A Day of Learning at TikTok Creative Partner Day

Edition #57

A Day of Learning at TikTok Creative Partner Day

This week's newsletter comes a few days late, but for a good reason. I just got back from the West Coast after spending a few days in Los Angeles to attend TikTok's Creative Partner Day on behalf of Mavrck, which became an Official TikTok Marketing Partner last summer.

Throughout the day, leaders from different departments at TikTok delved into current and upcoming TikTok programs and solutions across advertising, creator marketing, music, and more.

I really enjoyed the event and learned a lot, so I recapped some of the notable themes and takeaways below. Enjoy the read and share it with a friend or colleague who might learn something new.

Today’s Edition:

  • 4 themes and takeaways from TikTok Creative Partner Day

  • Instagram’s Collaborative Collections allow users to curate content like Pinterest Group Boards

  • TikTok launches Branded Effects to help brands connect with AR creators

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4 Themes and Takeaways from TikTok Creative Partner Day

TikTok-First Content Delivers

One of the biggest drivers of success on TikTok is creating TikTok-native content. This means content that is tailored specifically for TikTok, which typically is in vertical format, uses text, has sound on by default, grabs the viewer's attention early on, and is creator-driven.

Content with these components also serves best as TikTok ads, which have an impact on viewers across the entire marketing funnel. TikTok-first ads lead to higher view-through and completion rates. They also drive purchase intent by 60%, with viewers intending to make a purchase between 3 to 6 months, depending on the types of products and services being displayed. TikTok-first content can also be used effectively as ads across other channels such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and even television.

Esteban Ribero, Global Research Leader - Marketing Science, recommends that brands take a "walk, run, and then fly" approach to get the most out of their TikTok creative. This involves starting by building performance on TikTok with TikTok-first creative and then eventually taking it off-platform for efficiency.

TikTok is looking to make it easier for brands to get content for ads with its TikTok Creative Exchange, a platform helping marketers connect with creative partners for creative asset production. After being around for a year and a half, the program is planned to expand globally and feature different pricing, packaging, and tiering to give advertisers more flexibility.

Takeaway: Creative is the key ingredient for successful TikTok ads. Videos that align with the TikTok experience will not only perform well on TikTok but can also be repurposed across other video experiences, allowing advertisers to not only drive impact but also benefit from efficiency, such as cost savings.

TikTok is Continuing to Invest in Sound

With 93% of TikTok users watching videos with sound on, audio is an integral part of the experience. Because of this, TikTok is continuing to expand the audio options that brands have through its Commercial Music Library, a collection of pre-cleared audio that can be used for organic and paid content on TikTok.

Along with expanding partnerships like Epidemic Sounds, William Gruger, who heads Global Music Programs, shared its Emerging Artist Program is an area of focus for the platform. With EAP, brands can access select popular and trend-adjacent songs to use in their advertising efforts. While these artists aren’t household names like Drake or Lizzo, they offer brands another avenue for incorporating music to make their content more engaging in a more cost-effective way. By partnering with these artists, brands also can grow with them, which can be quite beneficial in the long run, especially if they become bigger artists.

To drive the discovery of CML and partner artists, TikTok is also relying heavily on ongoing editorial support, such as bi-weekly playlists that are built around different themes and key moments in time.

Takeaway: Whether it’s leveraging the CML, tapping one of TikTok’s Sound partners for popular music licensing, or custom sound creation, brands of all sizes and budgets are getting more options for leveraging music in their content, which allows them to better drive towards their desired performance.

Brands Are Going All in on TikTok

Garland Hill, Head of Growth Business, led a client panel featuring Jenna Habayeb, Chief Marketing Officer at IPSY, Jason Eskin, VP of Digital Marketing at Disney Studios, and Erin Franzman, VP of Content Social Strategy at CBS. The panel highlighted how brands are embracing TikTok and some of the ways they are approaching the platform.

Habayeb explained how IPSY takes a tiered approach to producing TikTok content. It relies on a combination of its content studio, in-house TikTok creators on its social team, and paid and gifted TikTok native creators for sponsored content. Eskin revealed how his team categorizes content into two buckets — low contextual content and high contextual content. The former is focused on driving awareness and requires little knowledge for viewers to understand and enjoy, while the latter is focused on engaging with fans and requires some prior understanding. Lastly, Franzman discussed how CBS sees value in the comments left on videos. She often analyzes them to understand viewers' behavior, including whether they are streaming shows or watching them in real-time, which then can be used to inform its strategy.

Although the panelists noted their current successes, they expressed a desire for more data across TikTok and other social media platforms to measure the impact of their efforts. Additionally, they would like a standardized method for measurement between the platforms. Hill said TikTok is continuing to work on initiatives related to data and measurement and cited post-campaign surveys as a potential solution.

Takeaway: Successful brands on TikTok are mindful of how they produce and share content and how they evaluate its performance. This involves sourcing content from in-house teams and external partners, defining a content strategy, and analyzing how the community responds to the content.

Creator Marketing is the Now and the Future

During the final session, the Head of Client Operations for TikTok Creator Marketing Solutions, Andrew Banis, discussed how TikTok Creator Marketplace (TTCM) is allowing brands to leverage the power and impact of creator marketing.

Acknowledging that creator marketing is much different than the marketing that brands have traditionally used, he sees this difference as an opportunity. In addition to driving results across various business objectives, ranging from awareness to conversion, creators help brands lean into "TikTok's DNA." As experts in trends, community stewards and talented producers, creators, and brand partnerships can go beyond just sponsored content. Creators can aid in consumer research and insights, creative strategy, product development, and much more.

With the value that creators bring, Banis says that creator marketing will become core to a brand's success. Brands will learn to communicate with their customers better than ever, and agencies and technologies will evolve to support more creator collaborations.

Takeaway: TTCM has accelerated creator marketing across TikTok. A majority of brands are still leveraging the marketplace as a way to find creators to feature their products and services in videos. But, as brands increasingly recognize that creators can also have a place in corporate boardrooms, they will source and partner with creators in different aspects.

Instagram’s Collaborative Collections Allow Users to Curate Content Like Pinterest Group Boards

Instagram has started rolling out Collaborative Collections, a feature that allows users to share content with a collection that was announced last year. When users save a post, they can choose to save it to a collection, name it, toggle on 'Collaborative,' and share it with others via direct messages. Those users can then add content to the collection as well.

Collaborative Collections offers a Pinterest Group Board-like feature that allows users to curate and share content with each other. For regular users, it can be a way for friends to plan activities for an upcoming group trip or for couples to share recipes they want to make together. Creators can use it to co-create with their fans or save examples of sponsored content to send to brand managers when pitching. Marketers can easily save posts from creators they want to collaborate with or create mood boards of user-generated content around their products that can be shared among their teams.

TikTok Launches Branded Effects to Help Brands Connect with AR Creators

TikTok launched Branded Effects, a new feature that allows brands to partner with creators to create custom AR effects. The feature expands on last year's launch of the Effect House, an AR platform that provides creators with tools to create AR effects. Branded Effects are customizable and can include specific branded elements such as logos and calls-to-action to fit specific campaign needs. Brands can also boost Branded Effects to a wider audience through paid media.

Branded Effects provide brands with the opportunity to connect with their audience in an engaging and interactive way. From virtual try-ons to mini-games, brands can turn attention into deep engagement. They also help to foster user-generated content (UGC), which can drive incremental reach and awareness, thus supporting TikTok's community-driven platform. Additionally, Branded Effects provide new monetization opportunities for creators.

AR has become increasingly appealing to brand marketers who are looking to increase engagement among audiences and guide consumers through the shopping journey. Along with TikTok, Snapchat, and Meta have also been investing in AR features. Snapchat's Snap Lens Creator Marketplace allows brands to partner with creators to create custom Lenses, while Meta Sparks Studio provides creators with tools to create immersive AR experiences.

Pinterest Introduces New Customization Options for Creators' Profiles

Pinterest rolled out new customization options for creators' profiles, allowing them to make their profiles more distinct. Creators can upload an image as a profile cover and create Highlights by adding Idea Pins to a group folder that is pinned at the top of their profile.

By adding a profile cover, creators can express and personalize their profile. With Highlights, they can showcase the content they want to show first to visitors. This move by Pinterest follows other platforms like LinkedIn, which have also been giving creators more customization options for their profiles and content.

In addition, Pinterest has also rolled out several other updates, including expanded camera features (flash, a recording timer, delay timer) and auto-looping for Idea Pins. These give creators more tools when creating Idea Pins using the native camera and allow viewers to re-watch Idea Pins more easily.

YouTube Updates Analytics for Artists to Include YouTube Shorts-Related Data

YouTube has enhanced its Analytics for Artists feature to include YouTube Shorts-related data in the Total Reach metrics. This means that artists and labels can now track the performance of Shorts created by their fans, as well as their official uploads and long-form videos. There is also a new Songs section that enables them to see how their music is being consumed and utilized across all formats in a single location.

The positive impact of fan-created Shorts on an artist's audience is evident, as the average artist experienced an increase of more than 80% in their Unique Viewers in January. Given this success, it's clear why YouTube has decided to include the performance of Shorts that feature an artist's music in their analytics toolbox. By providing a means of evaluating the performance of these short-form videos, artists and their teams may be motivated to take advantage of the format more frequently, whether by uploading content themselves or encouraging their fans to do so.

VSCO Launches Updated Messaging Experience with Unlimited Messages for Paying Subscribers

VSCO introduced an updated messaging experience that enables paying subscribers to send unlimited messages to anyone on the platform. Free users can send unlimited messages to their followers but are limited to three messages with other creators who don't follow them. There are also built-in safety controls and preferences, giving creators more control over their messages. Creators can accept, ignore, or block messages from other creators and limit messages received to only those from people they follow.

Messages offer a seamless way for creators to communicate with one another, whether it's to collaborate on a project, gain insight into their creative process, receive feedback on their work, or invite others to contribute to their Space. The feature coincides with the trend of people wanting more private spaces to connect and share with their communities.

ASA and CMA's Updated Influencer Guide Addresses More Nuanced Disclosure Scenarios

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), in collaboration with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has released the third edition of their Influencers' Guide to Making Clear That Ads Are Ads, a guide that helps influencers understand how to disclose sponsored content properly. This edition incorporates feedback from various stakeholders, including with highlights being:

  • Reinforcement that #AD is the best form of disclosure.

  • Disclosure is required for paid partnerships, gifted experiences, products, ambassadorship (paid and non-paid), affiliate links, and when there is a commercial connection to a brand (shareholder, director, owner), as well as for brands with personal connections, such as friends and family.

  • A flowchart takes influencers through different types of scenarios for when they may or may not need to disclose content, along with links to relevant resources.

The updated guidelines take a more aggressive approach toward when, what, and how influencers should use disclosure. It addresses nuanced situations, such as when creators promote their own companies or companies in which they have equity, reflecting the growing list of creator-brand relationships. While the guide is primarily directed towards influencers, brands, agencies, and talent managers should also take the time to review it, especially since the guidelines can vary by region and are frequently updated as the industry evolves.

Although the guidelines make sense, enforcement at scale remains a question. The ASA has sanctioned influencers for not following guidelines, but without the assistance of social media platforms, it will be challenging to enforce them widely.

What I’m Reading

  • College athlete influencers confront security concerns (American Press)

  • Aspiring YouTube and TikTok stars turn to support roles (Wall Street Journal)

  • When it comes to the talent working on TikTok, more agencies are eyeing personal profiles (Digiday)