Ben Young
Ben Young
November 1, 2019

Colin here. I’m filling in for Ben as he prepares for child number two.

One big thing
There’s starting to be a flood of brand interest onto TikTok. It is, put simply, one of the most interesting and creative spaces on the Internet right now. Not surprisingly, the platform is experimenting and is in the nascent stages of building out its ad and sponsorship products. Right now, it’s basically just an opening screen that a brand can takeover, and there’s brand-led challenges so on and so forth. But right now, it seems like somewhere that hasn’t become completely inundated yet, and the creativity is thriving.

According to Deanna Ting at Digiday:

Like Snapchat before it, TikTok has also struck a chord with younger audiences. A leaked ad pitch deck from June 2019 said the majority of TikTok users (69%) are from Generation Z (ages 16 to 24), while 25% are age 25 and older. Most users are also female (60%). In the U.S., TikTok has more than 30 million monthly active users who spend, on average, 46 minutes on the app per user per day. Globally, the number of monthly active users is 800 million, with 500 million based in China.

But, there’s a few ethical, data and algorithmic issues worth raising. First, no matter how much they try to distance themselves, Bytedance is a Chinese company, and not playing by the same rules that we might subject, say, Youtube to in terms of the “ethics” of their algorithmic recommendations. We all know what happened with Youtube recently. Second, for brands concerned with brand safety, it is worth probably spending a bit of time on the site to see them, erm, wide range of behaviors on display that might be deemed unsavory for family audiences. Third, there’s the free speech issue: namely censorship of protests, notably in Hong Kong, that Beijing probably doesn’t want to be distributed around the world. And perhaps most importantly, Congress is starting to take action on the data mining and national security front.

According to a recent piece in Wired:

This week, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) sent a letter to US intelligence officials asking them to investigate whether TikTok poses “national security risks.” In their letter, sent to Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, the senators expressed concern about the data TikTok collects on US users and whether that information could potentially be shared with the Chinese Communist Party. They also questioned whether Tiktok censors content on its platform and said the app is a “potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.”

The data-mining factor here is a real concern. No one knows the levels it is happening, but it is worth thinking about the currents and motives underneath a fun, poppy creative-laden app.

And while advertisers will no doubt swim to where the attention is pooling up, it is also worth brands understanding the broader picture before making a decision.


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Notable stories this week

  • ‘Ad tech companies have stopped innovating’: Why BuySellAds is buying up media brands.
  • After sluggish starts, more publishers are finding Snapchat a moneymaker.
  • G/O Media decided to run autoplay video ads because of a $1 million deal with Farmers Insurance. Editorial employees have said that's been at the expense of users.
  • Solving OOH's attribution problem takes on new urgency amid a renaissance.
  • Are you seeing way more ads on Twitter? Here’s why.
  • Group Nine and POPSUGAR announce joint leadership team. According to sources, Group Nine’s current president and CFO are leaving the company, but will stay on for now, to help with the transition.
  • Netflix partnerships could become more attractive to marketers in a down economy.
  • Viacom Digital Studios announces a multi-territory partnership with Facebook to produce a slate of original short-form content for Facebook Watch audiences in the Europe, Americas and Asia.
  • Has advertising lost its personality? An interesting read by Martin Weigel.


Campaign of the week

Branded content by Facebook on HuffPost

Smartest commentary

Datapoints of note

  • New research by Nielsen shows that there's an 8% lower cognitive load at the end of an article, thus making consumers more likely to engage with a next action (or CTA) at the bottom of a piece. This is known as a Moment of Next.
  • The Moment of Next usually occurs between 20 and 30 seconds of active content engagement.
  • Continuous scroll feeds generate 20% more attentiveness and 17% higher emotional response, making post Moment of Next a perfect opportunity to deliver a next action at the end of a post. It's also a great opportunity to deliver an emotional experience.
  • Videos presented in an infinite feed drove 25% higher attentiveness and delivered a 13-23% greater emotional response than YouTube pre-roll ads.
  • According to Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), in Q4 alone, spending on OOH increased by 7.2% YOY. This is the largest quarterly increase since before the Great Recession.
  • A new report from Forrester Research predicts that marketers will double their spend on marketing partnerships with Netflix, like product placement and “other creative marketing integrations with brands.”



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