TikTok for Business launches in Australia, as Instagram expands its e-commerce tool

TikTok

TikTok sets its sights on Australian expansion.

Viral video platform TikTok is launching a new TikTok for Business feature, supposedly helping brands and businesses engage with prospective millennial and Gen-Z consumers.

The social media sensation calls the new offering a ‘global brand platform’, which will offer access to its current and future marketing products.

Such is the power of the platform that those that do it well could have users recreating their campaigns themselves, a statement said.

TikTok is building a suite of engagement measurement tools, and also launching an effect that allows users to engage with a brand via augmented reality.

In a blog post on the release Katie Puris, TikTok’s managing director of global business marketing, said a platform like this offered the opportunity for businesses to create “content that speaks to people”.

“Brands have taken notice that being yourself is good for business, and we aim to continue providing a platform so they can build a meaningful presence,” she said.

In a statement, Brett Armstrong, general manager for global business solutions at TikTok Australia, said the product was intended to help businesses “engage their communities in innovative ways and build brand affinity where it matters”.

Earlier this month, TikTok announced the opening of its Australian office, and the appointment of former YouTube executive Lee Hunter as Australian general manager, as well as the appointment of former Googler Armstrong.

As of February, there were about 1.6 million Aussies using the platform — and that was before COVID-19 lockdowns inspired a swathe of politician parodies and living-room dance challenges.

“Over the past few months, TikTok has been an important source of fun and positivity for users around the world, and we’ve seen more and more Aussie brands tap into opportunities on TikTok to channel creativity, spread joy and connect with new audiences,” Armstrong said.

The move comes as Instagram updates the eligibility requirements for its Instagram ‘Shops’ marketplace tool. In a statement earlier this week, the Facebook-owned platform announced it was opening its e-commerce tool to include more small businesses, and to include creatives.

“Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merch or a food blogger expanding into your own cookware line, any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product can use shopping tags to drive people to their website to make a purchase,” a statement said.

Back in November, Instagram released its Reels feature, allowing users to make 15-second video clips set to music, seemingly as a direct answer to TikTok. Originally trialled in Brazil, this week that function was rolled out further to France and Germany.

In another copycat move, YouTube has also reportedly started testing a TikTok-esque 15-second video feature, as it tries to catch up with its more relevant new competitor.

In 2019, TikTok parent ByteDance generated some $25 billion in revenue, while YouTube trailed with revenues of $22.2 billion.

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