The Dispatch: TikTok Nearby Enables Digital Buys
A State of the Creator Economy update for October 2022
Two years ago, only 6% of TikTok’s users had bought anything from the platform, per Insider. This year, 28% of its users have. And the company is doubling down on its potential for social commerce: TikTok has just added a new “nearby” feature that shows users a hyper-local feed of content to consume — and things to buy. Best Fiction Audiobooks
The new Nearby feed is being tested in southeast Asia, a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch. It works similarly to TikTok’s regular algorithm-based For You page. If a user’s For You page often includes workout videos and travel tips, for example, their Nearby feed could include videos of fitness classes and flight deals in the area that they’re in.
The new feature follows similar trends in local, shoppable content set by Snap’s Snap Map, Instagram’s searchable map, and Facebook’s Marketplace — all of which are eating into Google’s domination of search. 40% of Gen Z goes to TikTok or Instagram for lunch recommendations, for instance, instead of Google.
One of the appeals of digital products is that they can be sold from anywhere to anyone. But there’s a huge market for local content. Google says that a third of all mobile searches are related to location, and two-thirds of mobile users are more likely to make purchases when the information is customized to their location.
Whether creators’ content primed to make an immediate sale — think a “how to get into UCLA” course that pops up when a Gen Z user scrolling TikTok during a campus video — or is more focused on audience-building, like restaurant reviews that show up on the Nearby feed when a user is in Chicago made by a creator who also sells Chicago trip guides, TikTok’s Nearby page represents a huge opportunity.
Here are 4 ways we expect to see creators taking advantage of the power of selling digital products to specific local markets on TikTok:
1. City guides and local discounts
Travel creators already know how many people are looking for help planning their trip. Being able to tap into people who are already on a trip and are looking for recommendations? That’s a powerful way to zoom to the very end of the sales funnel. Creators could highlight products like:
“24 hours in” city guides, customized for different locations
One-stop-shop guides with local discounts, bundled tickets, and recommendations on what tourist attractions to prioritize — and which to skip
Personalized trip planning / concierge services for people who are on a trip and want to outsource planning their next move
2. Gift guides
You’re at the mall. Or walking through any city’s shopping district. You open TikTok and see a guide on what to buy your mom for Mother’s Day, or the best souvenirs to bring home from that place, or the top holiday presents to buy locally. Wouldn’t that make your whole shopping experience easier?
3. Workouts and guided meditations
TikTok users whose For You pages already know they like getting outside are a prime audience for location-based wellness content. Think:
A guide to the best day hikes in Yosemite that shows up when someone’s near the national park
A downloadable guided meditation for the beach that pops up within a few miles of the ocean
A stair-focused workout for users near Red Rocks amphitheaterAnd more
4. Local recommendation subscriptions
What restaurants are worth your time. The best parks to catch sunset. What film festival just got to town — and how to get tickets. There are plenty of things that local audiences will want to know, and creators can combine all of the above ideas with a subscription pack that provides expert recommendations for things like:
Cute date ideas
Best-of bike routes
Local art classes
And even group meetups for people who are new to a city and want to make friends
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