Welcome back to HotToks. This edition we report on TikTok 'Zaddy', their CEO Shou Zi Chew; branded AR effects have now entered the chat, and an update on TikTok's live shopping pilot.
Get ready for a little bit of inception… because now trending on TikTok is TikTok. But of course, as Alex Russo famously once said, ‘everything is not what it seems.’
Leave it to the TikTok community to take things to the next level. If you weren’t aware, TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew recently testified in front of Congress to address lawmakers’ concerns about the app’s Chinese ownership. The Biden administration, afraid of data leakage to ByteDance, a Chinese company, wants to either ban the huge (literally dominating the app download charts in Q1 2023) social media platform nationwide or force a sale to an American company. During his five-hour testimony, Chew said that young users’ safety is paramount and that there are plans to move U.S. users’ data to Oracle servers.
Suffice to say, creators and viewers in the TikTok community are rallying to support the platform—they’re even going to the Capitol to protest—and its CEO. One creator made a fan edit of some of Shou Chew’s appearances, captioning it with, “can we talk about how hard he is working for us to prevent the ban 💕.” This one has over 1.3M views.
The search term “TikTok Zaddy” has over 924.6M views (and counting) on the platform. All I can say here is although these ‘thirst-trap’ videos of Shou Chew might have won the TikTok community over, I don’t think membexrs of the Congress are simping over our guy here at all. But I guess it’s worth the shot.
On the flip side, TikTok's growth is not slowing down anytime soon, and the platform is constantly looking for new ways to innovate, advance, and be a leader in the ever-growing social media space.
AR filters and effects have long been around on Instagram and Snapchat. Meta has their ‘Spark AR’ platform, and Snap has its ‘Lens Studio’ platform, which helps facilitate new creator/user experiences. AR is set to become a bigger consideration for brands and creators; 72% of Snapchat users engage with AR effects daily.
Though delayed, TikTok is taking notes and finally climbing onboard the AR train. The social media giant is working on helping brands create more immersive experiences and campaigns by adding a new element to its Effects House AR creation tool – which will give new ways and creative possibilities for brands to reach the TikTok audience effectively. Effects House, TikTok’s AR effect creation platform, lets users build their own custom AR effects, constructing new experiences in the app. TikTok is looking to credit these creators monetarily with their work.
As AR enters more and more conversations, it makes sense for TikTok to tap into this and provide AR creators more opportunities to generate income from the app. And for brands, it’s a great way to consider something different when approaching collaborations to land ‘just right’ to consumers.
And now, onto everyone’s favorite subject…live shopping. TikTok Shop is now available in the U.K. and some Southeast Asian countries and is expected to expand in the U.S. market by the fourth quarter of 2023.
As we make our way there, TikTok recruits a new partner to help the cause (from the sellers’ POV). Cymbio, a solution designed to enable brands to start selling on multiple marketplaces at once and offer dropshipping capabilities, revealed it's helping power TikTok Shop, essentially giving brands a potential reach of 150M U.S. consumers.
TikTok Shop enables merchants, brands, and creators to show and sell products directly within the app. And Cymbio helps by embedding a brand’s product data and information into TikTok’s in-video, live shopping offering. Users can buy from a brand without leaving the app, and TikTok says it will take a 5 percent commission on each in-app sale a business makes.
Cymbio’s digital commerce enablement platform allows brands to access a centralized platform with a hands-off approach to back-end operations to scale sales across many channels. With Cymbio, brands using TikTok Shop can automate many processes, like listing products, managing inventory, streamlining processing, fulfillment, tracking orders, and analytics. Sandie Hawkins, the head of TikTok Shop, put it best when she said, “Partnering with Cymbio is a great choice, allowing for seamless and quick connectivity and automation to our platform.”
Despite concerns about its data collection methods, TikTok is still banking off the popularity of “TikTok Made Me Buy It,” which now has over 7.4B views, to predict the success of TikTok Shop. I mean, if these videos can convince someone to buy a product elsewhere, off-platform, I don’t even want to imagine how much could be earned if everything was seamlessly integrated into one platform.
Thanks for reading!
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