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Walmart, Microsoft, & TikTok sittin’ in a tree…

A Social Media Strategist’s thoughts on this weirdly brilliant tech love triangle.

On August 27th, Walmart held discussions to join Microsoft in pursuit of TikTok’s US Operations spurring immediate confusion among Twitter chats and headlines alike. But, a Walmart-Microsoft partnership makes a ton of sense for the viral video platform.

TikTok saw record growth this year, surpassing 2 billion downloads worldwide and 50M daily active users, outranking Twitter by DAU. As a result, we’re seeing a platform with widespread usership and immense untapped potential.

This summer my team and I ran our first TikTok marketing campaign and it was apparent the platform is still in its infancy despite such rapid growth. There are currently only 3 ad placements available, Sponsored Hashtag, In-feed Video, and App Opens, none of which offer advanced features like store traffic drivers, lead generation, e-commerce optimization, or in-app shopping. And with the self-serve ad platform launching only in July, it was necessary to place ads through a TikTok platform representative.

The process of working with TikTok to launch a campaign was clunky at best and caused more than a few headaches. We hit roadblock after roadblock as we (and our reps) learned about nuanced rules from parent-company Byte Dance regarding ad placements, copy restrictions, and video content policies. It was very clear that the company could use a healthy dose of standardization.

My hope is that a Walmart-Microsoft-TikTok partnership would bring order and standardization to the ad buying process, publicly available platform resources like in-depth ad policies, and perhaps most importantly, e-commerce integrations. To me, this is the untapped potential in TikTok that makes a Walmart partnership make so much sense.

With Walmart on board, the doors open up to in-app shopping in paid and organic content and e-commerce integrations that could take TikTok to the next level as a marketing tool.

As we creep up on the Trump Administration’s September 15th deadline for ByteDance to divest its US TikTok operations, I’m hopeful marketers will soon have a new platform to efficiently drive e-commerce conversion and connect with a young audience.

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