Category: TikTok

TikTok’s Fatal ‘Blackout Challenge’ Hasn’t Gone Away, Causing Another Casualty

Image via XanderSt /

In a recent press statement, the Bethany Police Department (BPD) in Oklahoma confirmed that the death of a child this week could be linked to a deadly TikTok challenge.

Although TikTok isn’t where the notorious ‘Blackout Challenge’ first originated, it’s already been linked to two other deaths this year – a 10-year-old in Italy, and a nine-year-old in Tennessee.

In the latest incident, police and emergency services had responded to reports of an unresponsive child at an apartment complex just before midnight. Officers noticed ligature marks on the child’s neck, and despite being quickly transported to the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, he succumbed to his injuries the next day.

While it’s unclear if the child had a TikTok account or was actively viewing videos on the platform, a spokesperson for the BDP said that investigators were currently looking into such leads.

According to Insider, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that children have died from similar challenges from as early as 1995. The ‘Blackout Challenge’, like its many predecessors, involves encouraging people to choke themselves until they pass out or reach some sort of “high.”

Though the TikTok challenge has not been identified as the sole cause of the latest tragedy, social media platforms like it have allowed such trends to become more accessible to children and teens.

A spokesperson from TikTok did tell Insider that it blocks “related hashtags and searches to discourage people from participating in or sharing potentially dangerous content.”

As of now, you won’t be able to find any videos upon searching for the challenge on the app, and there has been no evidence the challenge had been recently trending either.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that children and teens haven’t found other ways of working around such bans to still perpetuate internet trends.

[via Insider, cover image via XanderSt /]

TikTok Addresses Blocking Bios With ‘Black Lives Matter,’ Allowing ‘Pro-White’

Image via nikkimeel /

TikTok has found itself embroiled in a new scandal surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Users have said the social media platform has apparently been blocking creators from being able to use words and phrases with the words “Black” and “Black Lives Matter” in their bios, flagging them as “inappropriate content.”

According to The Hill, Ziggi Tyler, a user on the TikTok Creator Marketplace, discovered the phrase had been disallowed when he attempted to update his bio last week. He has since posted several videos of his findings, which show the phrases “Black people,” “Black success,” “Pro-Black,” and “I am a Black man” being flagged as inappropriate.

Notably, when Tyler tried using the phrases “Pro-White” and “Supporting White Supremacy,” he was allowed to update his bio without receiving an error.

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace has been rolled out for beta testing, aiming to help connect brands with influencers on the platform. Tyler told Forbes that he wanted to highlight his heritage so as to attract brands focused on diverse talent or racial justice campaigns.

The video-sharing app has since responded, saying Tyler’s experience was due to a flaw within the platform’s safeguards, which had been implemented to filter out hate speech.

“Our TikTok Creator Marketplace protections, which flag phrases typically associated with hate speech, were erroneously set to flag phrases with respect to word order,” a spokesperson told The Hill.

“To be clear, Black Lives Matter does not violate our policies and current has over 27 billion views on our platform,” TikTok said.


#greenscreenvideo I’m going live in 30 minutes to answer questions. Y’all need to get this message out. Please. #fypシ #fyp #wrong #justice

♬ original sound – Ziggi Tyler

[via The Hill, cover image via nikkimeel /]

TikTok Tests Gigs Feature That Lets People Engage Creators To Make Custom Videos

Image via Pemika Chedpiroon /

After TikTok just announced plans to BuzzFeed News, the new ‘Shoutouts’ feature is currently first being tested with users located in Turkey and Dubai. Fans can now pay their favorite creators to create and send them a personalized clip through direct message.

Payment is via in-game coins, the same used for gifts and donations available in existing live videos, and can be topped up using real-world currency. The “exchange rate” stands roughly at 100 TikTok coins to US$1.80.

Prices for custom videos are up to the creators to decide, and the sky seems to be limit. Users can request videos from creators via a button on their bio, and the talent will have three days to accept or decline. The clip then needs to be created and sent out to the buyer’s inbox within a week.

TikTok’s expansion into monetization services comes in a bid to keep its top creators on the platform. Currently, they can make more money with other platforms, such as TikTok’s biggest competition, Instagram.

More information is yet to come on Shoutouts, such as an official release date, who can use it, and what the pricing or content guidelines are.

TikTok launches Shoutouts – fans can request birthday wishes, pep talks and other messages from their favourite creators.

Fans can directly pay in-app, through TikTok’s in-apps currency (also used for live-stream gifting).

— Fabian (Bern) Ouwehand 法比安 (@iamfabianbern) July 4, 2021

[via XDA, image via Pemika Chedpiroon /]

TikTok Launches Video Resumes Portal For Gen Z Job Seekers

Image via TikTok

This week, TikTok launched its ‘TikTok Resumes’ pilot program, aiming to connect users with job vacancies at major corporations such as Shopify, Target, Chipotle, and Alo Yoga. Users in the United States can submit video résumés from now till July 31.

According to Insider, TikTok users have already been sharing career and interview tips on the social media platform, including résumé-building advice.

Now, job seekers can showcase themselves and their skillsets creatively on the app, by using the hashtag #TikTokResumes. They can browse job listings, view examples of A-star video resumes, and check out profiles of creators who offer career-related advice before submitting their own.

“We’re humbled to be able to partner with some of the world’s most admired and emerging brands as we pilot a new way for job seekers to showcase their experiences and skillsets in creative and authentic ways. #CareerTok is already a thriving subculture on the platform and we can’t wait to see how the community embraces TikTok Resumes and helps to reimagine recruiting and job discovery,” said Nick Tran, Global Head of Marketing at TikTok.

Take a look at some of the standout video resumes below.


Here are the reasons why YOU should hire me! Don’t be shy, let’s get in touch. ##tiktokresumes ##tiktokpartner

♬ original sound – MAKENA

Tiktok do your thing! Check out ➡️ ##TikTokResumes ##TikTokPartner ##productmanagment ##jobsearch ##graduated

♬ original sound – Christian 🚀

[via Business Insider, cover image via TikTok]

Old Books Are Returning To Bestseller Shelves, Thanks To TikTok

Image via Shutterstock

#BookTok’, a tag propelled by bibliophiles on TikTok to share their favorite reads and bond over emotionally-wrecking plots and endings, has been so influential, it is making bestsellers out of novels years after they went into publication.

Barnes and Noble even has a whole NBC News.

Because TikTok runs on a unique, user-based algorithm, people who are already interested in books and have engaged with content relating to the subject are shown more of it on the dramatic decrease in reading as a hobby, but this may just pave the way for a renaissance yet to come.

What's our new favorite source for book recommendations? TikTok, natch! Check out our collection of #BookTok's buzziest titles:

— Penguin Random House 🐧🏠📚 (@penguinrandom) May 31, 2021

It's actually been hopping on and off the Indie Bestseller list for the past few months, I just found out late about the last couple weeks because publishing was closed for the holidays. Haha. Sales started surging in the summer because of TikTok. Absolute heroes over there!

— ADAM Updates (@AdamSilvera) January 5, 2021


TikTok Is Putting Up Its Incredible Algorithm & AI Capabilities For Sale

Image via XanderSt /

Companies across the globe can now access the algorithm and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities behind popular app TikTok.

According to the Financial Times, the app’s parent company, ByteDance, launched a new BytePlus division last month, allowing firms to purchase the popular social media app’s technology, including the recommendation algorithm behind users’ ‘For You’ page.

Up for sale is the app’s computer vision technology, real-time video effects, automated text-to-speech translation, and tools for data analysis and management. Organizations can mix and match these features to suit their specific needs.

As seen on BytePlus’ website, several global companies have already sprung for the offering, including US fashion app Goat, Singapore-based travel site WeGo, and Indonesian shopping firm Chilibeli.

As per Gizmodo, TikTok published a blog post last year explaining how its incredible algorithm works. The app determines which videos to show on users’ ‘For You’ page based on their metadata, interactions on the app, what device they’re using, and location settings. This allows a tailor-made experience that varies greatly from user to user.

While BytePlus’ algorithm is certainly eye-catching, it’s going up against other giants in the market. Key competitors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft, and fellow China-based counterparts such as Alibaba and Tencent are all offering similar AI-based services, as per the Financial Times.

With rumors circulating that BytePlus plans to register trademarks in the US, it could soon become a major player in the growing AI space stateside.

[via Gizmodo, cover image via XanderSt /]

TikTok Extends Video Length Limit, So You Won’t Have To ‘Wait For Part Three’

Image via Funstock /

Since late last year, TikTok has been testing extending the maximum length of videos from 60 seconds to three minutes with selected users.

Over the next several weeks, the social media app will begin to roll out this change to users worldwide. The platform hopes longer videos will allow content creators on the app to produce better storytelling and entertainment.

“Creators are already well-versed in weaving multi-part stores together on TikTok but we often hear from creators that they’d love just a little more time to bring their cooking demos, elaborate beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, and comedic sketches to life,” said TikTok product manager Drew Kirchhoff.

According to TNW, when the app first debuted, videos were set to a maximum of 15 seconds, which was later extended to 60 seconds.

Now, with the limit being stretched yet again to three minutes, Vine-like short videos will no longer remain the platform’s focus. It will now have the same maximum video length as its rivals, Snapchat Spotlight and YouTube Shorts.

While longer videos may not hold the attention of audiences as well as the shorter ones, it might be a relief to stop seeing “like and follow for part three” the next time you try to watch a cooking or makeup tutorial, though we’re unsure if we can keep up TikTok dance moves for three whole minutes.

Take a look at an example of a three-minute-long TikTok video below.


We’re trying out TikTok’s new longer video format. Please let us know what you think. #fyp #bulldogtiktok #dogsoftiktok #petsoftiktok #tipsandtricks

♬ original sound – Chowder

[via TNW, cover image via Funstock /]

TikTok Could Start Collecting Biometric Data Like ‘Faceprints’ & ‘Voiceprints’

Image via XanderSt /

This week, TikTok introduced a new section into its privacy policy. The social media app can now “collect biometric identifiers and biometric information” from its users’ accounts, including “faceprints and voiceprints.”

The new section states: “We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to such collection.”

As of now, the company has yet to expand on why it’ll need this data, or how it will seek users’ permission. Plus, according to TechCrunch, only a few US states currently have biometric privacy laws in place. It’s unknown if TikTok would only request consent from users in those states.

If you weren’t aware, TikTok’s extensive privacy policy had already listed the different types of data the app harvests from its users.

This includes images and audio content, “such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken.”

In other words, now along with your unique faceprints and voiceprints, TikTok could harvest data from anything you upload onto the app.

While it may sound alarming, this is similar to the data other social media apps, such as Instagram, collect when you upload an image or video.

There are also legitimate uses for why TikTok and other apps collect such data. For example, as per TechCrunch, identifying faces and scenery helps activate the app’s AR effects, while voice-to-text data enables its automatic captions function.

TikTok has yet to provide further information on its plans for biometric data collection, though it’s sure to be a new sticking point against the controversial app.

[via TechCrunch, cover image via XanderSt /]

TikTok Replaces Its AI Voice After Lawsuit With Previous Voice, To Users’ Dismay

Image via Primakov /

Earlier this month, it was reported that TikTok had gotten tangled in a lawsuit with the voice of its text-to-speech function, which allows users to add speech to their videos without vocalizing anything.

Bev Standing, the original voice behind the feature, allegedly said she had not given the social media platform permission to use her recordings.

Now, TikTok has a new female voice taking over its text-to-speech feature, which it had rolled out for user accessibility in late 2020. Voices on the app vary by the user’s region, and it seems the new voice has been switched for North American users, as per Insider.

However, it seems most users aren’t warming up to the new voice. According to Refinery29, the new voice sounds more upbeat than Standing’s recordings, and has been said to resemble a voice from a Barbie doll.

“Like… why she sound like that, though…” commented one user, with the voice change seeming to have caught most people on TikTok by surprise.

Some users have even said they’re afraid to update the app, not wanting the new voice and much preferring the old, “more monotone” version.

Hopefully, the new voice actor isn’t taking the critique too harshly.


Like… why she sound like that tho…? #tiktokupdate#fyp#confused#weird#ihateit#texttospeech#foryou#explainthis

♬ brandy running and crying – brandy running and crying


I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION ##texttospeech ##fyp ##foryou ##foryoupahe ##update ##ConjuringHorror ##sad ##tiktok ##siri ##trend ##help

♬ Castaways – The Backyardigans

[via Insider and Refinery29, cover image via Primakov /]

How Snapchat is Preparing for the Next Creator Movement

2020 has seen many brands and platforms step outside of their comfort zones and experiment with ways they can deliver content at scale and create personal experiences. A player of late that has stood out in departure from the original focus on intimate communications is Snapchat.

Here’s a breakdown of what the company has released these past few weeks and what they could mean for marketers and creators.

Making video creations and communication more expressive with ‘Sounds’

Earlier this fall Snapchat released ‘Sounds,’ a TikTok-rival feature that allows users to enhance their Snaps with music from a curated catalog of both emerging and established artists. Tracks can be added pre or post-capture and then shared either publicly, via your Story, or directly to specific connections.

To add music before recording video, select the Sounds tool designated by the music notes icon on the right-hand side of the Camera screen and select a track from the Featured Sounds list. Alternatively, use the Sounds tool after taking a Snap to drop in a song after you record.

The current Sounds catalog offers “millions” of licensed songs from Snap’s music industry partners including Warner Music Group, NMPA. and Universal Music Publishing Group. Per Variety, beyond music, Snapchat is also working on introducing the ability for users to create their own sounds and add them to Snaps — an update expected to roll out globally on the platform in the coming months.

Acquiring mobile music app Voisey

Delving even further into the music industry space, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. recently acquired startup Voisey, a mobile music app founded in 2018 that allows users to record short videos using professional vocal effects and backing tracks provided by producers. Clips are one-minute in length following the ever popular short-form format dominating the social media sphere.

Think of it as a musical equivalent of stickers and filters, where users can pick from a selection of user-created backing beats, hit record, and then customize the content by overlaying to the track with their own vocals. More specifically, they can add auto-tune, choral, spacey amongst other voice effects.

“We are on the verge of a revolution in music creation with the boundaries between creator and audience blurring like never before. Apps like Voisey focus on giving consumers tools that enable them to go from zero to 100 faster than ever before,” said Mark Mulligan founder of MIDiA Research in a statement to Business Insider.

The move seemingly follows a trend in which apps are more eager than ever to deliver unique creative at scale. Instagram, for instance, allows users to create high quality photos, TikTok the ability to create share-worthy short-form videos, and now, the window of opportunity centers on the next generation of music creators and giving them the tools to collaborate and work efficiently and effectively.

Unveiling ‘Spotlight,’ a short-form video feed

Taking a page out of TikTok’s playbook and Instagram’s ‘Reels,’ Snapchat introduced a short-form video feed option, ‘Spotlight,’ showcasing the top Snaps submitted on the platform by more than 249 million users and offering financial incentive for the most entertaining content. Snaps in this designated feed will play on a continuous loop until the user swipes to the next one. Previously, Snapchat users were limited to seeing snaps posted by their friends or posted by publishers in the app’s Discover feature.

As part of the push, Snapchat is offering a million dollars per day in funding, which it will distribute to the best Spotlight clips. The app will utilize a similar algorithm to TikTok in ranking each clip based on engagement. In particular, factors like total views, view time, and number of Favorites and Shares will be weighed. Clips are displayed in full screen, so the intent is for the platform to utilize specific indicators to better tailor the feed over time. In terms of how brands can get involved, a spokesman said Snap expects it will introduce ads to the product in coming months.

Instagram’s Explore page, TikTok’s ‘For You,’ YouTube’s recommended videos, and now Spotlight — it’s clear that a discovery engine is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have as creators become the crux of social media engagement. With an emphasis on exclusive content, these feeds are evolving as the key differentiator that will continue to etch platforms out above their competitors in the fight for online talent.

Photo credit via The Verge

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The post How Snapchat is Preparing for the Next Creator Movement appeared first on Social Media Week.

How to Use Exaggerated Emotion and Original Audio to Drive Your TikTok Engagement

Since 2018 TikTok has nearly tripled in size. Among U.S. users 18 and older, TikTok brought in 22.2 million mobile unique visitors in January 2020, 23.2 million in February and 28.8 million in March. In April, that number skyrocketed to 39.2 million.

Looking ahead to 2021, new projections find that the platform will exceed one billion users. Despite this growth, it remains an untapped space for many marketers due to the obstacles that come with adapting for younger audiences and the related cultural nuances, values and interests that define them.

To help add some clarity for those looking to stake their TikTok territory, creative analytics platform VidMob employed its computer vision algorithm to examine roughly 1,500 ad posts that ran this year across 34 brand accounts.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the key findings of the study and patterns of the videos that saw the most engagement and how marketers can use them to maximize their results.

Exaggerated emotion and the human gaze

Per Vidmob, exaggerated emotions like expressing surprise and anger led to an average of 1.7x boost in the number of six-second views, compared to more neutral expressions such as calmness. In addition, cycling between four or more emotions in a single video led to a tripling of conversion rates.

Not only is the use of talent critical to a successful TikTok presence, but leveraging footage and imagery of talent that focused particularly on these more powerful emotions prove to engage the audience further and foster a deeper connection that resonates.

In this vein, background content and providing context to viewers is especially important results showed. When users can see a creator in their kitchen, bathroom or bedroom for instance, it is easier for audiences to easily associate and relate to the content they’re consuming.

A couple of other details to keep in mind:

  • Limit close-ups—videos in which the subject’s face took up less than a fifth of the screen performed 31 percent better in terms of clicks.
  • Aim to show multiple perspectives versus a single gaze — clickthrough increased by 1.7x when the subject looked directly into the camera for less than half of the video’s duration compared to more than half
  • More emotions are better than one — using 4 or more emotions resulted in a 3.3x greater conversion rate when the on-screen talent versus when they showed 3 or fewer.

Music and voice effects

In a recent webinar presentation of the findings, Sarah Graham, research strategist at VidMob, explained, “On other platforms, advertisers are focused on the visual elements of the creative specifically whereas on TikTok, sound is very much key to the success of creative. There was a level of audio analysis that we were able to do here that we haven’t done on other platforms.”

Voice effects and music not only increase engagement but create a more native feel for its users. For brands, original music helps them create their own footprint and stand out above the noise. How you employ audio ultimately boils down to what you aim to achieve — depending on if your objective is awareness. conversions, or consideration, there are different paths to take including whether you only use audio or if it’s combined with music.

Some stats to support your decisions shared as part of the findings include:

  • Uploading an original track can lead to 52 percent more six-second views on average
  • Posts with either music or voice over saw 1.6x more clickthrough than those with both, and employing the platform’s voice alteration tools led to 1.7 times more click than a subject’s natural voice.
  • Audio-only ads led to a 51 percent lift in 6-second view rate, by comparison to voiceover plus music or voiceover-only

Copy and CTAs

The average retention rate across the majority of social platforms is 2 to 3 words per second. Compared to TikTok, however, given that it is a quick-moving platform and that its UI is very friendly to scrolling — audiences are effectively retaining more content at higher rates of 5 to 10 words per second. For brands, this shows the value of being able to convey more information in a shorter period of time.

A few other details in this regard worth noting:

  • Audio with 4 or more words per second saw a 19 percent lift in Conversion Rate compared to talk tracks featuring 2 to 3 words per second.
  • Featuring a CTA in the opening frame led to a 44 percent lift in conversion rate compared to when it was displayed later.

Using influencers and UGC-style content in different ways than other platforms is what ultimately makes TikTok a powerful player. The biggest lesson for marketers here: Avoid an urge to recycle — rather, experiment and think outside the box as to what you create, how it will cater to this specific space, and why the ad will be native to the environment.

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The post How to Use Exaggerated Emotion and Original Audio to Drive Your TikTok Engagement appeared first on Social Media Week.

How TikTok and Shopify are Fueling Shoppable Videos

Earlier this year, TikTok announced a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. More recently, the platform announced a partnership with Teespring allowing creators to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself.

As social commerce continues to proliferate, brands and retailers are recognizing that to rise above the noise they must tap emerging spaces with highly creative and engaged audiences. In this spirit, TikTok and Shopfiy announced a global partnership geared to help more than one million merchants reach highly engaged audiences and drive sales by tapping into TikTok’s global scale.

Helping Shopify Merchants Engage TikTok Users

“The TikTok channel means Shopify merchants—even those without a strong TikTok following of their own yet—can connect with these new audiences using content that feels authentic and genuine to the TikTok experience,” said Satish Kanwar, Vice President of Product at Shopify, in a statement about the new partnership.

At a high level, the partnership enables merchants access to TikTok’s key business features and software as part of its Business Ads manager including the ability to designate which product they want to spotlight. They can also access a variety of TikTok’s ready-made templates to help customize their campaign with their brands’ images, and videos. The tools are already designed for commerce and compatible for “merchants of any size,” so any heavy lifting is removed from the equation.

As a perk, they can claim a $300 ad credit to put toward their first TikTok campaign. Beyond launching ads, merchants can use the software to target specific audiences and track ad performance so they can more easily track for what they’re doing well versus what they can improve on in their next ad.

#ShopBlack Challenge

Prior to its latest push, TikTok had toyed with allowing users to drop e-commerce inks in their bios, launched ‘Shop Now’ buttons for brands to incorporate into their videos, and introduced shoppable components to hashtags with Hashtag Challenge Plus, it’s e-commerce feature.

Along the vein of hashtags as a commerce function, as part of the partnership TikTok and Shopify are hosting a co-branded #ShopBlack challenge scheduled to run from November 10 to November 15. The effort will feature products from over 40 merchants in a powerful testament to the responsibility and meaningful opportunity for today’s social platforms to support the notion that societal issues like racial equality and business growth are connected efforts. Specifically, by serving as an outlet through which Black entrepreneurs can share their stories and inspiration as business owners within the larger TikTok community.

Separately, Shopify released its own Black Business Directory through which users can discover and buy from Black Shopify merchants. The platform also recently announced its partnership with Operation Hope to create one million Black-owned businesses by 2030.

Simplifying social commerce

This partnership is just one example that speaks to the growing social commerce movement, a trend that has been accelerated by the coronavirus. As the physical stores closed in 2020 and sent massive traffic to online destinations, platforms spanning Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest rushed to update their shopping features. Mobile-apps are the shopping malls of the internet.

Content can be moved more cheaply and quickly than ever before and there are new ways to make it to ensure it stands out above the crowd. The influx of social channels as retail avenues doesn’t come without its own challenges, however.

“One of the concerns brands have with [the] growth of e-commerce across social, retailers and their own .com is that it requires managing multiple retail streams,” shared Jess Richards, EVP and Managing Director of Commerce at Havas Media Group. “The connectivity with Shopify for Merchants can simplify the approach.”

In an era of empowered consumers, experiences should be the primary focus for brands — and these have to be easy-to-navigate, streamlined, and delivered in hyper-relevant formats that match the space and flow of communication. Video is one of these expanding areas worth watching.

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What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership

A few weeks ago TikTok launched a $200 million creator fund with a goal of helping more leading creators in its community sustain themselves financially solely through TikTok. Fast forward to today, creators will soon be able to sell merchandise they design and create directly to fans via the app itself thanks to a new integration in partnership with realtor commerce platform Teespring.

This isn’t TikTok’s first foray into e-commerce, however. Last year it tested social commerce links in videos and piloted an advertising format with a call-to-action button that links marketers to social influencers. More recently, it introduced its ‘Small Gestures’ digital gift-giving program as a gentle reminder to practice digital empathy and not overlook the power of a small act, especially in these uncertain times.

A move towards non-apparel

As TikTok accelerates its e-commerce plans it wants to make clear its community will be at the center of its decisions and efforts.

“We believe, based on the current trend, that non-apparel items will be outselling apparel by this time next year,” Teespring CEO Chris Lamontagne told The Verge. “Layering in really smart commerce opportunities is key, so it could be physical merchandise or it could be something more digital…we as a collective need to think about creators in this way where they’ve got super engaged fans who love them — there’s already this connection.”

According to the official press release, creators will have a choice from over 180 different products in addition to having the opportunity to create bespoke products uniquely catered to their personal brand. Think beyond your typical t-shirt and hoodie and more along the lines of Skateboard decks and smartphone covers for instance.

Roughly 7,000 TikTok creators in total are part of the initial program though details surrounding which creators will be eligible to participate is still being hashed out. Another outstanding question — how will the products appear in the videos themselves? While details are still worked out the platform knows one thing: it wants to ensure a full shop functionality to make things as streamlined and simple as possible.

Tapping into underrated features

Amidst all of the conversation and social chatter around what TikTok’s future has in store, including the possible $30 billion price tag being discussed, former CEO of Vine, Rus Yusupov, used the opportunity to give TikTok some of his own advice in a CNN op-ed reflecting on the learning lessons garnered from his experience in the short-form video space.

“TikTok hasn’t stopped innovating. They’ve made bold moves we should have made. Specifically, its algorithm-driven distribution model is extremely accurate and effectively surfaces new personalized content. And allowing creators to monetize their content through live streaming is an underreported, underrated feature, and is key to their success.” In short, where he feels Vine failed is in not fully embracing new challenges and opportunities to experiment. It is one thing to become popular very quickly, but another to sustain yourself by constantly pushing the boundaries.

The growing role of exclusive merchandise

During an age of social distancing, e-commerce and exclusive merchandise continue to surge in popularity. Artists and creators enjoy leaning into digital experiences like shopping as a way to connect with their fans, gather feedback, and get creative in ways they haven’t before and are using various platforms to achieve these ends.

Earlier this summer YouTube dropped a feature that lets users include a virtual “shelf” underneath their videos displaying their merch. In June, Instagram opened up its own commerce platform for creators. Finally, late last month, TikTok took this trend a level further by hosting its first shoppable livestream in collaboration with Ntwrk — a home shopping network targeting Generation Z — and artist Joshua Vides. These are just a few of many examples.

With current findings showing that e-commerce is now five years forward due to the global pandemic, there is no shortage of white spaces to consider. The brands that will ultimately stand out above the crowd, however, will be those that can hit a sweet spot of premium content and experiences driven by gaming, shopping, and other means of engagement that feel fresh and accessible.

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The post What You Need to Know About TikTok and Teespring’s Partnership appeared first on Social Media Week.

How TikTok is Keeping its Community Harm-Free and Positive

In recent months TikTok has spearheaded a broad effort to instill an image of itself as a place of pure positivity and inspiration — one deeply rooted in American culture and users can express themselves in a toxic-free environment. More specifically, TikTok articulated its stance on hate speech and eliminating hate and dropped an ad campaign depicting the impact of its community.

Countering the spread of hate

“In what can feel like an increasingly divisive world, one of the areas we’re especially intent on improving is our policies and actions towards hateful content and behavior. Our goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok,” shared TikTok’s Head of Safety, Eric Han in a recent blog post.

In the update, the platform shared that since the beginning of 2020, it has removed over 380,000 videos violating its hate speech policy. In addition, TikTok banned more than 1,300 accounts for hateful content or behavior and removed 64,000 offensive pieces of content from the app. While the company admits these stats don’t reflect a perfect success rate — taking responsibility is an important action needed for long-term success. During a time when relationships are heavily reliant on smartphones and other devices, urging authenticity and embracing digital empathy has never been more critical for a platform’s survival. For TikTok, this is especially true as its fate in the U.S. remains unclear.

So how exactly does TikTok help prevent the spread of hateful content? Primarily it employs a strict zero-tolerance stance on “organized hate groups and those associated with them,” including accounts associated with white supremacy or nationalism, male supremacy, antisemitism, and other hate-based ideologies. To regulate this, the platform uses a variety of methods including re-directing people who search for offensive material to its guidelines and rules. The motive behind this is plain and simple — education around how to think before we post online and hone our digital empathy skills.

Enhancing cultural awareness and transparency

TikTok also notes that its evolving its policies in line with regional and inter-community usage. An ongoing learning curve for its Safety team, TikTok understands that not all slurs are used in a negative context. Conversely, they can be used as a term of empowerment. In this way, the platform is looking to improve how it defines this line and the distinctions that enable it to decipher when it has been crossed or not. In short, the app is looking to better read the room as its community continues to grow and identify new ways it can support a safe, respectful and diverse environment for all of its users.

Incorporating the evolution of expression into its policies does not stop with its own moderation teams, however. To effectively grasp nuanced content like cultural appropriation and slurs, TikTok is turning to experts within its broader Content Advisory Council and external civil society organizations.

“Our platform is the daily destination for millions of people to express themselves creatively, enjoy entertaining content, and engage with a diverse global community that transcends borders.” With this in mind, TikTok launched an information hub and dedicated Twitter account, @tiktok_comms, to ‘serve as a source of truth’ is counter to the various rumors around the app and deliver updates about the company in real-time.

“A ubiquitous part of American life”

TikTok may be a household name for its personal and quirky videos, but the platform is using this unprecedented time in our industry to remind everyone that these single moments of authentic creativity can cascade into much more.

Countering some of the negative perceptions and events surrounding the app as of late, TikTok released a new ad campaign designed to depict its community’s power in spreading positivity. Specifically, by spreading joy and bringing people together, while also launching careers, driving support for causes and educating the masses.

“We’re only halfway through the year, but the impact of the TikTok community on every facet of culture – arts, food, beauty, fashion, film – is undeniable….We’re celebrating you, our TikTok community, for making TikTok a ubiquitous part of everyday American life,” the platform said of the campaign.

From launching the D’Amelio sisters’ careers to reimagining learning with snackable science TikToks posted by Bill Nye himself to The Weeknd rallying more than two million users for a virtual concert benefiting the Equal Justice Initiative, it’s more clear than ever that one trend inspires another and there is true power in sharing our stories, talents, and passions.

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Why TikTok and Snapchat are Priortizing In-App Voter Awareness

During the 2018 midterm elections, Snapchat registered more than 450,000 voters through its app. Of that group, 50 percent of those went on to cast ballots. Fast forward to today, the platform is announcing a slew of new tools and features to help prepare young people to vote in November.

For context, of its 100 million U.S. users, 80 percent are 18 or older and between 300,000 and 500,000 Snapchat users turn 18 every month. In addition, the company recently obtained data from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (“CIRCLE”), which showed that two-thirds of voters age 18 to 21 with some college experience received important resources and information about voter registration from their universities.

Driving in-app voter awareness

Despite being interested in participating in elections and exercising the right to do so, college-aged voters are unsure where to find the facts around the process. This is especially an issue in the context of the global pandemic as campuses are forced to operate remotely or limit the number of students on campus.

Here a peek into some of the updates and how they work:

  • Voter Registration: As part of its new series of mini apps announced this Summer during its Partner Summit, Snapchat is introducing a new ‘Voter Registration Mini’ which will enable users to register to vote directly in the app.
  • Voter Guide: Snapchat’s also launching a ‘Voter Guide’ which will provide users with key voting information and resources from official partner organizations covering topics including ballot education, voting by mail, and more.
  • Before You Vote: In partnership with BallotReady, this mini app will provide users with more insight into their voting options ahead of the poll as they finalize their plans
  • Voter Checklist: Also utilized in the 2018 midterms, Snapchat is bringing back the voter checklist, an interactive platform aimed to ensure users are registered and ready for the vote.

Detecting and removing misinformation

Yet another platform with a firm hold on younger demographics, TikTok, is also manifesting its plans ahead of this Fall. It’s focus? Combating misinformation.

“Misinformation, disinformation, and threats to civic engagement are challenges no platform can ignore. By working together as an industry with experts and civil society organizations, we can better protect the civic processes that are so essential to our users,” the platform explained.

At a high level, TikTok is introducing stricter, more specific guidelines around deepfakes and coordinated use of the platform to influence opinion. It’s also expanding its relationships with PolitiFact and Lead Stories to double down on fact-checking and adding an option for users to easily report content or accounts for review that they feel may be sources of misinformation. In the vein of detection processes, TikTok is gathering insights and key information from the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Foreign Influence Task Force.

As far as political ads are concerned, TikTok is using this opportunity to make it clear they don’t see them as a fit for the general experience they aim to create for its users. “The nature of paid political ads isn’t something we think fits with the experience our users expect on TikTok.”

Looking ahead

According to a new survey from GlobalWebIndex, over half (52%) of 18-24-year-old Snapchatters will be voting for the first time this November. With their specific reach into Gen Z and Millenials, it’s apparent why these resources by the part of TikTok and Snapchat are needed.

In the midst of an abnormal election year, on-the-ground voter engagement can no longer be counted on. These first-time voters would typically be preparing to register on-campus at college after equipping themselves with key information but these options are either limited or off the table. It’s on platforms like TikTok and Snapchat to step in and fill this education void.

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Will Triller Dethrone TikTok?

Since 2018, TikTok has been the talk of the neighborhood. It’s the new kid on the block that brands and influencers alike are attracted to in order to stay ahead and connect more innovatively with one another. In just a few short years, the app’s evolved into the hub of internet sensations including Lil Nas X, Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and dance trends like “The Renegade,” “Say So,” and the #DistanceDance.

This past April the app surpassed 2 billion downloads on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Recently, however, TikTok has dominated the news including threats to have it banned in the US — its fate now uncertain unless an American company, like Microsoft, acquires it.

Amidst the uncertainty, competitors are looking for windows of opportunity including video-sharing app Triller. Read on to learn more about the basics of this app, why it’s experiencing a moment in the digital space, and what’s next.

Triller at a glance

Triller, first introduced in 2015, was dubbed as “an entertainment platform built for creators.” Similarly to TikTok, Triller is built for short-form, flawless video content that can be shared in seconds and created for trending challenges, music videos, and other viral clips. A key perk that differentiates it from TikTok? Triller auto-edits your takes into a single flawless clip. As stated in the official app store description “You do you, Triller does the rest.”

Outside of its auto-editing algorithm, you can customize content with over 100 filters, text, drawings and emojis, access the top music tracks from your personal music library, and directly share your content across your other platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a simple text message or email, or store it in your camera roll and decide how you want to use it later. Another useful element especially in an age of social distancing — you can collaborate with friends in a group video.

So just how popular is Triller? As of early July, it garnered 50 million monthly active users, but more recently, the app soared to the top spot in every category in the app store across 50 countries, including the United States, Australia, and Italy. According to an official announcement, Triller now boasts more than 250 million downloads worldwide — a 20x increase.

Who’s on Triller?

Millions have made Triller videos to date including Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Rae Sremmurd, Rita Ora, and Kevin Hart. Marshmello, Skip Marley, Juicy J, Martin Garrix, Millie Bobby Brown, Brad Paisley, Blac Chyna and Mike Tyson are also known for their presence on the platform while others, including rappers Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne, are leading investors in the company.

This summer, a few of Triller’s most notable creators with a combined following of nearly 50 million, Josh Richards, Noah Beck, Griffin Johson and Anothy Reeves, revealed they’d be leaving TikTok and onboarding with Triller. As part of the deal, they will be advisers and equity shareholders in the company.

What’s next?

TikTok isn’t counting itself out just yet. On August 7th at 8:30pm ET, The Weeknd will take to the platform, in the form of a digital avatar, to perform his fourth studio album “After Hours” during a virtual concert. In what TikTok is referring to its “first-ever in-app cross reality experience,” the event will be livestreamed on the company’s official account (@tiktok).

With the future of TikTok unknown, other platforms are wasting no time trying to get a competitive edge. Triller itself unveiled new filters, camera tools, and the acquisition of Hallogen, a go-live app slated to introduce a monetization feature in the near-time. Snapchat shared it would be rolling out a TikTok-like music feature this fall. Finally, last month Instagram officially confirmed that its competitor app, Reels, will launch this summer.

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How Brands Can Maximize Their Videos With TikTok for Business

Brands are a core part of the TikTok experience whether they use the platform to be at the front of emerging trends, connect with impressionable communities, or bring awareness to critical health and societal issues like a global pandemic and racial injustice. Just look no further than the #DistanceDance campaign featuring TikTok star Charli D’Amelio as an example of how TikTok continues to leverage its authentic spirit to offer users fresh ways to discover, engage, and make a difference IRL.

In this spirit, TikTok recently announced a new brand and platform specifically catered to helping marketers and brands thrive. Dubbed “TikTok For Business,” the platform will serve as the home for all its current and future marketing solutions for brands. These include ad formats such as TopView, which is the ad that appears when you first launch the TikTok app.

An audience for every voice

“The magic of TikTok is not just the chance to create, but the chance to discover – and to be found. With TikTok For Business, our goal is to give marketers the tools to be discovered and connect with the broader communities around them,” said TikTok’s Managing Director for Global Business Marketing, Katie Puris, in the official announcement. “For brands, this opens an entirely new window of opportunity to create content that speaks to people, to invite the community to join in the conversation, and…to Make TikToks,” she added.

Nodding to the ad slogan “Make TikToks — Not Ads,” the core mission behind TikTok for Business will be to encourage marketers to focus on aligning with more meaningful themes of creativity, expression, creator and brand unity, inclusivity, and a participatory community over interruptive, non-productive spots.

Branded effects, in-feed videos, and hashtag challenges

Amongst the new features and updates with Business for TikTok includes branded takeovers and a Branded Effects Partner Program that create seamless augmented reality experiences between brand and audiences.

With the help of partners including Tommy, Subvrsive, and Bare Tree Media, TikTok is launching a new AR effect called Branded Scan. At its core, Branded Scan allows brands to play a more integral role into the content creation behind ads. Specifically, by activating visual effects such as a brand logo or band product in a user’s 2D or 3D videos. These can also be combined with Hashtag Challenges to help drive engagement. In a time where we face an oversaturated attention economy, the simpler it is for brands to become involved in a conversation where users are already actively participating the better — and will only become more integral to our marketing decisions.

Separately, Brand Takeovers entail a three to a five-second advertisement featuring an image or video while In-Feed videos are longer in form, allowing brands up to 60 seconds of space and run with audio playing.

Maximizing Your Videos

Creativity aside, TikTok is also aware that brands must balance their objectives with what the data is telling them. In this vein, the company recently distilled down the three key elements that inform which videos appear in a user’s feed: user interactions, video information such as captions, specific sounds or songs, and hashtags, and device and account setting including language preference and mobile device type.

While the platform, like many others, largely seeks to show users more of the same content based on their engagement and interests, it also may show something out of the norm in an effort to promote diversity. “Our goal is to find balance between suggesting content that’s relevant to you while also helping you find content and creators that encourage you to explore experiences you might not otherwise see,” TikTok shared.

A few takeaways to note from these insights: when creating TikTok content bear in mind that each post is assessed independently, staying abreast of trending conversations will help you connect with a larger audience, and higher reach is contingent on viewers watching your videos in full.

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Why Your Brand Can No Longer Ignore TikTok

TikTok may be the biggest social media winner of COVID-19 lockdowns. Even though its audience skews exceptionally young (e.g., 60 percent of users are between 16 and 24), it’s hard to have missed a viral video on the music-infused, short-form video platform formerly known as in the past few months. 

Now with more than 800 million active users, the viral platform is moving beyond short dance videos reminiscent of the now-defunct Vine and into a broad category of influencers covering everything from cooking to digital learning

TikTok may have a significant climb to reach the pantheon of Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, which account for more than six billion active users between them. However, the platform relies on something that can’t be measured by conventional metrics —virality and popularity among young people. 

It’s the cool new social media platform on the block — something that can no longer be ignored in the media world. 

A distinct algorithm

One of the defining characteristics of TikTok is that it relies on a unique algorithm that presents content in a different way than most social media platforms. The algorithm subtly displays content based on user preferences with what Jesse Hirsh, an established social media researcher, calls an “incredible” signal to noise ratio.

The power is in the details, where TikTok’s algorithm has some oddly compelling byproducts that encourage users to post content. For example, content from people that a user follows is divested from the main feed of viral content. Influencers don’t necessarily have to cater to their audiences when posting a video for it to go viral — an area where it differentiates itself from apps like Instagram

But what is most interesting is how common it is for new users to achieve impressive engagement numbers from the outset with a simple 10-second video. 

Reasons for this have been described as the “slow burn” of the algorithm where videos with poor engagement numbers went on to garner thousands or millions of views days or weeks later rather than being shuttered to the content attic. Compounding views can also catapult a random video to users’ “For You” page that is based on user preferences, regardless of their follower list. Consequently, videos rely less on hashtags and can aggregate views over extended periods without an established follower base. 

Since the videos are also only several seconds long, more content is churned throughout the platform at a higher clip. Compared to platforms like YouTube, which rely on longer engagement times, TikTok users can go viral much easier than other networks. And that’s precisely what ambitious teenagers are looking for. It’s also why 83 percent of users have posted a video — a telling metric. 

Its popularity is exploding

Facebook’s moat of social media apps dominates the entire landscape. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger are four of the most actively downloaded non-gaming apps in the world. But guess who is poised to surpass them in downloads? That’s right: TikTok. 

For context, TikTok ranked seventh in “The 10 Most Downloaded Apps of The 2010s” list from CNET. It finished ahead of both Twitter and YouTube, despite launching in 2016. Twitter launched in 2006 and YouTube in 2005.

When network effects are everything in social media, the notion that TikTok outpaced two social media behemoths in just under four years of going live is fairly amazing. 

Leveraging digital marketing strategies often encompasses projecting a future landscape of media, influencers, and clever marketing tactics. There’s a compelling opportunity for media agencies to tap into TikTok’s snowballing growth right now. 

Many people in older generations, even Millennials compared to their Gen Z counterparts, are entirely unaware of TikTok’s power or popularity. They blithely dismiss the platform as a venue for silly videos of teenagers and kids, but it’s much different now. 

One of the most intriguing changes induced by COVID-19 was the transition of TikTok away from mostly dance videos and Vine-like content. It caters to social movements, professional engagement with audiences of people looking to learn something during the quarantine, and even subtle political critiques. And that’s where it has capitalized on a unique method of capturing people’s attention. 

A unique market for capturing people’s attention

TikTok stands distinguished among its social media competitors. It may not be the digital forum for serious (and often toxic) debate like Twitter, which is now becoming a huge force in academia. And it may not be the ideal communication medium for real-time chats with friends like WhatsApp, which now comes included with a payment feature.  

But it is addicting, just in its own way. Zoom calls with funny backgrounds became pretty dull during the doldrums of quarantine. Twitter is more fascinating than Zoom but is often mired in toxic political discourse. And Instagram isn’t nearly as entertaining when everyone is locked inside and not exploring the world. Enter TikTok. 

Imagine a bartender out of a job, who decides to furnish drink-mixing tips to followers during quarantine, as many bartenders actually did. What’s the best platform to capture people’s attention: one where the algorithm displays short-form viral videos of newcomers persistently or YouTube? Or invite people to a Zoom call, which random people will likely not join? 

What about someone who wants to mix music with fun cooking videos while everyone decides whether or not to order out or prepare the same meal again the next night? That’s what TikTok personalities like The Pasta Queen did. Exploding in popularity during quarantine, doubling her followers in the last three weeks alone, Nadia’s (The Pasta Queen) goofy Italian cooking videos have raked in views in recent months. Originally from Rome and now living in the US, The Pasta Queen is a microcosm for a class of new personalities emerging on TikTok that have smashed the viral, short-form style of TikTok with educational tips you’d find on some shelved YouTube video.

It’s an interesting dynamic, and also represents the global appeal of TikTok, which is widely popular not just in the US but also in India and China, which together, account for the bulk of its users. Expect creative professionals to gravitate towards TikTok in coming months, and away from more restrictive platforms like YouTube, which even saw the departure of podcast king Joe Rogan recently. 

Creativity is where the clicks are

Piggybacking on the notion that TikTok is a black hole for young, ambitious personalities and professionals, its growing list of influencers may become the most dynamic in the social media space. More diverse influencers bring more diverse audiences and more advertising dollars. And It’s not just the users who gravitate to creative platforms (and the advertising dollars that follow them). 

Content creators who want more flexibility to impress the up-and-coming Gen Z horde, which will soon be the largest consumer generation in the world, are pursuing TikTok aspirations. Social commerce is an unstoppable trend, and if you want to brand like Supreme, you need to appeal to Gen Z. With the promise of going viral for your first video, why would an aspiring influencer not at least give TikTok a try? After all, leading influencers on TikTok haul in some eye-popping revenue

As a media professional, marketing aficionado, or advertising specialist, TikTok may currently fly under the radar of most conventional branding campaigns despite its surging popularity. Maybe due to a mix of its Tencent origins, pointed Congressional criticism, or young-skewed audience; it doesn’t matter anymore. TikTok has come out of the lockdowns as the dark horse platform to usurp the coveted circle of Facebook’s app hegemony. It’s now the king of creative social media content.  

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How Major Platforms are Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community

For roughly 10 days Americans have gathered to protest the issues of systemic racism, violence, and brutality that our POC communities have suffered at the hands of the authorities. Protests have erupted in virtually every American state, in small towns and major cities alike, and even overseas in Europe and New Zealand.

Social media platforms have also taken action spanning financial support to organizations fighting against racial inequality and promoting education so we can create a pathway towards better education and understanding of how we can support the cause with empathy.

Here’s what we’ve seen from each of the major companies:

Twitter #Allyship Overview

Beyond updating its main profile to reflect its support for the protests, Twitter is also leveraging its #StartSmall initiative to allocate several grants to support organizations designed to address racial inequality. This includes Colin Kaepernick‘s “Know Your Rights Camp” aimed to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, and mass-mobilization.

Most importantly, the platform shared its top insights around how people can improve how they respond to racial inequality in a new guide for allyship. In order to respond, people first need to “understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination…At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show up, and Speak up,” Marium R. Qureshi and Jade Williams explained in a recent blog post. By this definition, allyship is not about who you are but a commitment to be authentic and consistent in your education around these critical topics.

When you ask questions of friends and colleagues, do so empathetically and avoid coming from a place of disbelief. A couple of example questions following these best practices include “If you have the time/energy, do you feel comfortable sharing your experience with me?” and This week is heavy. How are you feeling/coping?” As far as speaking up and showing up, consider donating to organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform to help further the cause and exercise your voice and right to vote. Conduct a self-audit of whose in your circle and who you interact with online.

LinkedIn Learning: A Pathway to Inclusivity

We must invest our time to become better informed and develop a deeper understanding and awareness that will allow us to properly empathize with black communities who are suffering. This is key in gaining true perspective on the current movement, and the more people are educated, the better equipped we’ll be to enact effective, long-term change.

In this vein, LinkedIn has released several free courses within a “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All” track, covering key topics spanning unconscious bias, addressing culturally sensitive issues, how to hire and retain diverse talent, and more. “Investing in our own learning to understand and confront bias, communicate about topics of difference, and create change can help us individually contribute to building a better workplace and society,” said Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product for LinkedIn Learning.

Beyond this, the platform also acknowledges that being a strong ally begins with listening, so it is utilizing its social channels to share stories that amplify perspectives from the Black community. Pathways to better understand are integral to success and LinkedIn is positioned well to bring the awareness needed at the moment via its widespread access to professional and educational insights that can help underscore gaps needing to be addressed.

Pinterest: Elevating Content on Racial Justice

Pinterest is taking a broad approach to its efforts starting with its platform and internal team and extending to external audiences directly supporting the movement.

More specifically, within the app content on racial justice is being elevated as a means to help people stay informed. This includes tips for assessing and adjusting your own mentality and how to approach younger children on the subject. There will also be content guiding users to organizations to support and various resources to learn more about the history of systemic racism in the country. Generally, the platform is committed to growing the diversity of content on the platform and avoiding distraction from serving as a hub to support and learn. In this regard, the platform is not serving ads on Black Lives Matter results.

The company is also donating 25,000 shares of stock to “organizations committed to racial justice and promoting tolerance” and investing $250,000 to help rebuild local businesses damaged in the protests. It is also providing $750,000 in paid media to organizations that support racial justice.

TikTok’s Creator Diversity Council

June is Black Music Month and to celebrate TikTok announced it will offer dedicated programming to celebrate Black artists on the platform who “bring new music, shape culture, and help build the community.”

The platform is also doubling down on technology and strategies around addressing potentially harmful content and creating a more user-friendly appeals process. Along these lines, TikTok plans to develop a creator diversity council to lead impact-driven programs led by the voices driving culture, creativity, and conversations necessary in making an even bigger impact on the problem.

Outside of its team and community, TikTok is donating $3 million from its “Community Relief Fund” to non-profits that help the Black community and an additional $1 million toward fighting racial injustice and inequality that we are witnessing in this country. Also in the music space, YouTube is financially stepping up by offering $1 million to organizations seeking to address injustice.

Leading with Empathy

Finally, the leaders behind Snapchat, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram have all taken a personal approach to their response leading with emotion-driven memos.

Facebook is committing $10 million to racial injustice and lifting Black voices in addition to partnering with civil rights advisors in its efforts. Along with Instagram, it has also switched all profiles to black and white colors in support of recent events. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri uploaded a personal IGTV response on his own profile underscoring his eagerness and drive to channel frustration, hurt, and anger into positive change.

Similarly, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel in his own statement called for the creation of an American commission to address racial injustice, and comprehensive tax reform as the way forward. Taking even more drastic measures, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian has resigned from his position urging the board to replace him with a Black candidate and will use future gains on his Reddit stock to serve the black community, beginning with a $1 million donation to Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative.

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How Data Science and Predictive Modeling Can Scale Your Influencer Efforts

In an industry where there are many points of friction for influencer marketers and algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning solutions seem to penetrate every sector and business category, how can businesses establish strategies to scale ROI? How can they scale the identification of their creator partners? How can they increase confidence in content?

During #SMWONE, CreatorIQ’s Head of Customer Success, Brooke Hennon joined by Bhavin Desai, VP of Product Strategy, addressed these questions breaking down how the platform is using advanced data science to create intuitive influencer marketing solutions. Through a holistic, outcomes-based recommendation engine, CreatorIQ is combining multiple data science models spanning influencer identification, content attribution prediction, and audience targeting.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Any person with a social presence can be an influencer
  • To scale the reach and frequency of your campaigns, lean on lookalike audience-powered media
  • To scale the reach and frequency of your campaigns, lean on lookalike audience-powered media

Finding the best creators for your campaigns

A common paint point amongst marketers if finding the right influencers to partner with. The vast majority put a significant amount of time against searching for more influencers that match the aspirational collaborations or already in-flight relationships and desire efficiency. According to Hennon and Desai, right now this process is an art form without guidance and data science is a key solution to helping it become less subjective and more efficient so desired results can be achieved.

“We’re leaving millions of data points across performance, creator approvals, brand affinity, and industry alignment to build a recommendation engine trained to identify the best creators for any campaign.” By constantly evaluating performance data, additional creators can be added on-demand to the engineer based on current high-performing creators. This system can also be leveraged by lookalike creators but specific to a certain demographic (e.g. I want 10 more influencers like this but based in London for this next campaign). Beyond location, gender and interests are other elements that can be used to help identify best fit creators. This can all be combined with the core campaign and brand goals to help identify the best fit creators for any campaign.

“As influencer marketing grows, it needs to scale to go to toe-to-toe with other marketing methods. We have to do it more efficiently,” said Hennon. This starts with finding and collaborating with the right influencers with strong performing content that aligns with your brand.

Increase content confidence with content attribute prediction

Once you’ve honed your identification strategy, the second step focuses on scaling content performance. When thinking of content direction to use to brief influencers, marketers often use little science and, again, rely on subjectivity much like when they set out to look for influencers at the onset of a campaign. To address this, CreatorIQ leverages several approaches to identify and drive the delivery of high-performing content.

“What resonates on TikTok is very different from what resonates on Facebook,” Desai claimed. To remove some of the guesswork, the company is leaning into visual insights to build data science models focused on the identification and recommendation of high-performing content. This is in partnership with some of the leading virtual recognition engines like Google Vision to analyze tens of millions of pieces of content. From this information, custom models are built that can correlate to specific visual and performance attributes detected within the content and provide recommendations around what has the highest likelihood to perform well. This is particularly informative when devising paid campaigns.

A key takeaway: content attribution prediction is not only useful in driving content confidence in the present but can be a useful mechanism to future-proofing briefs in additional campaigns. Frequently influencer marketers lack the bandwidth to build data-driven briefs and this is a solution that takes the headache out of this equation.

“Another key outcome of the visual insights model is the ability to leverage data from the content to not just recommendation campaign content but also deliver refined creator requirements to drive the creation of high-performing content,” explained Desai.

Scaling audience targeting and reach

Marketers want to maximize the reach of the influencers’ best performing content — beyond the fans and followers of partner influencers There are several variables to consider in the influencer space from content to people to different audiences and knowing which levers to pull is a recurring problem. How can there be a more elegant and effective way to amplify content?

CreatorIQ is addressing this question heads on with a model that leverages influencer data like demographics, organic and paid performance to drive the creation of lookalike audience seed segments that are used as inputs to social platform audience targeting

“We have seen significant improvements in conversion data when compared to standalone audience targeting available within the platforms directly, for example, Facebook’s Ads Manager,” Desai explained. What this boils down to is brands having the ability to take a subset of influencers correlated with high performance within a designated campaign and then identify additional lookalike influencers based on those performing well. These can be leveraged to create a “seed segment” that drives lookalike audience targeting. The immediate result to note: improvements on ad spend.

“Any person with a social presence can be an influencer,” said Hennon closing out the session. Build your army of brand ambassadors by recruiting employees or super fans of your product.

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How to Prepare Your Brand for the Not So Distant Future: 2.22.22

Where will the world be on February 2, 2022? What can we expect the business landscape to look like? What brands will see success and which ones won’t? What will be important to consumers?

All of these are important questions that are top of mind for marketers and will continue to be in the months and years ahead. During #SMWONE Suzy CEO Matt Britton tapped into up to the minute research from his team to play the role of futurist and paint a broad picture of the world we will be living in on the other side of COVID-19.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Consumers want variety; not quantity when it comes to their purchases
  • Secondary and tertiary cities are on the path to become the new “hot spots”
  • People are ultimately more fascinating than brands and influencers will be behind the brands that take off

Living: the “accordion effect”

According to Britton, the global pandemic will result in an “accordion effect” in which people will gravitate away from the big cities like New York or San Francisco. Meanwhile, secondary and tertiary cities like Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, and Denton, Texas are on the path to become the new “hot spots.” “Suburban sprawl simply is not that appealing to the millennial generation,” he added.

What are the tangential effects of this transition? Appreciation is these lower-tiered markets and home prices in areas like New York or San Francisco leveling off. With this, we may see a trickle-down effect whereby there is a resurgence in automobile purchases. This potential increase in demand for consumers buying cars, however, could result in reduced demand in the long-term, for ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber preferred for their ubiquity.

Buying: consumers want variety

Consumers want variety; not quantity when it comes to apparel. One may assume this would open the window of opportunity for retailers but in a down market, this isn’t the case. Britton elaborated with several examples including J.Crew recently filing for bankruptcy and Gap claiming some of its stories will never reopen.

“These companies surely lean too heavily into a brick and mortar layout and did not pivot nearly fast enough to an e-commerce model,” Britton explained.

He pointed to Rent the Runway (RTR) and Ipsy, recently announcing it surpassed $5M in revenue, as prime examples of business models that will continue to be sustainable because the trends of consumers wearing garments less and less or wanting the convenience of beauty products sent to their home is not going to reverse.

Another important retail trend: companies will increasingly look to take over control of their own consumer experience. Nike, for instance, pulled its products off of Amazon this past November. This also holds for the CPG space. In a world of Amazon Prime, companies including Million Dollar Shave Clubface increased pressure to establish a more scalable e-commerce strategy.

“If I’m the CPGs, I’m trying to form a coalition where there are prime benefits where Costco, with traditional CPGs, can compete against Amazon, and maybe P&G one day will make the same decision that Nike made,” explained Britton.

The growing role of influencers

Surfacing headlines are posing the common question: could the coronavirus kill the influencer culture? Per Britton, “influencer culture is just begging and it is here to stay.”

Something Navy fashion blogger cracked a deal with Nordstrom and started to sell her own clothing. In this wavelength, he also mentioned Danielle Berstein who with her “We Wore What” blog is building a bigger audience through socially responsible posts across content and supporting small businesses with her efforts. IN turn, she’s seeing tremendous success via launching new products with numerous retailers.

“People are ultimately more fascinating than brands and influencers will be behind the brands that take off.”

Look no further than the TV space for prime examples of this idea, specifically the story of Oprah Winfrey’s rise to fame as she became a brand in her own right. The same trend will likely take form within the fashion space, per Britton. Influential people who have the right audiences and are built from the ground up will be able to create sustainable, digitally-native businesses that evolve into the new Gaps and the new Nordstroms of the future.

Brands as “ingredient” or “helping” brands

Years ago Home Depot coined the tagline “You can do it. We can help.” As consumers realize they can no longer rely on the services that they once did in a pre-crisis environment, they are now resorting to their own devices. 43 percent of dog owners, for instance, claim they will switch to DIY grooming.

Mattel Playroom, as another example, is using this time to encourage families and children to come up with their own toys in its “Play is Never Cancelled” — this concept of taking what you bought from us and make it bigger and better. Finally, Eva Longoria shocked the Internet when she took to dying her own hair in a L’Oreal ad she filmed herself from her house.

Whether these new habits actually take hold post-COVID, there is a powerful meaning behind brands taking an uncertain time and empowering consumers by giving them the raw ingredients to push forward — a role Britton referred to as “helping brands.”

This is also the case for the food and beverage industry as food preparation has come back into the home. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe they’re more skilled in the kitchen now and over 50 percent believe they will continue to cook more after the crisis. “This will create a substantial shift where these companies who have relied on their packaging and merchandise for years now have to reinvent themselves in a world where their products will be bought digitally, and more consumers are cooking at home on a regular basis,” said Britton.

Entertainment: redefining fun

In the absence of live events, platforms like TikTok and Houseparty are allowing the ability for brands and influencers to collaborate in meaningful and compelling ways. Houseparty specifically saw 17.2M total downloads in March with users carrying out virtual dinner parties, celebrating birthdays, and playing trivia and Pictionary to pass the time at home.

Gaming is also taking off with users engaging with one another on Animal Crossing esports and newcomer apps like Squad. In terms of music, platforms Fortnite and Instagram have become central and taken over the role of “concert venue.” Travis Scott did an entire performance in the form of an avatar on the Fortnite platform that drew in over 12M concurrent viewers. DJs too are using this moment of time to redefine their personal brands, DJ DNice rising to the top for his daily quarantine sets performed on Instagram that draw celebrities like Jennifer Lopez to the crowd.

Work and travel: a slow return

Britton believes travel will come back in full force much like the hospitality space, but it won’t be immediate. As companies struggle with budget cuts and want to avoid the liability of returning to work at the office too quickly, many are taking it upon themselves to postpone major events and issue work from home mandates into 2021.

Similarly to dining out, however, there is an inherent desire to travel and it will return. What is likely to be more apparent in the near future is people opting to travel by car when they’re not as ready to jump on a plane right away. Enter the C2C models of businesses like Airbnb who, despite recently laying off thousands of employees, have a likelihood of finding success for cash strapped homeowners looking for more income and individuals who want quick getaways that are safer than returning to air travel.

Regarding the future of the workplace, businesses are taking serious consideration that not every person across every department needs to be working from the office in order to collaborate and giving employees flexibility as to where they live can boost morale. In short, Britton believes companies will reevaluate their spaces.


While many workers thrive from home, students are struggling to prosper in a remote learning environment, according to Britton.

For younger generations, school is a place for building friendships, escaping from the house, learning responsibility, and seeing their friends and building core communication and interpersonal skills. 54 percent of parents with students engaged in a remote learning situation due to COVID-19 say it’s a daily struggle to support career and parenting during the day per recent findings from Suzy.

When assessing the 20 skills most in demand today, they are very trade and skill-based including items such as cloud computing, SEO, UX design, and video production, all of which aren’t traditionally taught in a liberal arts environment. The major takeaway: the technology companies are where the jobs are, where GDP is expanding and this is not likely to change. For this reason, it’s unlikely students not want to incur debt for a system that doesn’t prepare them to succeed in this capacity. “There are so many skills in demand that aren’t skills where you’re a jack of all trade or a master of none. I expect us to see a reverberation of demand for skills-based learning and skills-based schools versus generalist schools,” said Britton.

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How TikTok is Boosting Digital Learning with #LearnOnTikTok

While digital learning isn’t “new” it’s been thrusted into the mainstream due to COVID-19 resulting in students and professionals of all ages to rely on digital tools and resources to advance their careers. Platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit and most recently, TikTok are eager to use their communities and technologies to address this need and help audiences navigate this hurdle today and in the months ahead as the country begins to open up.

Last month TikTok pledged $250M to support its community including frontline workers and small businesses who have been significantly impacted and face severe financial challenges as a result of the pandemic. As part of this effort, the platform introduced the Creative Learning Fund to help facilitate ongoing learning from a distance. Specifically, a $50M fund was established for emerging teachers on TikTok including educators, exprets, and nonprofits whose skills and experts can directly fuel the production of learning content on the video creation platform.


Fast forward to today, TikTok is taking the next steps in its push and has teamed up with more than 800 educational institutions, media publishers, public figures and real-world professional experts in the launch of its newest initiative #LearnOnTikTok. Subject matter will span topics including exercise, sleep and dental health tips, meditation, lessons in floral arrangements, farming best practices, and aquatic life.

Leading these explainers are creators and organizations including Aquarium of the Pacific, Headspace, Cyndi Lai, an independent fitness trainer, Upworthy, and Christen Fosque of Hedonia Flowers in Chicago, who had to shut down her shop due to the pandemic.

“The rise in informative, instructional, and motivational videos alongside the memes and artistry signals a growing interest in content that makes learning more enjoyable,” shared Bryan Thoensen, Head of Content Partnerships in the official announcement.

Tapping notable experts

Beyond its immediate community, TikTok is doubling down on resources in its attempt at being a reliable source for digital learning by bringing in the experts who can deliver next-level inspiration and information.

Bill Nye of the popular hit series “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” will share his insights as a leading science educator, mechanical engineer, and CEO of The Planetary Society, to bring science to the small screen in big ways that are fun and immersive. In a similar vein, Neil deGrasse Tyson, known for his extensive background as an astrophysicist, cosmologist, planetary scientist, author and science communicator will tap into topics focused on the greater universe and space.

Separately, José Andrés, world renowned culinary figure, founder of World Central Kitchen and owner of ThinkFoodGroup, will bring his best cook tips to TikTok that he’s gathered from across the world while Lilly Singh, host of NBC’s “A Little Late” will offer comic relief to these difficult times in addition to tips for feeling seen and staying connected in age of social distancing.

Finally, the legendary Tyra Banks will offer unique tips and tricks to making your largest dreams a reality, or as she referred to in a statement about her participating in “Big Fierce Outrageous Goals.”

The Creator Learning Portal

Beyond general lessons, TikTok also shared that its releasing a new “creator learning portal,” which will provide insights, tools, and best practices on how to create quality content on TikTok. In an initial update to its tutorial series, the platform detailed ways you can now interact with TikTok on the web including how to upload videos, how to like and share content to other connected platforms, and how Pro accounts can access Insights from the Analytics dashboard.

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How Consumer Faith and Social Media Saved Lives: The Story of the #DistanceDance Campaign

If you think TikTok dances are just another form of social media posturing, think again.

During #SMWONE the companies behind the viral #DistanceDance campaign shared the story behind the success and the major learning lessons from the experience. Primarily, how consumer faith in brands and social media have the powerful ability, and responsibility, to directly make a positive impact. The fundraising campaign, which launched late March, is still turning heads all over the world due to the incredible social media following of TikToker Charli D’Amelio who took to the platform with an important mission: save lives by encouraging people to adhere to government and health official regulations to stay home.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Brand propose is not marketing
  • The days of slapping #spon on content is over
  • Don’t negate the power of implicit trust and intuition

The 96-Hour Hustle

The campaign started with a string of phone calls on a Friday night, the first from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor with a problem: the state’s younger demographics weren’t practicing social distancing. DeWine was eager to see how the CPG giant could help spread the word about the importance of staying at home to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Taylor then called P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard, who reached out to Debby Reiner, president of global brands at longtime agency partner Grey and the ideas began. Within 24 hours after that, the Grey team, including Gold, came up with the #DistanceDance concept and partnered with TikTok to get D’Amelio signed on. The following morning P&G called Grey with the formal pitch and that rest was Internet history.

Within four days, by the following Tuesday evening, Grey and Tiktok had tapped D’Amelio to create the video. To date, the video has earned the top title of most-watched video on the platform and the most viewed challenge. The challenge has attracted 15 billion views while the video itself has garnered over 191 million views and over 2 billion impressions. As far as original videos are concerned, more than 4 million have been made by celebrities such as Jason Derulo, Ne-Yo, Migos, Ashley Tisdale, and many more.

Picking a platform and influencer

Kenny Gold, Director of Social Media at Grey explained that when Pritchard reached out for help, they needed to navigate to fundamental obstacles. First, find a platform with inventory that could deliver the message in a new way that was right for this audience. And second was time, because every day mattered and Grey and P&G knew time was of the essence. Partnering with TikTok and Charli helped us solve both.

Barbara Jones, Founder and CEO, Outshine Talent, articulated this notion of a true collaboration by explaining, “Charlie and her family really understood the importance of this message from the beginning. They walked the walk and they knew this was important. Because she has such an impact on her fans and her audience…she really had the mentality of having fun and had confidence could spread positivity and do good with this. She was all in.”

TikTok‘s Lauren Birnbaum added, “This was the first branded PSA activation that TikTok funded from a media perspective. We felt so strongly about the cause and that our platform could take this message to the masses with a huge impact.”

The confluence of reach, speed agility

When asked about the nuances of how they worked together and how success would be measured, Gold, Jones, and Birnbaum were unanimous in that it was agility and having trust behind their shared goal of spreading this important message. TikTok delivered the ease of production and serving as the largest megaphone.

“We needed it to be a place of extreme reach and we needed it to be a place that would be breakthrough in the truest sense of the term. If it was anywhere else, we wouldn’t have cut through as deeply. It was the right medium, right time, and the right level of production. Then we asked, who has the voice of Gen Z in her mouth? That’s Charlie. It was truly lightning in a bottle.”

Jones added, “I think for TikTok specifically too, it is a benefit to the platform to not overthink the creative; not to dot the I’s and cross T’s that you may think you have to do for others. The beauty with TikTok is its natural ease. Sometimes when you have big brands and agencies and long lead time it can hurt you.

“At TikTok we say we love to run and in this case, we were sprinting as fast as we could,” echoed Birnbaum.

With the notion of one team, one dream when asked about how success was measured the group collectively shared that reach and awareness were most critical as their overarching goal was to get a specific and unifying message out to the intended audience.

Influencer marketing and brand purpose dos and don’ts

If you’re going to entrust your brand and its purpose in the voice of someone else and into the community of someone else you have to work together, explained Gold, “it has to be a true, co-creation partnership. The days of slapping #spon on a piece content is over.”

There is a difference between social good marketing and brand purpose, Jones echoed. “Brands and agencies need to get ahead of the curve, actually talk to their creators versus go out to them as sheer amplifiers, pull some little focus groups together, and start crowdsourcing about what really works.”

Birnbaum added that from a branding perspective in more cases than not it’s more efficient and cost-effective to let go of the reins and lean on the creator to convey the message as natively as possible. “Instead of a huge video shoot you can give that credit and autonomy to the talent,” she shared.

On the topic of brand purpose, the group underscored themes of loyalty, genuity, and making mission the boss.

Gold shared, “Brand purpose is only as good as its ability to permeate through times like this. Brand purpose is not marketing. Marketing is the opportunity to live your DNA in a way that resonates with your audience.” P&G is a prime example of a brand on the front lines standing by its mission to get essential products into the hands of those who need it.

Brands need to put the cause above them now more than ever Birnbaum added. You take P&G in this case, their branding and logos were almost absent.”

The group closed summarizing their brand ethos of the campaign in one word. The outcome: “Inspiring, teamwork, blooming, and helpful.”

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Why Vulnerability is Key to Authentic Influencer Content

“The simple, aspirational aesthetic is over,” Takumi’s Group CEO Mary Keane-Dawson declared early in her #SMWONE session alongside her colleague Derek Wiggins, USA Country Head. about the current state of influencer marketing. She punctuated her sentiment with a pair of photos: the first, a prettily staged image of a sun-kissed woman holding a daisy in her mouth; the second, a less staged image of her sputtering to spit the flower out. And while this pristine and staged aesthetic was on its way out before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the latter has us all feeling as discombobulated and uncomfortable as the woman in the second photo.

As it turns out, that’s making what influencers do now, and will do next, so appealing.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Platforms that can elevate imperfect content will shine
  • Influencer marketing content will favor more raw and unpolished stories
  • Be open to experimenting and playing around when communities need it most

Veneers Down, Vulnerability Up

“Reality has come in and slapped us all in the face,” said Derek Wiggins shared, going on to say, “what it’s done is it’s humbled and changed our opinions, making us more open and vulnerable.” He shared a quote that reveals the resulting work is not only more raw and unpolished, but more fun for the influencers themselves:

We’re just being ourselves and making sure we’re having fun behind each piece of content – we really think having fun and genuinely loving what you do is SO important to stand out.

And who wouldn’t want to engage with content, or with creators, who are enjoying themselves? As it turns out, a vast majority of social media users. A 2019 Takumi survey revealed that 8 in 10 followers of influencers said they’d stop doing so if an influencer misrepresented themselves or their lifestyles to followers; 78% said they’d do so if they realized an influencer’s lifestyle promoted unrealistic or unsustainable life habits. Now that we’re all at home, there’s figuratively and literally nowhere to hide…and the content these professionals create could change significantly as a result.

It’s TikTok’s Time to Shine

As the aesthetic fades away, platforms that can elevate imperfect content will shine…and for Takumi and Wiggins, this means TikTok. Coaxed onto the platform at the urgings of his wife, he now finds himself one of the 522 million users (and fast-growing, as new data is showing) who returns to the site multiple times each day to be entertained. It’s a fantastic space to “be relevant, [to] make it yours,” he said, adding, “as a minority, looking for things to relate to [when I was younger] was difficult. Now, it’s a market for everyone.”

The platform is about more than dance challenges and whipped coffee; Wiggins highlighted two examples of influencers using the space to contribute to a larger social good. Calls for cause marketing were put out to their influencer community; creative spots came back for campaigns like Oreo’s #CookieforaCause (to benefit Save the Children) and #HaagIndoor and Secret Cinema’s campaign to keep people indoors. And independent of brands, pro bono campaigns emerged for #SafeHands (promoting frequent and thorough handwashing“Influencers have to adapt and rethink things like never before,” Keane-Dawson noted, audibly marveling at their community of creators as she continued, “this is where their creativity comes out.”

Play Around When the Community Needs It Most

For those worried that their work wouldn’t be as polished as normal, Wiggins and Keane-Dawson are in agreement that now is the time for that sort of work. Because consumers increasingly care less about the curated aesthetic and more about genuity and realness of content, now is precisely the time to play with the form, especially on platforms that reward that sort of playfulness like TikTok.

“Lead the charge and don’t be quiet,” Wiggins insisted, noting that people will remember down the road who didn’t want to speak up for fear of getting it wrong. Partnering with people who know what they’re doing means everything here; Keane-Dawson heaped more praise on the influencers they work with, saying they’re meeting the moment just how so many of us would hope: “they find the humor, and they find the connection…it’s amazing what these creators can do.”

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Why TikTok is Partnering with Brands to Promote Gift Giving During COVID-19

During this continued period of social distancing technology fulfills an extraordinarily important role. It’s helped us adapt our lifestyles around remote work and finding the balance of personal and professional lives that comes with this, how to self organize to help those in need, and most importantly, letting loved ones know you’re thinking of them while the coronavirus pandemic keeps us apart.


TikTok is embracing this through a new collaboration with its brand partnerships, a program titled “Small Gestures.” Small Gestures offers the connectivity in demand through the small act of sending a gift to someone who may need a simple boost whether that be creative inspiration for a video, exercise ideas and ways to support their mental health during this time of crisis.

TikTokers can use the Small Gestures feature up to three times apiece to send gifts to loved ones and friends free-of-charge.


  1. Search for ‘Small Gestures’ on the Discover Page
  2. Click on the purple banner at the top of the page
  3. Browse through several partner offerings and select the one you want to send
  4. Tap on the offer and send it via message

The gifts available in the app cater to a wide variety of interests and passion from food to podcasts, to fitness to learning new languages and how to make videos, and more. Here are the highlights:

  • A 90-day subscription to Adobe Premiere Rush
  • A 1-month free DashPass subscription from DoorDash
  • A 90-day trial for Pandora
  • A two-month premium membership for Skillshare with unlimited access
  • A $120 credit towards Talkspace’s online and mobile therapy sessions
  • A 30-day trial to Alo Moves’ on-demand yoga, fitness and mindfulness classes
  • A 90-day trial to for the elite personal training platform Fitplan
  • A free 90-day subscription to the language-fluency app Fluent Forever
  • A $30 discount off any purchase from The Bouqs Co. for any flower arrangement or plant
  • A code for 15 percent off online purchases of any Rebbi coconut-milk-based beverages
  • A limited offering of game tiles including Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and Deus Ex Go from publisher Square Enix


Per TikTok, the stated aim of the Small Gestures is to “provide comfort and “thinking of you” reminders to friends and family while we’re apart.” However it’s worth noting that another significant element at play here is a push into the e-commerce space. Recently, the platform unveiled a set of tools and external linking options within bios and uploaded videos in order to provide more revenue generation options for creators. In tandem, TikTok also launched an influencer marketplace.

YouTube is carving its space in the territory with ‘Shorts‘ its own take on short-form to exist inside the current YouTube app. Details remain scarce but the platform shared it will allow creators to take advantage of YouTube’s catalog of licensed music and create clips similar to those seen on TikTok.

Much like Pinterest, TikTok amidst COVID-19 is eager to expand on the activities that users can undertake within the app — more specifically be a destination for shopping and discovery. The hurdle is, of course, starting virtually then transitioning to a shopping experience that feels more like ”real life.” Making this seamless will translate into habitual behaviors that will feel genuine and provide context to time spent within the app itself.

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