How To Grow Your Affiliate Program On TikTok Shop

June 24, 2024

As TikTok Shop continues to grow in popularity, not just as an entertainment platform, but as a tool for driving ecommerce sales, brands will be left at a disadvantage if they don’t leverage its affiliate program. But scaling an affiliate program on TikTok Shop involves more than just enlisting lots of creators; it requires broad reach and targeted collaborations. 

This balanced approach ensures that products gain widespread visibility and are promoted with genuine enthusiasm.

Starting early with a well-structured affiliate program can provide a competitive edge. This article discusses how to set up your TikTok affiliate program with strategies for collaborating with and training your affiliate partners, including practical tips for monitoring performance, making data-driven optimizations, and scaling your TikTok affiliate program. 

By following these guidelines, brands can effectively harness the power of TikTok Shop and stay ahead of the competition.

Affiliate Program Structure

As your brand scales its affiliate program on TikTok Shop, leveraging both open and targeted collaboration plans can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

Open Collaboration

Open collaboration plans are all about inclusivity and reach. By allowing all interested affiliates to discover and promote your products, you create an inclusive environment that attracts a wide array of affiliates, from micro-influencers to established content creators, giving your program a diverse pool of promoters who can reach different audience segments. It’s best to remove the approval wall so any creator can participate in your open plan.

The key advantage of open collaboration is the low barrier to entry for affiliates. Offering free samples or streamlining the application process can encourage more creators to join your program and start promoting your products without extensive initial investment. 

The more affiliates promoting your products, the greater the potential reach.

Targeted Collaboration

On the other hand, targeted collaboration focuses on selecting specific creators who closely align with your brand values and audience. By choosing creators who resonate with your target market, you ensure that your products are promoted by creators whose endorsements are both authentic and credible. 

This can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates, as their followers are more likely to trust and act on their recommendations.

Targeted collaboration emphasizes quality over quantity. It involves investing time in identifying and recruiting creators who have significant influence within your niche. 

Building long-term relationships with selected creators can lead to the consistent promotion of your products from a creator who has a deeper understanding of your brand, resulting in more cohesive and impactful campaigns.

Balanced Collaboration

A balanced strategy combining open and targeted collaboration plans allows you to benefit from the broad reach of open collaboration while maintaining the depth and authenticity of targeted partnerships. 

This dual approach ensures that your products are widely visible and promoted with genuine enthusiasm. Being flexible and adaptive in adjusting the balance between open and targeted collaborations based on performance data and evolving market trends can help you maximize the effectiveness of your affiliate program over time.

Affiliate Discovery and Recruitment

Recruiting high-quality TikTok creators requires strategic planning and continuous effort. Here are the most effective strategies for discovering and recruiting creators into your affiliate program:

Attracting Affiliates

  • Engage Your Existing Network: Start by tapping into affiliates who already work with your brand. These creators are familiar with your products and have an established audience that trusts their recommendations.
  • Incentivize with Competitive Pricing: Offer a revenue share option through a commission-based model (a commission rate of around 30% is recommended). While many affiliates create content for a flat fee, providing them with a revenue share opportunity can significantly increase their earnings potential and, therefore, their motivation to generate sales, which can attract better affiliates. Additionally, offering creators one-time flat fees in addition to the commission offering can improve acceptance rates and the quality of your content.
  • Free Samples for Creators: Offer your products as free samples to approved creators. Those active in affiliate marketing are constantly searching for products to feature, and this can help increase their monthly Gross Merchandise Value (GMV).
  • Amplify Their Content with Ad Spend: Let creators know that you plan to Use Spark Codes to boost their content with ad spend, increasing their reach and enhancing their earning potential. This additional exposure can be a compelling incentive for affiliates to join your program to boost their own visibility while boosting the visibility of your products. Creators are often willing to partner with sellers at a lower commission rate if the seller agrees to amplify their content with ad spend.
  • Showcase Performance Data: Use data to convince affiliates of the benefits. For instance, TikTok Shop often generates up to 30 times higher conversion rates (CVRs) than driving traffic to a website. Presenting these statistics can be a powerful motivator.

Recruiting Strategies

Utilize various channels to discover and recruit new affiliates. This multifaceted approach ensures a broader reach and increases the likelihood of finding effective promoters.

  • Target Collaboration Plan: Send out a high volume of targeted invites featuring available products. In the initial stages, be generous with commission rates to differentiate your program from others. Engage with creators who show interest by responding quickly with a Target Invitation.
  • Volume Over Relevancy: Focus on reaching a large number of creators rather than just highly relevant ones. Some of the most successful content comes from creators with moderate follower counts but high engagement and viewership. Virality is often more critical than sheer numbers. Top sellers on TikTok Shop are flooding the feed.
  • High Volume Invitations: Aim to send at least 4,000 invites monthly, maintaining an acceptance rate above 3%. This volume strategy increases your chances of discovering creators with high potential for viral content.
  • Email Invitations: Direct communication through email can be more effective than direct messages (DMs) on social platforms. Top creators often have DMs flooded with invitations. Emails allow for more personalized interactions and room for negotiation on rates and commissions.

Other recruitment tactics that have proven effective are partnering with agencies to tap into their pools of affiliates and doing cross-platform recruitment by identifying top creators on other social platforms and encouraging them to join TikTok Shop.

Managing & Collaborating with Affiliates

Engage Actively: Maintain regular communication with your affiliates through the Cooperation Chat feature. Daily messaging helps build a strong relationship and shows affiliates that you care about their experience. Start by sending a Sample Approval message along with notes to help guide their content creation.

Send Reminders and Updates: Regularly remind affiliates about key milestones, such as when a product is shipped, when content is pending, and when Spark Codes are needed to boost videos. 

Community Building: Establishing a strong community is essential for growing an affiliate program on TikTok. It fosters a sense of belonging, collaboration, and mutual support among affiliates. Organizing in-person events such as Creator Socials can be particularly effective, as they provide opportunities to connect with creators, put your products directly in their hands, and address any questions they might have.

Promote Persistence: Encourage affiliates to create multiple videos for the same product. It’s common for the first video to not perform as expected. Communicate with affiliates through direct messages, urging them to make several attempts to improve their chances of generating orders. Sharing success stories of top creators who have seen results from multiple videos can be motivating.

Comprehensive, Flexible Briefs: When affiliates express interest in your products, send detailed product briefs highlighting the key features and selling points. This not only helps them understand the product better but also equips them with the necessary information to create compelling content.

That said, creators have built their success by understanding and engaging with their audience. While it’s important to ensure brand alignment, give creators the flexibility to present your products in a way that fits their unique style. 

Trusting their expertise allows them to produce content that resonates authentically with their followers. Avoid overly scripted content that can come off as inauthentic and cause viewers to scroll past. 

Foster Loyalty: Focus on building long-term relationships with your affiliates rather than short-term gains. Loyal affiliates are more likely to consistently promote your products and provide valuable feedback. Engage with them regularly, celebrate their successes, and address any concerns promptly.

Monitor and Optimize: Regularly review the performance of your affiliates and provide constructive feedback that respects the creator’s style. If adjustments are needed, suggest minor tweaks rather than overhauling all of the content. 

Don’t forget to recognize and reward top performers to motivate them further. By identifying and responding to what works and what doesn’t, you can continuously optimize your affiliate program.

Affiliate Training and Support Best Practices

Effective training and support are crucial for maximizing the potential of your TikTok Shop affiliates. Providing comprehensive guidance and resources lets brands empower their affiliates to create high-quality content that drives sales and engagement. Here are the key strategies for training and supporting your TikTok Shop affiliates:

Flooding the Feed: The TikTok algorithm favors frequent and consistent posting. Encourage your affiliates to create and post multiple short, engaging videos regularly. Top creators with high gross merchandise value (GMV) often produce up to 10 videos in two weeks for a single product.

Engage with Comments: Affiliates should actively engage with comments on their videos, directing users to the shop link to boost sales. 

Set a Content Schedule: Advise affiliates to establish a consistent posting schedule that they can comfortably maintain, whether it’s three days a week, every other day, or daily. 

Leverage Other Social Media Platforms: Providing links to the affiliate’s TikTok profile on other forms of social media can help their existing audience migrate to the new platform, enhancing visibility and engagement.

Align Content Categories: Affiliates should post content on TikTok that is similar to what they share on other platforms so their audience finds familiar and relevant content.

Hook the Audience Quickly: Affiliates should focus on creating compelling hooks in the first 2-3 seconds of a video to prevent viewers from scrolling away. This could be an intriguing question, a bold statement, or an eye-catching visual.

Utilize Trending Elements: Encourage the use of trending sounds, music, filters, and general trends. Affiliates should also experiment with new tools and features that TikTok releases, as early adoption often leads to favorable treatment by the algorithm.

Avoid Dead Air: Affiliates should treat TikTok like a radio show, where dead air can lead to losing viewer attention. If there is a pause, it should serve a clear purpose, such as comedic effect or emphasis.

Adjust Existing Video Formats: When repurposing content from other platforms like YouTube, affiliates should edit videos to fit TikTok’s format. This includes shortening videos to focus on the most interesting parts, ensuring vertical orientation, and avoiding placing text in the bottom third of the screen, where the description might block it.

Add Subtitles: Subtitles are essential as many viewers prefer or need to watch videos without sound. Adding subtitles ensures that the content is accessible and engaging, increasing watch time and retention.

Performance Tracking and Analytics

To maximize the success of an affiliate program on TikTok Shop, it’s crucial for brands to track and analyze affiliate performance effectively. This ongoing process helps in identifying what works, making informed decisions, and continually optimizing the program. 

TikTok Shop’s Seller Center has introduced an improved creator analytics dashboard that offers comprehensive insights into affiliate performance. Key features include:

  • Core Data Metrics: The dashboard provides a detailed roll-up of vital performance indicators, including:
    • Affiliate GMV: Total gross merchandise value generated by affiliates.
    • Affiliate LIVE GMV: Gross merchandise value from live streams.
    • Affiliate Shoppable Video GMV: Gross merchandise value from shoppable videos.
    • Estimated Commission: Projected commission payouts based on sales.
    • Products Sold: Total number of products sold through affiliates.
    • Products Returned: Number of products returned, helping gauge customer satisfaction and product quality.
  • Ranking Scoreboards: These rank both affiliates and their top-performing videos, offering insights into who and what is driving the most sales. 
  • Customizable Date Range: While the dashboard provides detailed metrics, it currently limits data to a 28-day view at a time. Brands should regularly export data to maintain long-term performance records for comprehensive analysis.

Advanced TikTok Shop Affiliate Scaling Strategies

Scaling an affiliate program on TikTok Shop hinges on leveraging volume and strategic partnerships. Initially, it’s essential to maximize reach through TikTok’s affiliate channels (TTAC), but once these resources are fully tapped, expanding by collaborating with agencies that have established networks of trusted affiliates is a great next step. Although this approach requires a higher initial investment, it significantly enhances fulfillment rates and video quality, ensuring that your marketing efforts are both widespread and impactful.

Maintaining a balanced approach—combining broad, inclusive affiliate recruitment with targeted, high-quality collaborations—will be key. This strategy not only ensures extensive visibility but also fosters genuine, trustworthy endorsements. 

Ultimately, as affiliate marketing continues to mature, those brands that prioritize a holistic, adaptable strategy will be best positioned to capitalize on new opportunities and grow their TikTok Shop Affiliate program.

About the Author: Hailey Branham is a Director of Client Partnerships at adQuadrant with 10+ years of digital marketing and advertising experience. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication Studies before starting her career at a SaaS company, building and executing paid social media strategies for clients like, Target, Caterpillar, National Instruments, Aramark and more. From there, she worked as an Agency Partner Manager at Meta, where she partnered with best-in-class agencies across the country, adQuadrant being one of them. She joined the adQuadrant team in 2019 and has spent the last 5 years helping ambitious DTC brands unlock their potential and achieve profitable growth at scale. In 2021, Hailey was awarded the Amazing Women in eCommerce Award, which spotlights the impressive women pushing the eCommerce industry forward. A native Texan, she’s a lover of sunshine, hot sauce, and margaritas, and can always be found traveling, hiking, or spoiling her dogs.

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