Noticing an increase in ads on your FYP? You’re not alone.
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An experiment conducted by Insider suggests TikTok’s ad presence is reminiscent of network TV. In the experiment, two reporters individually reviewed 500 TikTok videos each, uncovering that roughly 30% of the content consisted of advertisements. The ads ranged from traditional commercials to a mix of affiliate content, sponsored posts, self-promotion, and product reviews, all categorized as ad-related.

TikTok is shutting down its Creator Fund

Despite the experiment lacking scientific rigor, it shed light on TikTok’s obscure algorithm. The app has aggressively pursued monetization efforts, introducing TikTok Shop and an affiliate commission program for creators. Users have observed an influx of ads and commerce-related posts, leading to frequent interruptions and a noticeable shift in the content displayed on their feeds.

Reporters were taken aback by the volume of ads and how seamlessly they had become part of the experience. Sebastian Cahill remarked, “Before my ‘research,’ I found the ads somewhat annoying but not overly intrusive. However, upon closer inspection, I realized I encountered an ad every two or three regular TikToks.”

Hannah Getahun pointed out that the percentage of ads on TikTok is comparable to network TV, where ads can make up about 28% of the content. Despite this, TikTok is experimenting with an ad-free version priced at $4.99, granting users the choice to enjoy an ad-free FYP or stick with the ad-filled algorithm.


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Cecily Mauran

Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran.


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