TikTok eyes SMB industry, sets aside US$100m ad credits for rebuilding

TikTok has created a "Back to Business" ad credit programme comprising US$100 million in ad credits for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) globally to use on their journey to rebuilding the brand. This comes at a time when SMBs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to TikTok, eligible SMB custoners can claim a one-time ad credit worth US$300 to be used by 31 December. Any additional spending will be matched one-to-one with ad credit, up to US$2,000 per business.

SMBs who sign up for a new TikTok Ads Manager account or already have one and meet all the requirements, are eligible for the programme. Each business entity is eligible for only one ad account. If the company has multiple ad accounts, each using a different business licence, they may be eligible to claim their ad credit for each account separately. According to TikTok, the ad credit is for qualifying businesses in the following regions - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, US, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, India, Australia, Russia, Israel, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Turkey, and Japan.

According to TikTok, the ad credits will be applied differently for manual (pre-pay) and automatic (post-pay) payment methods. For accounts using the manual payment method, the balance in their account is applied before the ad credits are used. For accounts using the automatic payment method, Their ad credits will be received after paying an outstanding balance. These ad credits will then be applied first before charging the account on the company's next campaign.

When asked which markets are TikTok eyeing in terms of SMBs coming on board following the ad credits, TikTok's head of SEA business marketing Chew Wee Ng told Marketing that Southeast Asia is a region that is important to the company. She added that the company is committed to supporting the growth of local enterprises and SMBs by helping them to build awareness at scale, engage with their target audience in a highly interactive way, and ultimately achieve better business results.

While Ng declined to share exact figures on the number of SMBs TikTok is currently working with in Asia, she said that some of them that have experienced tremendous results since coming in board include Indonesia's Javamedia Digital Group, Thailand's Cardinal Film, and Vietnam's Zera Việt Nam.

"While we do not provide figures, the revenue contribution by SMBs are definitely on the uptrend and we see vast potential in working alongside these businesses to power their branding and regional expansion efforts," Ng added.

To further aid SMBs in Singapore and the region, TikTok also has rolled out new advertising solutions that leverage the capabilities of its latest platform TikTok For Business. The TikTok For Business Business Ads Manager offers brands a suite of creative tools such as the TikTok AdStudio, to embrace the creativity and authenticity of the community.

The TikTok Ads Manager was also designed for fast set up for every level of expertise. According to TikTok, flexible budgets allow businesses to adjust their spending at anytime. TikTok's self-serve ad tools also offer intelligent targeting for SMBs to be discovered by new engaged audiences. Additionally, the company is also introducing business accounts that will provide additional tools customised to businesses' needs for performance analysis and engagement with audiences.

The TikTok For Business platform was launched at the end of June to help brands tell their stories in a more creative and engaging way. With this platform, TikTok aims to help brands tap into the scale and creativity on its platform; sight, motion and sound; engage with its inclusive and participatory community; and offer seamless and simple solutions. Alongside the launch of TikTok For Business was also the roll out of its AR branded effect called Brand Scan. The new offering allows users to have an AR experience with any brand.

Ng previously said that TikTok For Business opens "an entirely new window of opportunity" to create content that speaks to people and invites users across Singapore and Southeast Asia to join in the conversation. "Brands have the opportunity to turn traditional marketing on its head and truly engage with today's users by encouraging them to make TikTok videos, instead of simply viewing ads," Ng added.

This latest announcement comes as TikTok intends to pull out of Hong Kong after the recent establishment of the new national security law by China which reduces its autonomy. Its CEO Kevin Mayer previously said that its user data is not stored in China and that it will not accede to requests made by the Chinese government to censor content or access TikTok's user data, Reuters reported. The US government is also looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok. Meanwhile, CNBC reported that Snap's shares closed up 5.94% after Pompeo said the country was contemplating banning TikTok. It added that shares of Facebook were up 0.24% on Tuesday afternoon, while Twitter's stock increased 2.01%.

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