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TikTok Launches New Seller University as it Looks to Expand its eCommerce Push

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As expected, TikTok is working quickly to provide more monetization options for creators, with new eCommerce and in-stream selling tools that users will eventually be able to incorporate into their profiles, videos and live-streams.

The latest development on this front, following its partnership with Shopify and its recent showcase of coming eCommerce options to advertisers, is a new education portal called TikTok Shop: Seller University, which TikTok is currently testing in Indonesia.

TikTok Seller University

As you can see here, TikTok describes the new education platform as:

“…a training hub to help you do business on TikTok. We offer a full suite of lessons on seller tools, policies and the latest updates to the shop. Start to learn and sell big!”

Users will eventually be able to sign-up to the program to sell products on TikTok in a range of ways.

If you choose to sell through your personal page, you can then display products via livestreaming or short videos, with product anchors embedded in your content. When customers view your content, they can be re-directed to the corresponding product detail page by clicking on the product anchor.”

TikTok selling

TikTok also notes that those who sign up to the program will be able to showcase their products on a second tab of their profile page.

In addition to this, the program also has an affiliate element, which will enable brands to sign-up to have prominent TikTok creators promote their offerings on the platform.

“If you choose to sell through Affiliate, you can upload your products to the Seller Center, set your promotion plans, and collaborate with TikTok influencers to promote your products.”

That also ties into TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, which provides a listing of platform influencers that brands can partner with for promotions.

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eCommerce is a key avenue for TikTok’s next evolution, with the platform working to build an eco-system that ensures its creators can make money from their on-platform efforts. If they can’t, they’ll soon realize that they can generate more income by posting their content to Instagram or YouTube instead – and if TikTok loses those top creators, it could quickly lose relevance, and audience, to the larger players.

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TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has already leaned into eCommerce with the Chinese version of TikTok, called ‘Douyin’, which now generates the majority of its revenue from in-stream shopping.

Douyin shopping

Given this, it’s little surprise to see TikTok accelerating its push into eCommerce as it eyes the next stage of growth. The platform is reportedly closing in on a billion users, and is at a key stage of development. If it can successfully implement revenue-generation tools for creators, it stands a good chance of becoming a major challenger for social media ad dollars long-term, establishing a sustainable foundation for future growth.

That, of course, does also depend on regulatory moves and possible restrictions, with some questions still swirling over the app’s future in the US. The Biden Administration has indicated that it will not pursue the previous government’s push to have TikTok sold off to an Oracle/Walmart-led consortium, but it has also noted that it may look to have the platform wholly sold into US ownership at some stage.

TikTok may still have to contend with those concerns, but in terms of its business structure, it also needs to implement eCommerce tools, and fast, to maximize its potential.

This new platform looks like another key step.

In order to sell products on TikTok, you first need to sign up for a TikTok account.

“Once you’ve signed up to TikTok, you can then join the TikTok Shop through the Seller Center. Please follow the instructions below:

  • First, sign up as a TikTok Shop seller and enter your basic information such as where you are based, your phone number, email address, and more. Please note that all fields must be completed. 
  • ​Next, enter your basic business information such as shop name, where your shop is based, warehouse address, and more. 
  • ​Complete or provide the required documents (such as your business registration information or personal information). The TikTok Shop reserves the right to verify the information that has been submitted.” 

You can’t sign up for the Seller Center as yet, but it looks to be coming very soon.

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Thanks to Matt Navarra for the heads up about the new Seller University.

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Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

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Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

I remain unconvinced that Twitter Spaces will ever become a thing, but Twitter itself seems certain that there’s major growth potential there, as evidenced by its continued push to add more elements to its Spaces offering, in order to lure more listeners across to its Spaces tab, and maximize listenership within its audio broadcasts.

This week, Twitter has rolled out another set of Spaces updates, including permanent recordings (as opposed to them deleting after 30 days), the capacity to save recordings after broadcast, and new details within the Spaces bar at the top of the app.

First off, on permanent recordings – after initially launching its Spaces recording feature to all users back in January, Twitter is now extending the life of those recordings beyond the initial 30 day period.

That’ll provide more capacity to attract listeners over the longer term, and keep your conversations alive in the app.

In addition to this, Twitter’s also adding a new listing of your recorded Spaces within your app settings menu, where you’ll be able to play each session back, delete those that you don’t want to keep, or share a recording direct from the list.

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That’ll enhance the functional value of Spaces chats, making them more podcast-like, and more of a vehicle for ongoing promotion and audience building – though it does seem to also maybe go against what made audio platforms like Clubhouse so attractive to begin with, in that they were live, in-the-moment chats that you had to be there to catch.

But podcasts is clearly more of the angle that Twitter’s now going for, based on these example screens of another new test in the back end of the app.

Twitter Spaces Stations test

As you can see in these images (shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi), Twitter’s also developing ‘Stations’ within the Spaces tab, which would incorporate podcasts into its audio stream, providing even more options for tuning into on-demand audio content within the app.

That could make Spaces recordings even more valuable, and potentially help Spaces broadcasters translate their work into a monetizable podcast process – but do Twitter users really want to tune into podcasts from the app? I mean, we have Spoitify and Apple Podcasts and various other options available.

Could Twitter really become a key hub for audio content like this?

In some ways, it seems unnecessary, but then again, the real-time nature of tweets lends itself to topical discussion, and that could make it a good hub for all of these types of discussions and content, including Spaces, Spaces recordings, podcasts, etc.

And again, that would better facilitate connection between Spaces and recorded audio. It just depends on whether Twitter users will actually come to rely on the app for their latest podcast content.

On another front, Twitter will now also enable iOS users to record a Space when the broadcast is over, even if they didn’t hit ‘Record’ during the session.

Twitter Spaces recordings

Which also means that the ‘REC’ marker would not have been present during the session, alerting participants to the fact that this was being recorded, which could be problematic for some contributors.

In some ways, it seems like Twitter didn’t offer these options initially because it thought that it wouldn’t be able to facilitate the data storage required to keep all of the many recordings in its data banks, but now, with so few people broadcasting, it’s maybe found that this won’t actually be a problem.

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A sort of ‘glass half full’ element, I guess.

Finally, Twitter’s also adding new details into the Spaces bar on Android, including additional, scrolling insights into who’s hosting, the topics being discussed, who’s shared a Tweet in the chat and more.

Twitter Spaces info

That could entice more users into the session – or at the least, bring even more attention to the Spaces bar at the top of the app by providing more, bigger info.

Though again, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Spaces is really catching on, going on the participant numbers in the Spaces stream. And while the addition of podcasts could be interesting, I don’t see Twitter becoming a key app for audio content, especially as the Clubhouse-led audio trend continues to die down.

But maybe the engagement numbers are better than it seems. I mean, you’d have to assume that they are, given Twitter’s ongoing investment in the functionality – through Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal did note last month, that the company had not hit intermediate milestones on its growth plans, based on its investment in new functionalities like Spaces, Communities and Twitter Blue.

Twitter hasn’t shared specific data, so maybe there’s more to it, and that’s why it’s so keen to push ahead with more Spaces tools. But either way, it’s giving it its best opportunity to succeed, and it’s seemingly not done yet with its Spaces development.

Will that, eventually, result in Spaces becoming a thing? Only time will tell.



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