Can TikTok be used for affiliate marketing?

Hetty Korsten
More from Affiliate & Partner Marketing Strategies

As the fastest-growing social platform, TikTok brings many marketing opportunities. But can it be used for affiliate marketing? Read on to find out what marketing opportunities TikTok brings and how to use TikTok to get affiliate referrals. 

TikTok, what’s the hype about? 

The TikTok platform allows users to create and showcase videos. Video creators on the app post funny, entertaining videos that provide viewers with a smile on their faces. 

In 2021, TikTok had over 650 million downloads, beating Instagram (550 million downloads) and Facebook (416 million downloads). Making TikTok the most downloaded app in 2021 in the US and worldwide. 

TikTok started in China, where it gained its initial popularity. In 2017 the app entered markets outside China. It currently has more than 1 billion users (January 2022). Enough reason to explore TikTok for its marketing opportunities!

How is TikTok different?

Compared to YouTube, TikTok only allows short-form video content of up to 60 seconds. This means that TikTok isn’t the best choice for creating complex content and in-depth product reviews. Clips need to be to the point, easy to understand, and engaging. 

The right audience on TikTok

So what kind of audience does TikTok serve? Let’s look at the most popular content categories.

Hashtags in the category  “entertainment” are by far the most used. Right behind this in popularity, we find the category “dance*. This is no surprise, as TikTok is known for its short dance clips with engaging music. 

Other well-performing categories are “pranks”, “fitness”, and “home DIY”. A lower amount of content can be found for “fashion”, “recipes”, and “pets. 

One thing is clear— most people come to TikTok to have a good laugh, be entertained, or watch some cool hacks. 

TikTok’s audience consists mostly of people between 15 to 25. So if your main focus is on this age group and your niche is one of these categories, TikTok could be a great option to expand your affiliate activities. 

TikTok affiliate marketing—how to make it work

The TikTok algorithm works on regularity, so you want to post engaging videos to increase your reach and popularity consistently.

Instead of creating a new trend, analyze what is currently popular on the platform. Find the trends that match your niche, remember your target audience, and create content on the subject.

Also, interact and comment on relevant content from other creators in your niche. This will increase your reach and strengthen your opportunities. 

Once you build a TikTok audience, you can urge them to follow you on other (monetized platforms) such as YouTube. 

TikTok Affiliate Marketing

You can do affiliate marketing on TikTok through organic content or paid advertising. 

TikTok is experimenting with enabling different ways of advertising. For now, the demand and supply of content on TikTok are not in balance. There is more need for new content to serve its users than video creators that can provide content. 

This creates an opportunity for organic content to drive traffic to your business. It also creates an opportunity for TikTok to fill the gap with paid content by advertisers. 

As new beta advertisement models are tested and evaluated, we might want to hop on board and try marketing on TikTok. But for now, paid advertising seems only an option in certain countries. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper into organic content vs. paid advertising on TikTok. 

Organic content for affiliate marketing on Tiktok

Adding affiliate links on TikTok

TikTok keeps changing its policy on adding links to videos. For now, you can add a link to your bio. Not all TikTok accounts can place affiliate links— you need to make sure to convert your normal personal account into a business account. 

On your business account, you have a field to enter your website information. Here you can lead your audience to your website or page, after which you show your audience your affiliate offer.

Besides a link in your bio, you can also add a link in your content description. Or add a social link to your profile. This can be a link to your YouTube channel or Instagram account. 

After adding your social profiles, you can urge people in your videos to subscribe and follow you. This method will increase your audience on various platforms, and you can then direct them to content that includes affiliate links. 

Promote coupon codes

A great way to promote your affiliate offers on TikTok is by sharing your promo code in your videos. Ask your affiliate program manager to generate a personal discount code for your audience and share the code in TikTok videos. Make sure the code is easy to spell and pronounce. The code should be linked to your affiliate ID for affiliate tracking. 

This works best if you create a video to show how great or innovative the product is that you are promoting. After sharing the discount code, your viewers might go to the product’s website and use your discount code. Linking you up with the commission for the sale.

Paid advertising for affiliate marketing on TikTok

TikTok’s paid advertising policy is still being established, and the options can vary from country to country. 

In general, TikTok allows the following paid advertising options:

Top view ads
Top view ads are videos that start playing when somebody launches the TikTok app. The video is found in the video browsing section.  

Hashtag challenges
Videos with specific hashtags are popular and motivate users to create more content on a particular topic. As an advertiser, you can create paid videos that promote the use of a hashtag.

Branded lenses
Content creators on TikTok can use special filters on their videos. These filters can contain brand-specific information. These brand lenses, also called effect filters, can be compared with filters seen on Snapchat and are fun and motivating to use. 

Brand takeover
A brand takeover ad is an ad that takes over the entire screen in the TikTok app. It is considered the most invasive ad type on TikTok.

Prices for paid advertising
Prices for TikTok advertisements are between 10 dollars per 1000 views and 100 dollars for a brand takeover video. The prices are subject to change and depend on the total advertising package you purchase.

More pricing information has recently been released, indicating that TikTok will be one of the more expensive platforms for paid advertising. So if you are an affiliate marketer on a budget, you might want to consider a different platform to advertise on. 

Should I include TikTok in my affiliate marketing business?

Whether or not TikTok fits your affiliate marketing business highly depends on:

  • Your niche
    TikTok’s young audience suits lifestyle, fashion, and consumer products. B2B products, real estate, and home improvement are examples of affiliate niches that probably won’t do well on the platform. 
  • Mobile optimization
    Since TikTok is a mobile app, your content and landing pages should be 100% mobile optimized. 
  • Willingness to be flexible and adapt
    Being an early advertiser on TikTok means you have to be ready to be flexible. The app can change policies and advertisement options, which comes with time, investment and flexibility. 
  • Your affiliate program
    Speak with your affiliate program manager about the possibilities to run paid ads on TikTok and read your affiliate agreement. Since TikTok is a new platform, it’s good to know your limitations for advertisement.

TikTok offers lots of opportunities, and affiliate marketers that decide to take their marketing efforts to TikTok have a chance of making good profits. 

If you’re looking for more ways to optimize social media for affiliate marketing, check this article on How to boost your affiliate sales with Youtube.

Or read our best tips for growing your affiliate business in our article: Expert Affiliate Marketing Strategies to boost your affiliate conversions.

About Hetty Korsten

Hetty Korsten

Hetty Korsten is a Partner Marketing Manager at Supermetrics. She has worked for fast-growing SaaS startups in Copenhagen and Helsinki. Currently, she’s growing the in-house partner program at Supermetrics. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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