TikTok eyes home shopping bonanza with new features

tiktok nJust days after signalling a major push to attract advertisers to its site through a deal with WPP, TikTok has sets its sights on capturing more of the ecommerce market, with the launch a raft of new features aimed at driving sales on its platform.

The social media site, owned by Bytedance, was launched in 2016 but over the past two years has become the online destination of choice for hundreds of millions of teenagers and young adults. The app has been downloaded 1.65 billion times and has an estimated 800 million monthly active users.

According to the Financial Times, the company has informed advertisers that it will soon allow video makers to link to products of their choice and earn a commission on any sales, even if they are not formally sponsored by the brand.

Other new features, which are due to be rolled out later this year, include a livestream mobile shopping channel and the ability for brands to showcase their catalogues.

This site already has a partnership with Shopify, signed late last year, which allows its merchants to connect to a “TikTok for Business” account and post videos featuring “shoppable ads”.

TikTok has been exploring ways to push into retail outside of China for some time, but has been largely hindered by the Trump administration’s attempts to ban the platform in the US over security concerns.

The move also follows a growing shift towards ‘social commerce’ from the world’s largest social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

TikTok is hoping to cash-in on the high engagement levels of its users, compared to its social media rivals.

Last week, it was revealed that WPP had signed a global deal with TikTok in a move designed to give WPP agencies and their clients early access to new ad platforms as they are being developed – including formats such as augmented reality – to tap into the exponential growth of the site.

The partnership will also see TikTok collaborate with its creator community to build a network of “artists” with WPP and create exclusive opportunities for collaboration with select advertisers.

As such, WPP will be the lead agency development partner to new creator-focused APIs, which will incorporate WPP’s brand safety methodology, while tapping into brand and marketer “data signals”. The goal of these new solutions will be to enable brands to gain deeper insights on creators, connect with diverse voices and have early access to these creators for their campaigns.

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