TikTok tests direct website links on profiles
This could be a big update for brands on TikTok.
The rising video app is reportedly looking to add a new URL field into its profile bios, which would provide a means to drive traffic back to your website direct from the app.
As you can see here, the new option, spotted by user Sam Schmir, would add a custom link to the lower section of your TikTok bio, highlighted in pink text.
Here's a look at Schmir's profile alongside a verified TikTok profile (with no link) for comparison.
As noted, the option would give brands and creators another way to drive direct traffic from their TikTok presence, which could prompt more brands to establish a presence, knowing that they can use it to link into their broader traffic goals and track such in their analytics.
The capacity to drive traffic is a key lure for brands, in that it better aligns with their wider marketing efforts. Building an audience on a specific platform can be helpful for brand awareness, but in order to fully capitalize on that growth, you need to be able to link them back to your home base.
TikTok is already testing shopping links in videos, so it makes sense that it would also provide a URL option in bios, further boosting its business appeal.
And definitely, boosting appeal is what TikTok is all about right now. The platform is reportedly spending around $3 million per day on ads in the US as it seeks to maximize brand awareness, and entice more advertisers across to its platform. If it can lure more ad dollars, it can use that to fuel growth, and establish a revenue pipeline - but while the focus on promotion may make more people more aware of the app, that doesn't mean that it'll be able to retain users in the longer term.
Indeed, a recent report from SimilarWeb showed that while TikTok is seeing a lot of hype, it's actual user base is relatively small, though it is rising quickly.
As you can see here, in comparison to Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, TikTok is still well down the list in terms of daily active users. These stats are not definitive, as they're based on Similarweb's network of resources, but TikTok itself hasn't released any official usage figures since reported that it had hit 500 million users - across both TikTok and its Chinese variant Douyin - back in 2018.
The lack of transparency around how many active users the app actually sees raises questions over retention - while TikTok is definitely seeing a lot interest, and subsequent downloads, we don't know, at this stage, how many of those users are sticking around, and/or coming back to the app regularly.
That could be why TikTok is so keen to maximize business interest - its usage levels may not be overly high, in comparative terms, but if it can get enough businesses to use its ad tools, and build a presence in the app, and see results from those efforts, the actual numbers may not matter so much. Or, usage catches up to the hype and its not a concern either way.
In this context, adding more business tools, like profile URLs, makes a lot of sense. There's no word on how widely available this option is as yet, but we'll keep you updated on any official announcements or confirmation.