TikTok is partnering with big-name publishers, including NBCU, Condé Nast, DotDash Meredith, BuzzFeed and others, in an effort to pull in more premium ad dollars. At this week’s NewFronts, the video entertainment company announced a new premium ad product that would allow marketers, for the first time, to position their brand ads directly after TikTok’s publisher and media partners’ content in over a dozen categories, including lifestyle, sports, entertainment, education and more.
The ad slot, dubbed “Pulse Premiere,” offers a sort of brand-safe space within TikTok’s social video network, as they’re guaranteed their ads will run immediately after what TikTok refers to as “suitable TikToks” from premium publishers.
The move could address potential concerns over ad placement amid user-generated content that, in years past, has caused disruptions to YouTube’s ad revenue, as bands have had to freeze ads due to offensive and obscene material ranging from hate speech to child safety issues, and more.
With TikTok’s new offering, marketers can be assured of their placement as the content will run only alongside trusted publishers. In addition to NBCU, Condé Nast, DotDash Meredith and BuzzFeed, the company is also partnering with Hearst Magazines, Major League Soccer, UFC, Vox Media and WWE on the new program.
In addition, marketers will be able to use TikTok’s ad platform to tie their campaigns to tentpole events through Pulse Premiere, the company says. Meanwhile, for publishers, the new ad slots will help them generate increased revenue from their TikTok investments by way of a revenue-sharing agreement.
TikTok declined to share how much the new Pulse Premiere ad placements will cost, saying only that they are “premium ad placements.” It also didn’t detail the revenue share for participating publishers.
“At Condé Nast the power of our brands allows us to create culture-defining content for 1B of the most engaged audiences across many relevant platforms,” said Pam Drucker Mann, global chief revenue officer & president, U.S. Revenue & APAC at Condé Nast, in a statement. “TikTok has become one of our most valuable partners, providing us with a variety of tools to ensure that our brands are driving these conversations on their platform. Our advertisers know that culture is the new KPI, and the Pulse Premiere solution finally enables clients to match media buying with how consumers are consuming our brands, like Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair, on TikTok,” she added.
Pulse Premiere is built off TikTok’s initial Pulse offering launched last year, which allowed marketers to place their ads next to the top 4% of content on the platform. The program was the first ad product to offer a revenue share with content creators, TikTok noted at the time. The company says its data indicates TikTok users are 2.6x more likely to interact with a Pulse ad versus a comparable ad on another video platform. It also notes that Pulse campaigns increased brand recall by +9.8%, on average, and awareness by +6.8%.
However, in follow-up reports by Fortune, Insider and others, creators reported extremely low earnings from Pulse — seeing revenue not even exceeding $5, in some cases. Among those creators interviewed by Insider, the revenue per every 1,000 video view on Pulse, or RPM, was in the range of just $6 to $8. One likened it to nothing more than a small bonus for having a video go viral, but it’s clear creators are not meant to rely on the ad rev share to fuel their businesses.
Instead, TikTok offers other monetization tools for creators like livestream gifting, subscriptions and a creator fund — though the latter has also been charged with paying out low amounts. Today, many creators make money through brand ad deals and sponsored content, not through the platform’s own tools for monetization.
The ad product will roll out to U.S. advertisers in the second half of the year with other markets to follow.