In an era when new social networking sites seem to be popping up all the time, few have had a rise in popularity that is quite as impressive as TikTok.
Originally founded in late 2016, TikTok has already amassed over a billion monthly active users according to one recent study. The app itself had been downloaded an impressive two billion times by August of 2020 and it's the seventh most-used social network on the planet - a trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
One of the things that has made TikTok so successful has to do with its early investment with influencers and content creators. Earlier social media platforms took much longer to embrace their creator community. The TikTok Creator Fund was rolled out in July 2020 to incentivize users of the platform to create content more regularly. In addition, the platform quickly rolled out TikTok Shopping, which features shoppable content from brands and influencers - meaning that users can click on a link in a video and go directly to a product page.
The Era of Social Commerce is Upon Us
In a lot of ways, the idea of social shopping is nothing new. Platforms like Facebook and even Snapchat have supported social commerce for years. But what makes TikTok relatively unique is the more seamless influencer integration. TikTok "personalities" are incredibly popular, especially among a younger demographic. This has allowed brands to get their products in front of a wider audience than ever before, all while enjoying a tremendous amount of success as a result.
The phrase, “TikTok made me buy it” is becoming a household standard coupled with Amazon. Influencers on the platform can quickly share their favorite products with millions in a matter of minutes. There is a still a gap in tracking performance on major ecommerce platforms, like Amazon, which is where gen.video comes in. They can see conversions per influencer and creative across organic and paid partnerships.
TikTok has however embraced the new world of social commerce in a number of other ways, including via a new partnership with Shopify. This, coupled with a branded TikTok Shopping program, allow Shopify merchants in North America and in the United Kingdom to create content that sends people directly to their online stores for checkout whenever a certain product is featured. Not only does this allow brands to reach an entirely new audience, but it also helps people quickly buy the products they love without leaving the app - truly a win-win situation in every sense of the term.
All told, the concept of social shopping is still very much on the rise. Another study indicated that in 2021, social commerce sales in the United States alone will rise to an enormous $36.62 billion. That's an impressive increase of 35.8%, year over year.
As marketers continue to see performance attrition of "traditional" channels, they are regularly turning to influencer marketing and other online personalities to help gain trust and attention from potential customers. Consumers want a frictionless, end-to-end experience that allows them to easily purchase products without leaving their favorite social media platforms. TikTok will continue to have a big impact on this space, and it's one that most brands think could not have come along at a better time.