TikTok’s advertising revenue in 2021 reached nearly $4 billion, according to a report by Chinese media outlet LatePost. Multiple sources also said that the company’s goal for 2022 is to achieve at least triple the growth – or at least $12 billion in sales – comparable to Baidu‘s advertising revenue in 2020.
TikTok has accelerated its commercialization process in the past year with a massive expansion of its advertising, overseas e-commerce and livestreaming teams. A source at ByteDance, the platform’s Beijing-based parent company, said that TikTok now has thousands of salespeople, mainly in North America. At present, TikTok has nearly 20,000 employees.
TikTok’s advertising business came from ByteDance’s Chinese Commercialization Department, which built a mature strategy, product and sales system so as to enable TikTok’s advertising business to quickly get on track during the initial stages of its launch. ByteDance has also directly marketed its Chinese advertising placement product Pangle overseas.
Starting in late 2020, however, ByteDance has made a clearer distinction between its overseas business and Chinese business. Currently, TikTok’s advertising operations are undertaken by the official platform TikTok for Business (TTFB), led by Blake Chandlee, Head of TikTok’s Global Commercialization, reporting to Zhou Shouzi, Head of TikTok.
Official data show that TikTok had 1 billion monthly active users worldwide in September 2021. The platform’s current advertisers are mainly small and medium-sized internet companies.
“TikTok in the past year began to develop e-commerce vigorously in order to open up new sources of revenue on the one hand. More importantly, the e-commerce business is closer to major customers and brands. Once it is done, advertisers are definitely willing to spend more of their budget on it,” one source close to ByteDance said.