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TikTok’s new ad tools allow users to boost other people’s videos

TikTok’s new ad tools allow users to boost other people’s videos


TikTok’s ad portal allows businesses and users to turn videos into ads without leaving the app.

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Image: Nick Barclay / The Verge

TikTok is adding new features to its advertising portal, Promote, including the ability to boost the videos of other users, the company announced today.

The in-app tool, geared toward small businesses and creators, is getting several updates around audience targeting, campaign objectives, and boosting posts. The Promote feature allows brands and users to turn their content into ads without leaving the app, and TikTok encourages brands and creators to use the platform as a way of reaching customers and audiences.

Among the more notable features announced today is a “Promote for Others” option, which allows brands working with influencers to throw money behind the content creator’s post or live video. Creators can also, in turn, promote other users, brands, or businesses “they want the world to see,” TikTok says.

The company didn’t outline exactly how this feature would work for the account getting boosted — users will need to get permission to promote other people’s posts, but TikTok didn’t expand on whether there will be a formal mechanism for that. One scenario where this could get sticky is with the TikTok content that isn’t sponsored but ends up having the same effect — think viral drug store makeup, cleaning supplies, or a very specific gadget that a user makes a video about that subsequently leads to sales and exposure for the brand.

Of course, some people don’t necessarily want their content to get more views. Other platforms have built-in safety features to handle this — Tumblr, for example, introduced the ability to turn off reblogs (which aren’t paid) on posts last year. Twitter allows advertisers to promote user tweets as long as they obtain permission.

Advertisers boosting their content on TikTok will now be able to target users by location, in addition to other criteria like age, gender, and interests. TikTok also added new ad campaign goals that advertisers can select: driving profile visits and direct messages.