Tik Tok, the short-form video platform, has adopted sponsored content as a new strategy to reach a young adult audience. This change in direction allows viewers to buy products associated with sponsored hashtags without even leaving the app. The incorporation of e-commerce in the app itself certainly appeals to companies as they are able to reach largely untapped markets while creating Gen Z – friendly campaigns.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, last year was one of the few apps not owned by Facebook or Google that topped the rankings of non-game downloads worldwide. Nevertheless, Tik Tok was faced with the challenge of monetizing an audience that mostly consists of teenagers using the app for free.
Called Hashtag Challenge Plus, the new feature allows companies who run influencer campaigns on TikTok to directly sell products to the app’s users. A separate tab can be found within the app which enables products from the campaign to be purchased within TikTok itself.
Kroger was the first company to test out the new Tik Tok feature last week with their #TransformUrDorm challenge. With back-to-school season in full swing, the grocery chain created a sponsored hashtag challenge aimed at engaging users by encouraging them to make videos using a branded hashtag. Kroger’s campaign encouraged college kids to post videos of their cool and essential dorm room transformations with the hashtag #TransformUrDorm. Viewers were also invited to buy products such as a toaster and a popcorn maker through a dedicated Kroger brand page on the TikTok app.
Since its launch, the hashtag has since grown to around 477 million views across hundreds of videos. Many videos feature influencer content whereas the rest is user-generated content from other TikTok users hoping to capitalize on the trend to gain a little TikTok fame for themselves. While Kroger is not exactly a company that directly appeals to the youth, they nevertheless found a way to reach TikTok’s young adult audience through their hashtag campaign.
In addition to Kroger, retail brand Uniqlo launched a campaign that challenges users of social video app TikTok to post videos of themselves wearing their favorite Uniqlo outfits.
Uniqlo’s campaign is another sign that TikTok is gaining attention among brands that either host contests on the app or run paid sponsorships in a bid to incorporate e-commerce in their business activities.
TikTok still remains one of the few places on the internet where young people can be relatively free from advertisers. However, with the emergence of sponsored hashtags and dedicated brand pages on the way, this is currently changing.
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