Making Science

TikTok expands Shopping features, and adds autocaptions to creator content

David Murphy

TikTok has expanded its TikTok Shopping features, launched as a pilot iearlier this year in partnership with Shopify. New features include first-party integration, enabling merchants to tap into a full commerce experience with the capability to upload products and manage everything from shipping to fulfilment and point of purchase. For merchants who enjoy working with their preferred third-party commerce partner, TikTok has added Square, Ecwid and PrestaShop to its platform, in addition to Shopify, which was involved in the pilot. TikTok also said it expects WIX, SHOPLINE, OpenCart, and BASE to be available soon.

Brands can highlight one or multiple products directly from an organic TikTok video, leading users to instantly-loaded product detail pages. They can also use Livee Shopping to connect directly with their community in real-time and share dynamic links to products and services at the same time.

On the ad front, Collection Ads enable brands to include custom, swipeable product cards in their In-Feed Ads, while Dynamic Showcase Ads enable brands to serve users personalised, targeted ads based on their interests.

Separately, TikTok has announced the launch of autocaptions, which will automatically generate subtitles, allowing viewers to read or listen to content. As creators make content, they can tap the autocaptions icon to automatically transcribe their speech into captions. Captions will then appear once the creator publishes their video. Creators are also able to edit the text of their captions once they're generated.

If a viewer wants to turn off captions, they can do so by opening the share panel, tapping the captions button, and setting captions to off. The feature will initially be available in English.

It add to existing accessibility features on TikTok, including an animated thumbnail that replaces animated thumbnails with static images; a creator warning that notifies creators when they produce videos with effects that could trigger photosensitive epilepsy; a photosensitivity feature allows users to skip photosensitive content, which can be harmful for people with epilepsy; and a text-to-speech feature which converts text to voice.

TikTok is working with the RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf), to get the autocaptions message out to deaf people. Rob Geany, RNID’s Team Lead for Campaigns and External Affairs, said: “At RNID, we’re here to make life fully inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss or tinnitus. We’re pleased to see TikTok rolling out auto captions, which will help make content accessible for the 1 in 6 people in the UK who have hearing loss, many of whom will be TikTok creators. We want social media to be a place where deaf people and people with hearing loss can enjoy the same content as everyone else – and have the opportunity to raise deaf awareness. It’s great that TikTok have worked with deaf creators on this feature and we hope that their feedback and ideas will continue to help increase TikTok’s accessibility.”

TikTok has also announced a couple of ad tech partnerships. It has partnered with Integral Ad Science for a brand safety solution for in-feed video ads on TikTok that is consistent with Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) categories. The pre-bid targeting solution enables advertisers to select IAS directly within TikTok’s platform to ensure their campaign runs near-verified brand safe and suitable content. The new solution uses proprietary frame-by-frame video, audio, and text classification technology that IAS specially engineered to handle a high volume of videos across global, in-feed social environments.

TikTok has also partnered with DoubleVerify to measure ad viewability, fraud and in-geo impressions. Through the partnership, joint clients will be able to access measurement data and insights through DV Pinnacle, a unified reporting and service platform, to monitor and optimize the quality of their TikTok campaigns.

DoubleVerify and TikTok are actively working to expand their viewability offering to other ad formats and will launch additional media quality solutions – providing comprehensive measurement across the platform.