In the last half-decade or so, several social media apps have come to prominence, given rise to popular social media influencers, and still failed to translate millions of views, likes, and followers into sustainable revenue — think Vine and Snapchat…
Some of their more successful counterparts (namely Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook) are driving significant ad revenue but have had mixed successes or failures with influencer monetization. For the most part, working with influencers across these social media networks takes place largely outside their ecosystem with agencies and influencer marketing platforms facilitating deals between brands and influencers.
Perhaps having witnessed its predecessors and contemporaries wrangle with influencer programs and monetization, TikTok (currently the fastest growing social media app with over 115 million downloads just in March 2020) has decided to take matters into its own hands with the rollout of their TikTok Creator Marketplace (also known as, TCM).
See how TikTok’s Creator Marketplace works, its salient features, and why TCM is important to today’s marketers below.
Click on the individual titles to scroll directly to each section:
TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is essentially TikTok’s own influencer marketing platform (existing within TikTok’s own ecosystem) where brands and top TikTok influencers can connect. TikTok’s official influencer platform gives brands access to top tier creators, the basic tools to construct a TikTok influencer marketing campaign, and offers influencers direct access to brand deals and partnerships.
Previously, influencer marketing platforms have existed outside of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, et. al. to varying degrees of success — data collected by the platforms would need to be verified by influencers (not always the most accurate) and revenue collected would bypass the social media app (the platforms themselves would charge a fee and/or commission for each influencer marketing campaign executed utilizing the platform).
By creating their own “in-house” marketplace, TikTok not only can possibly profit from brand-influencer deals (as of now, TikTok is not charging advertisers to use TCM), but also provides brands and influencers firsthand data/analytics, tools, and direct access and communication without needing to use and/or pay for a third-party platform.
For brands and marketers, there are a number of reasons why TikTok’s Creator Marketplace may be appealing and useful.
As TCM is native to TikTok, marketers can rest assured that data presented about each influencer is authenticated, accurate, and up-to-date. Additionally, the ability to search and filter based on various TikTok analytics, demographics, and data (e.g. follower geography, follower age breakdown) should be both robust and accurate as it’s pulled directly from TikTok.
For influencers on TikTok, TCM gives influencers direct access and communication to brands seeking to run influencer marketing campaigns without having to sign up on different platforms and marketplaces.
Brands and advertisers will first need to sign up in order to use TCM. Once approved and logged in, TCM presents the following home dashboard prompting you to:
As is, marketers can search creators through the following nine filters – see below for additional detail about each filter and their capabilities:
At present, both Country or Region (#1) and Audience Country or Region (#5) are limited to the following 18 countries/regions: United States of America, India, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, and Australia.
The 20 filterable Topics include: Food & Beverage, Sport, Performance Skills, Gaming, Fitness & Health, Fashion & Beauty, Dance, Outdoor Activities, Daily Life, Pop Culture, Animation & Fan Culture, Transportation & Vehicle, Science & Education, Professional Life, Family, Oddly Satisfying, Travel, Animal, Celebrity Account, and Comedy.
Reach is sortable through the following three brackets but also customizable: 1) 10k to 100k, 2) 100k to 1 million, and 3) 1 million to 10 million.
Age can be filtered through the following three default age spans: 1) 18 to 24, 2) 25 to 24, and 3) 35+.
Similar to Reach, Audience Device can be customizable and/or chosen between Android or iOS.
Lastly, there’s an option to filter by creators who are qualified and have enabled TikTok’s e-Commerce anchor function. These creators are able to insert a link in their content that directs viewers directly to a brand’s product or external landing page.
In addition to sorting and surfacing TikTok influencers by the above filters, marketers can search for creators directly by name/handle.
Clicking into an influencer’s profile presents a wealth of data separated into four major sections:
Core Metrics include:
For Sample Videos, marketers can toggle between sponsored and non-sponsored videos, most recent and most popular.
The Audience Demographics section presents fairly standard information (e.g. Gender, Age) but also gives insight on the percentage of Active vs. Inactive followers an influencer has and the brand device used (e.g. Apple, Samsung, Huawei, etc.).
Performance Trends shows data on followers, video views, and engagements across the last three month period.
In order to contact a TikTok creator, advertisers must fill out the following form:
The information to be provided is fairly standard. TikTok does require advertisers to specify their Industry (as some industries are prohibited from advertising) and select a main goal for working with creators from the following:
Finally, there’s a Suggested Talent Fee section where marketers can toggle between a) to be negotiated or b) providing an initial suggested fee per sponsored video.
TCM also offers a campaign reporting tool. Again, as TCM is native to TikTok, advertisers can rest assured that the data presented is verified and accurate.
The caveat to accessing TCM’s reporting is ensuring every influencer hired is 1) associating their sponsored video to the proper campaign and 2) disclosing the videos as sponsored — otherwise, campaign insights will not be available.
At present, TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is free for advertisers to use. TikTok is still in its early stages of testing and sorting different monetization avenues — some of its existing ad offerings do include and package promotions with TikTok creators of varying sizes.
Monetizing an influencer platform can be tricky and pose a number of obstacles to both brands/advertisers and influencers. If TikTok does decide to charge advertisers a fee for using TCM, it may push advertisers away from the platform (towards working with TikTok agencies).
Similarly, if TikTok decides to take a cut of influencer rates/earnings, influencers may opt to bypass TCM in favor of working only with management or agencies.