TikTok has named Publicis Groupe its first commerce agency partner as the app builds out a focus on what it calls Community Commerce, per an announcement.
The global agreement gives the agency group's clients access to special perks, including the ability to test upcoming commerce products and creative solutions. Brands working with Publicis can also participate in a new multi-week incubator program called "Community Commerce Sprint" that is timed for the holiday shopping season.
Additionally, clients will play a "seminal" role in fielding data-driven insights that are supported by WARC research and intended to inform future TikTok commerce strategies. The extensive tie-up comes as the short-form video app becomes a significant cultural trendsetter, embodied in a popular #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag.
TikTok takes another step in becoming a more formidable shopping platform with the new Publicis partnership. The ad holding group is one of the largest in the world, meaning it could create a fresh pipeline of blue-chip brands to the video-sharing app. Publicis has recently made other moves to deepen its expertise in commerce and retail media. Last month, it acquired CitrusAd, a platform that helps brands optimize their marketing performance on e-commerce sites.
For Publicis clients, the TikTok agreement offers educational resources and special access to products and capabilities that could make it easier to stand out on the increasingly crowded platform. The "Community Commerce Sprint" incubator program will serve as a test for the key holiday period, providing participants cross-functional support and best practices from dedicated TikTok teams, according to the announcement. Online shopping has exploded since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers look to avoid crowded stores and digital heavyweights, such as Google and Facebook, court more merchants.
TikTok continues to position itself around the concept of Community Commerce, in which its creators play an important role in bridging the gap between product discovery and purchases. The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has generated more than 3.5 billion views to date, TikTok said. Companies like Maybelline, Aerie and Zara have experienced the phenomenon, seeing certain products quickly sell out after they picked up traction with TikTok's typically young — but increasingly expansive — user base. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance, recently became the first non-Facebook mobile app to surpass 3 billion global downloads, according to Sensor Tower estimates.
"TikTok charged into the world of entertainment virtually overnight, but its role in evolving consumer shopping patterns, and creating instant groundswell, is what's caught our attention," said Helen Lin, chief digital officer of Publicis Groupe, in a press statement. "Incredible opportunities exist at the intersection of content and commerce, especially when endorsed with a sense of community and authenticity that grows organically on TikTok."
The video platform has deepened its ties to the agency world as it reaches new levels of maturity and angles to create a bigger competitive threat to rivals like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. In February, TikTok linked with WPP on a global partnership that grants the agency holding group early access to the latest advertising products and mobile innovations. IPG Mediabrands, the media arm of agency giant Interpublic Group (IPG), struck a three-year deal in April that gives clients more collaborative opportunities with creators, including through quarterly "Creator Camps" where brands can hear feedback and strategic advice on campaigns.
These deals could help to fortify agencies as they receive fresh momentum amid a patchwork reopening. IPG, Publicis and Omnicom all reported strong organic revenue gains in the second quarter in a sign that client demand is returning after the category experienced decimating pullbacks last year. Commerce-related services are one of the biggest-ticket items on the agency agenda as brands scramble for help in making the jump to digital sales channels.