In our social commerce roundup, you might notice one platform is missing and that’s Meta’s new Threads, the copycat of twitter. That’s because it’s so new there’s no commerce or advertising opportunities built in so far… but our advice is to jump in and at least grab your user name before someone else does….. unless your in the EU in which case unfortunately due to Meta’s regulatory concerns you won’t yet have access.
On to what’s happening in social commerce… in this round up you’ll find the following updates:
- TikTok Creators for Business retailing
- TikTok Creative Challenge connects brands with creators
- New Pinterest Premiere Spotlight Ad Campaigns
- Metaverse Almanac 2023
- Create Facebook Ads with WhatsApp Business app
- SnapFusion creates unique images from text on mobile
- TikTok Trendy Beat Shop
- 150m people send 10bn messages to SnapChap My AI
Inside the world of TikTok Creators
Brands are embracing the world of TikTok, and while some may have in-house TikTok creators, others lean on established influencers to enhance their brand and carry their message to new audiences. Today we look at three different TikTok creators as examples of the professional service they offer, along with insights as to what brands can expect when working with creators today.
I’ll leave the SugarCoatedSisters to tell their own story of how they got started on TikTok in the video (and it’s hilarious as is all of their content), but the really important thing is the success they have found as TikTok creators for brands.
Chloe is the blonde, Tabby is the brunette, and musical comedy is their forte. They were recognised as TikTok’s Breakthrough Stars for 2022 and honestly, if you’re not on TikTok it’s worth downloading just to watch their past content.
What I love about these two creators, is not just the sheer joy they bring to their job, but that they’ve been able to quit their jobs and replace their income with TikTok.
As start up creators, Chloe was very upfront and told us that they really didn’t know how much to charge at the start, especially as they have yet to gain their next target of a million followers (currently they have over 550k). That hasn’t stopped them from working with some of the biggest names in ecommerce and, having figured out their pricing model, they are earning a great living.
But it’s not as easy as just setting up a camera and pressing record, some of their videos take days to create and of course they’re always producing content that’s not sponsored in between paid content work. Having said that, when they pick up work as creators, sometimes they’ve each earned what would have been a couple of months paychecks for a contract which they’ve completed in a couple of days.
Covering everything from heart break to politics (You should see their Boris Johnson and Liz Truss TikToks!!), the SugarCoatedSisters exemplify the fun and spontaneity that being a creator needs and brands that work with them will be lucky to have such a talented duo to support them – While Chloe and Tabby make the content they create look effortless and natural, the reality is that they’re extremely talented, professional creators and the results speak for themselves.
Monique used to be a high powered engineer earning a great salary. Today, she’s a TikTok creator having been able to replace her income and quit her job to educate her audience on skincare.
Having already noticed how different skincare and beauty experiences are for people of colour and especially black women, in the covid lockdowns, with her mental health suffering she turned her frustrations and depression into creating skincare content which went viral and earned her the name Skinfiltrator, now with over 160k followers.
Working with brands, you might think someone who is working as a creator for a living might be willing to take on any contract, but Monique exemplifies professionalism and values the trust that her audience places in her so much that she’s turned down five figure contracts for products that she doesn’t believe in. She’s also careful with her language and while willing to say that she loves a product, is perfectly willing to refuse phrasing that suggest she is endorsing a product, say as ideal for black skin, if this isn’t something that she can back up.
What this means for brands, is that they need to listen and work with creators, respect if they reject a project and at times consider if what they really want is someone to sell their soul just for a paycheck, or if they’d prefer to respect their creators and future customers and allow them to produce amazing content that’s real.
Monique is an amazing woman and Brands that work with her will adore her ethics and the doors she can open in the TikTok skincare and beauty entertainment field.
Some brands are fortunate enough to have inhouse TikTok creators, and, with Katie and Emma, they have two professionals willing to put themselves out there and have fun along with their audience.
In person, they are highly proficient professionals, but on TikTok you have to be willing to show your fun side, not take yourself too seriously and relate to your audience. Remember, while TikTok is an ecommerce channel and consumers can purchase directly through your TikTok shop, it’s primarily an entertainment channel and that means you have to be entertaining.
And Katie and Emma ‘get it’ and are absolutely hilarious at times, while still enthusing over the Swan product set and showcasing them at their best.
With Swan, you can expect a mix of product demos, cookery and household cleaning tips, shopping tips, and some crazy off the wall skits interspersed with some fun games and competitions. The above clip from a recent TikTok Live, shows the Swan creators surrounded by products for sale, but about to embark on a whipped cream challenge, which as you might expect is a hilarious abject failure, but the disastrous consequences are what makes their content so engaging and keeps consumers coming back for more.
Our biggest learning from these TikTok creators is that the selling has to be secondary and it’s important to remember that this is primarily an entertainment channel. Those consuming the content will only follow, like, favourite, and share content that they love (which is what I guess I’m doing by choosing videos to illustrate this article!)
Second biggest lesson is that simply throwing money at professional creators isn’t always enough. They have to love your product and believe in it if they are going to promote it. Don’t be offended if a creator rejects your proposal, it might be that other creators are a better fit, or they may love your product but aren’t willing to describe it in the manner you’re requesting… changing the phrasing you’re asking for may make them, or other TikTok creators, more likely to want to work with you.
20 years ago, I remember looking at those quitting their day jobs and taking a risk to become a full time online marketplace seller with awe…. and then I became one myself. We should be viewing TikTok creators in the same light – they are forging a path that many more will follow in the future.
The creators of today and the brands that successfully work with them are not just to be admired, they’re case studies others can emulate and, far from just creating video content, they’re creating a whole new industry.
TikTok Creative Challenge – Brand/Creator collaborations
TikTok Creative Challenge has been launched to connect brands to creators giving those best at creating enticing content that works on TikTok a way to support brands looking for user engagement and receive recompense based on the success of their content.
The new in-app feature that allows creators to submit video ads to brand challenges and receive rewards based on video performance. Creators can browse through the list of challenges, read the challenge’s brief which displays the reward pool and details rules and requirements, and submit their video ad. The Creative Challenge gives creators full creative freedom over their ads, unlocking more opportunities for creators to collaborate with brands in a way that’s most authentic to them.
TikTok Creative Challenge provides brands with authentic, high-performance and easy-to-use creative content at scale to help drive their performance advertising campaigns. By simply creating a creative challenge on the platform, advertisers are given up to 30 ad creatives within 10 days created specifically for the TikTok audience developed by creators who truly understand the community. TikTok Creative Challenge helps take the work out of performance advertising by seamlessly connecting brands with top-tier performance driven creator content.
Submissions should be high-quality, well-edited, original content. Once submitted and approved, creators can see the status of their submissions, view performance and check monthly earnings. Rewards are influenced by many factors, including qualified video views, clicks and conversions. Creators will receive notifications for their submissions if revisions are necessary, with the option to revise or appeal. Submitted videos will not be displayed on the creator’s profile, but once reviewed and approved, run as ads on the For You Feed.
Once enrolled in the TikTok Creative Challenge, creators will have access to a number of resources including a dedicated Creator Community group and Mentor Program to connect with other creators to share knowledge, exchange insights and get rewarded. To be eligible to join the Creative Challenge, creators must be at least 18 years old and have a US-based account with a minimum of 50,000 followers.
TikTok Creative Challenge is currently in testing as the platform explores the new solution with select brands. They say that they will continue to listen to the feedback of the community to further develop the program and continue to make it easier to advertise and drive results on TikTok.
New Pinterest Premiere Spotlight Ad Campaigns
Pinterest have introduced two new advertising solutions – Premiere Spotlight and Travel Catalogs – aiming to help advertisers increase their campaign success on the platform. For most brands and retailers, it’s Premiere Spotlight that’s of most interest.
Whether you are supercharging brand awareness with Premiere Spotlight or turning inspiration into booked vacations with Travel Catalogs, our newest ad solutions have one shared goal: helping brands scale on Pinterest across the funnel. We want advertisers to reach the consumers they care about and drive them from discovery to decision to do—all in a more positive place online.– Bill Watkins, Chief Revenue Officer, Pinterest
Premiere Spotlight buys you high profile visibility, especially on mobile where you can take over about 50% of the screen with your campaign. You’ll want to access this feature when considering new product launches or similar high profile campaigns.
This new high-impact awareness ad solution is designed to reach audiences at scale when it matters most for your business. With Premiere Spotlight, you can exclusively own premium placements on the platform for a desired time period to promote your campaign for maximum visibility with Pinners.
Premiere Spotlight features video ads in places like the search page, which is the first step for users to discover new ideas on Pinterest. Premiere Spotlight enables brands to reserve their placement for product launches and own the screen, taking up approximately 50% of a mobile device’s screen on Pinterest’s search page.
Premiere Spotlight is now available in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Australia
Travel Catalogs builds on Pinterest’s product catalog technology, allowing travel brands to easily upload their travel products to the platform. Once their catalog is uploaded, Pinterest automatically turns each listing into a dynamic product Pin with relevant travel booking information such as hotel brand name, pricing, images, descriptions and more as well as a link to the booking website. Brands can also target users on Pinterest based on location data provided in their feed to reach more travelers.
Now, with Travel Catalogs, Pinners can go from inspiration to booking their dream holiday easier than ever. When a Pinterest user is planning to travel, they can simply click on a Travel Catalog Pin from a brand and book directly from their website.
Travel advertisers worldwide will gain access to Travel Catalogs later this summer
The Metaverse Almanac 2023
In our Metaverse Almanac 2023, we look at what the metaverse is, how it works, who is building it, and how consumers, retailers and brands are using it today. We examine the concerns many have with privacy and addiction and also consider how retailers may use the metaverse in the years ahead.
A recent study in the US found that 66% of 1,000 business leaders questioned said that they and their companies were ‘actively engaged’ in the metaverse in some form or other. However, that level of engagement is varied, ranging from researching ideas to testing use cases, to running proofs of concept, right up to, in a small proportion, generating revenues. Interestingly, 80% of them see the metaverse as being an active part of their businesses within three years.
Five key metaverse business models currently in play, or considered to be viable in the near future, include:
- Advertising – Metaverse advertising works much like traditional online advertising: advertisers pay money to be seen on a platform or in the metaverse.
- NFTs – Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique, blockchain-verified virtual goods that are usually limited in number and exists purely in the metaverse.
- Digital land real estate – The virtual world needs virtual land for businesses to build on and selling that land, and selling, reselling and leasing space, especially in Second Life and similar games, is starting to generate revenues (and costs) in the metaverse.
- Avatar customisation – Avatars, virtual renditions of users in the metaverse, are one of the aspects of this new world that many are growing familiar with.
- Virtual goods – The sale of virtual goods has been pioneered in the gaming sector, with games selling weapons, power and even points for many years. This has readily transferred to the metaverse, with characters, clothing and more offerings being added.
Retail is one of the first non-gaming sectors to see the potential of the metaverse. While the sector has always been quick to embrace internet technologies, the metaverse potentially adds a whole new dimension to what has gone before for brands. The internet has taken a large slice of retail activity, but it is flat. Retailers have been quick to see that, ultimately, the metaverse can create an immersive, 3D simulacrum of real-world shopping online.
In the report we discuss Metaverse retail ‘events’. The report reveals that of these retailers and brands that have been operating in the metaverse, 34% have offered up one event, so far, 38% two and 28% three or more . Of these, most offerings are temporary, with a quarter (24%) lasting less than a week, most (41%) lasting between a week and a month, while 29% last between a month and a year. Just 6% have any degree of permanency, lasting more than a year.
Log in to access the report to read case studies on Metaverse activations from brands including Gucci, Nike, Adidas, Alibaba/Tmall, Warner Music Group and Samsung.
The report concludes that the current economic downturn is already being marked out as one where technology – specifically AI and better customer experience – is the one thing that can deliver the efficiency gains and competitive edge that fiercely competitive times demand. The move to a metaverse experience of retail is just part of that.
Create Facebook Ads with WhatsApp Business app
Shock! Horror! Can you believe that many small businesses haven’t signed up for a Facebook page or Instagram account? Well parent company Meta have realised that running a small business takes time and many of the 200 million users of the WhatsApp Business app could be advertising on their other platforms but haven’t been able to do so as they haven’t signed up to them.
First up, 200 million WhatsApp Business users – that’s huge and a new milestone for the messaging app. Worth noting that it’s gaining traction.
So, the solution to advertising (and increasing revenues for Meta), is to allow WhatsApp Business users to simply advertise on Facebook and Instagram without having to create an account. It’s probably not right to think that small business owners aren’t on these platforms – they likely are along with billions of others, but with personal accounts and just haven’t gotten the time to create and maintain a business profile.
Now, so long as you have an email address and form of payment, small businesses that run their entire operation on WhatsApp to create, purchase and publish a Facebook or Instagram ad directly within the WhatsApp Business app. When people click on an ad, it opens a chat on WhatsApp so they can ask questions, browse products and make a purchase.
These ads are one of the most powerful ways to drive potential customers to message them on WhatsApp and this will open new opportunities for WhatsApp-only small businesses that need a simpler way to get started with advertising.
Even better, soon Meta will begin testing a new feature within the WhatsApp Business app where small businesses will have the option to send personalised messages to their customers – like appointment reminders, birthday greetings or even updates on a holiday sale – in a faster and more efficient way.
And it gets even better yet, rather than having to manually send the same message to multiple customers, this new feature will give businesses the ability to send personal messages with the customer’s name and customizable call-to-action buttons to specific customer lists such as those with a select label (like “VIP customers” or “new customers”), schedule the day and time the messages are sent and then see what’s working. Meta will offer this advanced, optional type of message for a fee in the WhatsApp Business app and will share more details in the future.
SnapFusion creates unique images from text on mobile
So you want to a new creative but you’re not a graphic designer and you don’t have access to a powerful bank of computers running the latest AI trained imaging software? Well don’t worry because the company behind SnapChat – Snap Inc, has you covered with SnapFusion.
ShapFusion has done what everyone said was impossible – they’ve developed the ability to create images from text inputs in under two seconds on mobile devices. Break that down, they’ve not only shortcut the image creation process, they’ve used so little procession power that it can be performed on a mobile device meaning you don’t need access to multiple processors and cloud computing. SnapFusion brings advanced AI image generation into the hands of normal people like you and me.
We’re excited to share that Snap Research has developed a new model called SnapFusion that shortens the model runtime from text input to image generation on mobile to under two seconds–the fastest time published to date by the academic community.
Snap Research achieved this breakthrough by optimizing the network architecture and denoising process, making it incredibly efficient, while maintaining image quality. So, now it’s possible to run the model to generate images based on text prompts, and get back crisp clear images in mere seconds on mobile rather than minutes or hours, as other research presents.
While it is still early days for this model, this work has the potential to supercharge high quality generative AI experiences on mobile in the future.– Snap
What a picture of Charles III in the style of Picasso? Not a problem, even though Picasso died before he was crowned. If you are a bog roll company and your puppy has grown up into a full size labrador and you don’t have any replacement pups trained up? Again not a problem SnapFusion has you covered (The images above are all examples of what SnapFusion can create)
This really is a remarkable development and if you’re interested in the tech side of how it’s been done, Snap have discovered they can cut the process down into just 8 denoising steps and get better results than much more power systems can get in 50 steps. You can read the tech blurb here… it makes little sense to normal people but you don’t need to understand how it does it, you just need the vision to realise what text input to image creation in under two seconds can do for your business.
Obvious examples would be taking a plush toy and getting SnapFusion to create an image in a certain setting, or maybe you’re a fashion retailer not at Paris Fashion week but you still want your garments pictured on models with the Eiffel Tower in the background?
We’ll be watching with interest how SnapFusion starts to be used in the advertising and ecommerce . If you’re one of the first to get to grips with it we’d love you to share your results.
TikTok Trendy Beat Shop to take on Wish, Temu et al
TikTok may be about to take on the likes of Wish, Temu and Shein, with the experimental launch of direct to consumer sales under the Trendy Beat Shop banner.
This is the equivalent of the online pound shop supplied by China, which in particular Temu are currently excelling at attracting consumers to, while Wish have been there and done that and in recent times are attempting to move to higher ASP products supplied by Western merchants.
TikTok with the already massively popular #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag are supremely positioned to put the latest must have gadget in front of the most susceptible shoppers likely to make a purchase. They know if you watch cookery videos you might be tempted by a washing up liquid dispenser or if you videos of cats then showing you a magic cleaning cloth to remove pet hair from clothing might be more up your street.
If you see a viral video then there’s a good chance you might be exposed to the TikTok Trendy Beat Shop, with products currently exclusively supplied by a sister company. This means that TikTok cut out the middle man and instead of taking a commission on sales from TikTok Shop, are taking all of the profits from the sale.
Mind you, when TikTok take all the profits they’re also stepping into the customer service, fulfilment and returns minefields of ecommerce and that’s where they’ll have to rule supreme to keep the inevitably fastidious online pound shopper happy. Although, many when they are only spending a couple of quid won’t complain, will accept that if they buy a dozen items half might be tat, some might be ok, and that’s worth it for the one or two that turn out to be pretty darn brilliant for the price. After all, that’s how many of the Trendy Beat Shop competitors have operated and so long as something turns up shoppers have generally been accepting that you get what you pay for.
If you are heavily engaged with selling on TikTok Shop, then you really shouldn’t be worrying too much yet as there’s a long way to go from selling low cost products from China to those that might threaten to take market share from your brand. Indeed, if people become more engaged with shopping from TikTok’s Trendy Beat Shop they might end up more likely to shop higher ASP items on the platform.
TikTok’s Trendy Beat Shop is one to watch and it will be interesting to see the engagement as they ramp up activities. The biggest threat is probably not to established UK brands selling on the platform but to their immediate competitors Wish, Temu and Shein…. TikTok already has the data on which consumer to market which product to and in the world of ecommerce data is all the power you need.
SnapChap My AI – 10bn messages from 150m people
SnapChat My AI has now received over 10 billion messages from 150 million people according to the company. Conversational AI was rolled out to Snapchatters globally with new features in April this year.
This is interesting as while Snapchatters are using My AI for things like party planning tips, restaurant recommendations, or sports news, Snap are working on ways to insert use commercially-oriented content into conversations with My AI, opening up new channels for brands and retailers to advertise on the platform.
My AI features
- Personalise My AI: My AI comes with one of thousands of unique Bitmoji variations and can be easily customised to make it truly your own. Design a custom Bitmoji for your AI, give it a name, and start chatting.
- Bring My AI into Conversations with Friends: It’s easy to bring My AI into any of your conversations with friends. Simply @ mention My AI and ask a question on behalf of the group. It will be clear when an AI has entered the chat and includes a sparkle next to its name.
- Snapchat Recommendations: My AI surfaces place recommendations from the Snap Map and suggests relevant Lenses. For example, you can ask My AI to suggest weekend activities for your family or get the perfect Lens recommendation to wish a friend a happy birthday.
- Share Snaps with My AI: The Snapchat community can send Snaps to My AI and receive a chat reply.
- Watch It Snap You Back: With over 55,000 Snaps created on Snapchat every second on average, Snapping is a natural way that the community stays in touch. Soon Snapchat+ subscribers will be able to Snap My AI and get a unique generative Snap back that keeps the visual conversation going!
Snapchat are also experimenting with new ways that My AI can surface useful information at the right moment during conversations. This includes early testing of sponsored links to connect the community with partners relevant to the conversation in the moment, while helping partners reach Snapchatters who have indicated potential interest in their offerings.
Snapchat are also beginning to test ways that conversational AI within Snapchat can lead to more engaging experiences for their community, including by bringing Snapchatters mobile video powered by conversational intent for the first time. They are building this capability in two ways:
- Snapchat are able to use conversations with My AI to enhance a key optimisation that they offer advertisers, called Snapchat Lifestyle Categories (SLCs). These categories are historically based on factors like which content a Snapchatter watches. New signals from conversations with My AI will now help the company enhance the quality and depth of SLCs, ultimately boosting the relevance of the ads Snapchatters see on the app.
- Snapachat are developing ways to use commercially-oriented conversations with My AI to enhance their foundational ranking models, which has the potential to improve the relevance of the content, augmented reality, and advertising experiences we serve across Snapchat.
The company are continuing early testing of sponsored links, which connect their users with partners relevant to their conversation in that moment, while helping partners reach Snapchatters who have indicated potential interest in their offerings. This is in an experimental phase to ensure design of thoughtful, useful experiences for the community and the company say that they will share more as the offering evolves.