2023 New TikTok Updates, Features & News for Brands & Creators

See below for new TikTok updates, product features, and general news. Updated 08.24.2023.

2023 new TikTok updates, news and product announcements.

TikTok Enhances Performance Insights for Shopify Merchants: TikTok is set to offer enhanced insights for Shopify merchants advertising on its platform by expanding its Events API to cater specifically to Shopify actions. This will grant Shopify users more data points to evaluate when gauging performance. The Events API allows businesses to share more website data with TikTok, enhancing the capacity to assess campaign effectiveness within the app. This updated integration means Shopify merchants can benefit from the Events API’s server-side connection, ensuring industry-standard attribution without developers needing to embed code on their sites.

TikTok Releases Guide on Ad Campaign Essentials: TikTok has unveiled a comprehensive guide detailing the fundamentals of successful in-app advertising campaigns. The guide offers insights on pinpointing primary selling points, crafting videos around them, and tailoring presentations specifically for the TikTok platform. It delves into understanding the core purpose of a business and its promotional goals. Furthermore, the guide provides detailed explanations on determining a brand’s unique selling point (USP) and integrating these elements into TikTok videos. With the holiday season approaching, this guide aims to assist businesses in refining their TikTok marketing strategies.

New York City Bans TikTok on City-Owned Devices Amid Security Concerns: The City of New York has banned TikTok across all city-owned devices, echoing similar bans by other federal and state entities. This decision follows a review by NYC Cyber Command, which identified TikTok as a potential security risk to the city’s technical infrastructure. While TikTok has faced scrutiny and failed multiple cybersecurity evaluations, it remains uncertain whether a nationwide ban will be implemented. The state of New York was among the first to prohibit TikTok on government devices in 2020, and Montana has even considered a complete ban. As tensions between the US and China persist, the future of TikTok in the US remains in the balance.

TikTok Encourages Retailers to Embrace Native Shopping Features: TikTok is urging retailers to integrate its native shopping features into their marketing strategies. Recognizing the platform’s potential as a significant eCommerce hub, TikTok promotes tools like “Promo Tiles” and “Collection Ads” to brands. These features allow users to shop directly from videos and ads, streamlining the purchasing process. With the holiday season approaching, TikTok’s native shopping tools allow retailers to tap into the platform’s vast user base and drive sales.

TikTok Introduces “Search Ads Toggle” for Enhanced Ad Visibility: TikTok is streamlining how brands can capitalize on search interest within the platform. The newly introduced “Search Ads Toggle” ensures that ads are eligible to appear in related search queries. While Search Ads have been a feature on TikTok for over a year, this update allows all in-feed ad campaigns to potentially appear within search results. By default, the toggle is activated, meaning brands only need to adjust settings if they prefer their ads not to appear in related searches. TikTok emphasizes that this feature allows brands to reach “high-intent users” actively seeking relevant information, increasing engagement and revenue potential. This enhancement aligns with TikTok’s growing reputation as a significant platform for product discovery.

TikTok Releases 2023 Holiday Marketing Guide for Brands: TikTok has unveiled its comprehensive 2023 Holiday Marketing Guide, offering brands many insights and strategies to optimize their campaigns on the platform. Recognizing the growing trend of users leveraging TikTok as a discovery tool, the guide emphasizes the platform’s significance as a trend-based search engine. It provides a detailed calendar of essential dates, insights on when to initiate marketing plans, and in-depth overviews of strategic foundations. The guide also delves into using TikTok’s specific tools, such as CapCut, and offers advice on ad optimization, eCommerce solutions, and creative strategies. With TikTok’s soaring engagement rates, the guide aims to assist brands in harnessing the platform’s potential for impactful holiday campaigns. The full guide is available for download with an email sign-up.

TikTok Unveils Game-Changing Partnership with Smartly: TikTok has announced its strategic collaboration with Smartly.io, marking a pivotal moment in video shopping ad creation. This partnership is set to revolutionize the TikTok experience by seamlessly integrating brands’ product catalogs and enticing offers, streamlining the shopping process for users. Leveraging Smartly.io’s cutting-edge Video Shopping Ads solution, TikTok aims to automate workflows, scale ad campaigns, optimize performance, conduct efficient testing, and establish connections with influential TikTok creators.

Insights from TikTok Unveil Soaring Sports Trends: A recent report released by TikTok shines a spotlight on the escalating sports trends within its dynamic app landscape, unveiling a wealth of invaluable insights for brands eager to engage with the vibrant sports-loving community. With a vast user base comprising predominantly younger demographics, TikTok has witnessed an unprecedented surge in sports-related content, resulting in a meteoric rise in engagement across diverse sports categories.

TikTok Revolutionizes Marketing Strategies with the Launch of ‘TikTok World Hub’: TikTok unveiled its latest innovation, the ‘TikTok World Hub,’ a comprehensive platform designed to empower marketers with invaluable resources and cutting-edge insights. This game-changing hub encompasses an array of dynamic features, including video presentations from the recent ‘TikTok World event, showcasing the platform’s latest creator tools, eCommerce elements, and ad tools. Furthermore, marketers gain access to a wealth of helpful guides, such as ‘Creative Codes,’ which illuminate fundamental creative principles for campaign success.

TikTok Expands Monetization Horizons, Unleashing Opportunities for Creators: To empower and reward its vibrant creator community, TikTok announces the expansion of its highly anticipated Creativity Program, offering creators an expanded array of monetization options based on the performance of their content. Eligible for creators with a minimum of 10K followers and 100K authentic video views within the last 30 days, this enhanced program aims to address previous criticisms of TikTok’s Creator Fund and establish a more sustainable avenue for top creators to earn income.

Third Annual ‘TikTok World’ Event Reveals Insights, Ad Tools, and Strategies to Elevate Brand Presence: Mark your calendars as TikTok announces the eagerly awaited date for its third annual ‘TikTok World’ event, scheduled to take place on May 9th. This highly anticipated gathering promises attendees exclusive access to game-changing insights into the latest product advancements, cutting-edge advertising tools, and captivating creator options on the TikTok platform. Focusing on maximizing return on investment (ROI) through intelligent automation and immersive ad experiences, TikTok is dedicated to supporting marketers in expanding their presence and achieving their marketing goals.

TikTok Introduces Pulse Premiere, Empowering Brands with Enhanced Ad Placement Options on Premium Content: In a move set to redefine brand visibility and engagement, TikTok introduces Pulse Premiere. This innovative premium ad option empowers major brands to strategically position their ads alongside the most popular content on the platform. Expanding on the success of TikTok’s Pulse ads, this new offering provides advertisers with increased control over ad placement within specific verticals, including lifestyle & education, sports, and entertainment.

TikTok Tests AI-Generated Profile Images: TikTok is currently testing a new generative AI tool that allows users to create custom AI-generated profile images in the app. Users must upload between 3 and 10 photos of themselves, and TikTok’s system will generate a range of avatar image variations and styles based on the uploaded photos. 04.25.2023

TikTok Releases Guide With Creator Collaboration Tips For Brands: TikTok has analyzed over 300 top-performing videos from the Creator Marketplace to identify patterns among those with the highest engagement rates. The findings were validated through first-party research, resulting in an 11-page guide that outlines critical connection and creation techniques to improve creator collaborations. In addition, the guide provides insights on campaign planning, connecting with influencers, and more. 04.24.2023

TikTok Enforces Ban On Climate Change Denial Content: Starting April 21, TikTok will begin enforcing a new misinformation policy that removes content undermining well-established scientific consensus on climate change. This includes content that denies the existence of climate change or its contributing factors. Independent fact-checking partners will assist in assessing the accuracy of content when applying this policy. 04.19.2023

TikTok’s Bold In-Stream Shopping Push: Retailers Rejoice: TikTok remains determined to make it a major hit among its users, drawing inspiration from its thriving Chinese counterpart. Despite Western audiences’ lukewarm reception thus far, the platform is launching an ambitious campaign involving a variety of sellers to increase the adoption of in-app shopping. According to Insider, TikTok has begun extending invitations to select retailers, providing them with generous subsidies on shipping and sales to bolster interest and maximize the potential for success. 04.14.2023

TikTok’s Ultimate Guide to Topical Communities: TikTok has shared invaluable insights on how brands can optimize their marketing efforts by engaging with related and unrelated communities, leading to innovative avenues for brand recognition. By tailoring marketing messages to resonate with different communities, brands can foster meaningful connections with a diverse audience. Importantly, TikTok encourages businesses not to limit themselves to communities solely aligned with their core industry but to explore broader connections for maximum impact. 04.14.2023

Biden’s TiikTok Strategy: Influencers Enlisted to Win Young Voters’ Hearts: Despite ongoing discussions regarding a potential TikTok ban in the United States, the Biden Administration is embracing the platform’s influence to engage young voters with its policy agenda. In a strategic move ahead of a possible re-election campaign, the White House is collaborating with hundreds of social media influencers, particularly in regional communities, to amplify messaging during Biden’s visits to those areas. TikTok and Instagram are at the forefront of this initiative, given their popularity among young users. However, this approach raises concerns about the apparent contradiction between the potential ban and the reliance on TikTok as a critical communication tool. 04.14.2023

ByteDance’s ‘Lemon8’ App Rises in App Store Charts: ByteDance’s product showcase app, ‘Lemon8’, which is a cross between Instagram and Pinterest with a focus on product categories, is climbing up the App Store charts. 04.04.2023

TikTok Reassures US Users to Avoid Ban: TikTok is publishing accounts of how it has helped US businesses and meeting with key ad partners to avoid a potential ban in the US, while TikTok’s editing app CapCut is also rising in downloads. 03.27.2023

TikTok Tops App Download Charts in Q1 2023: TikTok has surpassed Instagram as the most downloaded app in Q1 2023, leading in downloads and consumer spending. 03.26.2023

TikTok Introduces Program for Branded AR Campaigns: TikTok has added a new element to its Effects House AR creation tool, facilitating brand/creator collaborations to help businesses connect with the TikTok audience. 03.25.2023

TikTok CEO Faces Tough Questions in Crucial Hearing on App’s Future: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew recently testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in a make-or-break moment for the app’s future in the US. Chew faced accusations and misunderstandings about the platform but provided careful answers and promised to investigate further. The key issue was the potential sharing of American user data with the Chinese government, and the hearing outcome remains uncertain. 03.24.2023

TikTok Users Gravitate to Instagram: Instagram is expected to be the leading alternative to TikTok for US users this year, with approximately 75% of TikTok users also using Instagram. This presents a favorable scenario for Instagram Reels, positioning itself as a viable successor to TikTok in case of a potential ban. This finding highlights the potential for Instagram to capture TikTok’s user base and establish itself as a prominent player in the social media space. 03.24.2023

TikTok Hits 150M US Users, Launches Campaign to Avoid Ban: TikTok recently announced that it had reached 150 million users in the US, as the company faces a potential ban in the region. In response, TikTok has launched a campaign urging American users to contact their elected representatives and voice their support for the platform. The fate of TikTok in the US hinges on regulatory concerns around data sharing with China, and the company hopes to leverage its massive user base to sway public opinion in its favor. 03.24.2023

TikTok Revamps Policies for AI-Generated Content, Hate Speech, and Election Integrity Amid US Ban Threats: TikTok has overhauled its Community Guidelines to incorporate fresh regulations governing synthetic media, hate speech, and election integrity in anticipation of a potential US ban. TikTok’s revised guidelines seem to reflect the US officials’ preferences for content moderation. The company asserts its guidelines are grounded in a pledge to defend human rights and international legal frameworks. The move also underscores the company’s bid to distance itself from possibly divergent approaches taken by its parent company in mainland China. 03.24.2023

TikTok intensifies efforts to prevent the US ban by rallying support: TikTok is ramping up its efforts to avoid a potential ban in the US by taking strategic steps toward appeasing advertisers and securing support from high-profile users. With the threat of a full ban hanging over its head, the platform is leaving no stone unturned in its attempts to win over influential voices and hopefully delay any legal action. TikTok is making a concerted effort to assure advertisers that their investments will remain safe while simultaneously seeking backing from high-profile users to influence key decision-makers. 03.21.2023

TikTok Signs New Deal with Major League Soccer: TikTok has announced a multi-year partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS), integrating the app into MLS events, tournaments, and in-stadium activations. MLS will provide exclusive content and in-app programming, while TikTok users will gain access to MLS content and clips to use in their highlight videos. This agreement will promote MLS and bring more fans to the app. 03.20.2023

TikTok Users Can Now Refresh their “For Your Feed”: TikTok is introducing a new feature that allows users to reset their feed if they are unhappy with the recommended videos. Additionally, the platform is working on new methods to prevent repetitive content and reduce exposure to harmful material. 03.016.2023

TikTok May Sell to Address Concerns about Ownership Conflicts: As a possible ban looms over TikTok in the US, the company is preparing for the worst-case scenario by developing contingency plans. These plans may involve selling TikTok’s operations and revenue potential to another company, if necessary, to ensure the app’s continued existence. 3.16.2023

TikTok Launches New STEM Feed: TikTok just launched a new feature called the STEM feed, a special section dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and math videos. This will allow users to discover and enjoy inspiring, entertaining, and informative content related to STEM subjects. 3.16.2023

TikTok Unveils New Paid Content Offering; Videos up to 20 Min Long Now Available: TikTok has recently unveiled its latest offering called “Series,” which enables content creators to curate collections of up to 80 videos for sale. Unlike the app’s traditional short-form video option, clips in these collections can be as long as 20 minutes, similar to the format of YouTube vlogs. Creators will have the flexibility to set their rates, ranging from $1 to $190, and fans can easily purchase access to the series through in-video links or via the creator’s profile page. 03.07.2023

TikTok Provides Brands with More Ways to Amplify Organic Content: TikTok has added four new promotional options, enabling brands to boost their posts via a simplified campaign creation process in-stream. 02.09.2023

TikTok Making it Easy to Facilitate Brand and Creator Deals: TikTok now allows talent managers to identify, assess and manage brand opportunities offered to clients within the app. Talent managers and agencies cannot access the creator’s actual TikTok account. 01.12.2023

TikTok Now Integrates with IMDB: TikTok is now licensing data from IMDb to launch a new feature, making it easier for TikTok users to find and search for content related to a specific movie or trending TV series. 01.12.2023

REPORT: Gen Z is Going to TikTok to Consume News Content: We know from previous reports that TikTok is becoming a platform for discovery among many audiences. A recent Reuters Institute report shows how people use TikTok to consume news compared to other platforms. 12.09.2022

TikTok Releases ‘Year on TikTok 2022’ Report: TikTok just released a report that provides an in-depth overview of all the TikTok creators and trends that generated the most engagement in the app over the past 12 months. 12.06.2022

Meet the TikTok Creators of 2022: TikTok just released the 2022 Discover List, highlighting the top 50 TikTok creators building communities, inspiring creativity, and delivering positive change across their networks. 11.16.2022

TikTok is partnering with startup companies to improve its e-commerce platform. According to the Financial Times, TikTok hopes to fix issues stalling its live shopping rollout. 11.28.2022

TikTok Expands In-App Shopping as Social Commerce Grows: TikTok has slowly released its in-app shopping capabilities, launching the first stage of its TikTok Shops integration in the US late last week. 11.14.2022.

TikTok Academy Now Available for Marketers & Small Businesses: TikTok just launched the TikTok Academy, a global learning program for marketers who want to maximize their skills in the platform. The program is gamified and uses interactive experiences to keep students engaged. TikTok Academy has launched two curriculums: The 101 Course and the Small Business Course. It’s free to enroll. 10.27.2022

TikTok Shares Infographic Highlighting Live Streaming Opps for Brands: TikTok has created an infographic with compelling data points about the platform and live streaming opportunities for brands. A few data points caught my attention: 33% of TikTok users say that TikTok is the go-to platform to connect with brands, and 62% of TikTok Live users watch a stream daily. Several other data points look to be from the TikTok brand study.

TikTok CEO Acknowledges Trust Issues: CEO Shou Chew made a rare public appearance at the Masters of Scale Summit in San Francisco this week. He acknowledged that TikTok has a trust problem. He also said they had a lot of work to do to earn back users’ trust by being consistent with its values and principles and building technical solutions for data security.

TikTok Expanding With ‘StemDrop’ Music Remix Initiative: TikTok is expanding into new territories with the launch of the ‘StemDrop’ initiative, allowing TikTok users to remix a song and create their version of the track. Music stems will enable users to listen to and isolate different components of a song–instruments, chorus, bass, and drums, and then remix different versions of the song by adding their own vocals.

TikTok + Linktree = More Referral Traffic: TikTok has partnered with Linktree to give creators more referral link choices, which are immediately linked to their TikTok profile, allowing the app to drive more referral traffic. To be clear, TikTok creators have always included Linktree links in their TikTok bio, allowing profile visitors to connect through other social apps. However, this partnership will improve the integration and make it easier to link the two platforms. This is cool news for TikTok. Great news for Linktree.

TikTok Lookin’ A lot Like Instagram, Adds Still Images & Longer Video Descriptions: Let the battle begin. With the introduction of a new “Photo Mode” for still photos in the app, TikTok has just leveled the playing field with Instagram. For the last several months, we’ve seen Instagram do the same thing by replicating all of the same features as TikTok. Also, with the expansion of longer video captions, it looks like TikTok continues to build features that will make it much more of a discovery engine than just a social media app.

TikTok’s Fake Profile Problem: According to a recent report, TikTok removed 33 million fake profiles in the app, a 62% increase from the previous quarter. The comprehensive report goes into great detail, highlighting the total number of videos removed, the policy, the total number of videos removed by country, and more.

TikTok Expands Live-Streaming for More Users: TikTok users can add up to five guests to their live-stream broadcasts.

TikTok Launches Comment Downvotes: TikTok is releasing a new feature where users can identify and flag content they believe to be irrelevant or inappropriate, allowing for a better experience for the community. The total number of dislikes a comment receives will not be shown, and users can change their feedback anytime.

TikTok Increases Video Descriptions Character Limit: TikTok has increased the video description limit to 2200 characters. With this move, many have theorized that TikTok’s discovery features set the stage for more search engine functionality. This should worry Google as many TikTok users do use the platform to find the information they would typically look for in Google.

TikTok Releases New Brand Study: In partnership with analytics firm DIRT, TikTok has released a new study on how emotionally vested its users are within the platform and with the brands that advertise. 

TikTok Cracks Down With New Policies for Political Accounts: TikTok has gone to the extreme by eliminating political influence within the app itself. They have clearly outlined what political accounts can and cannot do, starting with all political accounts having to be verified. They also removed all fundraising activities and ban any content when political parties ask for donations.

‘TikTok Now’ is the New BeReal: BeReal has taken Gen Z by storm, and TikTok is paying attention. It’s launching its own version of the app and slowly rolling it out to different markets. This move could displace BeReal, even though they were the first to market. However, the growth of BeReal is worth noting, reaching 43 million downloads as of late June, up from 10K downloads a year ago. BeReal’s growth has surpassed Clubhouse during its first few years in the market.

An image of BeReal app growth and usage of Gen Z

TikTok Case Studies: Influencer marketing platform, Mavrck, just released four case studies from large consumer brands using TikTok and finding success in the platform. Note An e-mail address will be required to download these case studies, but it’s worth it.

TikTok Announces Fashion Month Featuring Creators: TikTok announced a new series of events for Fashion Month 2022, calling it #FashionForYou. The event will feature several creators, live-streaming events, and new digital effects in the app. They will also live-stream well-known fashion media outlets and creators, including Julia Fox, Paper Magazine, WhoWhatWear, and Vogue.

TikTok Voted ‘Most Innovative’ Media Platform in Kantar Study: TikTok is in the news again, but this one is coming from the 2022 Kantar Media Reactions Report. According to the research, TikTok is considered to have the most innovative ad platform among marketers globally. Survey respondents also found that TikTok ads are the most entertaining of all the other platforms.

TikTok Expands Insights with Regional Trends: The TikTok Insights tool has been updated with more creator, advertising, and regional data. In addition, the tool enables you to drill down on market-specific usage trends. For example, the below shows US-specific data around Gen X usage in the platform. There are several ways to filter by audience, insights, industry, year, and more.

An image of TikTok Insights Tool.

How Brands Partner with TikTok Creators: According to this report from Sprout Social, the placement of links in creator bios is the most popular form of TikTok creator engagement with brands (56% SMBs, 61% mid-market, and 59% enterprise). Surprisingly, 59% of mid-market-sized brands also collaborate with creators using Duet/Stich programs (creators post content side-by-side with branded content).

TikTok and YouTube Competing for CTV Ad Spend: TikTok is expanding its Connected TV ad capabilities, setting the stage for a direct battle with YouTube to capture revenue from this emerging channel. TikTok already has Samsung, Fire TV, Vizio, and Google TV apps. According to eMarketer, agencies will spend 53% more of their digital marketing budgets on CTVs in 2022 than in 2021. They also forecast CTV budgets to reach $18.89 billion this year and $38.83 billion by 2026.

TikTok Launches Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign: TikTok is launching the #BeCyberSmart Cybersecurity campaign aiming to help educate young people about the dangers of using social media. As a part of this effort, TikTok has partnered with Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) to develop a toolkit filled with tools and resources.

TikTok Becoming More of a Priority for Digital Marketers: According to this report, digital marketers allocate more of their creator campaign budget to TikTok. In 2019, the total budget spent on TikTok creator campaigns was 2.3% in the US. In 2022, budgets will be nearly 8x higher, reaching 15.5%. For context, Facebook’s share of the budget is 14.8%, and Instagram still leads with 44.7%.

An image of TikTok creator campaigns budgets

TikTok Close to Launching ‘Nearby’ Content Feed: As several users and TechCrunch reported, the TikTok Nearby feed will display content posted from users close to your location. This could open the door for local retailers to target ads to TikTok users within a certain radius, as well as events, concerts, and sporting events.

TikTok’s ‘Instant Page’ Can Help Boost Conversions and Lower-Funnel Activity: TikTok launched ‘Instant Page’ a while back, enabling brands to connect their ads through a landing page built within the TikTok ecosystem. The Instant Page can offer fast loading times and signals for conversion event tracking.

TikTok Accelerating eCommerce Integrations: TikTok continues to innovate and just launched Shopping Ads, giving advertisers a seamless experience to promote their products and services in-stream. The new ad formats combine Video Shopping Ads, Catalog Listing Ads, and LIVE Shopping Ads.

TikTok Prepping for the Upcoming US Elections: With the US midterms right around the corner, every social media platform is working to combat misinformation and spreading fake news. TikTok is launching a new Election Center to host official updates and candidate information, official labels on candidate accounts, and updated guidance on political ads and endorsements.

TikTok the New Search Engine. Watch Out, Google: In 2019, venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz wrote about how TikTok could take market share away from Google. One Google executive acknowledged this as a potential risk, citing a study that 40% of Gen Z will go to TikTok or Instagram when searching for a place to eat lunch.

Gen Z Ushering in the Rise of TikTok. Facebook Falling Flat: According to a new report from Pew Research, TikTok remains the dominant social media platform among Gen Zers, while Facebook is losing relevance and usage quickly.

TikTok Introduces “About this ad” Transparency Tools: TikTok is giving their users insight into how their data is used for ad targeting in the app. This is another step that TikTok is taking to bring more transparency to its advertising and help its users understand how ads work on the platform.

TikTok is Making Progress with In-app Shopping: TikTok is launching the ‘Order Center’ panel in the app, which tracks any products you’ve purchased, looked at, or may even be interested in buying in the future.

TikTok Releases Ultimate Guide to Reach The Gaming Community: TikTok has published some cool data on gaming content trends and behaviors in the app and how marketers can create content and messaging that will break through and reach the gamer audience.

An image of TikTok gamer audience

TikTok Releases ‘Do You Speak TikTok? Video: TikTok has published a new YouTube video highlighting its creative language of TikTok and how brands can collaborate with creators to help maximize their marketing campaigns. Gen Z social media usage is up, so brands need to start paying attention.

See below for all the latest product updates and features from each of the social media channels:


Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.