E177: Dave Morrissey & Liam Phillips

Is TikTok Shop A Must-Have Sales Channel For eCommerce Businesses?

Dave Morrissey & Liam Phillips black and white headshot image

eCom@One Listen on Spotify

Podcast Overview

You bought it, didn’t you? 

You know what we are talking about. 

That viral fill a banana gadget you saw on TikTok. It’s an addiction. And you’re not alone.

From heatless curls to water bottles to mop slippers. You can literally buy anything on TikTok Shop. Thousands of people are getting influenced by what they see online. TikTok is changing buying habits and this can’t be ignored. 

But, does selling on TikTok cheapen your brand? Listen to this podcast to find out. 

eCom@One Presents:

Dave Morrissey & Liam Phillips

TikTok is changing buying habits and this can’t be ignored

In this episode, Rowan Payne chats to Dave Morrissey (Head of Lifestyle Retail and eCommerce at TikTok) and Liam Phillips (Head of Partnerships at TikTok Shop). They talk about how businesses are using one of the fastest growing platforms in the UK right now to grow their revenue online. 

They head straight into how TikTok is quickly becoming a master at end to end shopping experiences, how businesses can leverage human to human connection to increase their return on investment, and why TikTok Shop and Ads are quickly becoming a match made in heaven. 

TiKTok is revolutionising the relationship between creators, brands and consumers. Find out how this social media channel is shifting to a shopping hub and what that means for you. There is ample opportunity for eCommerce brands to leverage consumer behaviour changes to be successful on TikTok. 

Sit back and listen as Dave and Liam share valuable insights to help you grow your business.

Topics Covered

00:40 – Their responsibilities at TikTok

06:14 – The evolution of TikTok’s perception since breaking into UK market

09:36 – TikTok’s user experience and eCommerce improvements. Learning from different markets.

10:34 – TikTok Shop allows creators to pin products. It builds trust and brand awareness for eCommerce companies

15:57 – TikTok breaks down the screen-viewer barrier, facilitates purchases, unique experiences, and handles payment gateways

22:24 – Discussion on the importance of the real people element in marketing, using various platforms and creators for better results

24:12 – How the US and China shops differ from the UK

27:31 – Shops target specific niches for better results

31:51 – Content needs to be entertaining for viral success

37:32 – The history of visual perception 

38:56 – Discussing the impact of diverse reading, fashion trends, and influence on social media algorithms from historical context

42:38 – Book recommendations 

Rowan Payne [00:00:04]:
Hi. I'm Rowan Payne, and welcome to today's episode of eCom@One. Not your usual host, unfortunately, you're stuck with me. Today is the 177th episode with TikTok All Stars. In this episode, we speak to Dave Morrissey, head of lifestyle, retail, and eCommerce at TikTok ads and Liam Phillips, the head of partnerships at TikTok shop. We're gonna be talking about how businesses are using one of the fastest growing platforms in the UK right now to grow their revenue online. With David and Liam, we're heading into how TikTok is quickly becoming a master at end to end shopping experiences, how businesses can leverage human to human connection to increase their return on investment, and why TikTok shop and ads are quickly becoming a match made in heaven. That and so much more in this episode.

Rowan Payne [00:00:51]:
Now without further ado, let's head into the fantastic episode. Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today, Liam and Dave. Where I would love to get is just an idea of how you arrived in the role that you're currently in. I've heard some really interesting stories about how TikTok as a business has changed over the last few years. So starting with you, Liam, how did you find yourselves as the, head of partnerships at TikTok?

Liam Phillips [00:01:17]:
Gosh. Depends on how long we have. I think just just just because it is so random. I mean, I I first got a stumble across kind of TikTok or or Bytedance, our parent's company in in China. I lived in China for 10 years, prior to the launches of TikTok shop, and, again, completely around it. Originally went to the Mandarin classical Chinese, and I did medieval Chinese poetry, which you wouldn't think would lead you, to to TikTok. I follow my interests and follow my passions. That's one one reason I like to bring it up because people think you know you have to do a certain degree to get a certain career on evidence that that's not necessarily the case.

Liam Phillips [00:01:51]:
But, yeah, then then kind of during my time after that in China, various things fell into digital media, but ecommerce specifically there and worked for, a partner of Douyin, again, part of a parent eCom, Bydance, and then was part of the think tank for the launch of TikTok shop here in the UK because I was in a relatively unusual position of speaking Chinese, understand how it works in China, but British and think could potentially understand how it works here. And then I worked for a partner agency of the platform, and so kind of worked very closely with TikTok eCom the from the launch. And then they pulled me in house to manage our partners, hopefully, bringing a valuable insight having seen it on sort of both sides externally and internally. Manny, here we are.

Rowan Payne [00:02:36]:
Wow. So it's been a it's been a bit of a roller coaster for me, from ancient Chinese poetry to the most cutting edge form of media possible. I guess that there are quite a lot of parallels that you find no matter where where you are in the history of of written communication, people still talk in the same way. In terms of yourself, Dave sorry. Go ahead, Liam.

Liam Phillips [00:02:58]:
No. No. No. I'll let Dave introduce us how I was. I'll just be chatting my throat. I'm kind

Dave Morrissey [00:03:03]:
of intrigued by all that. My, career journey no. I don't like to work career. I tried my adventure in working life. Started actually in the music industry back in Ireland, and, which kinda makes sense coming to this world of being an entertainment app, so there's a synergy there. I went to the work with a startup in London, worked with the, still like that, about a year, year and a half. Then I joined Facebook, so called Facebook. I was there for 6 years working on the eCommerce team within Facebook.

Dave Morrissey [00:03:35]:
So working with a lot of brands like their Lego, Veri, Gymshark, Huel. So you need

Liam Phillips [00:03:40]:
to come back to e eCommerce. You come back to TikTok shop, the e commerce experience. Well, what? I've got a new year for you. We're we're ads

Dave Morrissey [00:03:48]:
of commerce meet. Mhmm. And, yeah, Zebra 6, you're scaling brands like those. And then I went to a creative AI, partner called Bimob for 2 years working with all the other platforms. So I kinda unfacebooked myself a bit.

Rowan Payne [00:04:07]:

Dave Morrissey [00:04:08]:
Which is good. And then I joined TikTok. I'm actually sexually with 2 year anniversary.

Liam Phillips [00:04:12]:
So now it's Langston and left class. And, 10 years, TikTok.

Dave Morrissey [00:04:15]:
Yeah. I have his hissed. I'm exhausted, but excited. And, yeah, I've been here 2 years now, so I head up to Lifestyle, go visit solutions teams. We work with a lot of brands to help scale them both on their marketing to their website, but also in tube shops. So bringing all the worlds in together, and, yeah, working a lot of our team work with a lot of, beauty, athleisure, and home and garment brands. Yeah. That's that's my adventure to date.

Liam Phillips [00:04:49]:

Rowan Payne [00:04:50]:
Wow. That's quite a quite a range of different niches that you find yourselves in. Personally, from an account manager's point of view, I work on everything from home and luxury goods to eCommerce, items and and apparel. You know, it's really interesting to to find different niches and how those niches affect the way that we we market products. So you've been working now at TikTok, both of you, for over a is it over 2 years for yourself, Dave?

Dave Morrissey [00:05:19]:
Yeah. Just 2 years today. Literally 2 years today.

Rowan Payne [00:05:21]:
2 years. 2 years. Congratulations. Wow. What is that? Cheap?

Dave Morrissey [00:05:26]:
Yeah. To be able to say, that's, like, 10 years in a normal copy. That's given the yeah. That looks to speeds and scale or upbringing as here is, never cemented like us. Particularly exciting to work with brands. They're going with the excitement as well. We're not just going to helping brands convert to websites or convert to shops as well. This whole new sales channel and entertainment channel all at once.

Dave Morrissey [00:05:52]:
So yeah. Amazing 2 years. Here's to 2 more at least.

Rowan Payne [00:05:57]:
Mhmm. And, yeah, I can imagine. And in terms of how things have changed in those 2 years, are there any standout moments that you think really indicated a a a leveling up in terms of how TikTok as a as a platform can help businesses?

Liam Phillips [00:06:11]:
I think,

Dave Morrissey [00:06:14]:
it's the perception of the platform has changed substantially. When I joined people still thought it was a platform for dancing teenagers. Other than that, it was a platform where just young people resides, not yep. Not older demographics, and it was just a channel for brands not for performance. I think in the last 2 years that's changed statuary. The Dads and Teenagers thing is is actually an even older image that's probably 4 years old now. It's a platform where you have every sort of niche, community, subculture, broad culture, all, playing, entertaining, educating in the platform. There's something there for everyone, literally.

Dave Morrissey [00:07:00]:
So that's that's where I think it's it's called a mainstream channel for, everyone to find something that's interesting to them. The brand performance has been quite interesting. It was very much a brand channel, but we've done a lot of work on bringing in tracking signals, and that conversion algorithms really start to move now. So, marketers can come and guess, hit the right metrics, but it can also convert, at the bottom of the funnel. And that's been really exciting. We can be a solution for everything. And even more exciting then when they actually see what happens when they bring shops into play because person sees an ad in the for you feeds and converts, goes to checkout on shop. So that experience just from the user, I think it's shown them to be, oh, this is actually a place for shopping daily as well.

Dave Morrissey [00:07:49]:
So I think it's that there's an interesting evolution from the entertainment to the shopping piece as well. So in 2 years, very quick 2 years, a lot has changed.

Rowan Payne [00:07:57]:
Yeah. I mean, I personally can already see the differences that we're making day to day in the improvements and the optimization of those ad campaigns. I think what you say there about, offering a built in payment gateway is so fundamentally important to how people are using the platform. Even in the last 6 months, we've started to see people, changing their habits rather than using search engines. A big big trend at the moment is using TikTok as your search platform and using short form content to inform your buying decisions, and I think that's tapping into something really, deep within human, trust and how we how we make decisions. Now for for yourself, Liam, obviously, TikTok shop is a relatively new invention that's kind of introducing itself into our ecosystem. How has things changed for you as you worked with TikTok?

Liam Phillips [00:08:49]:
Yeah. Completely. Well, new really keen to put out new in the UK and and so western markets. We're definitely gonna be going around a lot longer, at least released Asia. And very much to to echo his day point, I think well, first of all, it's happened. So, I mean, brands are now turning to us and coming to us because they're so excited about it, and it's it's really taken off. And again, similarly, I think that just to eComOne your point, something for everyone on different demographics. I mean, even just before this, I was analyzing a live stream, again, a new way of shopping here, and much to the surprise on the account lines of the brand, it was a beauty brand, Predominantly, like Target Democrats was was younger, and the majority of buyers was 35 to 44, and then there was a surprise to them so they could engage with new audiences, in a new way that, again, 6 months ago wasn't on their radar at all.

Liam Phillips [00:09:36]:
But I the the biggest change really though is in the kind of the development of the user experience. I like to give the analogy, and it's my personal one only, that we kind of build the plane as we're flying it sometimes here at TikTok. And so definitely with launch, we launched all these amazing features and then refined them as I think the overall kind of user experience and actually now having the shopping tab at the in in the app so you can really feel like it's an eCommerce, experience and not just on the on the for you page and and having that put brands at ease as well, so, and that's probably been the biggest change, and then all of the learnings, a lot of the theory about what would work in live stream social eCommerce, I find it very personally interesting of how that is different here in the UK and and the US and other markets has expanded because we do have a lot of data and learnings from, East Asia and sometimes they cannot apply here effectively and sometimes they're why only different and hard to predict and that test and learn is definitely what gets me excited.

Rowan Payne [00:10:34]:
I think one of the the biggest things that really impressed me when I was investigating TikTok shop for my clients is the ability for collaborators and creators to pin products into their personal profiles. That's not something that I've seen in platforms previously, and I think it really keys into the idea that people buy from people and especially on TikTok, which is so led by human engagement, being able to to put your trust in a influencer or a a a creator and then, using that trust to to build brand awareness is a stepping stone to a really interesting, kind of dynamic.

Liam Phillips [00:11:12]:
Well, the thing is they were doing it anyway. Like, if if I was a a creator in Get Ready With Mi Video, I'm using the products. So people are already following you, and they're already interested in what we have to say. So the fact you can just buy it within three clicks closed loop rather than hope they go to the shop or hope they go to the website is a natural extension of what was going on or what the deal is

Dave Morrissey [00:11:31]:
going on. And, Rowan, your line there, people vote for people, you steal that from me. Okay? It's never really happening. What I've actually I'd I'd I'd add to that is what's quite interesting about, TikTok versus other platforms is it's real people buy for real people. Mhmm. Because there is a different style and tone how creators, are showing up. You got from the Kim Kardashian. Yeah.

Dave Morrissey [00:11:56]:
Basically to every Tom Dick and Harry and anywhere around just playing the product on the screen. So it's the real people in their homes, out the garden, so on sports that are connecting brands to actually people and customers. I think that's a key key distinction. I think a lot of brands are starting to slowly come rouse up and glossy magazine style footage doesn't quite cut out TikTok. It's just to put the product in the hands of people.

Liam Phillips [00:12:21]:
It's entertaining. It's still estimating a person's followers. This is another thing I say to brand all the time. Like, if you want it to be a success, it's still gotta be a good video or or good by whatever metrics and so then it cuts out to more people. And people are looking still for entertainment, And there's definitely a psychology behind feeling happy and entertained and making that as well as actually seeing the value of the products in a really authentic way.

Rowan Payne [00:12:43]:
Mhmm. I have some personal experience with this working with an outdoor apparel brand. We worked with some creators to create some content surrounding some newly launched footwear. And I think that the creators would be the 1st to say that they aren't themselves technologically savvy, but we saw some incredible results just from getting the product in their hands and getting them to speak authentically about the experience with the product. It was potentially the best performing campaign that I've seen on the TikTok ad interface, which was amazing.

Dave Morrissey [00:13:15]:
We've seen some some beauty brands. I think beauty brands have a head start. I think reason being is I don't know if you're seeing this in data, but I kinda see this anecdotally is that a lot of people are buying from TikToks the 1st time, so they're not gonna buy a mattress. Let's be honest. So they see a kind of lower price point item that's something they need, something that wipes cosmetics whatever, wherever that might be. Those brands are having a field day. One brand we know it's 35 x ROAS daily. 35 x ROAS every day easily.

Dave Morrissey [00:13:50]:
Just trying to keep trying to keep up with restocking is is more of the issue than actually running ads. So new kind of, problem to have, but not Oh, yeah.

Liam Phillips [00:14:00]:
No. The other predictability in terms of kind of it's difficult to know what's gonna go viral overnight, definitely one of the biggest a good chance Mhmm. Challenge. I come back to a point. I agree, beauty. What is definitely price point? But another as well, when we're doing a lot of work and thinking on it, is it's beauty lends itself naturally to a very quick video. You can do lots of befores and afters. Yeah.

Liam Phillips [00:14:18]:
It's a it's a demonstratable product, which I think also really important to think about.

Dave Morrissey [00:14:23]:
Yeah. Yeah. Think of that angle.

Liam Phillips [00:14:27]:
There definitely is something different. I think Proprize was one of those things, but I think also just in general, like, you're more likely don't get me wrong. We potentially have certain brands that you've always bought for and certain aftershades, but you're more likely to try a new lipstick shade or something just because of seeing it or you're watching, someone do something with it. Yeah. It's very whereas, as you say, to give the example of the mattress, feel the cup to the back. Google through the video. So I think just in whatever category, there's definitely certain products that lend it more to to that video format as well. So yeah.

Liam Phillips [00:14:54]:

Dave Morrissey [00:14:55]:
Is that coming from the kind of live shopping experience that is it is people there, not so much more packing, but it's demonstration. Mhmm.

Liam Phillips [00:15:04]:
Is that the culture coming from Diana? I just think that's oh, that's a very, very good question. How to make a successful live stream? Some of it's demonstration, but the thing is that average viewing duration is not especially long. It's very dip and where when it first launched, someone said, oh, it's QVC for Gen Z. This is not because you're taking them choose to tune in QVC, and people sit and watch it, and they're gonna listen and watch for a long time wherein in in in the TikTok world, you're you're only there for short. So demonstrating can be good if it's quick and and effective. But it could all also be that it's for for the live stream that it's entertaining. It could be I also say I just say it's gotta be cathartic. You gotta get something out of it like the packet.

Liam Phillips [00:15:45]:
I think it's just people to just you know what I mean? I I I don't understand. They thought for me personally, but you know how on the knowledge of the people

Dave Morrissey [00:15:51]:
when you sleep, there's some comfort. Let's be able to do for me in the rewards. Yeah.

Rowan Payne [00:15:57]:
I think we could I think we could talk about the way that TikTok has managed to find that way. No. No. I love the I love the idea that TikTok has found its way to almost break down the barrier between screen and viewer, and you almost feel as if you're entering into somebody's living room when they're live streaming. It's a really unique experience. There was something that you mentioned there, Liam, about facilitating purchase, making it easier for people to take action in those really off guard moments where somebody is deciding to watch somebody pack some boxes as such. So, one thing I found really interesting is how TikTok, handles payment gateways. Is there anything that you have, on your mind regarding how TikTok handles payments and why somebody might choose to link up a shot on, the platform rather than taking that off-site and into a website for purchase.

Liam Phillips [00:16:56]:
Actually, full disclosure, not to having not worked in this country for a very long time, I don't really know how it works on a website traditionally or what kind of pitfalls there might be. I guess the what I would say is that TikTok shop now, we're pretty seamless in in integrations. They should be too difficult to do so on TikTok. I'm not sure if there's an if there's any huge benefits, but there's definitely gonna be few difficulties and blockers these days.

Dave Morrissey [00:17:21]:
Well, I might I might add to that. East Asia predominantly Denmark grew up on the mobile phone. Yes. 100%. Whereas over here, we grew up more on desktop. Mhmm. And it's essentially the consumer or the user journey is on mobile phone these days. Mhmm.

Dave Morrissey [00:17:39]:
And it's taken a lot of eCommerce brands quite a while, to optimize for the mobile experience. Mhmm. So I think that's where there are pitfalls. Like, we still see conversion rate optimization is almost a bit of an afterthought when there's so much dropping off. Like, I actually saw a status there from, the verse. They do headless commerce now and they what basically that means is taking away the front end and the back end and being able to make them more flexible Mhmm. For the user journey, for payments, etcetera, etcetera. And they increase their conversion rate by 28%.

Dave Morrissey [00:18:18]:
So I think there's a there's a latent infrastructure in the UK on eCommerce, there hasn't been mobile optimizers, and that's probably why you're not seeing Mhmm.

Liam Phillips [00:18:28]:
In China. They're just well, that native to us. So I that's it. On other apps that have strong algorithms, I use it, recommend me things. I I kick on it as soon as I'm taken off-site and have to enter, I stop. But, again, I'm just not you said that. I don't I would I just would never do it. I I can't I probably don't have my wallet on me.

Liam Phillips [00:18:43]:
Let alone go behind it and getting my card number. And I know that Chrome and other things have got kinda better at storing your card things, but you get new car, you lose it. It's wrong. It's incorrect. I just want to just have my face, have it scattered with paint.

Dave Morrissey [00:18:55]:
There's a there's a lot of money converse left to the tape, which was that one experience, but extrapolate that by millions of people.

Liam Phillips [00:19:02]:
Well, yes. I mean yeah.

Rowan Payne [00:19:04]:
Sam, I I can con I can completely see what you're saying there. I think Dave's absolutely right when he talks about, designing for mobile first. That's something that, web designers started to adopt more in recent years, but the businesses who are running a a website that's turning over, you know, 2 +1000000 annually, changing the design of a website can be a massive overhaul. So having a platform like TikTok that can do a lot of that heavy lifting and is optimized for web sorry, for mobile views already, you know, you you're ahead of the game there already against your competitors. So thank you so much for that.

Richard Hill [00:19:39]:
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Richard Hill [00:20:31]:
Let's head straight back to the episode.

Rowan Payne [00:20:34]:
Is there anything else that you'd want to add yourself, Liam, to that, or do you think that covers it pretty well?

Liam Phillips [00:20:39]:
No. I think that was good. I mean, that is the fact that we think like, when you see all of the I don't know off the top of my head, you know, more than me. The amount of time people spend using TikTok, they don't want to necessarily go off it and have annoying pop ups and emails that it's not just the purchasing either. Your customer service, your shipping updates, everything is in an app that you were using and want to use an email. It just removes all of the well, not all of the bloggers, but a large not important.

Dave Morrissey [00:21:02]:
It's it's like I for analogy here, it's like you a pop up Netflix and TikTok are from the same thing. They're entertainment. You actually can't do the same. You can't watch Netflix and TikTok, the same type. It's it's impossible because you're just watching 1, you're watching the other. So imagine you're on Netflix, it's on your TV, and all these pop ups pop up, and then you have to go watch eCom maybe watch that Metroid, which were removed, trying to put in a credit card details and all that. Horrible experience. Same thing.

Dave Morrissey [00:21:31]:
So if it's an entertainment channel and they put something in front of them that's of interest to them, make it bloody easy for them to just get that and go back to do that. What else do

Liam Phillips [00:21:40]:
you say go back to viewing the video? If the if you're watching a live stream, it's in the background, you're honestly, it doesn't it doesn't disappear. Say for the video the video keeps playing on a bit. You haven't left it. It's there is always entertain. Yeah. And you're always shocked at but never you on that side. I love this side.

Rowan Payne [00:22:00]:
And just to kind of redirect this conversation away from the the payment gateway to more of the content side, as you say, with that that content looping in the background. David, do you have any thoughts on how user generated content, works within a successful ad strategy? Possibly, I know that Spark ads are becoming a huge part of a lot of businesses' marketing strategy. Are there any thoughts that you have on that?

Liam Phillips [00:22:22]:
I need to add something now.

Dave Morrissey [00:22:24]:
It's it's so let's say we talk about spark guards or products regularly that it's it's it's the people elements, the real people element. Like, we've seen like, if you have, let's say, a ad that works well on another platform and it's your kinda usual kinda bit of gloss, what have you, nice, potted looking, nice, it won't really work. You won't give them a lot of scale delivery, like 2 or 3 days of delivery, but that's not really gonna cut it. CPAs won't be strong. If you have a person, real person, playing with products, entertaining with a little hook and a little CTA. That gets you 7 days plus of a run rate. You've had decent CPAs to get better as well as learners, and then you start to bring in more people. We start from the brands are really cracking the code, is they'll have the same scripts, same product, same scripts, and they'll have different creators from different ages, genders, ethnicities doing the same thing essentially.

Dave Morrissey [00:23:29]:
I'm pulling all these ads out and suddenly you see conversion rates fly off, see if they go through the roof, they're scaling globally like you've never seen before because they're basically pulling real people but back in front of real people and everyone kind of gets each other. That makes sense. So UGC even the term, I just go have people led videos of assets and you've cracked the code and just keep doing that and have fun with it. Have give them hooks that are interesting, engaging. Play over with CT CTAs and that, but you're expecting to come with a nice glossy product shot. Sorry. I didn't call it. But I think we're moving on from society.

Dave Morrissey [00:24:08]:
I guess I think we're moving on from the mass. And only in the UK, again, it's interesting to

Liam Phillips [00:24:12]:
see well, at least on the shop side to see Interesting. I don't know. I how shop is going in the US is more akin, not competing to say, but more akin to how it is in China and I it just I find that fascinating and lots of the I often give this is on the shop side, I often give the analogy of sometimes you like some people like to go into a shop and as you say, be told, this is the latest product you should buy. This is flag of the shelves. Here's the best deal and or just look at that Blue Shield King production and buy it. And I think there is more of that in the US and more of that in China than there is in the UK just in terms of consumer choice.

Dave Morrissey [00:24:44]:
The hype the more hype of commercial that is Yeah. I think it's

Liam Phillips [00:24:47]:
a combination of that and not wanting to feel like they're missing out. I'm definitely getting the best deal and more of an influencer culture in terms of, like, that 1 person you follow. I thought that, yeah, there was a little bit more and everything. A little bit more are going to make up your own mind and and being maybe following more of a a smaller kind of culture as opposed to the just a big why, if that makes sense.

Dave Morrissey [00:25:09]:
Interesting. So it's a real culture.

Liam Phillips [00:25:10]:
It's like, oh, okay. Yeah. Let's represent.

Dave Morrissey [00:25:13]:

Rowan Payne [00:25:14]:
That is so interesting. A term that we use quite a lot in the, eCom One team, and it's something that we use kind of tongue in cheek is micro Internet niche. Sorry. Micro niche Internet celebrity, and the idea that you are the authority on 1 particular question in 1 particular industry in one particular sector. Do you think that TikTok's allowing people to eCom, more connected with the people who are asking the same questions that they're hoping to answer?

Dave Morrissey [00:25:47]:
Yeah. I again, I think there's just it's just the realness of us. I think that's why search the search element is is taking off in such a way because this has that realness. People are searching for something, they're really getting an answer. Like, we actually did an event in Manchester with a lot of brands this morning, and, we asked there's 70, 80 people in the audience and we asked them who uses TikTok for search? Every hand went up like that. And when you look into it, it makes sense especially for any like, a travel. Mhmm. If you're going to where are you going on holidays next?

Liam Phillips [00:26:22]:
And why don't you go to China?

Dave Morrissey [00:26:24]:
There they go. So we've got a China. Let's say

Liam Phillips [00:26:29]:
you got Let's see. There is there is tree in China. I'm actually going back forward. There was a wedding, and the wedding's in a city that I into. Obviously, I will be using the Chinese version of, but I would still go to the Chinese opinion to search because if you Google it or whatever, yeah, you just don't get as much up to date accurate. And there's the context, yes, that you get to

Dave Morrissey [00:26:46]:
see, someone who's like you that was in a bar Mhmm. The night before, and he looks at what that bar is like or some of those top 10 places I found Mhmm. A Chetzan or what have you. It's all very visual. It's all very almost real time. I love Google Search. It's an amazing amazing product. We've lived on it.

Dave Morrissey [00:27:07]:
Mhmm. But if you go and ask Google the same thing, you get Airbnb links, booking.com link, etcetera, etcetera, and TikTok, or doing you're just getting the explosion of real people finding things that you didn't know were there. I think that's why it's real powerful. So I kinda go around the audience with answer to your question, but I think I think it comes back to realness of people than there if it searches. And I think also is

Liam Phillips [00:27:31]:
that at least the shops like the community as well. So whenever I get asked about shop and always just cheap products, it says all 500 pound coffee machine, but the brand has found a way to tap into people who are interested in it and having a conversation about it. Yeah. And, again, modest wear does really well, and it's a combination of the algorithm being really powerful. So actually, if you have a target kind of demographic or niche, you're gonna push to that that person. And I I think all it in general, it's when it at least on the shot side is if you go too broad and too vague, it's almost like setting yourself up bare and actually tapping into that community. And as you said, Rowan, like, someone who's, like, the expert in that much more niche field, I think you had much better results at least on the shop side.

Rowan Payne [00:28:11]:
Definitely. I think one of the things that TikTok excels at is finding people who are really passionate about subjects and championing that. I I especially on the coffee side of things, I know that you've mentioned $200 coffee, sorry, $2 coffee machines. Seeing people who are so passionate about making coffee and posting that content, it really does create the perfect connection between person, creator, and brand. Now I think one of the big things that businesses are looking for is an answer to how TikTok shop and ads work together. I think as with anything, this is a very new system that businesses and managers, and advertisers can can play with. What would you say is the the key to finding a strategy that works on both parts of TikTok? Dave, is there anything that you'd want to lead with?

Dave Morrissey [00:29:06]:
People based advertising, people based content, that's that's your double one start. After that, it's it's not they after that, it's not the hardest thing to do. So you have to stick video shopping ads or VSAs. Set those, point them to shop instead of web, and that's it. I think there are nuances that you get, and FenceWatch, products you might want to test or advertise with to shops versus web. That's the thing where in fact, it gets a little bit more complicated. You have to be a bit more thoughtful as a brand. We see a lot of brands Brickie and Beauty at the moment do about 80 20 split.

Dave Morrissey [00:29:46]:
So 80 to shop, 20 to web. They do change the creative slightly, so if it's pointing to shop, they almost pry that our aids gone, oh, you're gonna have my creator go, okay. Go buy this on TikTok shop. So Put it down there. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So they're ready and kind of understand this is gonna be a different experience to web.

Dave Morrissey [00:30:07]:
And then the products they might push on web versus shop might be slightly different. So Yeah. In some cases they might, and it depends on the brand, some some of them might they might have a typically limited edition. Exclusives might be at shop, but they push the shop because it's a new space, cool space, put it there. Orders might post lower skewed items or our price point at SKUs in shops because they know there's a higher frequency of conversion there, and then the higher price skews will be on the web because they know that customer has has bought there before. They're so uncomfortable by their that dynamic probably changed over time, that's kind of where we are at the moment. So people based, assets, videos, Video shopping ads is your kind of format, really, your products, and it it's just figuring out what messaging and skews you have in another way.

Liam Phillips [00:30:59]:
Yeah. On the shops side, I was gonna say, I think still the most important is a bit more like a test and learn. But as you say, what products are gonna sell on shop and stuff, it might be different to what they normally used to promoting. And and if you imagine kind of one of the biggest metrics of success is gonna help you push out to more is is the video actually making sales when it's an ecom video. And so we always say a lot of test and learn just to get that sweet spot because it isn't always gonna be as exactly the same creative or product that they used to running on TikTok with with success. And some of it isn't well, but, I think definitely a test and learn to to work out where that sweet spot is and then double down on the ad strategy once you've got a bit more information. It's just because shop's so new and and always changing here in the UK.

Rowan Payne [00:31:37]:
Yeah. Yeah. I can completely understand that. In terms of the perfect product for TikTok shop, Liam, is there anything that you think really works well? Is it a particular type of product or is it a product that solves a sir solves a certain problem perhaps?

Liam Phillips [00:31:51]:
No. Well, I I eCom back to the the the beauty thing we spoke about earlier. I think now the the easiest way to sum it up is, I mean, I I often say is it TikTok able, but what I mean is is it something you can demonstrate in an entertaining way? For example, some waterproof headphones were not viral and sold it overnight because a creator charged it over their head and the jacuzzi and got in and put them back on. Now does it mean they're good headphones or not? No. It was entertaining and they could see that it worked. And but, again, to say it's similarly a makeup, you can see the transformation before and after, or perhaps it's a creator who used to suffer with acne and their whole their whole profile is about how they change that journey. You can even just buy the products and you've been following for a long time. I think it's is it demonstratable? And what demonstratable means will change a lot depending on the category of the type of creator, but I think it it that that's really the key thing.

Liam Phillips [00:32:39]:
And obviously, there's always gonna be factors in terms of delivery time, pricing, and all these other things come into a natural kinda econ space. But specifically for TikTok, I think, is it is it demonstratable and can it demonstratable and relatable, having into a community. So as I said, I think things that modest wear do really well because there's not you can't just go on the high street and have a look at signs of how to style kind of that sort clothing, but there is a real kind of wealth of people talking about and demonstrating on platform and and tapping into that again is is really kind of powerful thing to do.

Rowan Payne [00:33:09]:
Oh, amazing. Thank you so much. So I think we can all agree that 2024 is gonna be a really interesting year for a lot of businesses. For businesses who are looking to make TikTok work, businesses who are perhaps already running ads on other platforms and they've, found success on those, but are looking to make TikTok work as another extension of their strategy. What trends do you think would be helpful for them to keep in mind coming into 2024, and how can they make the most success of their testing ad spend?

Dave Morrissey [00:33:42]:
I I don't think it's a trend per se, but I think it's it's a principle that they should be as customer centric as possible. As you're as customer centric customer centric as possible, you will follow them to where they are. And the audience numbers on TikTok, I think it's 90 minutes plus an average a day spent on the platform, will tell you that your customers are probably here. So, I I think it's it's it's up to you and your business to understand if your customers are here on TikTok, and we should be following them there and try to engage them there in the way we're describing. Being fun, entertaining, demonstrate the product in a kind of interesting way. So I don't think it I don't think it's it's following trends per se, it's following your customers. We say out to every brands, if if our if your customers aren't on TikTok, that's fine. We'll still try to help you find those customers, like, we'll still buy.

Dave Morrissey [00:34:35]:
It's like just find where your customers are. I think that's that's the ultimate thing I think, and I think customer centricity is the most key precious principle you could have as a business, particularly nowadays where it's it is harder. We have things like iOS 14 came for marketers, Brexit, etcetera, etcetera. A lot of headwinds in e eCommerce particularly. But it's the brands who are following the customers, getting feedback from customers, adapting to customers, where they are, how they are, what have you, they're the ones that will wait. I think that's the key take I think. I think it's

Liam Phillips [00:35:11]:
the same on our side. You asked what products are right with TikTok. There's nothing worse than coming in as a brand and saying this product will work A better attitude would be, I mean, upload upload a few, get some samples out to creators, use the affiliate work network and test and learn, and you would be surprised. Often, for example, beauty brands think, oh, I've just created this new Gen Z product. Where did you put that on TikTok? And it's a lipstick that's a legacy product for the last 30 years that suddenly sells out overnight. So, again, while their customers' Volley always, unfortunately, it's hard, at least in shock, because it's only to predict what it might be and where it might go. Yeah. But actually the barriers to entry of setting up a shop and and using affiliate networking and having the space to test and load, the barriers to entry of that is is quite low and using that as a first step and a double down is far better than investing heavily in a product that you believe is right.

Liam Phillips [00:35:59]:
Listen to your

Dave Morrissey [00:36:00]:
Yeah. I think that's a good point. It's it's it's easy to set up a shop shop for you now and have an integration there as well, and get going. It's the real challenge now is actually following your customers, figuring out your customer. And then there's there's plenty of data, we have tons of support of that, but that's that's your job as a business, is following your customer. And they are changing more and more rapidly than ever before. That's that's the challenge. But if you can follow them, keep up with them, and provide value to them in an entertaining way,

Rowan Payne [00:36:33]:
you always. Fantastic. So I I guess the key takeaway there is always be testing, always be willing to be challenged by the system, and follow the data as it's presented to you. I think business owners could really help, would really benefit from taking that on board, especially when it comes to TikTok where data comes and goes so quickly. We're able to test really quickly what works and what doesn't, and then combining that with the the shop's ability to, shift focus to different types of product as as and when are needed is really fantastic. So thank you so much for your your answers there. Now we're getting towards that part part in the podcast where I wanna know a little bit more about the way you think and the way you market. So what we ask all of the people who eCom onto the podcast is what must read book would you recommend to our listeners? And how has that book helped you, professionally develop? So, Liam, starting with yourself, what would you say is the most impactful book that you've ever read?

Liam Phillips [00:37:32]:
I thought long and hard about it. I I really I really was sitting and agonizing it over all day, early because, actually, I carried back to my original personal interest. I read lots of history books and lots of current archeology books, and and, and I'm not sure how relevant they are gonna be to to our audience. But what I would say, though, in in taking just as a broad thing to take away why I read them and and stuff like that actually is it does relate to to TikTok. And the book I'm reading at the moment, it's it's all about kind of the impact of, visual dress in the Victorian age. But what I what I would say is having studied everything from ancient China right up to now, the importance of how people perceive an object to look or clothing to look is really that haven't changed over time. And so for whether that's right back in the the ancient times where, obviously, they're seeing it tattooed for the 1st time, they're only seeing it in person. And then the but but they'll have in their mind that what that might look like and might be different to the perceived thing.

Liam Phillips [00:38:35]:
And and I think that that is something that hasn't changed throughout human time, and it relates to TikTok now and kind of perceived notion of what it is that I just think that has probably informed a lot of my my thinking over the Sorry. Very, very wordy and not helpful.

Rowan Payne [00:38:49]:
No. I would never

Dave Morrissey [00:38:56]:
move on.

Rowan Payne [00:38:56]:
I would love to just comment on that with Liam. I I I think you're so right to pick out something that potentially isn't business centric. I've always subscribed to the philosophy that reading widely and reading deeply is so much more impactful than just choosing 1 topic and reading everything you can. You mentioned the way in which items are perceived not really changing, and I can completely see that. As well as that, I think that the way in which fashion is, built upon previous trends is a really interesting point. One thing that comes to my mind is how medieval, horse armor or sorry, armor that you would wear riding a horse has influenced why we now have petticoats and slits down the back of our blazers. And, you know, how do we apply that to social media and social advertising? Well, keeping in mind that this is not in a vacuum and this, algorithm has not been developed with no additional context. We're we're building on years of prior learning that people have taken from long form content, whether that's old school articles or even long form video content, and those lessons that we've learned along the way.

Rowan Payne [00:40:06]:
So I do think that there's some really cool things that we can learn from, as you mentioned. What was the title of the book again, Liam?

Liam Phillips [00:40:14]:
The title of the book I'm current I'm trying it's in my bag. Get out the title of the book I'm currently reading. I'll do it out. 1, 2. I haven't finished it yet. I've enjoyed it very much. So this is actually called Bring No Clothes, Bluesberry, and the Philosophy of Fashion.

Rowan Payne [00:40:29]:
Oh. Oh, wow. Fantastic. Yeah. Let's get that on the camera. Looking amazing. I'm sure that's gonna have that

Liam Phillips [00:40:35]:
Right. Charlie Bourdieu is another fashion historian, and it's all about the concept of, kind of the Bloomsbury lot and then say, oh, don't come dressed for dinner and how people kind of their their visual identity formed their philosophy, on life and literature. That one I'm currently reading, I'm Mary,

Rowan Payne [00:40:51]:
in writing. Enjoying that. Thank you so much for sharing. So what about yourself, Dave? What about, the the must read book recommendation that you would give to our listeners today?

Liam Phillips [00:41:03]:
I'll go and read as well. Yeah.

Dave Morrissey [00:41:05]:
I do a bit of fuel. Like, I do I do tend to read, a lot of nonfiction as well, but kind of veering in like, I love sociology, little bit history, good bit of business, good business culture, a lot of cutting out a lot of this, but a market. But, I think black box thinking is the one that springs to mind from our conversation, by Matthew Saiz. But it is all about leading into ambiguity and actually wanting to fail as a business and try things. Mhmm. It starts with the premise of 2 industries, you have airline industry and the healthcare industry. Mhmm. So pilot, doctor, and their their perspective of failures, remarkably different.

Dave Morrissey [00:41:50]:
So black box thinking has become sort of black box, but they're airline pilots wants to learn if something went wrong because it'd save a lot of lives. Doctors in other hands don't want them to go to anything to go wrong because they get sued. Mhmm. So that creates very different cultural dynamic about how, teams, organizations, and that look at failure and look at testing and so on and so forth. So I think for, businesses nowadays, it's a vital book to read to kinda lead into testing and learning and failing and stuff. You got something?

Liam Phillips [00:42:22]:
No. Straight away, I can't just it comes back to me being a really boring story, but I'm also thinking that the medical industry has got thousands of years of learning, and they double the failures in that half. Well, this this is it, but whatever's happened in that dynamic, is interesting. Actually, I just that's kind of industry wide, but I think from

Dave Morrissey [00:42:38]:
I give one more, it's kind of personal, one for people range, it's David Epstein. And it kind of goes back to your point around this next to your conversation here is to look at you can't be, a master of 1 anymore, you have to be a bit of a jack of all trades. So it's the people who try predicting a looming automation, it's one of the first, the ones who can connect loads of different dots together. Oh, being hyper creative, being a sponge, bringing everything together, different disciplines and everything. I'm sorry that what we're sitting here, we got completely different backgrounds, but we have this conversation going back to a brand to consumer. So that book range, it's kind of an antidote to people who think he should be an accountant. He should be or whenever.

Liam Phillips [00:43:23]:
I know I I don't

Dave Morrissey [00:43:24]:
know if you know

Liam Phillips [00:43:25]:
it feel this way, but TikTok has a company. It's one of my favorite. You know, there are so many different people from different walks of life and different background that know when I first joined, people said, oh, accounts didn't know what's working on Gen Z. I'm like, no. They're not. It's so diverse in telling you everything, and I think that's one of the reasons why

Dave Morrissey [00:43:41]:
needs us at. I am connecting lots of dots Yeah. Bringing them into a good to one app. Yeah.

Rowan Payne [00:43:48]:
Definitely. Thank you so much for both of those book recommendations. So we have Range by, sorry, who who is the author there, Dave?

Dave Morrissey [00:43:56]:
I think it was David Epstein. I think

Rowan Payne [00:43:58]:
that's David Epstein. And then also The Black Box Thinking. Is that right? Yeah. By Matthew Said. Wonderful. I think I'm gonna have to put all 3 of those on my reading list. When I finally get through my current book, I'm reading Wuthering Heights, and, I'm loving every second of it, but definitely my patience.

Liam Phillips [00:44:17]:
I read Wuthering Heights every year. It's the book I always take on holiday.

Rowan Payne [00:44:22]:
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for your time today, guys. It's been wonderful having you on the podcast, and I think our business owners are really gonna enjoy getting a a bit of more of a peek behind the curtain to how these systems take place, both within context of each other and also how advertisers can make the most of them. So have a wonderful evening, and, look forward to catching you on the next one.

Dave Morrissey [00:44:45]:
Hi, John. Hey. How about you? You?

Richard Hill [00:44:52]:
If you enjoyed this episode, hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this podcast. You're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Have a fantastic day, and I'll see you on the next one.

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