Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
TikTok has more than a billion users on its platform, and it appears the company is now experimenting with ways for it and its users to monetize their audiences on the app. Recently, TikTok has begun a limited test of a feature that lets users add links to their bios and posts, which can direct audiences to products or services. Judging by a video of the service in action posted by Fabian Bern, a marketer, it looks like audiences can purchase products featured in videos directly from the videos themselves.
Influencers make their money from their audiences, and TikTok making that process more seamless almost certainly means those power users are going to see — and use — the service differently. Currently, the only way to make money on TikTok is to do brand deals off-platform.
BREAKING: TikTok launches ‘link in bio’ & ‘social commerce URLS’ in videos @MattNavarra @TaylorLorenz @sarahintampa @TechCrunch @thenextweb @techinasia #tiktok pic.twitter.com/HczzHOHCNf— Fabian Bern 法比安 (@iamfabianbern) November 14, 2019
Right now the most direct comparison is Instagram. That app, which is owned by Facebook, currently allows users to purchase products featured in influencers’ posts and stories; it also is the originator of the phrase “link in bio,” which — well, you know what it means.
That TikTok is getting into the game is an important signal for its ambitions, at least in the US, where this test has been rolling out. If it becomes super easy to make money on TikTok, we’ll see more creators flocking toward the site. Which is a good thing. Because Vine is dead.