While TikTok continues to grow, it still remains at risk of losing its top creators to other, more established platforms if it’s not able to provide adequate monetization tools and options.
Both YouTube and Facebook provide more ways for creators to make money, and while TikTok now has the audience, its advertising system is not up to the same stage to compete on this front, which will become a bigger problem over time, if that gap can’t be addressed.
Key to this will be eCommerce options, and establishing more direct connection between creators and monetization opportunities. TikTok has already taken steps on this front, via its initial integrations with Shopify and Walmart. And now, according to a new report from The Financial Times, the platform’s looking to add some new tools to facilitate more eCommerce opportunity, and maximize its revenue options on this front.
As per FT, TikTok has briefed advertisers on three new eCommerce integrations coming soon to the app:
- A tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales
- The ability for brands to showcase catalogs of their products on the platform
- “Livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars
All of these tools have been in testing, or live development, for some time – though not all in the US market.
The first option has been a key element in the monetization of the Chinese version of TikTok, called Douyin, which now generates the majority of its income from in-app commerce (as opposed to ads).
The new process will simplify such listings, and formalize the link/commission process, which will make it easier to facilitate partnerships with top creators – and crucially, provide an immediate, direct way for users to monetize their on-platform efforts.
The new catalogs option would provide another presentation advancement on this front, likely via an added tab on selected profiles and video clips, linking through to an in-app showcase of sorts.
Which could look similar to the last innovation – live-stream shopping – which TikTok tested with Walmart back in December.
As you can see in this example, posted by Turner Novak, TikTok’s live-stream shopping experience adds a product overlay on the video playback, which can be expanded to see more products that viewers can immediately buy in-stream.
As noted, given the need to ensure that its creators can make money, in order to stop them drifting off to other, more lucrative platforms, and the established path for eCommerce already in place within Douyin, its little surprise to see TikTok looking to follow a similar path, and you can expect to see these innovations coming sooner rather than later as a result.
Despite the app’s ongoing growth, last year was hugely disruptive for TikTok, with the ban in India, the almost ban in the US, and various other challenges, outside of the over-arching pandemic. Those additional challenges likely slowed the development of its monetization options, but as noted, in order to keep its big stars posting, it needs to ensure that they can generate similar income to what they’d be able to on other platforms, or it risks losing a massive chunk of its audience very quickly.
That’s what happened to Vine, and TikTok is well aware of that failure. As such, it needs these options to be added soon to further its ongoing growth.
Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem
Shervin Hajipour’s song “Baraye” draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life – Copyright Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)/AFP –
Even though he has been silenced, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour’s impassioned song in support of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in custody remains an unofficial anthem of the movement.
The song “Baraye” notched up 40 million views on Instagram before it was deleted when Hajipour was arrested, but he has since been freed on bail and has distanced himself from politics, likely as a condition for his release.
Baraye, the Persian word “For” or “Because”, is composed of tweets about the protests and highlights longings people have for things lacking in sanctions-hit Iran, where many complain of hardship caused by economic mismanagement.
It also draws on everyday activities that have landed people in trouble with the authorities in the Islamic republic.
“For the sake of dancing in the streets; Because of the fear felt while kissing; For my sister, your sister, your sisters,” the song’s lyrics say.
“Because of the embarrassment of an empty pocket; Because we are longing for a normal life… Because of this polluted air.”
Baraye has been heard played loudly at night from apartment blocks in Iran to show support for protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16, after the notorious morality police arrested her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.
It was also sung with gusto by the Iranian diaspora at rallies in more than 150 cities around the world at the weekend.
In one clip shared by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, a group of schoolgirls without headscarves is seen singing Baraye in class with their backs to the camera.
The tune was removed from Hajipour’s Instagram account shortly after his arrest but is still widely available on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.
– ‘Because of forced Instagram stories’ –
Hajipour’s lawyer Majid Kaveh said he was released on bail at noon on Tuesday.
The reformist Shargh newspaper said his family had been informed of his arrest in the northern city of Sari on Saturday, in a report that cited his sister Kamand Hajipour.
She had said in an Instagram post that her parents had been informed of his arrest in a call from the city’s intelligence ministry offices.
Shortly after his release, Hajipour was back on Instagram, but this time to apologise and distance himself from politics.
“I’m here to say I’m okay,” he told his 1.9 million followers on the platform.
“But I’m sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran — which I have had no relations with — made some improper political uses of this song.
“I would not swap this (country) for anywhere else and I will stay for my homeland, my flag, my people, and I will sing.
“I don’t want to be a plaything for those who do not think of me, you or this country,” he added.
In response to his post, many on Twitter suggested the line “Because of forced Instagram stories” should be added to the lyrics of the song.
Human rights groups including Article 19 have repeatedly called on Iran to end its use of forced confessions, which they say are false and extracted under duress or even torture.
In one recent case, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.
She was held by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.
Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem
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