Temu Emerges as Major Ad Client for Meta, Google

Temu is now one of the biggest ad clients for both Google and Meta, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Photo of Temu website on iPhone
Photo via Connor Lin / The Daily Upside

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The king of fast fashion is going through its advertising budget in a hurry.

China’s Temu is now one of the biggest clients for both Google and Meta, according to dueling reports published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Supersonic Fashion

Temu, the international unit of Chinese e-commerce player Pinduoduo, turned heads during the NFL’s big game last month by purchasing four 30-second commercial spots, which reportedly cost about $7 million each this year, in which the company argued that purchasing its ultra-cheap products would make customers feel as if they “shop like a billionaire.” 

But the Super Bowl spend was pocket change compared to what Temu spent to pop up on Google search results and Instagram feeds:

  • Last year, Temu placed roughly 1.4 million ads across Google’s various channels, the NYT reported. Meanwhile, the WSJ reports it was one of the company’s five biggest ad clients by total spend; sources also told the WSJ that Google ad sales reps have actively courted Temu’s business.
  • Temu ran as much as $2 billion worth of ads with Meta last year, sources told the WSJ (Temu disputed the figure, but declined to offer another number). The NYT reported that Temu ran as many as 26,000 different versions of ads on Meta platforms; Meta just reported over $13 billion in revenue from its China business, double the year prior and reversing a trend of declining revenue.

Spill the Temu: The ad blitz is likely paying off. Temu’s app is often the most downloaded on both Apple and Google’s respective app stores, according to Sensor Tower data. And while Pinduoduo doesn’t break out Temu’s financials, the company posted an overall profit of $2.1 billion in its most recent earnings report, a quarter that included nearly $3 billion in sales and marketing costs. But massive ad spending to sell $12 hoodies means the company is likely operating the division at a loss, at least in the US. Goldman Sachs estimated Temu averaged a $7 loss per order in 2023. They also may need to step up their PR and lobbying outlays after a Congressional report published last year found an “extremely high risk that Temu’s supply chains are contaminated with forced labor.”