In the wake of COVID-19, businesses of all sizes continue to take stock of their spending practices, losses, ongoing threats, and opportunities for revival and growth.  Investment in marketing is ripe for such an evaluation, including advertising mix, production expenses, and return.  In June, 2020, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that while overall spending on advertising is in decline, digital ad spending continues to grow. These increases were particularly noticeable in social media and digital video.  From an efficiency perspective, this is no surprise.  Digital ads tend to be less expensive to produce, generally cost less to traffic, and are highly targeted.  In many cases, digital ads also meet consumers at their point-of-purchase, i.e. their smart phones.

Digital platforms are quickly responding to the shifting needs and budgets of their advertiser constituents.  In a press release issued on July 8, TikTok announced its launch of an advertising solution geared towards small and mid-size businesses.  The solution begins with a “suite of creative tools,” that allow the ads to reflect the inventive themes and style of the TikTok community.  Presumably, these creative tools will allow advertisements to appear more native to the platform and to interact naturally with user generated content.  Such tools may also help advertisers continue to save on production costs.

Another benefit of the solution is an advertiser’s ability to target new prospective customers.  TikTok allows its advertisers to target its audience using “gender, location, age, interests, and other unique variables” as well as “Custom” and “Lookalike” audiences.  Further, small and mid-size advertisers will be supported with analytical tools and flexible spending options to allow them to understand and respond to their new viewers.

The platform also introduced a global “Back-to-Business” program designed to help small and midsize businesses begin rebuilding in the wake of the global pandemic.  Thus far, TikTok has committed USD $100 Million in ad credits to the program worldwide.  To participate in the program, small and midsize businesses must apply through the platform’s website.  Those accepted can redeem a one-time ad credit of USD $300 that must be used by December 31 of this year.  Participating businesses will also receive a one-to-one ad credit match for additional spending up to USD $2,000.

For advertisers looking for a change, TikTok is meeting small and midsize businesses with open arms and few hurdles.