- Code within the TikTok app indicates that TikTok is testing an ad-free monthly subscription plan.
- The plan currently costs $4.99 (Ksh 740) per month in this testing phase. This pricing could change when the feature rolls out widely.
- TikTok has confirmed a test of this plan, albeit disputing a full product launch.
After popularizing short video content, TikTok is now taking a page from competitors by testing monthly ad-free subscriptions. For $4.99 or Ksh 740 per month, subscribers could potentially get an interruption-free experience according to code uncovered in the TikTok app.
The feature remains in early single market testing outside the U.S. and it’s unclear if it will graduate to a full launch. But it shows TikTok responding to an emerging trend of subscription offerings from the likes of X and YouTube.
Influencer Marketing Unlikely to be Impacted
As initially disclosed by Android Authority, there are indications in the TikTok app’s code suggesting that TikTok is considering testing a subscription tier that offers an ad-free experience for users.
According to the report, users might access this ad-free experience on TikTok for a subscription fee of $4.99, with no significant additional conditions attached.
Notably, the code indicates subscriptions would only cover TikTok’s own ad inventory. Influencer marketing and embedded creator brand deals would likely remain across the platform.
This means major influencers would still be able to post branded content regardless of a user’s subscription status. TikTok will need to tread carefully in balancing advertising with paid tiers.
TikTok Derives Majority of Its Revenue From Ads
As a free platform, TikTok currently relies heavily on advertising for monetization. And it’s proven remarkably resilient amid the online ad spending slowdown, with brands eager to tap into its young user base.
A recent Cowen survey found 60% of ad buyers favored TikTok for short video campaigns. The question is whether subscriptions could meaningfully offset any ad revenue loss from users going ad-free.
Early Stage Testing Offers No Guarantee
It’s important to emphasize the subscription offering seems to be small-scale preliminary testing for now. There is no certainty that TikTok will ultimately launch it widely to the public.
The company simply appears to be gauging demand and collecting early insights on the viability. TikTok may determine the revenue tradeoffs don’t make sense in the long run.
Nonetheless, even exploring an ad-free paid tier indicates TikTok has a watchful eye on features competitors like X (formally Twitter) and YouTube are rolling out.
The company dominated the short video space first, but now faces an erosion of that exclusivity. Testing a subscription model, even if never launched, shows TikTok acknowledging new pressure from other platforms.