As the affiliate marketing channel continues to grow one of the latest trends is the expansion of affiliate programs built natively into eCommerce shopping platforms, marketplaces and social networks.  TikTok recently joined this trend in 2023 with the rollout of a TikTok affiliate program built directly into the platform. This coincided closely with the rolled out TikTok Shops where brands could create storefronts directly on TikTok and users could remain in-app to make a purchase.

TikTok Affiliate Program for Sellers

Brands have begun launching their TikTok Affiliate programs and creators are now generating on-platform commissions from the promotion of those products within their content. Not only is this advantageous for brands and creators but the combination of product promotion by creators and TikTok shops has created a seamless discovery and purchasing experience for users.

What is a TikTok affiliate program?

TikTok affiliate marketing is a partnership program between a TikTok Seller (brand) and a TikTok Creator (affiliate), in which the Seller pays the TikTok Creator a commission based on the sales generated from the creator’s content. The TikTok creator promotes the brand’s products or services via posts, stories, or live streams with a custom promotional link that contains their own unique tracking code, allowing them to track the commissions they are earning for each sale.

So, how can your brand get started with a TikTok affiliate program?

First, you need to set up a TikTok shop through your brand’s business account. The process is straight forward and there are plenty of integration apps available to pull your products directly into TikTok from your eCommerce store.

Once your store is set up, you can begin launching your TikTok affiliate program. There are 3 options for your program and you can choose to use one, two or all three. See the options below:

1. Shop Plan – Your entire product catalog will be available in the Product Marketplace to creators to select and promote.
2. Open Plan – Only products you select will be available to creators to promote and you can select different commissions levels on those products. You can also manage sending free product samples to creators through this option.
3. Targeted Plan – You receive the same options as the Open Plan but you can send affiliate program invitations directly to Creators’ inboxes. Once they accept, they can add products to their content with one click.

TikTok Affiliate Program for Brands

With the Target Plan option, TikTok has created a Creator search area that will help you find affiliates based on different criteria, such as: the Creator’s main category, number of followers, audience age, audience gender, etc.

Overall, the process to launch a TikTok affiliate program is easy and can be accomplished fairly quickly. But, here’s where it gets a bit tricky. There are a lot of details that can be overlooked, and optimizations missed when navigating through the set up. For instance, you need to set up a competitive commission based on similar affiliate programs so that your program is attractive to Creators. And, your product’s details and descriptions need to be optimized so that Creators can find and easily promote your products. There are numerous other nuances to properly launching these programs that can be easily overlooked if it’s not something you do every day.

Along with the program setup, and as it is with all affiliate programs, the real results come from properly and consistently identifying, recruiting, engaging and supporting the Creators you want to partner with. Just like traditional (direct-to-website) affiliate programs, you can’t just launch a program and expect Creators to flock to it. Nor can you send out a slew of program invitations and expect those Creators to take immediate action – or any action. An affiliate program takes dedicated time, expertise and relationships to be successful. If managed properly though, affiliate programs are by far the highest performing ROI programs across any marketing channel.

If you’d like help launching and managing your affiliate program or want to chat through the benefits of an affiliate program, feel free to reach out.