The Organic Ad Clock Is TikToking
We've written so many blog posts on TikTok and it is indisputably the hottest social platform out right now. With a wide range of options in content creation, it creates opportunities for influencers to connect with their followers in so many different ways.
Its popularity is naturally born out if it's creative output but now it has achieved the purpose it set out to achieve from the start - branded content and advertising. Now that it is running the game, TikTok recently rolled out a list of new rules and restrictions for advertising on the platform. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares the latest updates in advertising on TikTok and what that means for your brand.
The Ads They Are A-Changin'
With its initial rollout in 2016, the app has changed names a few times along with ownership but by 2019, the app that we now know as TikTok had begun making waves. Picking up steam immediately with a primarily Gen Z audience, the app demonstrated it would quickly become a major marketing tool as it allows endless room for creativity. The last year proved to be a major turning point for TikTok simply because it was something to do when everyone was stuck inside their homes - create videos of well-edited material and learn dance challenges.
Marketers have found massive success with the campaign in through a multitude of ways including dances, trends, and challenges. However, where TikTok was once the wild west of social media marketing, the app is beginning to crack down with new regulations and policies that will have a huge impact on how brands market through the app and even who gets to do so at all.
Transparency is also new feature being emphasized in TikTok advertising. As most readers are probably familiar with at this point, influencers are required to use the hashtag #ad or #sponsored so they're legally required to differentiate between content that that is a paid endorsement as opposed to their genuine opinion. This rule has been longstanding on all social platforms for some time now and TikTok is now taking it to the next level. Whenever an influencer uses either hashtag in their content, the platform will automatically move it to the very front of the caption to clarify that the content being viewed is definitely branded content.
Banned From TikTok
The following list includes all brands who are not allowed to advertise on the app. Brand categories include:
- Alcohol - alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, spirits, etc.), alcohol clubs/subscription services, alcohol making kits, or alcohol sponsored events. This includes alcohol-free or no-alcohol alternatives, and soft drinks presented as mixers for alcohol.
• Cigarettes and Tobacco products - Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, e-cigarettes, cigarette containers, shisha and other related products and services.
• Contraceptive products - Any products, artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse such as condoms except for family planning.
• Drug-related products and services - depicting or encouraging the use of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, recreational and prescription drugs, CBD supplements.
• Weapons - Use of dangerous weapons, including guns, explosives, knives, swords and other objects that are designed to cause harm to individuals.
• Food supplements and vitamins - Vitamins, powders, shakes, gummies claiming to have vitamin or health benefits.
• Age rated films, TV shows and games - Films, TV shows and games rated 15 or over
• Gambling - Including online gambling, casinos, sports betting, and branded content promoting fantasy sports, bingo, lotteries, or other gambling related content.
• Sexual products and services - Adult entertainment and paraphernalia including pornography, sex toys, lubricants, and fetish costumes, including some underwear like corsets and micro-thongs
• Political content- referencing, or opposing a candidate for public office, current or former political leader, political party, or political organization. They must not contain content that advocates a stance (for or against) on a local, state, or federal issue of public importance in order to influence a political outcome.
• Products and services that enable dishonest behavior - Products that may infringe upon individual privacy, products that may steal other people's personal information, products that may infringe upon a third party's properties, products that may steal other people's properties, or products or services assisting with falsification.
• Animals- Buying or selling animals, live animals, livestock, and pets. Animal body parts/products from Rhino, Orangutan, Elephant, endangered or threatened animals including but not limited to organs, horns, ivory, bone, skin, fur, wool, leather, or teeth.
• Products for animals (toys, clothes, collars, cages, food, etc).
• Pet services such as dog walking, pet care, pet cafes, pet
grooming, training, etc.
• Advertising content related to the adoption of animals is permitted for NGOs, NPOs, and stray animal shelters (no adoption services to be promoted for high breed pets or any invitation to join into mix-breeding of pets).
• Professional Services - Accounting & taxation services, legal services and immigration services.
• Other prohibited products or services- International brides, hazardous chemical products, trading of human organs and transplants, abortion, services of prenatal sex determination, protected wildlife and wild flora, funeral services.
TikTok specifically states that any branded content for any of the industries above are now allowed on the platform. This is certainly due to the fact that with the giant platform that it has become, the app is very sensitive about maintaining integrity and keeping the app from becoming a giant amalgamation of advertising content. It is still first and foremost a home for creative content.
The Restricted List
The following brands are restricted to 18+ Targeted Ads via TikTok For Business:
- Financial Services- Ads related to the exchange, management or investment of funds (fiat or virtual) must comply with applicable laws, regulations, licensing obligations, and industry requirements. For all ads within this category, we may ask for disclosures and evidence of appropriate regulator and/or third-party accreditations or certifications. Ads may only target 18+ and must include proper disclaimers.
- Food & Drinks- Energy drinks require age targeting 18+.
- Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Medicines- Ads for pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and medicines must target 18+ users and comply with local laws of the target country. Over-the-counter or prescription drugs must be approved by the regional regulating authority and may not contain misleading or inaccurate claims. They do allow advertisements for brick and mortar pharmacies and online pharmacies that are certified by a third-party licensing organization such as the NABP or LegitScript or regional equivalent. Proof of licensing may be necessary for approval.
- Dating Applications or Services- Ads that promote dating applications or services must target 18+. Such ads must not be overtly sexual or reference transactional companionship or cheating, etc. Dating ads should not be sexually suggestive in nature (e.g., focusing on bodies, sexual language or innuendo, etc.)
- Fantasy Sports- Ads that promote fantasy sports are allowed but must target 18+ only. Please note that such ads should include proper disclaimer.
Now is a good time to rethink your strategy. It's best not to risk being banned from TikTok but rather strategize your social content elsewhere. Fortunately with Instagram reels, you can create content that is just like TikTok but on a platform that has less harsh restrictions.
More To Learn, More To Love
Curious to learn more about the impact that TikTok has made on entertainment and pop culture? There's no better way to better prepare yourself for how your brand can engage and advertise on the medium! Check out these other blog posts we've written on the subject...
Ready to work with influencers across multiple social platforms? Check out our guide on social influencer partnerships - it's packed with helpful information and completely free!