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TikTok Will Now Let Users Tag Books in Their Clips, Leaning into the ‘BookTok’ Trend

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TikTok Will Now Let Users Tag Books in Their Clips, Leaning into the ‘BookTok’ Trend

TikTok is leaning into the ‘BookTok’ trend via a new partnership with Penguin Random House which will enable users to tag books within their TikTok clips.

As you can see in this explainer (posted by @KimmyBookss), there’s now a new option in the creation flow to add a link to a book, which then enables you to search for a book, by title, to connect to your clip.

Once you add a book, that link will then refer your viewers to a dedicated page with details about that title, including a brief summary, and a collection of other TikTok clips that have linked to the same, making it easy to glean further insight into the book based on what other TikTok users are saying.

As explained by TikTok:

“Users in the US and UK can now access the BookTok feature by clicking “Add Link” and searching for “Book” before posting their video. Users can tag any Penguin Random House title available in their respective country and once the video is posted, the selected title(s) will be featured above the captions.”

In addition to this, TikTok’s also giving users the option to save titles to their Favorites tab on their profile, to provide a display of all of their favorite books.

TikTok books

BookTok is one of the most popular hashtags in the app, with over 77 billion views to date, and as with all elements of popular culture, TikTok has now become a key promotional consideration for the latest titles, with TikTok discussion directly credited with boosting book sales in recent years.

As reported by Elle:

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Over the course of the pandemic, book sales have skyrocketed. According to Forbes and NPD Bookscan, the U.S. print book market is up nine percent compared to 2020. This recent spike in sales has been greatly attributed to TikTok’s reader-centric community BookTok.”

What TikTok has done for Fleetwood Mac record sales, it’s also done for many books – and as such, it makes sense for publishers to align with the app however they can to maximize discussion and engagement.

Ideally, this would become a bigger focus for TikTok, in encouraging more beneficial, positive behaviors and trends. In China, Douyin, the local version of TikTok, explicitly seeks to promote ‘positive energy’, which is in alignment with the Chinese Government’s focus on highlighting beneficial behaviors and trends amongst the youth, as opposed to ‘vulgarity’.

I would say, on TikTok, that the latter is far more popular, and it would be good to see TikTok looking to connect the dopamine rush of online engagement with more aspirational achievements like reading.

BookTok is a good example of how it can be a force of good in this respect, and this partnership is a positive step, while it also provides another promotional avenue for writers, publishers and booksellers as they look to connect with audiences in the app.

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TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery

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TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery

TikTok’s giving users more room to explain their content, and connect with interested users, with a massive expansion of its video description field.

As you can see in this notification, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, TikTok has expanded the post description field from 300 characters to 2,200 – a 730% increase in the space available to outline your clip.

As explained by TikTok:

“This allows you to express more details about your creations, describing what your videos show, giving you the opportunity to get closer to your audience, generating more engagement while becoming more searchable and better recommended by TikTok to viewers.”

The ‘searchable’ element is the key focus in this respect.

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As we reported recently, TikTok is fast becoming a key search platform for younger audiences, with Google’s VP Prabhakar Raghavan recently noting that:

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

That presents significant opportunity for TikTok, using its highly attuned, personalized, algorithmic approach to refine and showcase relevant search matches, which will increasingly relate to each users’ interests.

That’s how search already functions in the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, with many users now turning to the app for more customized discovery.

As explained by Connie Chan of Andreesen Horowitz:   

“On Douyin, which has been monetizing short-form video search for years, videos are often tagged with the names of stores and other locations, and tapping on these links takes users to in-app pages where they can take advantage of large discount coupons or special bookings.

Chan explains that by using its algorithmic advantages in understanding user behaviors, Douyin is able to highlight more relevant search matches to each user, which improves the discovery process, while also enabling people to take advantage of discounts and other offers in the app.

“Thanks to the algorithms and user behavior on Douyin, the app can push new places to a user that he or she would never have thought to search for. Short video effectively enables the continuous discovery of the best places around you, and it gets better with every swipe as the platform better understands you and your interests.

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TikTok’s now looking to tap into the same.

Last month, TikTok launched a new ‘Nearby’ content feed in testing, which displays content posted by users in your current location.

TikTok 'Nearby' feed

As it’s rolled out more broadly, that’ll enable TikTok to showcase locally relevant updates, based on the content that you engage with in your main ‘For You’ feed – which means that TikTok will be able to highlight more posts from local business, events and locations, that relate to your interests.

The added room for your descriptions will enhance this, with more opportunities for keyword matching, in order to showcase more relevant, local content, which could be a big help in highlighting relevant businesses to interested users. And if it follows the lead of Douyin, that could enable brands to offer discounts and connection options direct in-app, utilizing TikTok’s massive presence to great effect.

And with projections that TikTok will reach 1.5 billion users before the year is outthat could be a huge consideration for businesses.

It’s not there just yet, but based on where Douyin has gone with search, you can see the likely roadmap, which could make TikTok an even more important platform for local brands, directly connecting intent and interest to their offerings.

‘More searchable and better recommended’. This is the key note of focus from TikTok’s announcement, and it’s these elements that could become much bigger points of note for brands moving forward.

These are just the first steps, and it may well be worth considering how building a TikTok presence now could help you capitalize on these trends as they become more significant elements in future.



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