It turns out that viral tech phenomena are not so, well, viral. That was one of the big takeaways from ByteDance’s 2021 financials, reported today by The Wall Street Journal.
ByteDance, which owns TikTok and a range of extraordinarily popular Chinese apps, lost more than $7 billion from its operations last year. One reason was heavy investment in research and development and in marketing.
Specifically, the company spent $19.2 billion on marketing, about 31% of its $61.7 billion in total revenue. The Information previously reported TikTok was responsible for $4 billion of that revenue.
In contrast, Meta Platforms spent $14 billion in marketing last year, or 12% of its $118 billion in total revenue.