Last October, TikTok began testing a new option which enabled selected users to add Wikipedia links to their clips in order to provide more context on certain elements. Now TikTok appears to be expanding that option - user Sam Schmir has provided these screenshots of a new set of options in the 'Add Link' prompt which would enable creators to attach a link to Wikipedia, Yelp or TripAdvisor in their video post.
It's an interesting option, providing another way to add more context to a TikTok clip. From a digital marketing standpoint, it's obviously not as beneficial as adding a link back to your own website, but it could be good for UGC, with users potentially able to highlight your business via external links, which could entice TikTok viewers to visit.
TikTok has been experimenting with various linking options for some time. Last November, we got a first look at how eCommerce links might look in TikTok clips.
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
That's effectively an extension of how TikTok now generates the majority its income in Asian markets - in China, Douyin, the local version of TikTok, now facilitates a range of eCommerce options, which has helped the app become a significant platform for online shopping.
Given its success with eCommerce tools as a revenue stream, parent company ByteDance will no doubt be keen to implement the same within TikTok, so it comes as little surprise to see it experimenting with alternate link options. TikTok is also testing the option to add URLs into user profiles.
Facilitating revenue generation will be key for TikTok's long term viability - thus far, no short-form video platform has been able to provide an adequate enough revenue stream for creators in order to keep them posting over time. Vine eventually collapsed because its top creators could make more money elsewhere, with ads between clips never proving significantly effective, and other revenue-share options too limited in comparison.
As such, TikTok will need to ramp up its monetization tools quickly, in order to solidify its payment streams. If it can't, you can bet top creators will start drifting off to YouTube, Facebook and even IGTV.
And as TikTok continues to evolve, it's also reportedly testing out another interesting engagement option - comment downvoting.
As you can see in this example (also provided by Sam Schmir, and shared by Matt Navarra), the new option would replace the current heart icon and count with thumbs up and down images, and a total count on upvotes only.
That would be an interesting addition - various platforms, including Facebook, have experimented with up and downvote options to showcase the best comments, but have largely found that issues with 'brigading' (groups of users coordinating to vote down comments from people they dislike) are too significant, and the risks of negative experiences too great.
Reddit, of course, has utilized up and downvotes on comments effectively for years, so it can work, facilitating the full scope of community engagement as a means to highlight the best responses. But it's not simple - there's a range of elements that need to be taken into account, and with TikTok highly aware of the potential negative impacts users can face on its platform, it may not be the best fit.
We've asked TikTok for confirmation on both tests and we'll update if we get any further information.