The Rise of Community Commerce
Since the introduction of the first e-commerce platform CompuServ in 1969, then later the launch of eBay and Amazon in the 90’s, online shopping has skyrocketed in popularity. Over the last 50 years the e-commerce space has spread to the entertainment industry with the introduction of streaming services including Netflix and Hulu. Now, with access widened by online payment services such as Paypal, Apple Pay and Venmo, virtually any online platform can become a digital storefront.
The evolution of e-commerce has led to the creation of social commerce where consumers can purchase items directly from social media platforms. Historically brands have had success with paid display media tactics or other forms of traditional branded content on social commerce, but TikTok has proven a necessary pivot in this approach: community commerce.
According to TikTok, “community commerce specifically speaks to the notion of entertaining, compelling content that just happens to feature brands.” The nature of TikTok and short form video has created new consumer demand for less produced, more relatable content. While it may seem counterintuitive to put down the expensive cameras and halt engaging graphics, ads that blend into the candid style of the app have proven to excel in performance.
The reality of community commerce is that the content surrounding the product takes precedent over the actual product. Consumers, especially on Tik Tok and other short form video platforms, don’t want to be sold a product, they want to be entertained and informed. This concept of selling the benefit of the products, rather than the product itself, is not new to the advertising world and yet it remains one of the most critical marketing perspectives for TikTok ads. Offering content that has entertainment value is necessary for success on TikTok, where traditional branded content fails to resonate.