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TikTok Considers Ad-Free Subscription: A New Chapter in the Social Media Landscape

The TikTok experience, without the intrusion of ads, might soon become a reality, but not without a price tag attached
By Josefina Dipaolo
October 4, 2023

Recent revelations, as reported by Android Authority, suggest that TikTok is toying with the idea of introducing an ad-free subscription tier for its U.S. user base. For just $4.99, users could unlock a TikTok experience devoid of advertisements—seemingly a sweet deal for those who seek uninterrupted scrolling and swiping.

However, there's a catch. This subscription tier seems poised to tackle only TikTok-served ads, leaving influencer marketing one-offs and campaigns untouched. So, while it promises to eliminate the regular ad interruptions, it won't necessarily address the issue of TikTok users who fail to disclose their brand sponsorships—an issue that's drawn attention, even from notable influencers like Charli D’Amelio.

TikTok, the short-form video sensation, has been raking in revenue primarily from ads. Surprisingly, it has weathered the storm of the broader slowdown in online ad spending quite admirably. According to market research firm Cowen, a whopping 60% of cautious ad buyers still consider TikTok their preferred short-form video platform. This resilience extends to TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, which secured an 11% share of big agency spending on social media, with heavyweights like Pepsi, DoorDash, Amazon, and Apple among its top spenders.

The pressing question, however, is whether the introduction of an ad-free subscription tier can effectively replace the revenue generated from ads. TikTok seems eager to explore this avenue, following in the footsteps of social media peers like X (formerly known as Twitter) and YouTube.

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