What Brands Need to Know to Accelerate Their Commerce on TikTok in 2022

Research
April 1, 2022

TikTok is extremely powerful for brands and marketers alike, learn unique insights into the commerce capabilities directly from General Manager, Michael Heaven, and Paid Social Media Director, Erin Thobias.

As TikTok continues to cement itself into social platform stardom, it is important for brands and marketers alike to understand where the opportunities lie and how to most effectively tap into the potential of the app. 

Our General Manager, Michael Heaven, and Paid Social Media Director, Erin Thobias, sat down with eMarketer to collaborate on their Insider Intelligence TikTok Commerce in 2022 report. This report is designed to provide a deep analysis of consumer shopping behavior on TikTok as well as the methods to properly activate creator content on the platform. 

Let’s dive into their insights:

Q: How big is the commerce opportunity on TikTok, and what do you believe makes it unique from shopping on other social platforms?

Michael: "By now it should be clear that the commerce opportunity on TikTok is huge. It is the most engaging social app. Users are spending on average 52 mins, and in some cases up to 90 minutes, per day in the app. This has been the catalyst for making TikTok one of the biggest drivers of culture with trends, content, or creators breaking through from the app into the mainstream.The app also provides a range of sound on video experiences that differentiates it from other content apps." 

He continues, "However, in my opinion, what truly sets TikTok apart is the power of its algorithm. The TikTok algorithm is reportedly so accurate it has predicted people’s life events and sexual orientation with surprising accuracy before the person realizes themselves."

Erin, a social media expert, chimes in, "I believe it is the algorithm that truly democratizes the platform and makes it so attractive to creators of all sizes. Regardless of a creator’s follower size, their content has the opportunity to go viral based on factors such as watch time, engagement, and trendiness." 

She continued her thought with, "When you consider the powerful algorithm is the basis of the platform, and layered on top of it is the powerful suite of ad and engagement tools, it is easy to see why TikTok is so highly revered. Marketers have ad capabilities ranging from in-feed SparkAds, to the ability to make live videos shoppable, or allowing users to personalize their video experience through story selection."

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Q: How important are the creators themselves in driving commerce opportunities on TikTok?

Both Michael and Erin contend that creators are the lifeblood of the platform.

Erin saying, "TikTok has a culture of unfiltered authenticity. This means that high fidelity content produced by brands and simply recut for the platform isn’t going to cut it in terms of capturing attention, and driving watch time. Ultimately, the best way to harness the platform is through partnerships with content creators."

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Q: How can brands most effectively work with TikTok creators to drive sales? 

Michael believes that brands should trust creators with campaign content creation.

He says, "Brands should give creators the freedom to interpret the brief and create content that heroes the product in a way that will resonate with their audience. Whenever possible, brands should remove their bias of what is good or not in terms of creator content. There have been countless times where flawless content fails to perform, whereas the content initially thought of as not good is hailed as “the best ad ever!” with the sales results to back it up because it is full of inside jokes or nuances from sub-cultures within TikTok."

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Q: What are other best practices for brands working in TikTok commerce in 2022?

Michael says, "My major piece of advice would be to remain open-minded about TikTok and come prepared to test and learn in-platform. It is important to get exposure to the platform by testing with a creator led campaign and measure using brand lift or attribution studies."

He continues, "For brands that are more sophisticated and familiar with the platform look for areas with asymmetrical returns. Have a champion in the team that is native to the platform and is able to react first and capitalize on algorithm changes and shifting behaviors in areas such as live stream commerce, long form video, and virtual influencers."

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Erin answers, "I think combining organic activations with TikTok’s paid products allows brands to properly command SOV on key days and retarget to maximize ROI from campaigns. Additionally, a key tool for driving success on TikTok is using SparkAds to increase the reach of effective ads backed up by a range of brand objectives. Brands need to remember there are many ways to drive branded conversations and they need to partner with the team that is well-versed in all the different TikTok offerings."

Offbeat was one of the first partners to work with TikTok in the US, and have been diligently learning and growing with the platform ever since. By constantly innovating on the platform, Offbeat is able to offer brands unique opportunities to infuse their message onto the platform. If you’re interested in learning more, contact below. 

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