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Pinterest Launches New Ad Tools to Help Brands and Creators Tap into Product Discovery

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Pinterest Launches New Ad Tools to Help Brands and Creators Tap into Product Discovery

Pinterest is launching two new ad products designed to help brands tap into its Stories-like Idea Pins, while it’s also launching a new ‘Paid Partnership’ tagging process, which will provide another way for creators to make money from their Pin efforts.

First off, on new ad tools – Pinterest is adding a new ‘Idea Ads’ offering which, like Idea Pins, are full-screen, multi-page presentations, which include custom links.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Audiences can view a brand’s inspiring content, visit their site and follow step-by-step DIYs or demos, all within the ad.”

As you can see in these examples, Idea Ads will appear in user feeds, using Pinterest’s interest targeting tools to maximize response.

It’s essentially an Idea Pin that you can amplify with paid promotion, which will get your content in front of more users in the app.

Idea ads with paid partnership, meanwhile, provides a way for brands to promote Idea Pin content created by users.

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Pinterest Idea Ads

As you can see in these examples, the option will enable businesses to boost the reach of collaborative Pin projects, which will get your promotions in front of the creators’ audience, your audience and those you additionally pay to reach.

Idea Ads with paid partnership include a ‘Promoted by’ label below the creator name, as well as links to both the creator and partner brand’s profiles in the app.

It’s another way to establish more beneficial creative partnerships in the app, which helps brands create better content, and creators get paid for their platform expertise.

And it works. Pinterest says that brand collaborations with creators generate 38% higher brand awareness, on average, and 37% higher Pin awareness.

Which leads into the final new element – Pinterest’s also adding a new Paid Partnership Tool that will provide another pathway for creators to generate income from their Pin efforts – by simply tagging businesses in their Idea Pins.

Pinterest paid partnership tool

As explained above, the process enables creators to tag a partner brand in their Idea Pin, which then alerts the brand of the collaboration opportunity. The creator and brand then establish details of the partnership, and brands can further promote the content if they choose.

As noted, it’s another way for creators to establish revenue pathways, while also, effectively, providing a showcase opportunity for creators, with free ad examples available for their approval in the app.

It could be a good opportunity to simplify brand deals, while also opening up new considerations for promotion, via collaborators you may never have sought out.

That could also help to showcase the potential value of Pins, which many brands may still be unsure about, particularly considering the app has lost users over the past year. Pinterest benefited from the early stages of the pandemic, and the global lockdowns that pushed more people towards eCommerce for product discovery, but as things re-opened, those users drifted back to physical shopping, which saw its usage numbers decline.

But the people that do use Pinterest are increasingly engaged in shopping activity, and with 433 million monthly actives, that’s still a huge potential audience to tap into with your promotions.

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As such, these new promotional opportunities may be worth considering, as you examine the potential of the discovery focused app.

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TikTok Scales Back Live-Stream Commerce Ambitions, Which Could Be a Big Blow for the App

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TikTok Expands Test of Downvotes for Video Replies, Adds New Prompts to Highlight its Safety Tools

TikTok’s facing a significant reassessment in its business expansion plans, with the company forced to scale back its live eCommerce initiative in Europe and the US due to operational challenges and lack of consumer interest.

TikTok has been working to integrate live-stream shopping after seeing major success with the option in the Chinese version of the app. But its initial efforts in the UK have been hampered by various problems.

As reported by The Financial Times:

“TikTok had planned to launch the feature in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the first half of this year, before expanding into the US later in 2022, according to several people briefed on the matter. But the expansion plans have been dropped after the UK project failed to meet targets and influencers dropped out of the scheme, three people said.”

TikTok has since refuted some of FT’s claims, saying that the reported timeline for its commerce push is incorrect, and that it’s focused on fixing problems with its UK operation before expanding, which is still in its roadmap. But the basis – that its program is not going as smoothly as planned – is correct. 

TikTok’s UK shopping push has also faced internal problems due to conflicts over working culture and management.

Last month, reports surfaced that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance had been imposing tough conditions on its UK commerce staff, including regular 12-hour days, improbable sales targets, and questions over entitlements.

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Now, it seems like the combination of challenges has led to a new growth dilemma for the app – which once again underlines the variance between Asian and western app usage trends.

Social media and messaging apps have become a central element of day-to-day life in several Asian countries, with apps like China’s WeChat and QQ now used for everything from purchasing train tickets to paying bills, to buying groceries, banking, and everything in between.

That spells opportunity for western social media providers, with Meta, in particular, looking to use the Chinese model as a template to help it translate the popularity of WhatsApp and Messenger into even more ubiquitous, more valuable functionality, which could then make them critical connective tools in various markets, solidifying Meta’s market presence.

But for various reasons, Chinese messaging trends have never translated to other markets.

Meta’s Messenger Bots push in 2016 failed to gain traction, and after its Messenger app became ‘too cluttered’ with an ever-expanding range of functionalities, including games, shopping, Stories, and more, Meta eventually scaled back its messaging expansion plans, in favor of keeping the app aligned with its core use case.

Meta then turned to WhatsApp, and making messaging a more critical process in developing markets like India and Indonesia. That expansion is still ongoing, but the signs, at present, don’t suggest that WhatsApp will ever reach the same level of ubiquity that Chinese messaging apps have.

Which then leads to TikTok, the world-beating short-form video app, which has seen massive growth in China, leading to whole new business opportunities, and even market sectors, based on how Chinese users have adapted to in-app commerce.

The Chinese version of TikTok, called ‘Douyin’, generated $119 billion worth of product sales via live broadcasts in 2021, an 7x increase year-over-year, while the number of users engaging with eCommerce live-streams exceeded 384 million, close to half of the platform’s user base.

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Overall, the Chinese live-stream commerce sector brought in over $300 billion in 2021. For comparison, the entire US retail eCommerce market reached $767 billion last year.

Given this, you can see why TikTok would view this as a key opportunity in other markets as well – but as noted, Chinese market trends are not always a great proxy for other regions.

The decision to scale back its eCommerce ambitions is a significant blow to TikTok’s expansion plans, not only from a broader revenue perspective (and worth noting, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance recently cut staff due to ongoing revenue pressures), but also in regards to revenue share, and providing a pathway for creators to make money from their efforts in the app.

Unlike YouTube, TikTok clips are too short to add mid and pre-roll ads, which means that creators can’t simply switch on ads to make money from their content. That means that they need to organize brand partnerships to generate income, and on Douyin, in-stream commerce has become the key pathway to exactly that.

Without in-stream product integrations as an option, that will significantly limit creator earnings capacity in the app, which could eventually see them switch focus to other platforms, where they can more effectively monetize their output.

Which may not seem like a major risk, but that’s exact what killed Vine, when Vine creators called for a bigger share of the app’s revenue, then switched to Instagram and YouTube instead when Vine’s parent company Twitter refused to provide such.

Could TikTok eventually face a similar fate?

TikTok, of course, is much bigger than Vine ever was, and is still growing. But limited monetization opportunities could end up being a big challenge for the app – while it also continues to face scrutiny over its impact on youngsters, and the potential for it to be used as a surveillance tool by the Chinese Government.

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In isolation, it may not seem like a major move, scaling back its eCommerce ambitions just slightly as it reassesses the best approach. But it’s a significant shift, which will slow down TikTok’s broader expansion. And it could end up hurting the app more than you, initially, would think.

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