Audience-based ad targeting has become more challenging as privacy laws give consumers greater control over their personal data, and tech companies give them more ways to avoid online tracking. As advertisers emphasize measurable business outcomes from their campaigns, they’re putting more weight into contextual targeting and integrating their brands with content.

That’s especially true with TikTok, the social video platform that this year become the first non-Facebook mobile app to reach 3 billion downloads worldwide, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. TikTok uses a variety of algorithms to identify videos that have the power to go viral, and to personalize the viewing experience for each of its users.

“The ads become part of that contextual experience,” Sandie Hawkins, general manager of North America, global business solutions, at social video platform TikTok, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “The same algorithm that is choosing the right content from a creator standpoint is the same algorithm that’s picking the ads for delivery.”

Community and Creators

Brands that tend to be most successful on TikTok are quick to identify trends that engage its community, which consists not only of people who watch videos, but also create them. TikTok has made overnight celebrities of people whose videos went viral.

“We see that TikTok as a platform is about the community coming together, determining what they like and then rallying around it,” Hawkins said. “It’s really about what the democratization of culture is, and what content should be, and letting brands be a part of where culture is going.”

Because most of TikTok’s content consists of user-generated videos, brands are mindful that their messaging appears within a suitable context.

“Brands can get concerned around the brand-safety elements, and so, we’ve partnered with companies like OpenSlate to help brands be more comfortable with the content that we have on our feed, because that’s really where the magic is,” Hawkins said.

Influencers who create videos and build up a following are an important part of the TikTok experience, and offer brands the possibility for partnerships on campaigns. The company’s research has found that 63% of users said like it when brands show TikTok creators in their videos.

“We always try to make a point of having brands leverage creators when they’re putting together content,” Hawkins said.

You are watching “Reshaping Contextual Advertising,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by OpenSlate. For more videos, please visit this page.