TikTok Tests Ecommerce Waters With Branded ‘Small Gestures’ Program

By 04/28/2020
TikTok Tests Ecommerce Waters With Branded ‘Small Gestures’ Program

TikTok is testing the ecommerce waters.

The shortform video app has launched a new feature called Small Gestures, which allows users to send one another free gifts from companies that have partnered with TikTok. Small Gestures are free for users to send, but there is a limit: each person can only send three gifts total.

“During this continued period of social distancing, finding ways to connect with loved ones near and far is becoming increasingly hard to do,” the company wrote in a post about the feature. “In an effort to give back and spark joy throughout the TikTok community and beyond, we’ve come together with our brand partners to launch Small Gestures.”

The feature lets TikTokers select gifts from brands like Adobe, DoorDash, and Talkspace to send to fellow users. Gifts range from extended free trial periods to coupons for a specific amount off an order to free copies of video games. (You can see all the gifts on offer below.)

To send a Small Gesture, a TikTok user has to look up ‘Small Gestures’ in their Discover Page. Doing so will bring up usual search results, but also pop up a new purple banner. Users can click through the banner to see all the offers currently available for gifting.

Ramping up TikTok Rewards

While Small Gestures is being pitched as a temporary feature meant to drive goodwill during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one curious thing about that search results banner: alongside the words ‘Small Gestures’ is a logo for ‘TikTok Rewards,’ a program the app launched in July of last year.

TikTok Rewards is a referral program that assigns users a code, and awards them points if a new user joins with that code. It’s not exactly clear how many points users get for referrals, but some users have reported getting 500 points per signup. These points can then be redeemed for gift cards to popular stores; for example, it’s 1,000 points for a $5 Uber gift card, 2,000 points for a $10 Starbucks gift card, and 3,000 points for a $15 AMC Theaters card.

The connection between Small Gestures and TikTok Rewards isn’t exactly clear. However, Chinese sister app Douyin has set up a reward system for users who get folks to buy a product or sign up for a trial service from one of TikTok’s brand partners. This practice–called “social shopping”–is huge on Douyin and other Asian apps, and helped drive a significant chunk of the $122.9 million the app brought in last year (compared to TikTok’s $54 million).

However TikTok plans to use the data gathered from Small Gestures, it is undoubtedly probing the vast realm of ecommerce. Currently, the majority of TikTok’s revenue comes from ad sales and brand partnerships, through which companies can reportedly do things like pay $150,000 to promote a hashtag and $50,000 to place an autoplay ad users will see when they log in. But, as we’ve noted before, despite companies like Chipotle driving billions of views by hooking up with TikTok, other marketers may still be leery because TikTok apparently doesn’t offer robust campaign performance metrics. Perhaps Small Gestures could be helpful there, too, as brands will see exactly how many people are joining offers from TikTok.

Here, courtesy of TikTok’s post, are all the Small Gestures gifts currently available:

  • Adobe Premiere Rush is an easy-to-use, all-in-one video editing app built for online video creators. Know someone looking to level up their TikTok game? Now you can share the gift of creativity with a free 90-day subscription to Premiere Rush!
  • Alo Moves specializes in on-demand yoga, fitness, and mindfulness for home and on the go. Gift your favorite yogi with a free 30-day trial to test drive the Alo Moves classes for themselves.
  • The Bouqs Co. is a flower delivery service specializing in eco-friendly farm-fresh flower arrangements and plant delivery nationwide. Know someone who’d love to put together their own beautiful bouquet? Send them $30 off their purchase!
  • DoorDash, the on-demand food delivery platform, is offering a 1-month free DashPass subscription for the foodies in your life.
  • Essie, one of the most recognizable names in nail polish, has been the go-to nail color choice for millions of fabulous women for over 30 years. Now, they’re giving users a free ‘Speed Setter Top Coat’ to pair with their favorite Essie shade.
  • Fitplan offers elite personal training for a fraction of the price, and now you can give the gift of a personal trainer to the fitness enthusiast in your life by sending them a free 90-day trial of the Fitplan platform.
  • Fluent Forever, the revolutionary language-fluency app, is offering a 60-day free subscription for your friends or family who are looking to learn a new language.
  • NYX Professional Makeup is a global cosmetics brand that offers an array of special-occasion makeup, every day basics and on-trend shades. They’re giving users $5 towards the purchase of NYX makeup!
  • Pandora, the streaming service, is offering a 90-day trial subscription for those who find joy in streaming endless hours of their favorite music and podcasts.
  • REBBL, one of the leading natural beverage brands in the U.S., is offering a code for 15% off online to try their popular coconut-milk-based beverages.
  • Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of inspiring classes for creative and curious people. Now you can give the creative and curious people in your life a 2-month Premium Membership for unlimited access to Skillshare.
  • Square Enix is the video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known best for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises. On behalf of Square Enix Montreal, they are providing a limited offering of Lara Croft GO, Hitman GO and Deus EX GO free to your friends and family.
  • Talkspace offers online and mobile therapy sessions wherever and whenever you need it, and now you can give the gift of online therapy with a $120 credit to Talkspace.