Content Marketing

TikTok’s Growing Impact on E-commerce: How to Use It for Your Business

TikTok’s meteoric rise to success rapidly positioned it as one of the most popular platforms for e-commerce. Its short-form video format provides businesses with the perfect way of showcasing their products and services, as well as unique opportunities for engaging with customers. In this article, we’ll explore TikTok’s growing impact on e-commerce and how companies can leverage the platform’s many features to boost their sales and increase brand awareness.


E-commerce on TikTok: a natural match

We don’t need to tell you about the effectiveness of short-form video in advertising — after all, that’s what all TV commercials have always been. In a way, TikTok is just a further evolution of the TV ad model, just in a completely new environment. Unlike TV ads, however, TikTok videos can be precisely micro-targeted at any audience segment you choose — and their production costs can be minimal!

Additionally, TikTok is home to a vibrant community of influencers; name your market niche, and there’s likely a host of content creators making videos that perfectly align with your brand. Fashion, tech, music — and yes, even books — enjoy a lot of attention on TikTok.

The ease with which anyone can become a content creator on TikTok is also an important aspect of the platform — especially for businesses. User-generated content is the backbone of many successful TikTok marketing strategies.


TikTok’s e-commerce features

So what does TikTok offer brands in terms of e-commerce features? Quite a lot, as it turns out!

To start off with, there’s the expected features, like placing CTAs directly in videos. While it’s nothing revolutionary — after all, the competition also offers linking to products — brands using TikTok for marketing can actually boast a measurable increase in sales. This, of course, isn’t just because the platform places a clickable button on its content: it’s the content that drives sales.

The more platform-specific options include promoted hashtag challenges. A hashtag challenge asks users to create videos around a certain topic or activity. These can be set up by brands to generate tons of user-generated content showcasing their products — a good example being Chipotle’s #ChitpoleLidFlip campaign.

TikTok’s Spark Ads is another feature worth your attention. Spark Ads lets you leverage organic posts about your brand or your products. Essentially, this allows you to boost videos, whether your own or, more commonly, an established content creator’s. These are great for building trust in your brand’s authenticity.

For brands that offer physical products, TikTok offers the ability to set up a storefront right within the app. One of the biggest barriers to making any purchase on mobile is the simple fact that the mobile web is horrible. Opening any external link will throw you to a website cluttered with cookie consent forms, newsletter sign-up pop-ups, a UI that’s just slightly too unwieldy… By the time you get past all of that, you forget what you wanted to buy in the first place. TikTok side steps that by letting brands set up a storefront right within the app itself. This particular feature isn’t available in every market just yet, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on!


TikTok influencer marketing — increasing awareness has never been easier

The content that’s published on TikTok differs from that published on other platforms, such as Instagram. The platform has its own culture, one that might seem impenetrable to newcomers. This is entirely by design. Gen Z and millennials, the two demographics driving most of the platform’s engagement, are famously allergic to advertising — by making the platform’s culture insular, they prevent their communities from being subverted and commodified.

This is why brands have to change strategies. Traditional advertising is out; forget about elaborate, high-production value creations. Authenticity is the name of the game: if you want to be successful on TikTok, you need to be part of the in-group.

Alternatively, you can hire a TikTok native to help you. Influencer marketing continues to be one of the most important advertising strategies in 2023, and TikTok makes it easier than ever to find appropriate creators to act as your brand’s ambassadors. Just take a look at the TikTok Creator Marketplace!


Measuring success and optimising your strategy

Of course, conducting a marketing campaign is only half of the story. There’s also the matter of analytics: learning as much as you can about how your efforts were received by your audience. Those insights will, after all, inform your next moves. Good quality data means less time spent experimenting on what works and more time spent reaching your target audience.

TikTok’s built-in analytic tools, as good as they are, will only take you so far. After all, they’re mostly quantitative tools — they’re concerned with hard numeric metrics, such as views, shares and comments. To really get to the bottom of your marketing campaigns, you need to augment that data with qualitative analytics — the content of your comments and their emotional sentiment. That’s where SentiOne Listen comes in.

SentiOne Listen is our flagship social listening and customer experience solution. It employs state-of-the-art natural language understanding algorithms to evaluate the emotional sentiment of any online mention, such as comments on TikTok videos. How many people praised your marketing campaign — and what engaged with them the most? Were there many critical comments — and if so, were there any common complaints? Those are the questions you can answer using SentiOne Listen.

Of course, this is barely scratching the surface of what social listening can offer brands. If you wish to take SentiOne Listen out for a spin, get in touch with us and book your demo period today.