a small collection of products, or tell a story about your brand. 

Why You Should Try Carousel Ads

Carousel ads have already proven to be a powerful tool on a number of other platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. 

According to a Nielsen study cited by Twitter, using 3 or more assets in an ad format increases awareness by up to 20% and purchase intent by 7%.

Based on Twitter’s early testing of the ad format, that will continue to be true here. The company says carousel ads saw an average 15% increase in click-through rates compared to traditional single asset ad formats. 

Carousel ads for apps saw an even bigger boost, with an average 24% increase in installs.

Twitter Carousel Ads Best Practices

To help you get started, Twitter provided a set of recommendations and best practices for making the most out of carousel ads:

  • Use all of the available components: Including visuals, headlines, descriptions, and calls-to-action.
  • Tell a story: Craft a visual narrative with a beginning, middle, and end to keep viewers engaged.
  • Consider the audience: Show different product images to re-targeted customers than you would show to new, prospective customers.
  • Highlight the product and its benefits: The product should be visible and there should be clear, simple communication of benefit to the consumer.

Available Now To Everyone

The new ad format is available to all advertisers and marks a renewed effort by Twitter to create a more effective and enticing advertising platform:

“This investment in performance advertising also includes expanding the capabilities of our ad formats to enable advertisers with more options to show and tell their brand story, while providing a more intuitive, engaging experience for people on Twitter.”

Brands around the world can now easily advertise on one of the fastest growing social networks, as TikTok announced this week it is rolling out its new self-serve advertising service to all. 

With the new service, advertisers in every country can create and publish their own ads without the need for contacting a representative or signing a contract.

In the announcement, Blake Chandlee, Vice President of Global Business Solutions for the company said:

“TikTok’s immersive, short-form videos give businesses a platform to participate and engage with a community known for its creativity, ingenuity, and joy. As our marketing solutions scale and evolve, we’re continuously building for the future and aiming to meet the growing needs of our partners. We’re excited to continue supporting our community by providing the tools and resources for SMB owners to navigate these challenging times.”

The service includes built-in tools for creative, targeting, and flexible budgeting. In the future, the company says it will also be creating business accounts which provide access to more in-depth tools. For now, details are limited on when this might occur or what the tools may offer.

What TikTok Has To Offer Brands

Although TikTok has been around for a few years now, brands have been slow to show interest in the platform for a variety of reasons. Like Snapchat, TikTok’s users have tended to be younger and thus had little to no disposable income. 

Over the past two years, however, that has changed. 

TikTok has exploded in users, especially within the highly desirable over-25 age group. Even more interesting, analysis suggests that TikTok users have money to burn. More than a quarter (37%) of users have a combined household income over $100,000.

Back to Business Ad Credits

At the same time TikTok announced its ad service, the company also revealed a new initiative to give $100 million in advertising credits to small businesses who may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Interested users can apply in the Business portal.

What Ads Are Available

Currently, TikTok offers five different types of ads for brands. They range from the standard post-type ads which can appear in the “For You” area of the app to branded hashtags and image effects. 

The ads currently available include:

TopView Ads – Up to 60 second long video ads which appear immediately as a user opens TikTok.

Brand Takeovers – Shorter video or image ads which function similarly to TopView Ads but are only shown for up to 5 seconds. 

In-Feed Ads – Traditional ad units which appear for up to 60 seconds and function like standard posts, including the ability to comment and share.

Branded Hashtag Challenges – Want to take over a specific hashtag? Here’s your place. The ad unit allows you to create a unique aggregated feed of user content all related to a single branded hashtag for up to 6 days.

Branded Effects – In a challenge to Snapchat’s Lenses, TikTok is introducing a number of camera effects, filters, and stickers users can apply on their own pictures and videos.

Pinterest has seemingly been testing autoplay video ads forever, but most advertisers haven’t been able to get in on the fun. The video ads were limited to just a small number of big advertising firms and massive brands, while local businesses or small brands made do with picture-based ad formats.

That all changed this morning when Pinterest announced its Promoted Video ads are now officially available to everyone. Anyone can sign up and start running their own autoplay video ads on both search results and within users’ feeds.

Unlike other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest is avoiding providing analytics for the ads through their own measurement systems. Instead, they are aiming to avoid potential conflicts of interest by partnering with third-party metrics companies Moat and Nielson.

“One of the unique differentiations for video on Pinterest was that it’s not only about inspiration, but it also helps people do things,” Mike Bidgoli, product lead at Pinterest, told AdWeek. “Obviously the format moved to autoplay, which made it easier for advertisers to be able to buy and measure the same way that they are with everything else. The overarching point is that we wanted video to have third-party measurement from the get-go.”

The company also says that carrying your existing video campaigns over to Pinterest is simple because they follow “the same creative standards as the rest of the industry.”

You can get started sharing your own video ads on Pinterest through their self-serve service, Pinterest Ads Manager.

Pinterest has become one of the most reliable social media sites for retailers and brands hoping to gain a following, so it should be no surprise it is also developing one of the most extensive advertising platforms.

Over the past year, the social network has expanded its ad platform in several ways, including partnering with Kenshoo and improving their visual search functions. Still, many have been hesitant about investing heavily in an ad service that isn’t run by Facebook or Google.

There are perhaps several reasons Pinterest’s ad service has seen relatively slow adoption by most online brands, but the biggest is probably the most simple: it’s different. Instead of following the established systems of the other big online ad platforms, Pinterest has strived to maintain the visual nature and originality that have been central to its entire service.

While this may make their ads less obnoxious and more cohesive with Pinterest’s normal content, it also creates a hurdle for advertisers who don’t understand exactly what is being offered or how the ad service works.

To help make everything clear, Croud put together a suitably visual guide explaining Pinterest’s platform, why marketers are using the platform, and what options are open to marketers of every level – from Fortune 500 to “mom and pop”. Find out what the deal is with Pinterest ads below or click the image to view the full-size version:

Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms you can advertise. Smaller, more niche social networks like Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tumblr have all gotten in on social advertising with innovative ad formats and placements. Now, two of those sites have both announced new ads on their networks that directly give back to their users.

Tumblr and Reddit have announced two separate plans for ads that will run on their networks and compensate users for allowing their blogs or content to be included.

In the case of Tumblr, the service is rolling out ads that will be shown across their blog network. Users can opt out of having the ads shown on their specific pages, but those who decide to be included can receive compensation just for allowing the ads.

Details on how much users will be paid and how have yet to be released, as Tumblr says they are “still working out the details of the partner program, but as soon as we have details to share, we’ll make announcements.”

While Tumblr says they will be outright paying users for participating, Reddit’s new ad service isn’t quite so direct.

With the launch of Promoted User Posts, brands can now take advantage of content being posted on the site by promoting it for more to see. This means you can spot a post organically shared on Reddit by a user and boost it to the front page or user feeds with the original poster’s permission.

However, instead of paying users for allowing their content to be used by brands for promotion, Reddit is opting to reward them with a lifetime of “Reddit Gold.” Reddit Gold is the site’s premium membership program which costs $29.99 a year and can be gifted to users by others.

“There are car enthusiasts on Reddit,” CEO and founder Steve Huffman told Ad Age. “Makeup addicts, people who discuss movies, books and video games where these commercial relationships are already developing with our users. It is not a stretch for the advertiser to come in here and engage with our audience.”

These innovative ads are a smart way to involve the communities that already exist on the social networks and make them feel invested in the ads they are seeing. It also presents an opportunity for brands to take advantage of things already being shared to better promote their brand and products.

“This isn’t traditional display advertising,” Huffman told Ad Age. “This is different and more personable. You have to bring your A game here and if you do, it works amazingly.”