Older users of the internet may not be familiar with TikTok, but the Chinese short-form video app, known for its often highly creative and quirky content, is growing its user base rapidly and now it appears it is also testing ads on the platform.

According to a report last week by Digiday, TikTok, which is known as Douyin in China, showed a brief five-second ad from food delivery firm GrubHub on 26th January.

This was spotted by Sean Everett, chief product officer at consultancy Everett Advisors, and Chris Harihar, a partner at Crenshaw Communications, who provided Digiday with a screenshot of the ad.

“My first reaction was surprised that the product team was doing an app launch pre-roll ad,” said Everett. “I’m guessing they have some tagging and attribution for tracking engagement metrics, but the creative was well done and seemed native to the platform.”

Harihar disagreed about the quality of the creative, saying he found it disappointing, but he is a big fan of the app, which merged with Musical.ly, a similar social media company, in August last year.

“The content on TikTok is so insanely creative and user-driven. It’s not like Snapchat or Instagram,” he said. “People go all out to create these videos. It’s more of a performance platform. So the bar is high to stand out.”

TikTok, which is reported to have more than 130 million monthly active users around the world, may not pose an immediate threat to the likes of Facebook and Snapchat, but its army of young users and distinctive style – which some have compared to the now defunct Vine – is gaining the attention of media buyers.

“We would be interested based on the younger audience and what seems to be a high interaction rate,” said Noah Mallin, head of content and experience at Wavemaker, the agency network.

“There is also the interesting potential to tap into the Chinese side of the platform for our brands that may have a more global footprint,” he added.

Chris Strong, account director at influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, also expressed enthusiasm for the advertising potential that TikTok could offer.

“I think the ad unit would be great for brands that align with Gen Z,” he said. “I am very optimistic about the future of TikTok and hope this is the first step towards creating a trackable campaign for influencers on TikTok.”

Sourced from Digiday; additional content by WARC staff