TikTok Turmoil Ignites Ad Race Among Rival Tech Platforms


Short-form video stole the spotlight at tech and social media companies’ annual pitches to advertisers, seizing upon TikTok’s political uncertainty in the U.S. as Snap (NYSE:SNAP) and Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) vie for a piece of the ad market.

The NewFronts presentations in New York unfolded just a week after U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill giving ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, a year to divest its U.S. operations or face a ban due to national security concerns. Despite the looming threat, TikTok showcased new sports and entertainment partnerships, including a deal with NBCUniversal to feature clips from the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Emarketer estimates TikTok’s U.S. ad revenue to reach $8.66 billion this year, albeit smaller compared to industry giants Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Meta. However, the platform’s pivotal role in popularizing short-form videos has spurred competitors to emulate its success.

“TikTok must convey normalcy to advertisers, despite its tumultuous situation,” remarked Emarketer principal analyst Jasmine Enberg.

Snap announced a partnership with NBCUniversal to send influencers to cover the Olympics, while also planning to feature top concerts from Live Nation. Snap’s President of Americas and partnerships, Patrick Harris, emphasized their commitment to being a reliable platform amid the industry noise.

Meanwhile, Meta showcased Reels, its TikTok rival, during the NewFronts, aiming to capture potential users and ad revenues in the event of a TikTok ban.

“Instagram Reels stands to gain from a potential TikTok ban, and Meta aims to maximize this opportunity,” noted Emarketer’s Enberg.

Google highlighted the increasing viewership of its short-form video feature, YouTube Shorts, on TV screens besides smartphones.

Despite TikTok’s uncertain future, advertisers remain focused on short-term strategies, with some intending to continue advertising until further clarity emerges.

“I think we need to focus on available innovative capabilities for advertisers,” remarked Alex Stone, senior vice president of agency partnerships at Horizon Media, regarding TikTok’s NewFront.

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