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Mar 4, 2020 · 16 min read

TikTok Affiliate Marketing: What You Should Know

TikTok has become another leading social media channel, capturing the attention of consumers as a whole. In this guide we showcase how this platform can help affiliates get more exposure with less effort.

affiliate-marketing-tiktok-feature

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and showcase short-form videos. Creators can shoot, edit, and share 15-60 second videos embellished with filters, music, animation, special effects, and more. Content on TikTok typically ranges from knowledge-sharing to art, dance, trends and memes.

In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, accumulating more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play (10). With 800 million daily active users worldwide (1), the platform is considered the world’s fastest-growing social media app (9).

(Image Source: Sensor Tower)

TikTok’s rapid growth can bring many marketing opportunities. According to a HubSpot Content Trends survey, more than 54% of users prefer video content over other marketing materials (11). Combined with the dominance of mobile traffic, apps dedicated to short-form video offer marketers a unique way to promote their brands and increase product sales.

Who uses TikTok?

Over 60% of TikTok users are comprised of Generation Z, which refers to users born after 1996 (12). Generation Z is one of the most diverse generations yet, with  high levels of education and digital nativism (13)

Although the majority of TikTok’s users are young, the numbers are slowly changing to include a more mature audience (14). Moreover, because TikTok is a relatively new app, new demographics are constantly being added, along with the easier implementation of in-app ads and less bias from the audience.

Like other social media networks, TikTok is also used by a variety of celebrities and influencers. Celebrity figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Will Smith, and Jimmy Fallon are active on the platform, in addition to other TikTok stars who count their followers in the tens of millions (15).

How does TikTok work?

TikTok makes it easy to shoot, edit and upload videos. The app is intuitively experimental and fun, and users have access to an assortment of filters and effects, as well as a massive music library. Expressing creativity is a high priority for TikTok creators, with creatively-minded motivations ranking above social factors (5).

Most central to TikTok’s success is its algorithm, which uses artificial intelligence to make personalised recommendations for viewers. TikTok makes content discovery central to its experience, thus setting it apart from other social media platforms.

One of the algorithm’s metrics is ‘Collaborative Filtering’, which populates and recommends TikTok videos to users via the 'For You' page. Collaborative Filtering works by finding users who have followed and liked similar content, and then recommending videos and other 'TikTokers' based on what those users have followed or liked. 

Additionally, TikTok populates videos based on geolocation, which is now quite common amongst many apps.

Affiliate Marketing on TikTok

Before selecting TikTok as the right avenue for affiliate marketing efforts, brands need to consider TikTok’s audience. While TikTok's active users consist of a range of people from various generations, backgrounds and geolocations, 41% of TikTok's demographic (14) are aged between 16 and 24 years old.

Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day (3) using TikTok, which follows closely behind the leading social media platform, Facebook, where users spend an average of 58.5 minutes per day. (4)

Given the effectiveness of mobile advertising, affiliate marketers can embrace the diversity of TikTok’s demographics to reach their target audience. Using TikTok for affiliate marketing can be a great way to increase brand awareness, gain new customers, and build loyalty. Users love engaging with brands that are both personable and fun, and TikTok encourages that kind of content. 

Affiliate marketing on TikTok can be done through organic unpaid content or paid advertising. Larger affiliates and brands have created contests, challenges and brand takeovers on TikTok. An example of this is UNSW Sydney, who are ramping up their social media presence to reach and acquire more students. For businesses like UNSW, TikTok offers a more engaging way to reach the younger demographic than Facebook or Instagram Ads.

What is TikTok for Business? 

Last year TikTok introduced a self-serve ad platform for advertisers, TikTok for Business

Prior to the launch, product owners were not allowed to run ads on the platform. But, as of June 2020, advertisers can now interact with all of TikTok’s available video formats, including in-feed videos, brand takeover, TopView, branded lenses, and hashtag challenges.

Combined with the platform’s growing user base, TikTok for Business has helped establish TikTok into a much more robust forum for brand promotion and affiliate marketing. 

How does TikTok for Business work?

TikTok for Business is a paid advertising feature of the parent app, which not only allows major brands to share big promotions, but also allows smaller creators to create a niche for their business (6).

Influencers

When promoting a brand through  affiliate marketing, publishers and advertisers should understand how to leverage the platform with a targeted TikTok strategy. To get started, they can try the following specific tested methods of gaining engagement: 

1. Identify Content 

Affiliate marketers need to plan out their content calendar. They should opt  for a variety of popular trends, dance videos, tutorials, funny clips, product launches, and business promotions, or a mixture of these content types.  

2. Engage the Brand’s Audience 

Publishers should be aware of the user interface and how to make short form and fun video clips successfully. They should maintain a healthy balance between fun posts and business/affiliate marketing promotions to keep the brand’s audience entertained and engaged. 

3. Be Consistent with Uploads

Maintaining a balanced weekly schedule for video uploads to maximise reach to the target audience is important. Location tags can be incredibly beneficial in engaging audiences in and around a brand’s locale, boosting the company’s content to the top of the feed. 

4. Use the Hashtag Challenges Creatively

Hashtag challenges bring a nice twist to the content sharing ability of a creator. They streamline the flow of information, and target the right audiences. They are especially helpful to creators and influencers, who can tag their audience to spread the challenge, such as dance challenges, which promote a cause or brand. 

Brand Marketing

An affiliate marketer looking to create a following for their product has a greater chance of being noticed if they are on TikTok. Here are the top three ways affiliates can encourage engagement:

1. Tutorials and Demos

Many cosmetic brands offer tutorials-based videos (7) on TikTok. For brand and affiliate marketing promotions, especially product marketing, video footage is a great tactic to show how the product works and different ways in which the product can be used. In between these promotional clips, challenges can be added with the product to further increase its visibility. 

2. Special Occasions and Holidays

TikTok can also be used to market to an audience that is gearing up for a special day, event, or holiday. Publishers and advertisers should consider running product give-aways or having discounted prices for special occasions. This helps brands distribute products while reaching new consumers and increasing engagement.

3. Brand Filters and Stickers

TikTok offers a feature that enables creators to add filters and stickers to their content. Marketers promoting a brand can encourage their audience to use the same filter or sticker, thus accelerating passive marketing. 

TikTok Advertising 

Creating TikTok advertisements requires several steps.   

While the previously mentioned methods help marketers make the most of TikTok’s organic reach,  TikTok Advertisements allow for a more targeted delivery of brand promotion. The packages range from a minimum investment of $500 up to $150,000 for the Hashtag challenge. These ads can be localised and personalised based on user settings preferences.  

The options include: 

1. In-feed Videos

In-feed videos appear while a user is scrolling. As a form of native advertising, each video will fit into the general feed. In-feed videos are easily scrollable and straightforward to track in terms of performance.

2. Brand Takeover

A brand takeover video is presented as a full-screen immersive ad. Brand takeovers are usually shown within the first few seconds upon opening the app and play for five to six seconds.

3. TopView

TopView ads are a hybrid between in-feed and brand takeover videos. These ads start playing as soon as a user opens the app, are usually 60 seconds long and take the most premium space (8).

4. Hashtag Challenge

Hashtag challenges are a simple way for brands to promote user generated content (UGC). To run a Hashtag challenge, brands will post videos encouraging user submissions using a custom hashtag. The success of the challenge is determined by how well-received it is by users.

5. Branded AR, or “Branded Scan”

TikTok recently introduced an AR effect called the “Branded Scan.” Branded AR lets marketers create ads with branded lenses, stickers, 2D, 3D, and other custom Augmented Reality (AR) effects that users can later add to their content.

(Source: Launch Pad Apps)

How to use TikTok for Affiliate Marketing

Brands or affiliates can make the most of TikTok with consistent engagement and by becoming well-versed with brand marketing on the  platform. Most importantly, publishers and advertisers should understand the application’s algorithms, which pushes personalised ads into user feeds to help boost promotions. 

The TikTok monetisation process takes place over several stages.

1. Building an Audience

Posting frequency is one of the variables TikTok takes into account when determining how many users will see a creator’s content. The more content a user posts, the better for their following - and engagement rates.

Affiliates marketing on TikTok would do well to post regularly and interact with content relevant to their niche.

2. Selecting an Affiliate Program for TikTok

Once an account has a decent number of followers, it can be used for affiliate marketing. Affiliates should select a vertical they are passionate about and do some research to see what kinds of offers are available.

When choosing an offer, affiliates can work directly with an advertiser or join a network. Networks such as Commission Factory offer access to multiple offers from a variety of advertisers, and affiliates can log in at any time to view their sales and stats or browse the advertiser marketplace. 

3. Capturing Information with Lead Magnets

Since TikTok does not allow affiliates to place affiliate offer links on their ads or content, affiliates need to capture contact information using a form on a landing page to generate leads.

If advertisers have a limited budget but still want to run a promotion, TikTok has recently rolled out a new feature to experiment with the way users shop through the app. This feature is similar to Instagram’s 'Swipe Up' link via stories. TikTok users can easily be redirected to the brand's website through a link placed in the description of a video. 

To collect information from as large a user pool as possible, affiliates should focus on developing quality content and testing different variables for optimal ad performance. Networks like Commission Factory make it easy for affiliates to discover and partake in strategies that work well for their pages, while helping advertisers expand their reach to new audiences.

To learn more about what is provided for affiliates and advertisers at Commission Factory, visit our FAQ

 

(Image Source: Solen Feyissa)

Is TikTok Good for Business?

Social media marketing is highly competitive, with most platforms adhering to a rigid content sharing process. This makes TikTok for Business unique. Moreover, TikTok’s business promotion field is less saturated, offering affiliates a greater opportunity to engage with their audience and convert. TikTok is also the fastest growing app among youth, providing affiliates and advertisers access to a larger audience with higher levels of in-app sharing activity. 

Final Thoughts  

With many major brands shifting to TikTok, affiliates and advertisers who decide to take their marketing efforts to TikTok have a chance of good conversion rates.

TikTok also enables marketers to explore new methods of advertising that are fun, trendy, and creative. The advertising efforts are also much cheaper compared to traditional and mainstream methods, and the power of word-of-mouth marketing adds fuel to the fire.  

There is definitely no sign of TikTok slowing down any time soon. TikTok's focus on designing further advertisement packages and shoppable content solutions for brands will potentially become their primary source of revenue. 

Become an Affiliate

You may also be interested in reading the following articles: 

References

1. 10 Tiktok Statistics 
2. 20 Important TikTok Stats Marketers Need To Know in 2020  
3. TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics   
4. Oberlo - Facebook Statistics
5. Is TikTok Setting the Scene for Music on Social Media? 
6. TikTok Launches TikTok For Business for marketers, takes Snapshot with new AR ads 
7. Top 10 Most Followed Fashion and Beauty Brands on TikTok 
8. Everything You Need To Know About TikTok Ads
9. TikiTok owner ByteDance developing SmartPhone
10. TikTok Crosses 2 Billion Downloads After Best Quarter For Any App Ever
11. Hubspot - Content Trends Global Preferences
12. Wallaroo Media - TikTok Statistics
13. Pew Research Center - Social & Demographic Trends
14. Omnicore - TikTok Statistics
15. TikTok - Most Popular Creators

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