TikTok & Ecommerce – Inspiration for Successful Ecommerce Campaigns on TikTok

TikTok has been on the rise since 2018, after its official launch in 2016 with Chinese startup ByteDance. The platform was originally known as Musical.y, a video streaming and service app that generated over 200 million users before moving all of them over to TikTok in August 2018.

TikTok has proven it is one of the fastest growing apps in social history. In October 2018 it was the most-downloaded photo and video app in the Apple store globally, and the app reportedly has amassed over 500 million monthly active users.

So what does this mean for advertisers and ecommerce retailers? How can the industry take advantage of another social platform to maximise sales, revenue and brand awareness? With the ecommerce industry now all over the future of TikTok, the main focus is now what can advertisers do to monetise this platform and use it to their advantage?

How Is TikTok Used by Consumers and Brands?

Unlike other social media channels, like Instagram or Facebook, TikTok content isn’t about a perfectly curated feed, nor is it best for brands to portray their own unique look, but rather to fit to the trends and what’s popular on TikTok at the time. Authenticity on social media has grown in importance, and the content that does well is not super edited and polished. Rather, it is genuine and organic.

4 Tips for Successful Ecommerce Campaigns on TikTok

TikTok advertising offers multiple types of ads, from hashtag challenges to spark ads. Several brands have utilised techniques like TikTok challenges and contests to get users to generate brand-related content. Brands are also leveraging hashtags, in similar ways to other social media platforms to gain brand recognition and promote their marketing campaigns.

What are the steps to a good marketing campaign on TikTok?

1) Leverage the Algorithm

As a brand, it is critical to figure out how to get as many people as possible to see your ad. TikTok will push your video to a niche target audience, and depending on how that audience reacts to your video (in terms of views, likes and shares), TikTok will expand your reach to other users, and continue to do so the more you post.

2) Create a Community

Whilst ecommerce brands’ goals are often focused on customer acquisition and new purchases, this is not necessarily easy (or quick) to do on TikTok. To do so, it’s crucial to build a base of followers that are engaged with the content and are part of the online community.

3) Use Hashtags

Similar to other platforms, hashtags are essential for getting your content out to the correct niche, and expanding your reach massively. Branded hashtag challenges are one of the most popular in generating engagement. A three to six day campaign can be built and reinforced with user-generated content on the hashtag challenge page, if the correct hashtags are used.

4) Jump on Trends Quickly

Trends on TikTok are constantly changing, and it’s critical to jump on the trends as quickly as possible. For brands, organic and fresh content is what will get you to the top of the ‘for you’ page with trends. Unlike content campaigns on other platforms that require a lot of planning, shooting and prepping for post, by the time this is all done for TikTok, the trend would be over.

Ecommerce Integrations for TikTok

Affiliate Links

In 2020, TikTok announced that three new ecommerce integrations were in development. One of these integrations were affiliate links – when a purchase is made using the link, the creator gets a commission of the sale. These are most popular with content creators that have a high following. For example, the brand Gymshark has ‘Gymshark athletes’ that use an individual link to purchase on the website.

Product Catalogues

Secondly, now that TikTok is focusing towards monetising the platform, brands are able to showcase product catalogues via a Shopify integration. Launching the integrations in Autumn 2021, allowing merchants to widen their presence on paid social media and reach TikTok’s 1 billion monthly users.

This also allows more than a million merchants to run promotions on TikTok without leaving the Shopify dashboard. After a test which started in the USA, Shopify has now expanded their TikTok partnership to 14 different countries. Now, UK based Shopify merchants of all sizes can access the core ad functions of TikTok.

Live Shopping

Lastly, live steam shopping videos with TikTok content creators has had a huge impact on monetising the app. The set up works similarly to a TV shopping channel, however this time it’s created for Gen-Z. With a live streaming video ecommerce feature, viewers can purchase products promoted in videos in just a few taps.

In Summary

As the app continues to grow and invest in new tools and integrations, video is becoming more prominent in the way ecommerce brands focus their advertising on, if TikTok remains at the top of all social networking platforms.

We may see a huge shift in content types and the way this content is presented to users. Ecommerce integrations are a key focus for TikTok, so brands and retailers (and Shopify merchants especially) should begin strategising on how to build a presence on the platform.

If you need any help or advice on how to use paid social for your ecommerce brand, either connect with me on LinkedIn or get in touch.

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