TikTokSource: TechCrunch

What you need to know

  • TikTok is experimenting with ways to commercialize its platform in the U.S.
  • Users can now add links to e-commerce sites to their profile bio.
  • URLs can also send viewers quickly to shopping websites straight from videos.

A report suggests that TikTok is beginning to experiment with ways to monetize its platform, which has over a billion users.

As reported by TechCrunch, some users are now being given the option to add a URL to their bio. Whilst this could be to any website, it can, of course, include e-commerce sites, which would allow users to direct people who view their profiles to those sites, opening up the possibility of using affiliate links in-app.

As you can see from the Tweet above, not only has TikTok introduced URLs to bios, but now when watching a video, a quick swipe will take you directly to an e-commerce URL.

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As TechCrunch notes:

In the video, we also see TikTok is permitting users to add a URL in their profile bio. Instagram has long allowed this functionality, which is used by a large number of accounts for a variety of reasons. While influencers usually direct their fans to merchandise stores, some news publishers use it to drive people to news articles, for instance. The current set of restrictions on Instagram, however, leave a lot to be desired.

If TikTok, which has amassed over a billion users, retains these features, it could disrupt what many industry figures call "social commerce." Social media companies and messaging apps in recent years have lured customers through their core services and introduced shopping features.

TikTok has confirmed that these two features have been rolled out as part of "experimentation" to try and improve the app experience for its users, as spokesperson said:

"We're always experimenting with new ways to improve the app experience for our users. Ultimately, we're focused on ways to inspire creativity, bring joy, and add value for our community."

It seems that the features have only been rolled out for testing in the U.S. at this stage. If they were to become permanent features, it would make TikTok potentially one of the most attractive social commerce destinations for both content creators and viewers.

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