Shopify Ecosystem

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace API And What It Means For Influencer Marketing

tiktok’s-creator-marketplace-api-and-what-it-means-for-influencer-marketing

TikTok has revolutionized the social media landscape for brands and creators alike. The shift to exclusively short-form video content forces a rapid evolution for brands hoping to keep up, but has also produced a fresh batch of innovative creators ripe for a new era of influencer marketing.

TikTok's Creator Marketplace

TikTok invested in its creators early and facilitated mutually beneficial brand-influencer partnerships through its Creator Marketplace. Now, with the release of TikTok’s Creator Marketplace API, partnerships with creators, brands, and other third-party entities will be streamlined even further so that all parties can capitalize on TikTok’s influencer data.  

Creator Marketplace API now available to outside developers

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace API is now available to outside developers, making it even easier for brands and agencies to work with influencers on the app. 

TikTok Creator Marketplace (TCM) was launched in 2019 and serves as the official platform for brand and creator collaborations on TikTok. The goal of TCM is to nurture brand-influencer relationships by partnering brands with high-quality content creators. 

Brands can discover more than 10,000 creators residing in the marketplace whom they can then invite into partnerships and paid campaigns. Tracking and managing those partnerships can be done easily from within the platform. 

Creators must apply or be invited to join TCM before they can be discovered on the platform. Eligibility requirements are based on factors like age, follower count, video content, and engagement. Once they are officially in TCM, they can research brand proposals within the platform and choose the partnerships that work best for them. 

Now that TikTok allows Creator Marketplace API to outside developers, partnered marketing companies can access data about audience demographics, growth trends, best performing videos, and real-time campaign reporting. That data can then be used to bolster the analytics they already provide to their customers. 

Benefits of the Creator Marketplace and the Creators to brands

TikTok creators can help brands deliver quality content using short-form video, which has exploded in popularity since the platform was first released in 2018. 

Table of Average Time Spent per Day Watching Digital Short-Video
Image via Insider Intelligence

Creators help brands achieve a level of authenticity that was difficult to reach before the age of social media. TikTok in particular elevates marketing campaigns in the following ways: 

  • User-generated content (UGC) – TikTok’s short-form videos are perfect for creating UGC, which allows marketers to leverage the authentic connection an influencer has with their following to create genuine content for their brand. That content can then be repurposed across multiple platforms.
  • Building brand trust – A relatable influencer can be one of your most valuable brand warriors. The public relations firm Edelman found in a 2020 survey that trust in the media (search engines, traditional media, and social media) has significantly declined. But roughly 53% of respondents considered “a person like themselves” to be an extremely credible source of information about a company. 
  • Reach a younger audience – TikTok has positioned itself as a marketing force, especially among the Gen Z demographic. Polling data  by 5W Public Relations found that among U.S. internet users ages 16 and older, 10.1% said they had purchased at least one product they’d seen on TikTok. Among TikTok’s primary audience (ages 16 to 21) 28.2% of respondents said they had. 

TikTok’s Creative Marketplace was designed for brands to use the platform as the powerful purchase driver it has become. TSM allows marketers to discover and manage influencers in the following ways:

  • Authenticated Data – Credible data (performance and video) is provided and maintained directly by TikTok. Data is compiled from influencers, as well as their audience. 
Snip of authenticated data info
Image via TikTok Creator Marketplace
  • Search Function – Reach out to brand-relevant creators and search for new creators based on different metrics. The search function makes it simple for brands to find similar creators that are already performing well on campaigns. 
Snip of TikTok Creator Marketplace search function
Image via TikTok Creator Marketplace
  • Creator Profile – Data-driven decision-making is improved thanks to a complete overview of creators’ profiles, their recent video, and performance over time to help decide which influencers meet your standards of success.
  • Directly Contact – Brands can reach out to creators directly though TCM and utilize various communication tools within the platform. 
Snip of TikTok creator marketplace direct contact feature
Image via TikTok Creator Marketplace

Reporting Tool – Campaign results are tracked and analyzed to see how each creator performed and determine which partnerships are most valuable. You can also see the overall number of videos each creator made, including total engagements they generated.

Snip of TikTok Creator Marketplace campaign reporting section
Image via TikTok Creator Marketplace
Snip of TikTok Creator Marketplace campaign reporting section
Image via TikTok Creator Marketplace

TikTok and influencer marketing today

TikTok has made significant investments in its content creators since launching the Creator Marketplace in 2019. Some of the most substantial changes include:

  • Creator Fund (June 2020) – Allows for grants to be given to certain creators with high engagement rates and follower count.  
  • Live Gifting (July 2021) – Enables fans to send virtual gifts to their favorite TikTok creators in real time. 
  • Creator Portal (January 2021) – Provides users with tips for producing a unique content strategy, creation essentials, and foundations for success so they can better position themselves to be accepted into the Creator Marketplace.
  • TikTok Jump (June 2021) – Creators can embed third-party-owned links or “jumps” that take viewers directly to the third-party content from their TikTok video. 

TikTok’s emphasis on high-quality content has ripened its creators for potential brand partnerships. More and more, marketers will want to look the way of the platform and its advertiser-friendly influencers, especially as the platform is expected to surpass 97 million total users in the U.S. alone over the next four years. 

Bar and line graph of TikTok users from 2021-2025
Image via Insider Intelligence

How this change will affect influencer marketing

The Creator Marketplace is proven to benefit brands looking to connect with agencies for campaigns, or marketers looking to discover and manage TikTok personalities for various campaigns. Now, with the launch of Creator Marketplace API, marketers can connect directly with TikTok influencers and tap into first-party data like audience demographics, growth trends, best-performing videos, and real-time campaign responses. 

The ultimate goal of the Creator Marketplace API is to provide tools to boost branded content and monitor campaign performance, as well as provide an increase for brands in key metrics including familiarity, affinity, purchase intent, and recommendation intent. 

What limitations there are relying on just the API

The most glaring limitation for the Creator Marketplace API is an obvious one: The tool can only be used to collect influencer data from TikTok.

While the amount of marketers using the platform for influencer marketing has increased faster than any other platform recently, Instagram and Facebook still top the list for marketers. Time will tell if TikTok is able to expand its reach to older demographics and challenge the older platforms. But for now, TikTok is still nipping at the heels of top-tier platforms for influencer marketing.  

Table showing Which Social Media Platforms Are US Marketers Planning to Use for Influencer Marketing?
Image via Insider Intelligence

To maximize the success of your influencer marketing campaigns, it’s important to have creators across multiple social media networks. And while the popularity of TikTok will increase, the limitations of only viewing TikTok metrics may not give you the whole picture of the creator’s success. 

Benefits of adding TikTok to your influencer marketing program

Because Instagram is a larger platform with millions of users with a high follower count, creators have to work harder to grow their audiences. It is more common to see IG influencers with professional photography and videography skills. TikTok requires significantly less professional experience but more originality from its creators. TikTok creators are consistently more raw and publish primarily homemade videos, which nurtures a more genuine connection with audiences that crave authenticity.

Although instagram is still the clear frontrunner in influencer marketing, TikTok is the fastest growing and has the most engagement options of any social media channel. The platform offers more than standard likes, comments, and shares. Creators can also promote a number of sharing options including, but not limited to:

  • Stitches
  • Duets
  • Creating, saving, & reusing original audio
  • Challenges

These engagement features make it easier for influencers and brands to get UGC on their sponsored posts, and that potential makes TikTok a perfect option for increasing brand awareness and nurturing audiences.

Pernod Ricard, the world’s second largest wine and spirits seller, was one brand to capitalize on a massive TikTok trend that took off early in the pandemic. 

When the brand first noticed the Dalgona whipped coffee trend on TikTok, it used social listening to discover that although the chatter wasn’t specifically about it’s Kahlua brand, many users were making boozy versions of the beverage that included the liqueur. The company then created a branded campaign around the trend and adopted the moniker “TikTok’s fave coffee.”

A @tiktok_us fave never tasted this good! Reply with a 💛 to get the recipe for our #Kahlua Dalgona Coffee. pic.twitter.com/u2zi7s81dr

— Kahlúa (@Kahlua) April 10, 2020

“Consumers see themselves as creators, more and more,” said Simon De Beauregard, the global director for Pernod Ricard. “It’s a shift for us marketers because we aren’t the only ones creating amazing content anymore. We have to accept that in some way and inspire it however we can.”

Ultimately, there’s a reason that every other major social media channel (Instagram Reels, Snapchat Spotlight, YouTube Shorts) now offers the vertical-view, short-form video option – and that reason is TikTok. Users are consuming and creating content rapidly, and creative brands are successfully leveraging the channel to inspire consumer shopping.

The benefits of using a creator management platform

An effective creator management platform offers all the same features that come with TikTok’s Creator Marketplace API. It should also have TikTok support, including functionality, to help with all aspects of influencer marketing like recruitment, communication, management, agreements, payments, and analytics. 

But a high-level creator management platform simply cannot exist without access to all major social media channels. This access makes it easier for marketers to take content to where their audience lives and execute comprehensive influencer marketing campaigns across multiple platforms. Analytics from TIkTok can be viewed and measured side-by-side with other social media channels to decide which approaches work best for your brand. Creator management platforms can also help to organize creators across each channel and help brands better communicate with influencers and iterate campaigns that have proven to be most effective. 

GRIN was the first influencer marketing software to integrate TikTok into its platform in April 2020. The integration added to a roughly 36 million-influencer database that already included creators from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. Visit our site to see if GRIN’s Creator Management Platform is right for your brand. 

Conclusion

TikTok’s API gives influencer marketers an easier way to connect with influencers and creators, but it still doesn’t do everything the GRIN influencer marketing platform offers.

While TikTok has become one of the most important channels for brands to establish a presence, an influencer marketing strategy that encompasses multiple channels, and can reach into multiple demographics and more diverse audiences ultimately gives brands the best ROI on their influencer marketing campaigns. 

Special thanks to our friends at Grin.co for their insights on this topic.