Member Exclusive   //   May 18, 2022

‘TikTok can be dangerous’: Overheard at Digiday Media’s Commerce Week

Every brand and publisher is trying to figure out commerce, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

At Digiday Media’s Commerce Week — held both virtually and in New York City — business leaders from many different industries came together to talk shop. Some had solutions, others problems that needed to be fixed.

We kept our ear to the ground to hear some of the biggest pain points executives said and compiled it here. Some leaders are having difficulty implementing affiliate programs. Others are testing out new platforms like TikTok. Nearly all of them are trying to figure out best practices in a post-iOS 14 world.

Here’s what the attendees had to say.

Figuring out social shopping

“We don’t have in-app shopping set up just yet… [but] it’s not a primary focus [for us]. It’s an add-on, a nice-to-have. We do drive a good amount of traffic to our site [from social]… In a previous role [implementing in-app shopping] actually decreased the traffic we saw through our social audience.”

“[Teens] don’t have the budget to do a lot of shopping… We do know [teens] don’t like to shop on websites — [they] like to shop on apps. We know we have to be there.”

“I’m interested in live shopping, that’s the future for us.”

“We’re doing advertising on TikTok — seeing awareness and views from it. We have yet to crack that conversions part of it.”

TikTok and brand safety

“Is anybody else concerned about brand safety in [an environment like TikTok]? Live-streaming is very dangling, and I feel like brands are not really aware of how unsafe it could be as an environment. I feel like that should be a little more front of mind.”

“[On TikTok], you can go viral quickly, can get a lot of exposure quickly — but can also get bad exposure quickly.”

“We found it better to work with influencers — have them showcase our products and have them click through to our site. That has the most impact — people tend to trust those more because [TikTok] is an authentic platform.”

“TikTok can be a little dangerous… It’s a tricky landscape because it’s so new and because the regulations change so often.”

Affiliate woes

“We have been trying to crack into affiliates a bit more. One thing that we’re figuring out how to balance is we are on a handful of e-commerce retailers as well… When do we want the affiliate to drive to our site versus when do we want it to drive to one of these e-retailers?”

“When you’re able to build your site and your affiliates — and strengthen them — you’re only going to have more power… [and sales will help] support them as a retailer.”

“What I would recommend brands to be interested in is really high-quality referrals and recommendation[s] in addition to CPC and other paid opportunities. The earned media is where affiliate is really strong right now.”

Figuring out targeting with new iOS changes

“[iOS changes] have really affected audience and targeting… We have really tried to think outside the box in how do we get those audiences.”

“There is this obsession with collecting deterministic data — [but] I see it as a bit of a miss. It’s nice to have but you can spend a lot of time and energy trying to create this first-party record. Once you have it, you have to prove the value. If you don’t do that, you have no business collecting it.”

“For Pinterest, it has been hit or miss — it’s really fickle. We haven’t been able to be successful in terms of a performance-based return on ad spend level.”