This story has been updated with new information since it was first published.
TikTok is quietly signing up media agencies to a “measurement badging program,” which aims to train them on how best to quantify the value their clients get by advertising on it. Horizon Media, GroupM and VaynerMedia’s VaynerX are the first to step up, TikTok confirmed on Monday. A TikTok representative said the invitation is also open to any brand that wishes to take part in the training.
It’s a way TikTok can bolster its significance to advertisers, some of whom have criticized the platform’s targeting capabilities and conversion rates — despite its broad user base.
TikTok teased the new measurement program, which it’s calling the TikTok Measurement Academy, in a post on LinkedIn on Monday, touting it as a way for agencies and brands to focus on “the best practices and deployment of our latest measurement solutions” to calculate the “true business value” of its TikTok ads.
The TikTok representative described the program as “in the early stages,” and is open to all agencies and brands, at no cost to participants. No brands have signed up yet.
Horizon Media said it will put around 80 of its employees through the TikTok Measurement Academy. The way Horizon sees it, the program is designed to help them understand which measurement solutions — from media or brand effectiveness to online or offline sales attribution and incrementality measurement — are most appropriate to implement to suit clients’ TikTok strategies.
“TikTok’s numbers keep growing — not just people, but the range of video content that’s posted,” said Alex Stone, Horizon Media’s senior vp advanced video & agency partnerships. “The way brands use that content in their campaigns has shifted from focusing on a specific event or stunt to more strategic ways to engage with consumers.
Although its freewheeling content may have something to do with TikTok’s appeal with the masses, the rise of influencer marketing may be contributing to the surge in popularity, which is where agencies continue to try to educate themselves. “As influencers’ capabilities to affect brands continue to grow, TikTok becomes a more important platform and we need to have a sound understanding of what we can measure and how we drive those metrics across TikTok, as we do with other media channels,” said Stone.
The heat around TikTok among marketers just continues. HubSpot and TalkWalker recently issued their latest social media trends report, which credits the Bytedance-owned social platform for being the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion global downloads in 2021. The report also found that two out of three marketers plan to increase their investment in TikTok in 2022.
TikTok’s program is not unlike Google and Facebook’s training and certification programs offered to media agencies in the early 2010s, when those options were still largely unfamiliar territory to bring to clients, but were heating up fast.
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