Social media giant TikTok has recently revealed their plans to explode its diversification into the world of eCommerce. This will allow brands to use the culture-shaping impact and reach that this app has proven to have.
What is TikTok?
TikTok, owned by tech mega-corp ByteDance, is a video-sharing mobile app that allows users to create and share short videos on any topic. The app provides users with a vast library of music and dialogue options, with which they could then use to make funny or entertaining videos.
The app's users predominantly consist of teens and young adults, is an enormous untapped market for promoting and selling products online.
At the end of 2020, TikTok surpassed 1 Billion monthly users (which is now sitting at 1.1 Billion as of February 2021.) This makes it one of the biggest social media platforms worldwide.
TikTok in Social Commerce
In their annual advertiser-brief, ByteDance revealed their planned features for the app in 2021. According to several attendees – one of these features is a tool that allows TikTok's most popular content creators to share links to products, earning commission on any sale made through their link.
This is textbook affiliate marketing, and third-party companies have been doing this for a while – providing TikTok creators with sponsorships to promote their products with affiliate links.
However, the most anticipated feature is still to be discussed:
TikTok is also planning to allow brands to showcase their products to be purchased directly on the app.
This is TikTok's attempt to break into the social commerce market, in which the platforms Instagram and Facebook currently are the kingpins. Social commerce is predicted to expand exponentially as one of the biggest eCommerce and social media trends of 2021, with more and more brands considering it as a new retail avenue.
Campaigning your brand on TikTok, you're looking at reaching views in the billions, which is very enticing for big companies.
This news is extra exciting to Shopify store owners, as Shopify integration is almost guaranteed following TikTok's partnership with Shopify last year.
TikTok's Shopify Deal
In October of last year, TikTok announced an unexpected partnership with Shopify, one of the biggest eCommerce platforms. Shopify's Vice President of Product stated that this partnership aims to make it easier for Shopify's users to reach younger audiences & increase sales.
This deal will allow Shopify merchants to create and run TikTok marketing campaigns straight from a customer Shopify dashboard, upon downloading the TikTok channel app from Shopify App Store. Additionally, Shopify users will gain access to targeted advertising inside TikTok, filtering prospects by age, gender, behaviour and much more.
Is TikTok the future of social commerce?
While the social commerce market is currently being dominated by Facebook and Instagram, the shift to TikTok is already slowly starting.
One reason for this shift is that social media is increasingly growing with the focus on visual experiences – which is TikTok's whole schtick. Visually rich platforms like this prove ripe to advertise on, as brands can then capitalize on these visual experiences, ultimately creating a considerable buzz around their products. TikTok's younger audience might also prove very useful to brands looking to target younger people as their prospects.
How do you create a successful TikTok campaign?
When eCommerce functionality officially arrives in the app, you'll want to be the first to make use of it to see explosively successful results. Here are a few tips when planning a TikTok marketing campaign:
You have to embrace the aesthetic of the platform.
Other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have a distinctly different visual aesthetic than TikTok, so simply reusing your old ads from those platforms won't cut it. To create ads that successfully convert on TikTok, you'll have to fully embrace the platform's energetic, creative, storytelling style – this means that your ads should feel like a piece of native TikTok content.
Understandably, you're not a TikTok expert – so it might be worth collaborating with successful content creators that really know their way around the app, helping you achieve that coveted organic feel.
Take a look at Crocs' approach to TikTok advertising:
With TikTok silently growing in the eCommerce world, we predict shopping and advertising to become a huge part of TikTok's environment.