TikTok, the short-form video app, has appointed PHD as its international media agency of record after a review.
The Omnicom agency will handle all media planning and buying for TikTok in markets outside of China, its home market.
TikTok has also appointed UK digital marketing specialist Climb Online to review and develop a European search engine marketing strategy. Climb said TikTok’s European growth strategy had a particular focus on the UK.
TikTok had appointed Total Media as its media agency in the UK, France and Germany, having previously worked with Blue449 on a project basis for its debut UK campaign last December.
As global agency of record, PHD said there will be some markets where it will work with other agencies on a case by case basis, but it will continue to oversee the strategy and planning globally.
TikTok is relatively new to the West but was the single most downloaded app in the US last September – ahead of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. It is particularly popular with young people (just over 40% of users are estimated to be aged between 16 and 24) and is used to create short lip-sync and talent videos.
In February it reached the one billion downloads threshold and had 500 million monthly active users globally as of June 2018.
Its Chinese owner, ByteDance, acquired Musical.ly, the user-generated music-video-sharing app, at the end of 2017. In August 2018 it merged Musical.ly into TikTok, which was already popular in Asia, and TikTok was given added functions in order to appeal to a global audience.
As TikTok attempts to monetise its growing audience, it has launched an ad sales unit and plans to launch ad formats for brands and their media agencies in the near future.
Philippa Brown, worldwide chief executive of PHD, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with TikTok at this exciting stage in the platform’s growth journey. The global assignment uses PHD’s key network capabilities and expertise in areas such as technology, data and digital content.”