Social & Influencers

TikTok’s US ad sales grew 6% last month, per Sensor Tower

Brands don’t seem to be shying away from the app, despite the possibility of a ban.
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Ad spend on TikTok in the US grew 6% month over month in March, according to estimates from app analytics group Sensor Tower, despite a potential national ban of the platform.

It grew more than 30% year over year, Sensor Tower reported. Out of the top five categories advertised on TikTok in the US, consumer packaged goods brands increased ad spend the most, growing 81% year over year in the first quarter of 2023.

  • The travel and tourism industry also bumped up its ad spend on the platform, which grew more than 300% compared to Q1 of last year.
  • DoorDash, PepsiCo, and Amazon were among the biggest spenders on TikTok ads in Q1. Eight of TikTok’s top 10 advertisers “have significantly ramped up their marketing efforts on TikTok in 2023,” according to Abe Yousef, senior insights analyst at Sensor Tower, who noted that this group has collectively increased ad spend by an average of 210% in Q1.
  • PepsiCo in particular has bumped up its spend on TikTok, having increased its investment in the app by 239% quarter over quarter in Q4 of last year, amounting to almost $20 million. PepsiCo did not respond to a request for comment.

Zoom out: In March, lawmakers grilled TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, over the app’s domestic data and security practices days after the Biden administration threatened to ban the platform. Some marketers are sizing up other short-form video platforms, like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, to potentially pivot to if the ban goes into effect.

“Because of the age of TikTok—it’s still kind of the youngest platform—almost literally every company we work with already had another social footprint before growing their TikTok footprint,” Jeffrey Tousey, CEO and founder of Beekman Social, recently told Marketing Brew. “It’s not like this was their only channel.”

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Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.