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By Lisa Montenegro

Social media has long been in the spotlight; however, over the last few years, the giants have been under fire for numerous reasons. Pick your platform — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok. They’ve all been embroiled in problems and scandals, with public and political outrage often the result. Yet many of us still flock to them in droves. And where the public goes so do businesses and marketers. If public opinion is often so low for social media platforms, why do we still use them?

A good start to answering this is remembering what exactly the giants of the industry have done, and there’s no better one to start with than Facebook. The social media behemoth has more than 2.7 billion monthly active users and by 2025 is expected to be used by just over 69% of the U.S. population. Yet even those who have no time for social media or have little care for the news likely know about at least one of the multitude of controversies the social media giant has found itself in. Tax avoidance, censorship, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and how the platform handles users’ data are just the start of the dizzying list. Then there’s the scrutiny it has come under for shirking its responsibility to monitor what is posted on the site, such as hate speech.

And this is not to say the other major social media sites have not been in similar trouble. Instagram, YouTube and Twitter have all been accused of not being proactive enough when it comes to regulating what people post online, as well as a whole array of other problems, like taking a rape threat and making it into an advertisement or fake Twitter accounts trying to sway public opinion. Such controversies have been met with public disgust and anger, prompting politicians to move toward more regulation.

All of the incidents above have been major controversies, but social media platforms also have made smaller moves like algorithm and design changes and the infamous Instagram shadowbans, which, aside from being a mild irritant to daily users, have created major hurdles for marketers and businesses. In early March, many Instagram users suddenly found that likes were no longer shown on their posts. This turned out to be a trial of a feature that accidentally included too many people. But here in Canada, this is how it has been for two years now. Add in changes to Facebook’s algorithm to put friends and family first, and suddenly you’re likely dealing with a loss of impressions, reach and likes.

You would think with all of this that social media platforms would be losing millions of followers, right?

Facebook actually saw its U.S. and Canadian user bases decrease toward the end of last year, but the drop has done little in the grand scheme of things. The social media site still recorded huge revenue and gained more new users in Asia and the rest of the world. Instagram has over a billion monthly users, and that number is predicted to continue rising. Twitter has over 322 million users and will likely continue gaining them. And TikTok set a record for app installs last year after surpassing 2 billion downloads. Despite all the outrage and dislike of social media sites, people still flock to them in the millions and billions. But why?

The simple answer is that they connect us. It’s been over a year since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and lockdown measures closed stores and cut off our usual social interactions. The importance of sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many others for keeping people connected not just to the people they are close to but also to strangers or people in need of support has truly been shown.

We live in an age when we can publish a post in Boston that can be seen within seconds in Berlin. We can communicate with friends around the world in an instant, and often the main way we do this is through social media. We can connect with those with the same interests. We can find jobs and network. And businesses can connect with audiences on a larger scale and reach more potential customers. Social media is a major part of how we stay connected. Last year proved that.

But what does that mean for those of us in marketing and PR or running businesses trying to connect with our audiences? We must go where the customers are. But this leaves us at the mercy of algorithms and major platform changes. When Instagram decides to tweak its systems again or a social media site finds itself grappling with a government, what can you do? Major changes can have serious effects, and before you know it, your reach and interactions can drop drastically. So how do you work around this?

To use an old phrase, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying between multiple social media platforms may mean posting in more places, but it can offer many benefits. The main one is that you are not dependent on a single social media site. If one is hit by regulations or changes its algorithms suddenly and accidentally takes out your page, you have others to fall back on. It also can provide you with a much larger reach. While a large section of your audience may be on a single platform, that doesn’t account for all of them. With a presence on other social media platforms, your brand can reach more people and possibly a wider range of demographics.

It will be interesting to see from here what happens to the social media giants with regulations and their relationships with audiences. For those of us in Canada, it would be nice if Instagram could let us see the number of likes on our posts again.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By Lisa Montenegro

Founder & President at Digital Marketing Experts – DMX Marketing, a Premier Google Partner Agency located in Toronto, Canada.

Sourced from Forbes

“Should we be on TikTok?” It’s the question brands and companies in all industries are asking themselves as the platform continues to grow. TikTok is available in more than 150 countries, has over 1 billion users and has been downloaded at least 200 million times in the United States alone, according to Wallaroo Media.

For many marketing experts, it’s a no-brainer to give it a go.

“It’s almost imperative for brands to be on it because now is the time to capture that organic growth,” said Aliza Licht, founder and president of consultancy firm Leave Your Mark. “TikTok is ripe for the taking.”

What sets TikTok apart from other social media platforms is its overall virality, according to marketers. TikTok has a knack for connecting people around shared interests through discovery because it is not based on who you know or follow, but rather on the content. With that, users with small followings can often receive views in the hundreds of thousands to millions. User Anna DeCarlo, for instance, has a modest 9,000-person TikTok following and she received nearly 115,000 views on a video that showed off her shoe closet.

It’s not just about singing and dancing either, which is a common misconception. Content is created within a variety of different categories — including fashion, which is a breakout tier that brands can capitalize on.

In 2020, the app could be credited for many of the biggest style trends during stay-at-home orders — whether it was the explosion of Nike Air Force 1s or tie-dye sweat suits — and the fashion category is only continuing to grow on the platform, earning a whopping 17.5 billion views as of June 2020, according to a report by Statista.

“Fashion is unique in the sense that it is so dynamic and so tied to culture that everyone’s got a way to play into it,” Matt Cleary, director of Retail & Dining, Global Business Solutions at TikTok, told FN. “Fashion is such an opportunity for TikTok to be a force in itself, but also a huge channel for brands to either reinvent themselves or create new relationships.”

An estimated 60% of TikTok users are Gen Zers, which has been a key demographic for brands who are looking to tap a younger audience. What’s more, TikTok users are ageing up — with more millennials using the platform.

But beyond brand building, the question for many companies is: Is there a revenue opportunity? And the numbers show there is an appetite among users to shop: The popular #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt currently has 1.9 billion views, for instance, and features a variety of trending purchased product, including everything from Walmart sneakers to Aerie leggings.

The Case for Instagram

While TikTok is a fast-growing platform with a fresh take on content, Instagram remains the No. 1 tool for social media marketing. At the end of 2020, 96% of brand campaigns included Instagram influencers, for instance, compared to 6.8% TikTok influencers, as reported by Influencer Marketing Hub.

Kyle Hjelmeseth, founder of G&B Digital Management, explained that influencers have been sticking with Instagram because it is so well-established.

“Influencer talent is so ingrained in Instagram and brands are spending money there. So there’s not a lot of incentive for Instagrammers to move to TikTok,” he said. “They’re already making a lot of money. And Instagram now has Reels [videos], so we can arguably do the same thing, while keeping to your core audience.”

On the brand side, Instagram remains a safe investment: Companies already have established relationships and an understanding of how it works.

“The credibility is still there,” explained Gil Eyal, founder of influencer marketing database HYPR. “If you’re looking to build a brand reputation and you want to surround it with people who are fashion thought leaders, you’re probably going to do better on a place like Instagram. Every photo is carefully looked at before it’s posted, and your brand is going to be seen the way that you want it to be seen. If you’re looking for visibility and people talking about your brand and giving away control, TikTok is a much better place because of the nature of the platform.”

Indeed, TikTok has many advantages. Recent data from influencer marketing platform Upfluence showed much higher engagement rates on TikTok, where micro-influencers garnered engagement rates of 17.96%, compared with 3.86% on Instagram.

Eyal said, “It depends on your target audience, but if all things are equal, there’s no question that TikTok is way better than Instagram right now [when it comes to engagement]. In very straightforward terms, Facebook and Instagram have implemented algorithms that limit your viewership in an effort to get people to pay for additional exposure.”

However, Licht added that Instagram is still hugely important from a performance marketing standpoint. “When we say it’s the No. 1 platform, it is because that is what’s driving revenue,” she said. “Organic posts are tough, but paid works. So if you are an e-commerce brand, then you’re not giving up Facebook and Instagram.”

Finding a Balance

Even if Instagram is a successful platform for brands, experts say the goal is to diversify your audience, so TikTok should be part of the plan.

They suggest that brands create their own account on the platform and use organic posts as a testing ground to find what resonates. Then tap TikTok creators to make a splash for specific goals, such as a product launch.

One way TikTok is enticing brands and influencers is through it’s Creator Marketplace, which helps to establish direct collaborations and partnerships between brands and creators.

“Creators are the lifeblood of our platform” said Cleary. “When we think about how brands can participate, we generally point to creators either as a muse or as a tool for brands to leverage. They’re platform natives; they know exactly what works. They know that when they lean in to what makes them different and authentic, their content becomes very viral, and we want to make sure brands are leveraging them for that.”

Licht also advised brands new to TikTok to start small, research hashtags and not be so cautious with content. “It’s OK to make mistakes,” she said. “It’s OK not to know how to use it. It’s initiation by fire and you have to test stuff.”

But experts said one thing companies must realize is that Instagram or YouTube content doesn’t translate well on TikTok. For instance, repurposing content and cutting a fashion campaign video or runway clip into 30 seconds will not connect with TikTokers.

“We want our brands to create TikToks, not ads,” said Cleary. “They have to be comfortable taking down their traditional guardrails and testing and sourcing, listening. All the best brands, they’re listening to see how their fans are already talking about them on the platform and then leaning into those trends.”

For marketers, the success of TikTok doesn’t mean the end for Instagram. But they warn that Instagram fatigue is out there, and expectations from consumers are changing.

“It’s creating a competitive environment for other platforms to attract and maintain creators. Previously, this was less of a concern,” said Eric Dahan, CEO of Open Influence. “There’s a bigger sense of comfort with Instagram, [but] TikTok is forcing platforms to think how they cater to their influencers [and] audience.”

Feature Image Credit: TikTok/AP; Instagram/Adobe Stock

TikTok and Instagram both have approximately 1 billion active users.

Sourced from FN

By Jamie Johnson

TikTok is currently one of the fastest-growing social media networks in the world. And recent reports estimate that the company will surpass 1.2 billion active monthly users in 2021.

This kind of rapid growth means that there are plenty of opportunities to build a following on the platform. And once you’ve made a name for yourself, you can start to monetize that following.

7 Ways To Make Money on TikTok

Best of all, you can use TikTok to start creating multiple revenue streams. Let’s look at seven ways you can start making money on TikTok.

1. Donations

If you have at least 1,000 followers on TikTok, then one of the easiest ways to start making money is by accepting donations from your followers. TikTok has its own currency, and users can buy coins and donate them to their favourite influencers.

Relying on donations is not a reliable way to make money on TikTok because you’re at the mercy of your followers and whether or not they feel like donating. But it is an option, and it’s an excellent way to make a little bit of money in the beginning.

2. TikTok Creator Fund

The TikTok Creator Fund is a program where TikTok pays you directly for the content you create. Essentially, the program is a revenue-sharing model where TikTok pays you a portion of the money they earn on advertising. The amount you make is based on your total audience and engagement.

The Creator Fund is the only way you’ll get paid directly by TikTok, but the program has received mixed reactions. For one thing, you need to have at least 10,000 followers to even be eligible. And it’s not entirely clear what factors payment is based on.

And some users have complained that their engagement dropped after signing up for the program. But it may be worth your while to sign up and see if utilizing the TikTok Creator Fund is right for you.

3. Advertising

What if you’re not interested in creating content for TikTok but still want to find a way to make money using the platform? Well, if you have your own products and services you want to promote, you might consider paying for TikTok advertising.

TikTok ads last 9 to 15 seconds and are a great way to promote your brand. It will help you reach a younger audience that is often less receptive to other forms of advertising.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to earn money through TikTok. As an affiliate, you promote the products and services of other companies. When a subscriber follows one of your links and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a percentage of the money they spent.

Many people like affiliate marketing because it doesn’t require that you create your own products and services. And regardless of the type of niche you’re in, there are endless products and services you can promote.

And if you get a large enough following, you can build up a hefty income through affiliate marketing. However, affiliate marketing is most effective when you’re promoting companies you love and fully support.

5. Brand Sponsorships

If you’ve built up a significant following on TikTok, brands will be willing to pay you good money to feature them in one of your videos. You’ll create a video for your audience endorsing that company’s product or service to your followers.

Unlike affiliate marketing, you’ll be paid for the content you create, whether anyone buys the products or not. And brand sponsorships can be very lucrative depending on how many followers you have. If you have a large following, you could earn thousands of dollars for a single video.

If you’re interested in pursuing brand sponsorships, just make sure you’re selective about the companies you work with. Just like with affiliate marketing, it’s the most effective when you promote companies you’re passionate about.

6. Offer Consulting

If you’ve cracked the code on how to build a following on TikTok, many people will be willing to pay you good money to learn that information. So you may be able to utilize your insights and offer TikTok consulting services.

Before you move forward with any type of consulting arrangement, make sure you outline the terms and deliverables in a contract. And it may be worth your while to negotiate a revenue-sharing agreement. That way, if any of your clients see massive success on the platform, you’ll receive a piece of their earnings.

7. Sell Your Own Products

And finally, one of the best ways to make money on TikTok is by selling your own products. It may take time for you to get to this point, but selling your own products will give you more control over your brand and income.

When you sign up for the Creator Program or use affiliate marketing, you’ll only get to keep a portion of the money earned through your content. And that company could change the terms of your agreement at any time.

But when you sell your own products, you get to keep 100% of the earnings. And this will allow you to build your own brand and set yourself up for success in the long run.

Final Thoughts

TikTok can be a great way to build a following and start making money as an influencer on the platform. But just like any other business, you’ll have to put in the work first. Take the time to develop a relationship with your followers, and be thoughtful about your monetization strategies.

And only promote products and services that you really believe in. This will give you the best chance of success in the long run.

By Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a freelance writer who covers a variety of personal finance topics, including investing, loans, and building credit. In addition to writing for GOBankingWrites, she currently writes for clients like Quicken Loans, Credit Karma, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Sourced from GOBankingRates

By Michael Allison

More trouble for the social media company.

What you need to know

  • TikTok is facing complaints from European consumer bodies.
  • The BUEC and 15 other bodies accused the company of being lax with data and having skewed terms of service.
  • By way of response, TikTok offered a meeting with BEUC representatives to “listen to their concerns.”

TikTok is facing multiple complaints from the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), and other consumer organizations in 15 European countries over privacy rights violations. The BEUC today argued that the social media app breached EU consumer rights and failed to protect children from both inappropriate content and stealth advertising. It called for a comprehensive EU investigation into TikTok’s policies and practices and requested more transparency from the company.

More specifically, the BEUC alleged that TikTok was unclear in its terms of service with the terms drafted to give outsized benefits to TikTok rather than users when it came to content ownership and remuneration.

The BEUC also took aim that TikTok’s virtual coins as well as its hashtag challenges, noting that both provided significant financial benefit for TikTok with little benefit for users. when it came to hashtag challenges, the body also accused TikTok of not doing due diligence in protecting teen and child users from suggestive content.

Finally, the BEUC stated that TikTok violated the GDPR by being unclear about what personal data it collected and how it used it.

Monique Goyens, BEUC Director, said in a statement:

In just a few years, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps with millions of users across Europe. But TikTok is letting its users down by breaching their rights on a massive scale. We have discovered a whole series of consumer rights infringements and therefore filed a complaint against TikTok.

Children love TikTok but the company fails to keep them protected. We do not want our youngest ones to be exposed to pervasive hidden advertising and unknowingly turned into billboards when they are just trying to have fun.

Together with our members – consumer groups from across Europe – we urge authorities to take swift action. They must act now to make sure TikTok is a place where consumers, especially children, can enjoy themselves without being deprived of their rights.

Speaking to Reuters, TikTok responded:

We’re always open to hearing how we can improve, and we have contacted BEUC as we would welcome a meeting to listen to their concerns.

The company has faced more challenges than most nascent social media did in their early years including attempted U.S. bans, temporary bans in Pakistan, and a seemingly permanent one in India leading to potential divestment.

Feature Image Credit: Source: Android Central

By Michael Allison

Sourced from androidcentral

By Ben Thompson

To what extent are new companies, particularly those in new spaces, pushed versus pulled into existence? Last week I wrote about how Tesla is a Meme Company:

It turned out, though, that TSLA was itself a meme, one about a car company, but also sustainability, and most of all, about Elon Musk himself. Issuing more stock was not diluting existing shareholders; it was extending the opportunity to propagate the TSLA meme to that many more people, and while Musk’s haters multiplied, so did his fans. The Internet, after all, is about abundance, not scarcity. The end result is that instead of infrastructure leading to a movement, a movement, via the stock market, funded the building out of infrastructure.

Electrification of personal vehicles would have happened at some point; it seems fair to argue that Musk accelerated the timeline significantly. Clubhouse, meanwhile, Silicon Valley’s hottest consumer startup, feels like the opposite case: in retrospect its emergence feels like it was inevitable — if anything, the question is what took so long for audio to follow the same path as text, images, and video.

Step 1: Democratization

The grandaddy of independent publishing on the Internet was the blog: suddenly anyone could publish their thoughts to the entire world! This was representative of the Internet’s most obvious impact on media of all types: democratization.

  • Distributing text no longer required a printing press, but simply blogging software:
    From print to blogs
  • Distributing images no longer required screen-printing, but simply a website:
    From magazines to Instagram
  • Distributing video no longer required a broadcast license, but simply a server:
    From TV to YouTube
  • Distributing audio no longer required a radio tower, but simply an MP3:
    From radio to podcasts

Businesses soon sprang up to make this process easier: Blogger for blogging, Flickr for photo-sharing, YouTube for video, and iTunes for podcasting (although, in a quirk of history, Apple never actually provided centralized hosting for podcasts, only a directory). Now you didn’t even need to have your own website or any particular expertise: simply pick a username and password and you were a publisher.

Step 2: Aggregation

Making anyone into a publisher resulted in an explosion of content; this shifted value to entities able to help consumers find what they were interested in. In text the big winner was Google, which indexed pre-existing publications, independent blogs, and everything in-between. The big winner in photos, meanwhile, ended up being Instagram: users “came for the tool and stayed for the network”, as Chris Dixon memorably put it:

Instagram’s initial hook was the innovative photo filters. At the time some other apps like Hipstamatic had filters but you had to pay for them. Instagram also made it easy to share your photos on other networks like Facebook and Twitter. But you could also share on Instagram’s network, which of course became the preferred way to use Instagram over time.

The Internet creates a far tighter feedback loop between content creation and consumption than analog media; Instagram leveraged this loop to become the dominant photo network. YouTube accomplished a similar feat, although the relative difficulty in creating video meant that the ratio of viewers to creators was much more extreme than in the case of photo-sharing. That, though, is exactly what made YouTube so dominant: creators knew that that was where all of their would-be viewers were.

Spotify is trying to do something similar for audio, particularly podcasts. I wrote in a Daily Update after the streaming service signed Joe Rogan to an exclusive contract:

Spotify, meanwhile, has its eyes on an absolute maxima — a podcast industry that monetizes at a rate befitting its share of attention — but as I have explained, that will only be possible with a Facebook-like model that dynamically matches advertisers and listeners in real-time, as they are streaming a podcast…This, by extension, means that Spotify needs a much larger share of the market, so that they can start generating advertising payouts that are better than the current stunted model, thus convincing podcasters to give up their current ads and use Spotify’s platform to monetize instead.

In this view the motivation for the Rogan deal is obvious: Spotify doesn’t just want to capture new listeners, it wants to actively take them from Apple and other podcast players. And, if it can take a sufficient number, the company surely believes it can create a superior monetization mechanism such that the rest of the podcast creator market shifts to Spotify out of self interest.

Capture enough of the audience and the creators will follow.

Step 3: Transformation

Still, even with the explosion of content resulting from democratizing publishing, what was actually published was roughly analogous to what might have been published in the pre-Internet world. A blog post was just an article; an Instagram post was just a photo; a YouTube video was just a TV episode; a podcast was just radio show. The final step was transformation: creating something entirely new that was simply not possible previously.

Start with text: Twitter is not discrete articles but a stream of thoughts, 280 characters long. It was the stream that was uniquely enabled by the Internet: there is no real world analogy to being able to ingest the thoughts of hundreds or thousands of people from all over the world in real-time, and to have the diet be different for every person.

From blogging to Twitter

What is interesting is the effect this transformation had on blogging; Twitter all but killed it, for three reasons:

  • First, Twitter was even more accessible than blogging ever was. Just type out your thoughts, no matter how half-formed they may be, and hit tweet.
  • Second, because blogging was so distributed and imperfectly aggregated it was hard to build an audience; Twitter, on the other hand, combined creation and consumption like any other social network, which dramatically increased the reward and motivation for posting your thoughts there instead of on your blog.
  • Third, Twitter, thanks to the way it combined a wide variety of creators in an easily-consumable stream, was just a lot more interesting than most blogs; this completed a virtuous cycle, as more consumers led to more creators which led to more consumers.

Instagram, meanwhile, had always had that transformational feed, which carried the service to its first 500 million users; it was Stories, though, that re-ignited growth:

Instagram's Monthly Active Users

Stories — which Instagram audaciously copied from Snapchat — combined the customized nature of the feed with the ephemerality inherent in digital’s abundance; the problem with posting what you had for lunch was not that it was boring, but that no one wanted it to stick around forever.

From feed to stories

This too appears to have reduced usage of what came before; while Facebook has never disclosed Stories usage relative to feed viewing, that chart above is from this August 2018 Article about Facebook’s Story Problem — and Opportunity, where I observed:

While more people may use Instagram because of Stories, some significant number of people view Stories instead of the Instagram News Feed, or both in place of the Facebook News Feed. In the long run that is fine by Facebook — better to have users on your properties than not — but the very same user not viewing the News Feed, particularly the Facebook News Feed, may simply not be as valuable, at least for now.

The opportunity came from the fact that dramatically increasing inventory would surely lead to significant growth in the long run, which is exactly what has happened. It didn’t matter that Stories were not nearly as well-composed as pictures in the Instagram feed; in fact, that made them even more valuable, because Stories were easier to both produce and consume.

TikTok is doing the same thing with video; in this case the transformative technology is its algorithm. I explained in The TikTok War:

All of this explains what makes TikTok such a breakthrough product. First, humans like video. Second, TikTok’s video creation tools were far more accessible and inspiring for non-professional videographers. The crucial missing piece, though, is that TikTok isn’t really a social network…

ByteDance’s 2016 launch of Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — revealed another, even more important benefit to relying purely on the algorithm: by expanding the library of available video from those made by your network to any video made by anyone on the service, Douyin/TikTok leverages the sheer scale of user-generated content to generate far more compelling content than professionals could ever generate, and relies on its algorithms to ensure that users are only seeing the cream of the crop.

YouTube has invested heavily in its own algorithm to keep you on the site, but its level of immersion is still gated by its history of serving discrete videos from individual creators; TikTok, on the other hand, drops you into a stream of videos that quickly blur together into a haze of engagement and virality.

From YouTube to TikTok

There is nothing like it in the real world.

Podcasts and Blogs

What is striking about audio is how stunted its development is relative to other mediums. Yes, podcasts are popular, but the infrastructure and business model surrounding podcasts is stuck somewhere in the mid-2000’s, a point I made in 2019 in Spotify’s Podcast Aggregation Play:

The current state of podcast advertising is a situation not so different from the early web: how many people remember this?

The old "punch the monkey" display ad

These ads were elaborate affiliate marketing schemes; you really could get a free iPod if you signed up for several credit cards, a Netflix account, subscription video courses, you get the idea. What all of these marketers had in common was an anticipation that new customers would have large lifetime values, justifying large payouts to whatever dodgy companies managed to sign them up.

The parallels to podcasting should be obvious: why is Squarespace on seemingly every podcast? Because customers paying monthly for a website have huge lifetime values. Sure, they may only set up the website once, but they are likely to maintain it for a very long time, particularly if they grabbed a “free” domain along the way. This makes the hassle of coordinating ad reads and sponsorship codes across a plethora of podcasts worth the trouble; it’s the same story with other prominent podcast sponsors like ZipRecruiter or SimpliSafe.

The problem is that the affiliated marketing for large lifetime-value purchases segment is not a particularly large one

One of the takeaways of that piece was that monetization was holding podcasts back, and that Spotify appeared to be positioning itself to expand the podcast advertising market via centralization. Looking back, though, I should have realized that but for a few exceptions, advertising never ended up working out for blogs; the premise behind 2015’s Blogging’s Bright Future was that subscriptions made far more sense as a business model:

Forgive me if this article read a bit too much like an advertisement for Stratechery; the honest truth is my fervent belief in the individual blog not only as a product but also as a business is what led to my founding this site, not the other way around. And, after this past weekend’s “blogging-is-dead” overdose, I almost feel compelled to note that my conclusion — and experience — is the exact opposite of Klein’s and all the others’: I believe that Sullivan’s The Daily Dish will in the long run be remembered not as the last of a dying breed but as the pioneer of a new, sustainable journalism that strikes an essential balance to the corporate-backed advertising-based “scale” businesses that Klein (and the afore-linked Smith) is pursuing.

Interestingly enough, of the three authors cited in that paragraph, both Ezra Klein — formerly of Vox — and Ben Smith — formerly of BuzzFeed — are now at the New York Times, which is thriving with a subscription model. Sullivan, meanwhile, is at Substack — itself modeled after Stratechery — where within a month of launch he had reached a $500,000 run rate.

When you think about the Twitter-driven shake-out of blogging this evolution makes sense: Twitter captured the long-tail of blogs, in the process dramatically expanding the market for publishing text, but that by definition meant that the blogs that remained popular had readers that would jump through hoops — or at least click a link — to consume their content. It makes sense that the most sustainable way for those bloggers to pay the bills was by directly charging their readers, who already had demonstrated an above-average interest in their content.

My personal bet is that podcasts will follow a similar path. Podcasts, even more than blogs, require a commitment on the part of the listener, but that commitment is rewarded by a connection to the podcast host that feels even more authentic; host-read podcast advertising leverages this authenticity, but for most medium-sized podcasts charging listeners directly will make more sense in the long run.

Implicit in this prediction, though, is that podcasts actually fade in relative importance and popularity to an alternative that doesn’t simply further democratize audio publishing, but also transforms it. Enter Clubhouse.

Clubhouse’s Opening

The most obvious difference between Clubhouse and podcasts is how much dramatically easier it is to both create a conversation and to listen to one. This step change is very much inline with the shift from blogging to Twitter, from website publishing to Instagram, or from YouTube to TikTok.

Clubhouse is similar to Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok

Secondly, like those successful networks, Clubhouse centralizes creation and consumption into a tight feedback loop. In fact, conversation consumers can, by raising their hand and being recognized by the moderator, become creators in a matter of seconds.

This capability is enabled by the “only on the Internet” feature that makes Clubhouse transformational: the fact that it is live. In many mediums this feature would be fatal: one isn’t always free to watch a live video, and believe me, it is not very exciting to watch me type. However, the fact that audio can be consumed while you are doing something else allows the immediacy and vibrancy of live conversation to shine.

Being live also feeds back into the first quality: Clubhouse is far better suited than podcasts to discuss events as they are happening, or immediately afterwards. For example, both Clubhouse and Locker Room, its sports-focused competitor, have become go-to destinations for sports reaction conversations, both during and after games; it’s only a matter of time before secondary market of play-by-play announcers develops, and not only for sports: anything that is happening can be narrated and discussed.

Make no mistake, most of these conversations will be terrible. That, though, is the case for all user-generated content. The key for Clubhouse will be in honing its algorithms so that every time a listener opens the app they are presented with a conversation that is interesting to them. This is the other area where podcasts miss the mark: it is amazing to have so much choice, but all too often that choice is paralyzing; sometimes — a lot of times! — users just want to scroll their Twitter feed instead of reading a long blog post, or click through Stories or swipe TikToks, and Clubhouse is poised to provide the same mindless escapism for background audio.

COVID, China, and Controversy

Much of what I’ve written is perhaps obvious; to me that lends credence to the idea that Clubhouse is onto something substantial. To that end, though, why now?

One reason is hardware:

 

The fact that Clubhouse makes it so easy to drop in and out of conversation is matched by how easy AirPods make it to drop into and out of audio-listening mode.

An even more important reason, though, is probably COVID. Clubhouse launched last April in the midst of a worldwide lockdown, and despite its very rough state it provided a place for people to socialize when there were few other options. This was likely crucial in helping Clubhouse achieve its initial breakthrough. At the same time, just because COVID helped Clubhouse get off the ground does not mean its end will herald the end of the audio service, any more than improved iPhone cameras heralded the end of Instagram simply because its filters were no longer necessary; the question is if the crisis was sufficient to bootstrap the network.

I suspect so. For one there is the brazenness with which Clubhouse is leveraging the iPhone’s address book to build out its network; getting on the app requires an invitation, or signing up for the waiting list and hoping someone in your address book is already on the service, which lets you “jump the line”. This incentivizes both existing and prospective members to allow Clubhouse to ingest their contacts and get their friends on as quickly as possible.

Secondly, any suggestion that Clubhouse is limited to Silicon Valley is very much off the mark. I almost fell out of my chair while playing board games when my not-at-all-technical sister-in-law started listening to a Clubhouse while we were playing board games over the weekend, and by all accounts Taiwan is one of a whole host of markets where the app has taken off. Locker Room, as noted, appears to be the app of choice for NBA Twitter, but I suspect that is a function of Clubhouse being both gated and iPhone-only; I expect both to be rectified sooner-rather-than-later. And, of course, there is the fact the service has been banned in China.

Unfortunately, that is not the only China angle when it comes to Clubhouse; the service is powered by Agora, a Shanghai-based company. The Stanford Internet Observatory investigated:

The Stanford Internet Observatory has confirmed that Agora, a Shanghai-based provider of real-time engagement software, supplies back-end infrastructure to the Clubhouse App. This relationship had previously been widely suspected but not publicly confirmed. Further, SIO has determined that a user’s unique Clubhouse ID number and chatroom ID are transmitted in plaintext, and Agora would likely have access to users’ raw audio, potentially providing access to the Chinese government. In at least one instance, SIO observed room metadata being relayed to servers we believe to be hosted in the PRC, and audio to servers managed by Chinese entities and distributed around the world via Anycast. It is also likely possible to connect Clubhouse IDs with user profiles.

That certainly puts Clubhouse’s aggressive contact collection in a more sinister light; it also very much fits the stereotype of a new social network scrambling to capture the market first, and worrying about potential downsides later. Given the importance of network effects, I’m not surprised, but the choice of a Chinese infrastructure provider in particular is disappointing for a service launching in 2020.

The perhaps sad reality, though, is that most users probably won’t care: the payoff from uploading contacts is clear, and even if you don’t, you still need a phone number to register, which means that Clubhouse is probably reconstructing your contact list from your friends who did. The company has been far more aggressive in implementing blocking and user-reported content violations mechanism; I suspect this reflects the reality that content controversies are, in the current environment, more damaging than China connections, despite the fact that the former are an inescapable reality of user-generated content, while the latter is a choice.

Whither Facebook?

The one social network that I have barely mentioned in this Article is the social network that the FTC has sued for being a monopoly. That sentence, on close examination, certainly seems to raise some rather obvious questions about the strength of the FTC’s case.

Still, the discussion of all of these different networks really does highlight how Facebook is unique: while Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are all first and foremost about the medium, and only then the network, Facebook is about the network first. That is how the service has evolved from text to images to video and, I wouldn’t be surprised, to audio. This also explains why Facebook managed the shift to mobile so well; for these other networks, meanwhile, it was mobile that was the foundation for their transformative breakthroughs.

That is why I would actually give Facebook’s upcoming Clubhouse competitor a better chance than Twitter’s already-launched offering. Facebook takes innovations developed in different apps for interest-based networks and adds them to its relationship-based network; at the same time, this also means that Facebook is never going to be a real competitor for Clubhouse, which seems more likely to recreate Twitter’s interest-based network than Twitter is likely to recreate the vibrancy of Clubhouse.

The other way that Facebook looms large in the social networking discussion is monetization: it is obvious that there is an endless human appetite for social networks, but advertisers would much rather focus on Facebook’s integrated suite of properties. It is not clear that Clubhouse will even pursue advertising, though; the company has announced its intention to help creators monetize via mechanisms like tipping. This has already been proven out on platforms like Twitch in the West, and is a massive success in China (there is a reason, I should note, why the best available live streaming technology was offered by a Chinese company). It’s a smart move for Clubhouse to move in this direction early, both as a means of locking in creators, and also going where Facebook is less likely to follow.

One potential loser, meanwhile, is Spotify; the company has bet heavily on podcasts, which could be similar to betting on blogs in 2007. Still, the fact the company’s most important means of monetization is subscriptions may be its saving grace; it may turn out that Spotify is the obvious home for highly produced content, available in a more consumer-friendly bundle than the a la carte pricing that followed from blogging’s decentralized nature.


For now I don’t expect Clubhouse to be too concerned about the competition; the company said on its website when it reportedly became a unicorn:

We’ve grown faster than expected over the past few months, causing too many people to see red error messages when our servers are struggling. A large portion of the new funding round will go to technology and infrastructure to scale the Clubhouse experience for everyone, so that it’s always fast and performant, regardless of how many people are joining.

That is, obviously, the best sort of problem to have, and one that evinces product-market fit (the only thing missing is a fail whale); the fact it all seems so obvious is simply because we have seen this story before.

By Ben Thompson

Sourced from Stratechery

Sourced from ASA 

A video-sharing social networking app with in-built video editing tools and a clever algorithm for surfacing relevant content to users, TikTok was launched in the UK in August 2018.  According to YouGov, it is currently the 7th most popular (and 4th most famous) social media platform, and it offers a variety of creative and innovative ways to advertise – as they, themselves, say ‘don’t make ads, make TikToks’.

As the rules in the CAP Code are largely media neutral – from in-feed sponsored ads, influencer marketing and TikToks from brand-owned creators, to branded hashtag challenges and effects – the same rules and principles that apply in other media are equally applicable to advertising on TikTok.

But creating compliant advertising TikToks really can run like clockwork – so here are some of the key principles from ASA rulings to help you with your ads on this platform.

Make clear when a TikTok is an ad

As is true for all the other social media platforms, and indeed all media, advertising on TikTok – whether it’s a ‘Top View’ ad when the app is first opened, a branded effect, a TikTok posted by a brand or influencer, or affiliate marketing content – must be obviously identifiable as advertising.

Most ads within TikTok’s own ad formats seem likely to be recognised as advertising from the context and labelling applied by TikTok.  Similarly, TikToks that have obviously come from a brand profile are generally likely to be recognised as advertising without any additional labelling, provided it’s clearly the brand’s own profile.

However, the ASA’s research on labelling influencer marketing found that people really struggle to identify when social media posts by influencers are ads.  This means that TikToks uploaded by influencers (and others) which either are, or contain, advertising or affiliate marketing, are very likely to need an additional label to distinguish them.

For example, a TikTok from Emily Canham promoting GHD branded products and including a personalised discount code was judged not to have made it sufficiently clear because there was nothing in the content that made clear to those viewing it that it was an ad.  This case also highlights that the ASA is likely to view ‘added value’ posts, particularly those sharing the same hallmarks and characteristics as ‘contracted’ posts, as part of the same agreement – and therefore subject to the same labelling requirements.

If it’s not otherwise clear we recommend, as a minimum, that influencer and affiliate marketing related TikToks include a prominent ‘Ad’ label upfront in the content or accompanying caption.  The label mustn’t be hidden or obscured by anything (remember that the captions appear differently in the app than they do in the browser version) and it should not be easily overlooked, too small or the colour too similar to the background – the rules require advertising to be ‘obviously identifiable’, so if your label isn’t clear then your TikTok is unlikely to be obviously identifiable as an ad.

For more detailed guidance on the principles here, see the ‘Influencers’ guide to making clear that ads are ads’.

Make sure you capture the right audience

Targeting is important, particularly for certain types of content and for advertising of certain products like HFSS foods.  The ASA will always expect you to use all of the tools available to target appropriately on any platform and to ensure that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid your ads being seen by someone who, for example due to their age, shouldn’t.

It is not usually sufficient to rely on self-reported age and you should also take into account the type of content that the ad appears in or around.  Also, as many social media ads can be (and usually are) targeted at a defined set of users, the ASA does not consider an argument that less than 25% of a total platform audience is under-age to be relevant, and expects marketers to be taking all reasonable steps to exclude under-age consumers from the targeted audience.

Always use a CAP Code lens on your advertising content

There are plenty of general and sector-specific rules and prohibitions that apply to different ads and products and these apply equally on TikTok.  Ads should not, amongst other things, materially mislead consumers or cause serious or widespread offence.  Also, ads for foods, drinks or supplements need to make sure any claims are in line with the rules in Section 15.  The same rules apply to both brand marketing and influencer marketing.

If you’re running a competition or prize draw on TikTok, make sure you include the most significant terms and conditions that apply, include a link to the full terms and follow the other rules in Section 8.

Sourced from ASA 

On TikTok, the most popular products are inexpensive, accessible, and…not exactly cute. So what does that mean for the future of the shelfie? We asked Gen Z’ers to explain.

When I opened TikTok for the first time, I never felt older. Many months of scrolling later, this unshakable feeling has grown as quickly as the app’s overwhelming influence. At 24, I technically straddle the line between millennial and Gen Z, but my connection to the former intensifies whenever I open TikTok and proceed to be visually pelted by frantic videos of gamer girls, dancing tweens, and slapstick comedy.

But among these clips of a kid doing a skateboard flip while wearing roller blades, countless teens filing their teeth for some reason, and Addison Rae doing whatever it is she does, I also started to notice videos that felt like they were speaking directly to me: The beauty products I saw TikTokers constantly gushing about were most definitely not the ones I was used to seeing in “shelfie” photos or in my own bathroom.

Growing up with print magazines and, later, YouTube and Instagram, I was trained that beauty products needed to be expensive, beautiful, and covetable enough to be proudly displayed on a shelf or social media. But TikTok tells a different story: The products that rack up the most views—usually in the millions—are affordable, unassuming, and—dare I say?—basic.

There’s a belief among brands that Gen Z is just as aesthetically minded as millennials, considering they too came of age in the Instagram era (take, for example, 16-year-old Millie Bobby Brown‘s pastel-packaged beauty line Florence by Mills), but scrolling through TikTok, it seems the ubiquitous “millennial” branding is almost nowhere to be found—much like actual millennials.

For example, the hashtag #telescopicmascara has more than 14.5 million views on videos singing the praises of L’Oréal Paris’s Telescopic mascara, and the brand’s Fresh Wear Foundation has a similar fanatic following. A video of a £1 depilatory cream has spread like wildfire, making teens and early-20-somethings ditch their laser appointments and razors—unless it’s the equally viral portable one—for a product that’s been around for 100 years. CeraVe cleanser has become so popular even CNN Business has written about its explosion in sales because of TikTok.

Compare this with Instagram, where, yes, these brands make an occasional appearance, but for the most part shelfies are dominated by picture-perfect mainstays like Glossier, Nécessaire, and Summer Fridays. These products work for many people, of course, but they also represent the millennial branding boom of the late 2010s—you know the vibe: sans-serif fonts, kitschy names, and pale colour palettes (usually pink)—as well as the post-2016-election skin-care-as-self-care explosion, along with a more-is-more mindset sparked by the stateside introduction to K-beauty’s 10-step routine.

One of the largest examples of this back-to-basics trend is the popularity of Hyram Yarbro, known on TikTok as Skincare By Hyram. Although he’s not a dermatologist or an esthetician, the 24-year-old “skinfluencer” educates his massive audience with quick, digestible videos on skin care. In addition to CeraVe, he also steadily features accessible brands like The Ordinary and La Roche-Posay, and focuses on a philosophy he describes as “skin-care minimalism.”

“I don’t believe you need an excess of products,” he tells Glamour. “I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money on products, that you need products that have a fancy smell or a fancy texture or excessive packaging. In terms of achieving good skin, all you need is a simple, relatively affordable, basic routine.”

This less-is-more philosophy is clearly resonating with his audience, which skyrocketed from nearly nothing earlier this spring to his current fanbase of 6.6 million followers.

“I think particularly for a Gen Z audience—who is really trying to cut through all the marketing claims of an oversaturated industry—it’s beneficial for them to just hear the basics you really need in terms of functionality,” says Yarbro regarding why he thinks he’s had such success with younger consumers on TikTok.

This doesn’t mean young people are uninformed about skin care, though. In fact, Yarbro says it’s just the opposite. “I think brands underestimate the intelligence of Gen Z,” he says. “The thought process is: Oh, this is skin care specifically designed for teenagers, so we need to make it colorful, we need to make it fun, we need to make it smell really good. But really all these aesthetic-focused demands are opposed to what Gen Z is actually demanding, which is further knowledge, education, and simplicity.”

This education may be what makes TikTok so singular in its ability to influence. While Instagram and YouTube allow content creators to go more in depth by allotting them longer time frames to post, there’s no comparison when it comes to the exposure rate on TikTok. On other social platforms, a user needs to actively search for content relating to skin care, but on TikTok, the algorithm works like throwing spaghetti to the wall and seeing what sticks. Once a user actively likes a skin-care or beauty video, they’re served more of that kind of content until their feed is overrun by skinfluencers preaching the importance of barrier repair and the benefits of mandelic acid.

Juliette Cacciatore, a 22-year-old student—who, full disclosure, happens to be my sister—says that aside from topicals from her dermatologist, she never showed an interest in any sort of skin-care regimen, despite having dealt with acne since high school, until she discovered TikTok, and never followed beauty creators on any other platforms.

“It changed my entire routine,” she says. “I do feel like I know so much more. I’ve heard a lot of theories debunked, and a lot of ‘You should have never have used this.’ I didn’t know what a humectant was until someone told me on TikTok.” Among her favourite products are the CeraVe Healing Ointment, which she uses for “slugging,” Telescopic Mascara, and Good Skin Days C’s The Day Serum. Nothing costs more than £20.

Alessandra DeMarino, 23, agrees that a large part of the draw of TikTok—and the products she discovers there—is the emphasis on education: “It has definitely shifted my old Instagram buying habits, where I bought things more so based on aesthetics and claims.” DeMario says TikTok allowed her to see the results of items instead of just packaging, which in turn has influenced her to purchase.

The looming question: Why are younger people on TikTok seemingly rejecting what millennials are still obsessing over? According to Jenni Middleton, director of beauty at trend forecasting firm WGSN, a hallmark of Gen Z’s buying habits is scrutiny. “Gen Z want to be assured that what they are buying will work for their skin and hair, and that’s why we’re seeing this shift,” says Middleton. “Their scrutiny about ingredients stems from their comfort in the URL world, where they can do huge amounts of research.”

Charlotte Palermino, cofounder of Dieux Skin and a skinfluencer with 175,400 followers on TikTok —and, at 33, is a millennial—agrees. “We are absolutely in a post-truth society where consumers aren’t taking things at face value,” she says. “I feel like Gen Z can spot deep fakes and fake news better than boomers, so it’s not surprising seeing them question shaky skin-care claims. It’s a time when we have to question a lot, so seeing Gen Z ask for receipts makes sense. Increasingly, when I see an influencer or brand make a claim, I’ll see commenters ask, ‘Where does that claim come from?’”

In addition to having more knowledge than ever, there’s also the obvious fact that younger people tend to have less disposable income, so of course they’re going to gravitate toward less expensive products. “Almost all of my makeup is from the drugstore because I truly believe there are so many high-end makeup products that have very similar formulas to drugstore products,” says Rachel Rypma, a student who helped make the Telescopic mascara go viral. “The only difference is the name behind the product.”

“Cost definitely comes first,” agrees 24-year-old Lisa Antonelli about what she considers most important in a product. “I will splurge on some exceptions after either trying a sample or buying a small size first. Next come the ingredients, branding, and sustainability.”

This emphasis on cost is nothing new, as Palermino points out. “Skin care targeted to acne and younger demographics was never charging a high price point on the whole,” she says. Rather, the products have just become a little more sophisticated, she says, pointing to Curology and CeraVe.

However, with the popularity of the app, teens have gained a new power. Not only are they more visible than ever—they actually move product. A representative from L’Oréal Paris tells Glamour the brand has seen “explosive growth” on Telescopic thanks to TikTok, and while Cerave wouldn’t confirm exact sales stats, the brand confirms “TikTok has certainly helped expand awareness of the brand, particularly to Gen Z audiences.”

In turn, this new visibility is making more affordable products trickle up to older demographics, and could even dictate where beauty brands go from here.

“Gen Z’s attitudes will define beauty for the next decade,” says Middleton. “Gen Z is the most self-educated generation to date, with information and tutorials on any conceivable subject instantly available online at any time. Informed online communities continue to fuel demand for authenticity and transparency across the industry.”

Does this mean that luxury beauty and branding is done for good? Not a chance. Beauty will always be a sensorial experience, and everyone I spoke to said that even though they prioritise cost and ingredients, at the end of the day, they all viewed skin care as some form of self-care. They’re just a little more discerning.

“With Gen Z, there’s really a level of critique that I have never seen before, and it’s a response to the generations of marketing,” says Yarbro. “I think it’s exactly what the industry needed.”

Sourced from GLAMOUR

By Anna Hensel.

Now that the threat of a potential TikTok ban has all but subsided, e-commerce startups are ready to give their advertising dollars to TikTok. And TikTok wants to make it easier for them to do so.

TikTok and Shopify announced that Shopify merchants can now create and run TikTok campaigns from directly within the Shopify dashboard, thanks to a new TikTok channel within the Shopify app store.

Shopify has similar partnerships with the other digital advertising channels, including Snapchat, Facebook and Pinterest. But the new Shopify partnership signals that TikTok — and e-commerce companies’ interest in it — is here to stay. Modern Retail spoke with leaders of four digital advertising agencies, two of whom said they have seen an increase in e-commerce clients eager to test out advertising on TikTok since the threat of TikTok getting banned seems to have subsided. They say that the interest in TikTok is largely driven by companies’ eagerness to find cheaper advertising alternatives to Facebook, and to reach a consumer that skews younger than the typical Facebook user. At the end of September, President Donald Trump, said he gave his “blessing” to a deal in which Oracle and Walmart would each get a stake in a newly-formed entity that would own TikTok, but the deal has yet to be finalized.

Brandon Doyle, founder of Wallaroo Media, estimated that about 25% of his clients are now running ads on TikTok, up from 15% a few months ago. “A vast majority is because the uncertainty [around TikTok’s future] is now gone,” said Doyle, whose clients include Cotopaxi and Rhone. Freelance media buyer Savannah Sanchez said that she’s had some clients who paused TikTok advertising while they were still waiting to see what happened with the app. They’ve since reached back out in recent weeks to solidify TikTok budgets for November and December; “Whereas before they were kind of on the fence whether they were going to use it for their fourth quarter strategy.”

“The majority of Shopify merchants are preparing for a busy online holiday shopping season,” Satish Kanwar, VP of Product at Shopify said via email in response to a question about whether or not Shopify has seen an uptick in the number of its merchants who are interested in advertising on TikTok. “We believe empowering merchants to connect with new audiences using content that feels authentic and genuine to the TikTok experience will be pivotal as they head into the holiday season.”

“Shopify is a leader in the commerce industry and with over a million merchants leveraging the platform to build their businesses, we see an incredible opportunity to connect the TikTok community with merchants of diverse backgrounds to explore and discover products they love,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a request for comment on the Shopify partnership.

In search of digital advertising alternatives
Katya Constantine, founder of Digishopgirl Media, said that she’s also seen an uptick in clients interested in advertising on TikTok, but attributes it more to the fact that TikTok has added more sophisticated features for advertisers in recent months, including rolling out a self-service advertising platform. Constantine, whose clients include Caraa and Dolls Kill, also added that what is ultimately driving the interest in TikTok “was them wanting to diversify from Facebook.”

However, brands by and large still aren’t spending as much money on TikTok as they are on Facebook — or even Snapchat. “I don’t know if we have any clients that are thinking about putting more than 20% of their budget on TikTok ads,” said Doyle.

And what’s keeping brands from investing more in TikTok is the fact that compared to other digital advertising platforms, TikTok has less sophisticated tools for advertisers that can help them track how their ads are performing. As part of the Shopify partnership, Shopify merchants will be able to install the TikTok tracking pixel with one click, whereas before they may have had to use a developer to install it.

“The pixel integration is great — but [the pixel] still needs to get better at tracking. It’s still a ways behind Snapchat and Facebook’s pixel,” said Doyle. Namely, TikTok can only track a purchase if a person clicks on an ad in TikTok and then makes the purchase right away. Facebook and Snapchat’s tracking pixel, by comparison, can still determine whether or not a person made a purchase after clicking on an ad even if the user visits multiple other sites before making the purchase.

How the Washington Post is creating impact through socially minded branded content

Jason Wong, managing partner at brand incubator Wonghaus, said that he’s currently spending about $15,000 per month on TikTok ads for one of his brands, Doe Lashes. But because TikTok’s ad platform is still young, he sees TikTok more as a “discovery channel,” to introduce the brand to new customers, rather than to drive direct sales.

“A lot of the data [TikTok] has is on watch time — what type of content gets watched, what type of people engage, what type of people comment,” he said. Whereas Facebook, he said has more data on “what type of people want to buy, what type of people are more likely to add to cart,” and can then target ads to those group of people.

Right now, one of the biggest benefits of TikTok for e-commerce advertisers is the fact that it’s typically cheaper to reach ads on Facebook. Sanchez estimated that the CPMs on TikTok for her clients are around five times cheaper than they are on Facebook, while Constantine estimated advertising costs on TikTok are 80% cheaper for her clients.

All of the advertisers Modern Retail spoke with, however, said that they feel TikTok’s biggest drawbacks are due to the fact that its advertising platform is still young — and they expect the company to continue to add better features for e-commerce advertisers over time. A TikTok spokesperson said that the company plans to partner more with Shopify, and “plans to start testing new in-app features that will make it easier for users to discover Shopify merchants and their products.”

“I know that they are working on a lot of stuff,” said Doyle

By Anna Hensel

Sourced from DIGIDAY

This article was reported on — and first published by — Digiday sibling Modern Retail

By

Walmart and Microsoft’s surprise bid for TikTok is aimed at social commerce, an area Facebook is just starting to explore.

By

Sourced from cnn