WPP and TikTok tout their new ad partnership
TikTok has sealed its largest ad world partnership with WPP, the ad agency announced on Monday, which comes just as TikTok is about to host what is being called an “upfront” presentation by ad execs who expect to be in attendance this week.
On Monday, TikTok and WPP, one of the top media holding companies, announced the tie-up. The partnerships are a sign that TikTok, which is a Chinese-owned app, is putting 2020 in its rear view, when there were some reputational risks for major firms, discouraging them from working with the company. Agencies and brands were intrigued by TikTok but worried about turbulence from its fight with the Trump administration, which is now out of power and no longer able to threaten TikTok’s operations in the U.S.
TikTok is even hosting a conference called the “#ForYor Summit” on Wednesday, which is billed as an event for brands and agencies. The online conference invited many of WPP’s rivals, too, and attendees, who spoke on background said it feels like an upfront. Upfronts are shows from media companies, like TV networks and digital publishers, where they show off the upcoming programs and ad offerings. The media companies look to attract big-time sponsorships.
“TikTok has quickly demonstrated the power of mobile video and the many opportunities that exist for brands to engage in meaningful and creative ways on its platform,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP, in Monday’s announcement. “I am delighted that we have formed this global partnership, a first in our industry, and look forward to working with TikTok to ensure our clients continue to benefit from what its platform has to offer.”
TikTok billed the “global agency partnership” with WPP as an exclusive deal where the two could collaborate on a number of fronts, including giving WPP early looks at ad products. That type of arrangement is typical for a digital platform working closely with a large ad agency. TikTok and WPP did not disclose any financial terms to their partnership. Often agencies do commit to goals of reaching a certain amount of ad spend on a service.
Also, TikTok and WPP will develop marketing technology that integrates with TikTok’s application-programming interface, which is a platform used to automate the delivery of ads, targeting, measurement and more. TikTok built up its API and self-serve ad platform last year to catch up to rivals like Facebook and Google.
TikTok has to also proves to agencies and brands that it can implement safety protocols that are becoming essential to the industry. Advertisers have been concerned about the security of data, considering that was the focus of Trump’s attacks on TikTok last year. Trump tried to have TikTok shut down or sold to a U.S. company, because of concerns about its Chinese ownership.
TikTok has tried to calm those fears by opening the hood on its data procedures and algorithm, which is what drives its content recommendation to its estimated 100 million U.S. users. At its conference, TikTok is hosting a session to discuss the algorithm.
There also have been concerns about young users on TikTok and how safe they are on the service.
Still, TikTok has become a force in U.S. social media, seeming to be a fun outlet for dances and online shenanigans, while other platforms are dealing with more weighty matters like civil unrest and toxic politics.
For instance, in the past month one of the most popular activities on TikTok has not been politics or social issues, it’s been sea shanties. Also, last week, TikTok announced it would have a role to play in the Super Bowl with a pre-game show produced for the National Football League, featuring Miley Cyrus.