Walmart Leans Into Social Commerce With Its New Creator Platform

Edition #39

Do you remember when non-fungible tokens (NFTs) first gained popularity? You couldn't avoid finding an article, a Tweet, or a LinkedIn post about them. Venture capitalists frequently announced their latest investments in NFTs.

We seem to be on the verge of that with artificial intelligence (AI) content generators. In last week's newsletter, I explored how AI-powered text-to-image and video generators will disrupt the creator economy. It will have a bigger impact than just helping people create videos and photos. From full-length articles to podcasts, AI generators can produce them all.

In just the last week, Adobe announced new AI-powered features across its suite of apps. Reports also surfaced that OpenAI may receive more funding from Microsoft, foreshadowing what will come in the next six months to a year. Platforms of all types will be launching AI-powered features and tools to increase productivity and creativity. Creators of all levels and VCs will be looking at AI generators as the next growth hack and cash grab.

Today’s Edition:

  • Walmart announces its new creator platform

  • Visa helps creators access money faster

  • TikTok increases the minimum age for live streaming

Walmart Launches Its Creator Platform In Beta

In August, reports surfaced that Walmart filed trademarks for Walmart Creator and Walmart Creator Collective, hinting that it was launching a creator platform. Fast forward to now, Walmart announced the beta launch of Walmart Creator, its brand-new creator platform.

How Walmart Creator Works

Creators who sign up will have access to tens of thousands of products, including recommended products based on their interests and affinities. They can grab affiliate links for the products to share across social media and other digital experiences and earn 5% to 16% commissions on sales that they drive with no cap. Creators can also track and view performance in the platform’s analytics dashboard to see how audiences engage with their product links.

There is the ability for creators to be discovered by Walmart's community of brands, apply for upcoming brand campaigns, and receive invites to private Walmart invites. Plus, there is an education component, as creators can learn best practices and tips and tricks from top creators across different categories, including the Walmart Creator Collective, a group of creators the company is launching the platform with.

The Power Of Social Commerce

Walmart's investment in its own creator platform illustrates its belief in the power of social commerce and its role in the future of its business, including its battle with Amazon, which has a creator program of its own.

Walmart has been one of the most active companies in influencer marketing, often running hundreds, even thousands of programs a year with brand and agency partners. Now, Walmart Creator brings its creator initiatives to a centralized location with the potential for massive scale.

With an affiliate marketing structure at the core and the ability for anyone to sign up, from creators that are already monetizing their work to those just getting started, Walmart can turn its millions of customers into always-on brand advocates. Having its own ecosystem of creators enables the retailer to be able to activate and deploy creators on an ongoing basis to support initiatives and tentpole moments throughout the years, including back-to-school, holiday shopping, and Walmart+ Day.

In a time when third-party cookies are becoming extinct and audience targeting via paid media is more difficult, creators are a way for brands like Walmart to reach the right audiences in the places they spend time and in a way that resonates. By combining creators, content, and commerce, Walmart can accelerate the move between inspiration to purchase for consumers.

Expect More Brand Creator Platforms

Retail giants like Walmart and Amazon aren’t the only companies investing in their creator platforms. Earlier this year, Shopify launched Shopify Collabs, and this week, buy now, pay later company Klarna launched the Klarna Creator platform. Both are focused on helping merchants connect with creators to drive lower-funnel actions.

As creators continue to prove to be one of the most powerful customer acquisition channels, companies will invest more in creator platforms to leverage their power systematically and creatively. In the coming year, expect to see more of these creator platforms, especially those that democratize being a creator and let everyone be an active member of the creator economy.

Visa Launches The Visa Ready Creator Commerce Program To Help Creators Access Money Faster

Visa announced the launch of the Visa Ready Creator Commerce program, a new global initiative to support creator businesses powered by the Visa Direct business-to-business payment system.

A Network of Creator Payout Solutions

The card giant is teaming up with card-processing start-up Marqeta, link-in-bio tool Linktree, e-commerce provider SamCart, and accounting service company Rutter for the program.

Through these partnerships, Visa is building a network of creator payout solutions that can integrate into creator-centric platforms like social commerce and video gaming companies to support instant payouts, tipping, and donations. Some of the notable benefits include:

  • Creator payments in thirty minutes or less

  • Tipping globally with Visa cards

  • The ability for creator platforms to launch Visa cards for creators

Helping Creators & Their Businesses Grow Faster

With creators often having unconventional income streams, they require flexible solutions that enable them to receive and transfer money faster, from paying operating expenses to investing more into their businesses.

With Visa cards, creators can now move quickly and take advantage of growth opportunities such as advertising (e.g., putting paid behind a viral video to fuel it even more) and partnerships or even paying for ad-hoc expenses.

According to a survey Visa conducted with creators, 68% say that waiting for earnings can slow down their momentum, showing that initiatives like these help creators and their businesses grow faster by not being bound by traditional processes.

Market Leaders Take Notice

This is not only another significant step for Visa into the creator economy, but also another example of market leaders across industries launching new business models or expanding existing ones to serve creators – the new generation of business owners.

Earlier this year, TurboTax took a similar route with the 'Do Your Own Thing' campaign aimed at supporting creators, gamers, crypto enthusiasts, and more with tax services.

TikTok Updates Live Streaming With New Creator Tools & Policies

TikTok announced new product updates and policies for TikTok LIVE, its live streaming experiences for creators and brands.

What’s New

  • Multi Guest: Hosts can go live with up to five other people using a grid or panel layout.

  • Tools: Hosts have access to new settings, including the ability to flip the camera, add effects and stickers, filter comments, and add and assign moderators.

  • Higher Age Minimum: Currently, users that are 16 can host a live stream. However, beginning November 23rd, TikTok is increasing the minimum age required to 18 years old for users to host a LIVE.

  • Adult-Only Live Streams: Creators will soon be able to target adults only for their live streams through a new option. As opposed to allowing OnlyFans type of content, this is for creators whose content is better suited for those who are 18+, such as a comedy routine.

  • Safety Reminders: An updated version of the platform's safety reminders tool will be rolled out, which notifies hosts of keyword suggestions to add to their filter list.

An Upgraded & Safer Experience

TikTok provides an upgraded experience for LIVE.

First, creators get new ways to entertain, interact and engage. In the same way that Instagram’s Live Rooms and Twitch’s Guest Star allow groups of people to go live together, Multi Guest facilitates collaboration. In addition to providing a format for various kinds of live streams, the feature can make it easier for creators to go live. For new live streamers, going live with other creators or their viewers may be more comfortable than going live on their own.

The higher age minimum, adult-only streams, and safety tools help create a safer environment for creators and viewers. Making it a requirement that creators are at least 18 years old will help cut down on the young people that may not be ready to go live. The tools provide creators with measurements to help ensure that their live streams are only being watched by the appropriate audience and empower creators with ways to cut down on harassment through AI.

Building For Live Shopping

These updates come amid news about TikTok launching a new live shopping experience this year in the U.S. While these updates don’t directly tie to live shopping, they are essential to building a foundation for live experiences. It will be creators who drive these, whether simply connecting with their fans in real-time or promoting products and services for brands, so giving them new features and tools can help increase the adoption in TikTok LIVE.

On The Blog

  • YouTube expands Audio Ads to help advertisers reach engaged podcast listeners.

  • Pinterest announces a new partnership with music publishers to give creators access to popular music to add to their Idea Pins.

  • Meta expands the Branded Content Tool to Facebook Reels to enable creators to easily disclose sponsored Reels and allow brands to convert their content into ads.

What I’m Reading

  • Why social media companies moderate users' posts (Axios)

  • Why audio will never capture the hearts of social media users (Protocol)

  • TikTok's secret plans for an online shopping empire in the U.S. (Semafor)