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    TikTok streamlines social commerce with 3 new ad formats

    • TikTok launched a commerce solution called Shopping Ads that includes three new advertising formats, according to a company blog post
    • Video Shopping Ads place a sponsored “Shop Now” banner at the bottom of posts that viewers can tap to access a landing page and click out to the brand’s website to make a purchase. Catalog Listing Ads allow brands to link to a full catalog to their TikTok campaigns and Live Shopping Ads directs people browsing TikTok’s scrolling For You page to live shopping events. 
    • All three offerings are currently in testing as TikTok tweaks its social commerce strategy ahead of the holiday season. The formats are available through one media-buying objective, called Product Sales, in the app’s ads manager. 

    TikTok is shaking up its approach to social commerce, streamlining the process for marketers as they plan around the busy fourth quarter and holiday window. The new Shopping Ads formats also aim to simplify product discovery and browsing for users of the popular video-sharing app.

    Live Shopping Ads may help gin up greater interest in the types of livestreaming events TikTok has reportedly struggled to make pop. The tech is only being tested in markets where TikTok Shop, the ByteDance-owned company’s live shopping feature, is already available. Those include the U.K., Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and among select “allowlisted” accounts in the U.S. 

    Video Shopping Ads, which are being tested globally, can be tailored one of two ways: with a product focus to reach an audience with high purchase intent or with a brand-building message to grow consideration among desired consumer groups. Meanwhile, Catalog Listing Ads don’t require the creation of additional assets beyond a linked catalog in a bid to save marketers time and resources. They are open for testing to advertisers in the U.S. 

    With the Shopping Ads launch, TikTok is migrating away from Collection Ads and Dynamic Showcase Ads, though those will be available through the end of the year. The announcement detailed how brands can access newer offerings like Video Shopping Ads, which seek to combine the best aspects of Collection Ads and Dynamic Showcase Ads. 

    TikTok advertisers that only buy standard ads sit at a level zero tier on the app and cannot participate in the Shopping Ads tests. Those that apply “advanced signals” in their marketing and link their catalog upgrade to level one and can participate in the tests. Level two is achieved by hitting all of those benchmarks and signing on to TikTok Shop, which opens the ability to sell products through livestreams.   

    TikTok has additionally partnered with Smartly.io, a social advertising automation platform that is the first to work with the Shopping Ads solution. Smartly.io can help brands with campaign management, optimization and reporting, and will introduce a creative automation tool later in the year, according to a separate news release. TikTok also took the opportunity to highlight tie-ups with e-commerce firms such as Shopify, Ecwid, BigCommerce and WooCommerce.

    The social commerce category has hit some roadblocks after gaining traction earlier in the pandemic. Brick-and-mortar has seen a strong bounce-back while privacy changes are making targeting and measuring mobile campaigns more difficult. The rollout of Shopping Ads follows a report that TikTok was ditching plans to expand TikTok Shop in parts of Europe and the U.S., claims it disputed.    

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