TikTok Is Going Local

Edition #33

Good morning! The days of kids wanting to become doctors, professional athletes, or teachers might be behind us. A new study from High Visibility reports that 1 in 4 Gen Zers wants to be a social media influencer. With the growing attention on the creator economy and more colleges and universities adding courses on the ins and outs of being an influencer, this looks to only increase.

Today’s Edition:

  • TikTok tests a Nearby feed to display local content

  • Walmart looks to be launching a creator marketplace

  • TikTok reinforces ban on paid political advertising

TikTok Tests A Nearby Tab To Display Local Content To Users

TikTok is currently testing a new Nearby feed that displays local content. In addition, it is expanding tests to allow creators to tag locations in their videos.

TikTok's algorithm is second to none. After just a few minutes of scrolling, it knows what type of content you want. Location-based discovery would allow videos to be more personalized and relevant to users, while also enabling them to take action in person.

On the FYP, you might see various videos of creators reviewing restaurants worldwide, but on Nearby, you'll find creators reviewing restaurants in your area -- where you can actually go and eat.

There's also a chance TikTok will add a searchable map experience too, similar to Snap Maps and Instagram's Maps, allowing users to search for and discover content based on specific locations.

In addition to users being able to find localized content, local businesses and advertisers will also benefit. The ability to serve content to location-based audiences will enable them to reach the most relevant audiences, whether they're sharing brand creative or partnering with creators on sponsored content.

The potential ability to run geo-targeted ad campaigns on Nearby would also help them hone in on their target audience and help TikTok expand its advertising business.

It's been fascinating to see how social media platforms have evolved and become more than a source of entertainment. They are now a great resource for finding things to do, places to eat, and sights to see.

Google already expressed concerns about how TikTok and Instagram are eating into its search and discovery business, those concerns are poised to grow stronger.

Walmart May Be Launching A Creator Marketplace

Walmart may launch a creator marketplace soon.

It recently filed trademarks for Walmart Creator and Walmart Creator Collective, which will provide social media consulting and “the promotion of goods and services of others through influencers.”

Walmart has yet to confirm this, but something will likely come to fruition. Walmart is quite active in the influencer marketing world, often running shopper and employee ambassador programs (fun fact: some of the first influencer marketing campaigns I ever ran were for Walmart). It also has been one of the early adopters in the U.S. with creator-led live shopping, having partnered with TikTok, Twitter, Talkshoplive, and other platforms.

Plus, Walmart already has a marketplace for its advertising business in Walmart Connect, where third-party sellers can purchase ads, showing a willingness to invest in these types of platforms.

Launching its own creator marketplace would allow Walmart to have more control over its influencer marketing initiatives and scale it even more. By creating a central location for creators and third-party sellers, Walmart would have more insight into its influencer marketing business across the company. It also could be able to scale it even more by opening creators of all sizes, especially when it comes to affiliates.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts Walmart's influencer agency and platform partners. Will this take away business from them? Or will this supplement what Walmart is already outsourcing to them?

As Shopify recently proved, everyone is looking to get a piece of the $16.4 billion influencer marketing industry.

Twitch Removes Exclusivity Agreement To Allow Partners To Stream On Rival Platforms

Creators that are part of Twitch’s Partner Program can now stream on other platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

The streaming platform notified creators this week that it was lifting its exclusivity agreement that had long been in place and prevented them from going live on competitor platforms.

While creators can use other platforms, they still aren't able to simulcast on web-based experiences, meaning they can't simultaneously stream across YouTube and Facebook. However, Twitch says simulcasting on short-form, mobile experiences like TikTok and Instagram Live is allowed.

Twitch says it initially stopped creators from streaming elsewhere because it thought it was important for them to focus solely on Twitch to build their communities.

With the exclusivity clause lifted, creators now have the freedom and flexibility to leverage other streaming experiences to connect and engage with audiences. Twitch is the go-to platform for most streamers, but going live on other platforms can help introduce creators to new audiences and take advantage of other monetization tools. On the Twitch side, this may prevent them from losing their biggest creators to more flexible deals with competitors.

Twitch’s move represents a shift in creators moving away from solely focusing on one platform. Because platforms can change at any point, from their moderation policies to algorithms, creators building a presence across multiple platforms helps protect them from being at the liberty of any one platform.

TikTok Reinforces Ban On Political Paid Advertising, Including Sponsored Content From Creators

With the midterm elections around the corner, TikTok recently outlined the measures it’s taking to help protect the integrity of the election.

These measures include:

  • A new in-app Election Center featuring official updates and information about the midterms

  • New labels to identify content related to elections and accounts belonging to governments, politicians, and political parties

  • Third-party fact-checking organizations to help assess the accuracy of content

But, a big area of focus for TikTok is making it known that it doesn’t allow paid political advertising, including sponsored content from creators. Due to some of the mishaps around misinformation during the 2020 election, TikTok is heavily emphasizing creator education.

Over the coming weeks, it will educate creators about their responsibilities to abide by Community Guidelines, advertising policies, and FTC guidelines. Along with publishing educational resources across its website and the Creator Portal, it will host briefings with creators and partnered agencies on rules around paid content for the elections. It’s also committed to promptly removing any paid political content it discovers.

Despite political advertising being banned since 2019, that hasn’t stopped it from happening when it comes to creators. In 2020, there was an influx of political organizations and parties engaging creators to promote running politicians and their causes, including pro-Joe Biden organizations to more conservative groups.

While TikTok may fare better this time due to its proactive policies and learnings from the last election, it will have its hands full this coming cycle.

First, moderating video content is a lot harder than text, so it may take TikTok longer to be able to identify sponsored political content. Second, there are a lot of loopholes when it comes to branded political content. As long as creators abide by Community Guidelines, they can share political content organically, opening up the door for creators to still push messages on behalf of parties and organizations without officially receiving payments.

It's just the beginning for creators and politics.

Pinterest Launches Hosted Checkouts To Streamline In-App Purchasing

Pinterest launched Hosted Checkout, enabling Pinterest users to discover and shop products in-app.

Before, when users clicked on a Product Pin, Pinterest would redirect them to the retailer's website, where they would need to add products to the cart, enter their payment and shipping information, and more.

Now, when users click on a Product Pin with Hosted Checkout enabled, they can select the specific product they want, such as the colors and sizing. They can then tap Buy to add their payment and shipping information and then complete the order, all without ever having to leave Pinterest.

Brands using Hosted Checkout will receive all customer and order information. This allows them to own more of the customer relationship. Also, Product Pins with the feature are distributed across various surfaces on Pinterest, including the Home Feed and Search, enabling them to be discovered throughout Pinterest experiences.

In a beta study, Pinterest found that shoppers were more likely to make a purchase via the Hosted Checkout experience than those who do not encounter the Hosted Checkout experience.

At launch, brands that are in the Pinterest Verified Merchant Program and sell their products through Shopify on Pinterest are eligible.

The new feature removes the friction that comes with users having to take multiple steps to purchase a product they discover on Pinterest. With users able to do everything within the Pinterest app, there is a higher chance that they will follow through with their purchase as opposed to dropping off due to being redirected elsewhere.

An overall simplified shopping experience will help drive more conversions for retailers.

What I’m Reading

  • iOS privacy changes mean less paid ads, more influencer marketing (Marketing Brew)

  • ‘Brands are already changing their strategies’: Experts weigh in on TikTok influencer marketing spend (Digiday)

  • Gen Z and the rise of influencer culture (Higher Visibility)

  • How beauty is leveraging Shopify’s new influencer platform (Glossy)

  • To get in on #RushTok, Tarte sent products to 30,000 sorority hopefuls (Glossy)