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The Trade Desk Inks Deal to Sell TikTok Video Ads Programmatically

Tim Cross  19 March, 2020

Demand-side platform The Trade Desk announced today it has inked a deal with short-form video sharing platform TikTok to sell its in-feed video ads programmatically in 11 Asia-Pacific markets including Japan, India, and Australia, as well as Russia. The Trade Desk says buyers will be able to access TikTok inventory directly via its media buying tools, making TikTok the first short-form video platform to open up its inventory to The Trade Desk. The Trade Desk has already begun selling TikTok inventory, with Pepsico having run the first campaign in Thailand, working with media agency Mindshare.

Sam Singh, TikTok’s VP of monetisation, India, said the partnership will help a quickly scale the number of brands and agencies able to advertise on TikTok. “As our advertising solutions scale, we’re always looking to partner with industry leaders like The Trade Desk to bring quality and high-performing advertising options to brands in Asia Pacific, including India,” he said. “The key objective of this is to enable more brands to tap into TikTok’s short-form mobile video as part of their omni-channel campaigns.”

TikTok says The Trade Desk’s ‘pseudonymity’ which keeps campaigns run via its platform from directly identifying individuals, was an important factor in choosing TTD.

TikTok has been quickly ramping up its ad offering over the past few years as it userbase across the world has grown. The company only launched its ad platform in the West at the beginning of last year, with advertisers initially restricted to advertising via their own TikTok channels or through partnerships with TikTok influencers. Since the ad platform’s release, TikTok has been experimenting with formats beyond regular in-feed video ads, including ‘hashtag challenges’ (sponsored hashtags) and branded lenses. For now however, TikTok says only in-feed video ads will be available on The Trade Desk.

While TikTok has undoubtedly been successful in drawing audiences to its platform, with around 800 million monthly active users according to We Are Social, brands may still exercise a measure of caution around the app, given the potential for user-generated content to create brand safety issues. TikTok and The Trade Desk say they will work together to maintain brand safety for advertisers, though have not specified how exactly they’ll filter unsafe content.

Nonetheless, the Trade Desk deal will likely help establish TikToks ad offering further with advertisers. And as the platform continues to grow its userbase, it will become harder and harder for brands to ignore, especially given its user base of hard-to-reach younger generations.

The deal looks like a significant win for The Trade Desk too, adding a valuable source of inventory to its portfolio. “We are delighted to launch this partnership with TikTok across Asia Pacific,” said Mitch Waters, SVP South Asia at The Trade Desk. “Everyone in this region understands the scope of TikTok’s reach, particularly with smartphone native users in India and Indonesia. Brands will be able to scale their campaigns to include short video, simply and safely.”


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