How Does ByteDance Make Money

If you were approached by Headhunters representing TikTok, have a thought on how to work with headhunters for maximum benefit.

If you have considered whether you should join TikTok/ByteDance, and are now planning to apply for one of those jobs at Bytedance, you’ll need to understand:

  • How bytedance makes money as a company
  • How bytedance managed to grow so fast in the past 7 years

Take the two most successful product for an example: Toutiao is China #1 content creation platform and Douyin is the China version of Tiktok, the #1 short video creation platform.

TikTok is much more engaging than Facebook and other peers
TikTok is much more engaging than Facebook and other peers

TikTok is much more engaging than Facebook and other peers

Their success followed pretty much the same logic:

  • They used Algorithm to recommend content that users want to see. The accurate recommendation grows strong engagement. Actually, when it comes to engagement, TikTok has even more advantage: the videos are very short and entertaining, they can make people release dopamine, the happiness chemical, and that is a secret for engagement.
  • Bytedance then monetize this engagement, mainly with advertisement. The ad revenue helps them to tell a very good story with investors, so they got great funding to further fuel their growth.

Bytedance has acquired and launched many other products in China and internationally, be it content, music, gaming, or education, most of them take the same idea.

Monetization is an important keyword for Bytedance. And engagement does not naturally mean money. For TikTok, 57% of its users are in China, but they contribute 86.6% of total revenue. This tells us that efficiency for monetization can be different in markets. It could depend on how much Ad owners are willing to pay, how well users actually interact with the ads.

Ads business comes with a lot of money, and also a lot of responsibility. There are always fraud and risk related to user data protection, ads integrity is also a very important area. Google, Facebook and Twitter have all signed on to be members of Ads integrity Alliance. This initiative was specifically targeting ads leading to scams or counterfeits.

In China, half of the Bytedance staff actually do ads sales or content auditing. Because content auditing, whether for ad or content, it’s a very labor intensive job. We will see engineering jobs continue to train the machines and build smarter systems, and this is also why we see the Computer Vision and NLP jobs also, to give the machines better eyes and brains.

There are also many campus recruitment or intern jobs on hire at ByteDance. There are ways to stand out in job hunt as fresh graduates.

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 Yolanda is a certified transformational coach, entrepreneur, and multi-award-winning writer. She holds an MBA from INSEAD, served director/VP level BD roles in Fortune 500 MNCs and tech unicorns. 

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