On TikTok, users are spending more and more money on influencers

More and more users are sending money to content creators on TikTok via the ‘virtual gifts’ option. — AFP Relaxnews

TikTok users seem to be more than generous. With the ability to send money in the form of gifts to influencers, TikTokers users no longer hesitate to put their hands in their wallets. And according to one report, they spent over US$250mil (RM1.16bil) in the third quarter of the year.

This impressive figure hails from the latest report by The Information about spending on TikTok in the third quarter of 2023. According to the data collected, users of the Chinese social network readily paid out money to influencers by sending them virtual gifts. They even spent over US$250mil (RM1.16bil) on virtual gifts for influencers during various live events.

On the social platform, users can purchase virtual currency, which they can then offer as virtual gifts to content creators during livestreams. Once a certain amount has been reached, influencers can then withdraw their earnings. According to The Information, this trend is on the rise, which could prompt the Chinese giant to develop more sales features directly on the app.

A sign for potential growth in social network shopping?

Yet this finding is not surprising. While users in Europe have found it harder to adopt shopping on social networks, unlike in China, they have totally succumbed to the boom in livestreams, where creators interact with users in real time.

Whether it was the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, followed live, or the protests in Paris, millions of TikTok users were glued to their smartphone screens, turning the social network into a new kind of TV. Many of these users sent virtual gifts – in other words, money – to the accounts of the streamers, both content creators and media outlets.

This spending generated a great deal of criticism, with the focus on influencers taking advantage of the naivety of young users on the platform to extract money from them.

The opportunity presented by livestreaming has been put to use by the likes of NPC streamers and the creator Pinkydoll. It has an evident financial interest for content creators, the platform itself and associated brands.

Despite the lack of interest in shopping on social networks in Europe, TikTok has not given up on these sales tools. A project enabling users to order food on the app is underway, and has already been deployed on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. – AFP Relaxnews

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