TikTok owner ByteDance Will Become a Major Advertising Player

Even in an era when Google and Facebook are being probed and are quickly changing their advertising policies to minimize political Ads that might be harmful, TikTok is coming.

TikTok’s “OK Boomer” movement is taking off. Meanwhile even without Ads, TikTok is starting to move public opinion on democratic candidates with its meme like flavor of how sentiment and opinions can go viral.

Even as TikTok does not allow political Ads on its trending platform, ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, took a larger chunk of the digital advertising market than fellow Chinese companies Tencent and Baidu during the first half of 2019.

TikTok is already the “Instagram of Asia” for native short video. This means it’s more watched by young people than anything save for YouTube, known for long-form video and vlogs.

Politics is Heating up Within TikTok

While Politicians haven’t migrated to TikTok yet, some news sources have like the Washington Post. Even without Political Ads, TikTok will have more influence on the 2020 presidential elections than previously thought possible.

While Amazon has shown impressive digital and mobile Ad growth along with smaller players like Twitter, Snapchat, Twitter and so forth, in China something unprecedented is happening.

ByteDance is Surging in Digital Advertising Revenue

ByteDance has overtaken Baidu to become the second-largest digital ad player in China, taking 23% of all digital media spend in the first half of the year, equivalent to 50 billion yuan ($7 billion), according to a report by consultancy R3.

ByteDance is also to start its own music steaming service to launch likely in early 2020. TikTok’s hold on popular culture with its creator first music native videos has become the viral app story of 2019, and it will likely continue to snowball into ad revenue and new kinds of traffic.

It’s not clear when ByteDance will overtake Alibaba in ad-revenue but it could happen before 2023, in terms of digital media spend. ByteDance’s Ad revenue will build on its own product, AI and innovation excellence into new categories as it evolves its own “super platform”.

OK Boomer Meme is Exploding on TikTok with New Political Memes Emerging

So what happens when TikTok memes meet the 2020 presidential elections? According to the MIT Tech Review, Teens on TikTok are dragging presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, calling him “Mayo Pete.” Their popular posts mocking Buttigieg and criticizing some of his policies.

TikToks’ advertising growth is not that surprising given how large its app ecosystem has become in a very short time.

Ad revenue for ByteDance grew 113% for the first half of the year, compared to the same period last year, with most of the growth coming from from TikTok’s Chinese equivalent Douyin and ByteDance-owned news app Jinri Toutiao.

Companies like ByteDance have therefore a formidable presence in the attention economy that is like the new cultural news and fills a video native urge for young people to consumer information while be entertained at the same time traditional media outlets are unable to deliver.

Chinese Censorship Might Include Meme Warfare

TikTok also demonstrates how an app made in Beijing could influence American democracy in ways that the U.S. would not be able to censor. TikTok may very well reach “national security” threat levels if this keeps up in the direction it is heading. Suffice to say that ByteDance’s PR team have their hands full.

ByteDance widely regarded as the most valuable startup is likely to get an injection of new funding from Softbank Vision Fund’s new round, and at this point is scaling faster than it can moderate its channels, update its data polices and service its under 25 B2C consumer app ecosystem.

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