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TikTok Blocks Millions of Product Listings and Seller Accounts


How TikTok Leverages Safety Measures to Advance Product Placement Strategies

In the ever-evolving era of social media platforms, TikTok has become a cornerstone for short-form video content and e-commerce. According to TikTok’s Shop Safety Review, the TikTok shop experience “empowers people to discover and buy products from their favorite creators and brands while providing brands, sellers, and creators the tools to sell products directly on the TikTok app.”

Between July and December 2023, TikTok declined 2 million seller account registrations and 37 million product listing attempts.

Image Source: TikTok

Ensuring the platform’s safety and regulatory measures, TikTok’s Safety Report states:

TikTok Shop is driven by the passion and creativity of our sellers, creators, and their communities, and we want to make sure that they have a safe and secure experience. A big part of that is building trust and being transparent about how we are enforcing our policies.

Between July and December 2023, TikTok stayed true to its commitment by declining 2 million seller account registrations and 37 million product listing attempts. These applications failed to comply with TikTok's stringent registration or listing requirements. Over this same period, TikTok onboarded and assessed more than 6 million sellers. Yet, in addition to the 37 million products that failed to meet initial listing requirements, a further 133,000 products were removed after listing for policy infringements.

TikTok deactivated over 1 million accounts.

Image Source: TikTok

Regarding policy violations, the TikTok report states that they: “take action, which could include removing their products, suspending the e-commerce features available to them, or de-activating their account.” TikTok's dedication to maintaining safety and integrity in their marketplace led to an investment exceeding 400 million US dollars in 2023. This funding supported developing and implementing tools, technology, and a workforce to enforce their policies and protect consumers and businesses.

Data from the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) indicates nearly all brand videos on TikTok feature some form of product placement. Their research shows that 90% of brand videos incorporate product placement, 26% feature an endorsement or collaboration with an influencer, and 24% feature a celebrity. Only 4% included a call to action in a move away from overt advertising.

TikTok collaborates with brands and even governments to regulate their sellers and the products they can list because of their focus on authenticity. Millennials and Gen Z were exposed to advertising in a way that created a sense of distrust and discontent, hence the rise of influencers. Influencers are meant to influence our lifestyles and purchasing habits based on trust. I will follow X because their posts reflect a lifestyle that inspires me. Therefore, any products that X promotes must be essential in achieving this lifestyle and representing their brand, and I want it too. There is a considerable element of social influence and pressure in advertising today.

Here are some examples of what marketing and product placement on TikTok can achieve:

@420doggface208♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) - Fleetwood Mac

After his car broke down, Nathan Apodaca uploaded a video with Fleetwood Mac’s song Dreams of himself skateboarding while drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice. It received so many views that Ocean Spray sales rocketed, and Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks joined TikTok. Not only did they join, but they also made their rendition of the video with a bottle of Ocean Spray. It’s safe to assume they were reimbursed for that subtle product placement. The videos brought Dreams back to the charts after 43 years, and Ocean Spray got Nathan Apodaca a new truck to replace the broken car. This is an example of a brand amplifying organic content and a trend that involved a product of theirs.

@ridge.x wait for the end for a suprise visitor #apple #tastetest #applejuice #try #viral ♬ original sound - Ridgex

Martinelli Juices is another example of amplifying a trend to place a product in compliance with TikTok’s Safety Report. Users recently noticed that biting into the brand’s apple juice bottle produced a sound just like biting into a natural apple. The #applejuicechallenge was born and amassed over 200M views on the platform, with countless users buying the product to participate in the challenge.

Another way brands can capitalize on product placement on TikTok is by allowing consumers to play or participate with the products. For example, branded hashtag challenges. One brand that leveraged this technique is Nivea with the #NIVEASPLASH. They started a challenge and asked users to recreate their take on the iconic face splash seen on Nivea TV commercials. The hashtag has 18.1K posts and over 110M views on TikTok.

Platform events like Nathan Apodaca's viral video featuring Fleetwood Mac's song 'Dreams' while drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice or Martinelli juices' # applejuicechallenge are testaments to the potential of organic content in influencing consumer behavior. Similarly, Nivea’s #NIVEASPLASH challenge demonstrated how engaging audiences in playful and interactive ways can lead to successful product placement.

TikTok's influence is undeniably transforming traditional product placement. Now, consumers play an active role, often purchasing products to participate in viral trends—a trend that is entirely new. As TikTok’s Safety report underscores, TikTok is more than just a social media platform; it is a safe, secure, and trusted destination for online consumers.


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