- TikTok unveiled a new ad program called Pulse Premiere that lets brands place their creative alongside premium publisher content. The announcement was part of the platform’s NewFronts presentation, which was closed to press.
- Inaugural publisher partners include Buzzfeed, Condé Nast, Dotdash Meredith, Hearst Magazines, MLS, NBCUniversal, UFC, Vox Media and WWE. Pulse Premiere has a revenue-sharing model to help publishers better monetize their TikTok content, per a blog post.
- Pulse Premiere builds on a TikTok Pulse offering that rolled out around the NewFronts last year and carries a similar concept focused on upward-trending creator content. The original Pulse is also receiving some additions related to seasonal content and extending advertisers’ reach across top content categories.
TikTok is making a bigger overture to publishers with the launch of its Pulse Premiere program. The platform for years has described creators as its “lifeblood,” but the move shows its purview could broaden as it looks to sustain momentum and keep a competitive edge on rivals like Meta Platforms and YouTube that have chased the success of its short-form video model. The Pulse news, detailed to marketers and media buyers as part of a closed-door NewFronts presentation, also comes at a point of vulnerability for TikTok as it again contends with the threat of a U.S. ban.
Pulse Premiere operates similarly to the original Pulse, which marked TikTok’s first foray into contextual advertising. Rather than placing ads in the top 4% of vetted creator content in categories like beauty or automotive, Pulse Premiere aligns them with a roster of premium publishers who are eager to reach the video-sharing’s younger-skewing audience and tap into fresh sources of revenue. In a statement, Condé Nast’s global revenue chief Pam Drucker Mann said that TikTok has become one of the Vogue and GQ owner’s “most valuable partners.”
“Our advertisers know that culture is the new [key performance indicator], 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,” said Mann.
TikTok did not break out how Pulse Premiere’s revenue-sharing model works. As with the creator-led Pulse, brands can target their ads around different verticals, including lifestyle and education, sports and entertainment, along with timing campaigns to specific events.
On a similar note, the original Pulse is integrating a new tool called Pulse Seasonal Lineups, which TikTok described as its first “moment-specific” ad product. The solution allows brands to juice their presence around trending creator content that is tied to cultural events or seasonal occasions. It will first be tested around Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season. Pulse is additionally introducing a Max Pulse buying option that enables advertisers to run creative in the top 4% of content across categories.
In the announcement, TikTok positioned Pulse as a more effective way to advertise. The ByteDance-owned company said that Pulse campaigns can increase brand recall by nearly 10% and awareness by close to 7%. TikTok took in about $10 billion in ad revenue last year, with some forecasts indicating that figure could nearly double by 2024.
For publishers, Pulse Premiere might be appealing amid a bear market for digital media. BuzzFeed, Vox and other names involved in the program have been gripped by layoffs and organizational shuffles in recent months, resulting in a lot of analysis about how content models reliant on social traffic could be on the way out.