Talkin’ ‘Bout TikTok: Fads in Ads

Tomas San Juan isn’t the typical TikTok user, meaning he doesn’t post videos daily. He tends to scroll through TikTok looking for clips of his favorite soccer teams and games. Often, the clips will include promotions of products. And before long, the ads for products take over.

“I mostly see ads from Nike and Vans, basically like shoes or cleats and jerseys because I watch a lot of soccer videos,” said Tomas. “The SJ Earthquakes are my favorite team, and they would also promote stuff like water bottles, jerseys, cleats and other stuff from their team.”

Tomas doesn’t know it, but he is helping his favorite team grow simply by watching the ads posted on the team’s video. TikTok’s rule is that views and likes equals money. To earn money this way, the business that is posting must have 10,000 followers and 100,000 views from past videos, and set their account to “Business Account”, according to MailChimp. Even if the users don’t buy the products being promoted, they still help the team that posted.

The ads are targeted toward specific users based on the type of videos they have liked. Sometimes the targeting can feel obvious, but other times it seems invisible.

Many students said they don’t feel that the videos are aimed at them because a user can like tons of videos about celebrities, but ads they receive would be business, restaurants, stores and universities.

“I don’t feel like they’re targeted toward me,” said senior Jordan Wafer. “I be watching TikTok about youtubers criticizing rappers, or doing pranks, but when I do see an ad, it’s mostly about food, like McDonalds promoting a new burrito or Taco Bell promoting a new drink.”

But how would Jordan feel if some of his favorite rappers or youtubers, such as NBA YoungBoy or Kai Cenat, were to appear in those ads, sponsoring the food? Bet he would be more motivated to buy it. That is why TikTok sometimes partners up with influencers or famous people so that those ads they show can build a trust between the user and the ad, according to MarketerHire. If YoungBoy says that the Doritos Locos Tacos at TacoBell are good, then Jordan would be more likely to try them.

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