A big part of TikTok’s growth story has been down to its viral hooks: Catchy videos with thousands or millions of views on TikTok are watched and shared thousands or millions of times elsewhere, breadcrumbs that eventually lead people back to the gingerbread house. Now, as TikTok works on expanding its advertising business and bringing more users to its app as part of that, it is leaning into that third-party experience with the launch of a new feature called Profile Kit, which gives creators an option to display up to six videos on another site. The feature feels tailor-made for creator home pages, which today often come in the form of link-in-bio landing pages, where creators aggregate links to all their social feeds. Sure enough, Profile Kit is launching with one link-in-bio platform in particular, Linktree.
Profile Kit will sit within TikTok’s developer portal, where TikTok also provides tools to build TikTok-based logins, create automatic video imports, build TikTok-based apps, integrate experiences by way of APIs and more. The addition of Profile Kit speaks to the bigger picture for TikTok here: It’s leveraging its growth and buzz to expand its wider ecosystem and visibility across the wider web, beyond its own walled garden, and it’s strengthening its platform play.
Notably, the Profile Kit is being announced not at a developer event, but as part of TikTok World, the company’s brand and entertainment partners confab, where it’s announcing advertising-related updates, such as a new focused view on ads, where brands only pay if a user has watched an ad for at least six seconds, or has interacted within the first six seconds (which is saying something about how fast people move on from ads, given the chance).
TikTok is still lagging in MAUs behind biggies like Instagram, but its growth rate, at this rate, is going to change that, with the app regularly ranking at the top for worldwide downloads. In terms of money, the app currently holds the title of being the highest grossing app as of Q3, and these new inroads with ads will boost that further. All this has made TikTok the app whose video experience all other social platforms have scrambled to copy. Of course, that’s not to say that TikTok isn’t making its own moves to copy others at the same time: as any TikTok influencer will tell you, gotta keep hustling.
And that’s why the Linktree partnership here is interesting. The Aussie-born app has been an unlikely, yet quietly huge, hit in the world of social media tools, filling a gap in a fragmented market by giving creators a way of knitting disparate social profile pages and activity together on one landing page, shared by way of a “link-in-bio” across those different pages.
These days there are a lot of alternatives for managing that landing page: others include Carrd, Bio.fm, Beacons, Later, Koji, etc. etc. Linktree was an early mover and is possibly the biggest at the moment, judging by the hefty $1.3 billion valuation it landed earlier this year on the back of a $110 million funding round. Regardless, it’s on the hunt for more ways to differentiate itself and give creators more reasons to use it (and its paid tiers) of those of its rivals. Hence the exclusive nature of this deal today.
Meanwhile, investors weren’t the only ones watching Linktree. TikTok made it the first “link in bio” company it allowed to appear on its user’s profile pages when it started testing that in 2019. Today, it is one of the most popular “Linked-to” platforms on there, appearing on 30 million profiles, and already accounting for 5 million TikTok views daily. Now the idea will be to make that relationship and link a little more formal and well-used, giving Tiktok a significant boost in audience even when people are not migrating to TikTok itself.