TikTok Pushes for Premium With New Programming and Measurement at NewFronts

The social platform, whose future in the US is in flux, wants marketers to measure it alongside TV

Mark your calendar for Mediaweek, October 29-30 in New York City. We’ll unpack the biggest shifts shaping the future of media—from tv to retail media to tech—and how marketers can prep to stay ahead. Register with early-bird rates before sale ends!

TikTok wants to lock in premium budgets and compete for TV dollars with new programming and measurement offerings.

The social giant, which is announcing the initiatives today at its NewFronts presentation in New York, is expanding its slate of programming within its TikTok Pulse product, which lets brands target the top 4% of trending videos and offers placements against videos from premium publishers.

TikTok also announced partnerships with and Nielsen One Ads so that advertisers can compare the effectiveness of their TikTok buys with TV buys along the same currency.

“Recent research has proven that 58% of all TikTok campaign impressions reached a unique audience unexposed to the TV portion of the campaign,” said TikTok’s blog post detailing the NewFronts announcements. “Advertisers who added TikTok to TV campaigns reached an incremental 22% of their audience.”

At start of TikTok’s in-person presentation on the night of May 2, TikTok’s president of global business solutions Blake Chandlee told a room full of media buyers that the company would fight the recently passed legislation that could ban TikTok in the U.S. in 2025.

“We invest billions of dollars to keep US data safe. This unconstitutional law is really a TikTok ban and we will challenge it in court,” Chandlee said. “I want you to know that we are not backing down.”

More granularity for buyers in TikTok Pulse

Brands will have more flexibility and control of their TikTok Pulse buy with a new product called Custom Lineups, where a brand can choose which kind of content it wants to appear against within Pulse’s inventory of top 4% videos.

For example, a brand opening a store in New York might use Custom Lineups to specifically run ads against popular New York-centric videos. Or a brand debuting a new yellow product might want to run ads around videos in this color palette, a TikTok spokesperson said.

The tool includes generative artificial intelligence that can help brands come up with more relevant suggestions for where TikTok should target. In the New York example, AI could help a brand with new categories such as “Times Square” or “bagel,” the spokesperson said. But this is still targeting within TikTok’s top 4% of videos.

TikTok is also expanding its partnerships with premium publishers. The platform is offering a tool called Tentpole Moments, which will let brands target ads against Vogue’s coverage of the Met Gala and NBCUniversal’s coverage of the Summer Olympic Games. More tentpole events will be announced later this year, the spokesperson said.

More premium publisher content

Paramount and the National Hockey League are joining TikTok Pulse Premiere, which lets brands target ads against videos from top publishers.

Moreover, brands can now specific intellectual property within publishers. For instance, Paramount is letting brands buy against videos from the likes of MTV, CBS Sports, The Daily Show and Entertainment Tonight. NBCU, which was already part of Pulse Premiere, is making TikToks available from Saturday Night Live, America’s Got Talent, Today, Bravo and others.

Additionally, BuzzFeed, Condé Nast, Dotdash Meredith, Hearst, Vox, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship are already part of Pulse Premiere.

More premium means higher CPMs

So far, not all brands are sold that Pulse is a necessary part of their TikTok buy. Pulse has the potential to drive brand awareness, and it can help companies maximize visibility, but its incremental benefit compared to the rest of TikTok is not clear, said Corinne Skala, director of paid social at Tinuiti.

“As Pulse aligns with premium content, we frequently encounter CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) that are two to three times higher than those of other upper-funnel campaigns,” Skala said. “Since its engagement metrics are comparable to those of less costly campaigns, solely evaluating it on these metrics might suggest that it is less effective or not worth the additional expense.”

Still, buyers are encouraged that TikTok continues to improve its appeal to marketers.

“It shows the platform’s continued investment in the North American market despite pending litigation and larger current events,” said Liam Johnson, group account director at performance agency Brainlabs.

This article was updated to include TikTok president Blake Chandlee’s remarks at its event

Enjoying Adweek's Content? Register for More Access!