TikTok has officially opened up a “self-serve” ad platform that lets companies buy and manage ad campaigns directly, a move to lure the ad dollars of small and medium-sized businesses.
The platform could help put TikTok on a more even playing field with competitors when it comes to small and mid-sized business’ ad dollars. Major online advertising platforms like Google and Facebook have allowed small businesses to buy directly for years. Snap last year attributed the opening of its own self-serve ad platform, which it launched in 2017, as a factor in its accelerating revenue growth as the company saw increased engagement.
TikTok said these companies have access to creative tools to make ads, flexible budgets allowing for spending adjustments and performance targeting. TikTok said advertisers and ads have to undergo a review and approval process.
The company said it’s also providing $100 million in advertising credits to small businesses, which it said “are uniquely at risk as local economies ceased activity in efforts to protect public health.”
The announcements come during a stormy time for TikTok. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Monday the U.S. is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China. India announced last week it was banning TikTok, along with dozens of other applications.
But TikTok is at the receiving end of some redirected ad dollars from companies that are pausing advertising on Facebook in July. The self service platform could make it easier for Facebook’s millions of small advertisers to follow suit.