The company has briefed advertisers on a number of new features for 2021, according to several people who have seen its plans, such as a tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales.
“It’s old-school affiliate marketing,” one senior advertising executive said, adding that video makers would be able to link to any products they liked, even if they were not formally sponsored by the brand, the Financial Times reported on late Sunday.
TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, is also aiming to roll out the ability for brands to showcase catalogues of their products on the platform, the report said.
The app is also said to be rolling out “livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars.
This follows testing of the live shopping feature with Walmart announced late last year.
The tools will bring TikTok, which has already announced a partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify, further into competition with Facebook.
Last year, Facebook introduced tools on its photo-sharing app Instagram in some countries to make it easier for people to buy goods, and a digital shopping channel on its main Facebook site.
Instagram has, meanwhile, made a copy of TikTok’s scrollable video feed called Reels.