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TikTok announces new app to compete with Instagram: social media competition

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TikTok users have posted screenshots of a notification from the company promoting a new app that could compete with Meta's (META) Instagram. In the increasingly heated battle for social media supremacy, can TikTok stay ahead, or at least keep up with the competition?

DoubleVerify CEO Mark Zagorski joins Yahoo Finance to discuss this latest development from TikTok and the future of social media competition.

Zagorski explains TikTok's appeal to advertisers despite Washington's legislative battle against its parent company ByteDance: “We haven't seen a slowdown in spending at TikTok. I think, regardless of the current political environment, advertisers know it's a solid platform to engage users.” We've seen the demos on this platform get better and better over time, from kids and teens to today. Many of the politicians who even speak out against TikTok are still on the platform, showing for lack of a better term. I haven’t seen any change in ad spend at this point.”

For more expert insights and the latest market activity, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor's Note: This article was written by Nicholas Jacobino

Video transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

The battle for users' attention on social media is heating up. TikTok users are posting screenshots online of a notification about a new app from TikTok that could potentially compete with Meta's Instagram. The CEO of DoubleVerify, Mark Zagorski, is up for discussion. Mark, it's good to see you.

It's nothing new for social media platforms to copy each other. But TikTok was kind of a one-trick pony. A very good trick in the eyes of most users, but still a one-trick pony. I mean, how big would this be if it also offered a photo service in addition to the video posting service?

MARK ZAGORSKI: I mean, look, I think it's a pretty big deal. As you noted, we've seen this before when these social platforms had a really highly engaged audience that was a captive audience. They will try to monetize them in any way they can. And this has been evident before, for example, when we saw Facebook launch Threads, an X competitor. For example, we've seen platforms like Amazon start pushing Prime and ads on Prime. So it's just an example of monetizing a really attractive demo that continues to grow and is very engaged.

Do we know, Mark, what marketer appetite is for TikTok right now and whether there's been any shift or change there, Mark, given what we're seeing on Capitol Hill?

MARK ZAGORSKI: That's why we've been working with TikTok on the brand safety front for several years, ensuring advertisers' spend is measured and brand safety violations reported. We haven't seen any slowdown in spending on TikTok. I think regardless of the current political environment, advertisers know that it's a really solid user engagement platform.

We have seen the demos on this platform get better and better over time, from children and teenagers to today. Many of the politicians who even speak out against TikTok are still on the platform and still shilling, for lack of a better term. So we haven't seen any change in ad spend. Of course, if something were to happen in DC, those dollars would change. But TikTok is a big platform. The US is a big market for them, but they have a presence all over the world.

I'm curious, you know, because this isn't the first time we've had this discussion about TikTok at least being divested, right? We had this discussion a few years ago. Are advertisers independent of ownership? In other words, have you seen them – because last round it seemed like it was closer than this time – than it has been so far this time. Do advertisers tend to create changes or contingency plans in advance of such potential events?

MARK ZAGORSKI: The digital world is a pretty agile world. So dollars can move from platform to platform fairly quickly and seamlessly. So advertisers react relatively reactively when something happens. Well, when it comes to ownership changes, I really think that advertisers are going to be looking at whether the engagement level is still the same, whether it's an environment that their brands can be confident in and whether it's one where they can somehow establish a global footprint. And if that continues, I think TikTok will still remain a viable entity for advertisers, no matter who owns it.

Mark, also in general, just to get an overview of the entire digital advertising market. How healthy and resilient does he look to you, Mark? I think this would be a good year with the Olympics and the election, right?

MARK ZAGORSKI: Yes. There are many external forces that provide tailwind. You mentioned the Olympics and the election, which would certainly bring in more dollars. And we will likely have the highest digital spending election in the history of the world this year. And not just in the USA, but around the globe.

So, digital advertising spending is expected to increase year on year. I believe the larger platforms are driving the lion's share of this growth, particularly as they place greater emphasis on personalized experiences and interactions that attract users, and then create a safer platform environment than perhaps in the past.

Mark, it's good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

MARK ZAGORSKI: Absolutely. Thanks for the invitation.