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TikTok World is underway this week, gathering brands who are eager to hear the latest updates from the short-form video platform that has seen rapid growth over the last two years.
TikTok’s skyrocketing popularity – especially among Gen Z – has made it an attractive destination for brands and retailers seeking to reach new customers, and the platform has been bolstering its ad offerings to provide new options for them. At TikTok World, the platform’s team took the opportunity to debut a number of new products and features for creators, advertisers and developers. Here’s a look at what’s new:
TikTok Ads Manager: Tying pay to engagement
A new feature called Focused View is connecting what a brand pays to a user's engagement with an ad. Through this new iteration of the Video View campaign objective on TikTok Ads Manager, brands only pay when a user has watched an ad for at least six seconds, or interacted within the first six seconds. The goal is that ads are shown to users “who are truly paying attention and voluntarily engaging with the brand,” TikTok writes.
“In an ever-changing digital marketing world where returns on ad spend are increasingly valued, Focused View offers a way for brands to engage with their audiences more effectively and cost-efficiently,” the company states.
TikTok recently took a step further into commerce when it launched Shopping Ads, providing new ad formats that made short-form video content shoppable. Formats include video, live shopping and catalog. These ad formats now include an objective in TikTok Ads Manager called “Product Sales,” aiming to provide a single place for planning and buying around ecommerce campaigns.
TikTok Creator Marketplace: New features
A key component of TikTok’s success is that it is creator-driven. Creators are responsible for a huge portion of the content that features products through brand partnerships, and even many of the ads look like other short-form videos on the app. One way TikTok facilitates branded content is the TikTok Creator Marketplace, a platform which connects brands and agencies with over 800,000 creators to partner on content. TikTok rolled out several updates to the creator marketplace:
- Better creator-matching capabilities is the result of improved search capabilities and integration with a brand’s campaign insights.
- TTCM Match is a new recommendation function that generates lists of ideal creators based on a brand’s brief, within 10 seconds.
- Open Application Campaigns allow brands to post details of an upcoming campaign, and lets creators apply for it. This is currently available by invite only in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
- Invite Links allow advertisers to work with any creator, regardless of whether they are on the marketplace. Through this tool, brands can gain access to real-time campaign reporting and performance tools without taking every collaboration step.
- Gaming Anchor: This feature allows creators working with gaming companies to add iOS or Android app store links to download a game, right within their content.
- Comment Anchor: This feature allows creators to add a link to the top of comments where viewers can learn more about a product or service.
- Post-campaign reporting: TikTok is adding metrics such as audience overlap, audience interest distribution and Spark Ads campaign dates to branded content.
TikTok for Developers: Profile Kit
TikTok is adding Profile Kit, which allows users to integrate a TikTok account to display content on third-party apps. The first integration is being conducted through a partnership with Linktree. This allows creators to showcase content directly on a Linktree page, as well as direct audiences to their profile.
Movie studios: Showtimes
TikTok is becoming a powerful search engine in its own right. With this feature, the platform is providing a direct connection to offline experiences. Showtimes allows movie studios to promote a film by showcasing a full trailer within TikTok, then provide listings and theater info based on a user’s location. Users can then click out to a ticketing platform to buy a ticket. Maybe there's room for short videos and feature films to co-exist, after all.
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New advertising opportunities are being beta tested for in-store audio and product demos.
Retail media’s fast growth isn’t only limited to increasing spend. The advertising itself is also poised to appear in more places beyond ecommerce marketplaces, and even beyond the web.
The latest example comes from Walmart Connect, which is the retail media arm of the world’s largest retailer.
Walmart shared details on testing that it is completing for in-store retail media. To this point, Walmart Connect has been considered the advertising platform for Walmart’s ecommerce site. But these tests indicate that’s poised to expand.
Stores present a potent opportunity for Walmart. It has 4,700 big box locations around the U.S., and customers returned to them in droves last year. In 2022, 88% of the retailer’s customers visited Walmart stores.
Walmart Connect already has already dipped a toe into in-store advertising, with a TV wall, self-checkout ads and integrated marketing. The new pilots aim to take a step further.
“The next frontier of retail media is in-store experiences, and it’s one we’re excited to chart,” Whitney Cooper, head of omnichannel transformation at Walmart Connect, wrote in a blog post on the new tests. “But it’s still an emerging opportunity for us, as we continue to test what serves customers best and which solutions are scalable to Walmart’s size.”
Here’s a look at the two new offerings currently under beta test:
Walmart suppliers will be able to integrate product demos into campaigns across in-store and digital environments.
Product demos aren’t new to store floors, but Walmart Connect is seeking to give them an update that blends digital and physical experiences.
“Part of our test is how to enhance the omnichannel experience by bridging the physical back to digital: For example, by pairing a demo cart with QR codes that link back to a curated Walmart.com landing page so customers can find inspiration and shop their list all in one spot,” Cooper wrote.
Walmart is currently offering 120 demos at stores each weekend, and plans to scale to 1,000 by the end of 2023.
Walmart Connect will now offer advertising placements on Walmart’s in-store radio network. Suppliers will have the option to purchase ads by region or store, enabling targeting of key markets.
“This is the first time brands will be able to speak directly to Walmart customers through this medium,” Cooper writes. “These ads also create a new upper-funnel touchpoint for brand marketers and out-of-home (OOH) buyers to create awareness, because in-store audio is about connecting with customers wherever they are in the store — they don’t have to pass the brand in the aisle.”
With the tests, we’ll be watching for how this advertising is measured, and whether Walmart Connect is tracking impact across different types of formats, and not just a single campaign.