📦 - A ban on TikTok?!
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Monday, January 16, 2023

It’s okay to admit you laughed, this is a judgment-free zone. 😆

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Missed opportunities on your PDP

📦 Why retention through mobile is huge

📦 What is ‘shock value’ marketing and should you use it?

📦 C-Suite Mastermind | Las Vegas

📦 Preparing for a possible TikTok ban in the US

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe, so you never miss out.


You’ve Probably Missed One Of These Opportunities...And That’s Okay!

We’re talking about the often over-looked features of your product detail page (PDP).

A PDP is the place where the spotlight is on you and your product. At this point, you have the full attention of your consumer, so why miss these three opportunities to make the most of that time?

👀 It’s all visual

Design a page with visuals in mind first, copy second. Take Square as an example. They’ve done an incredible job telling their product story with intuitive scroll-through visuals. Even with no words on the page, you can understand what the product is and how it works.

You’re guided through each aspect of the product — from what it is to how it’s used and even what its components are. This is huge for credibility and conversion.

🦚 Stand out with a crowd

Focus on diversifying the imagery on your product page including the setting or the type of consumer modeling your product.

The logic here is simple. The people that buy your products will not be in the same place or look the same, so inclusivity and consideration are keys to increasing conversion rates.

Let’s look at Eyebuydirect for some beautiful diversity. Their PDP does a great job of helping customers envision what they would look like while wearing the product. They do this by:

  • Incorporating photos of real users
  • Offering a “Try Me On” option
  • Showing all different angles of the product in their images
  • Putting diverse models with different face shapes in the carousel

Check it out for yourself 👇

🔁 Don’t be opaque

Provide transparency with a 360 view of your product.

It may seem ambitious, but 360-degree videos/images result in higher conversion rates on PDP pages because they build confidence in the product for prospective customers.

Thinx gives website visitors the option to easily scroll through a 360 degree image of their model wearing their product and also shows front, side, back, and underneath angles of the product separately.

Let’s say this is a bit too much to implement right now. Either there’s just not enough time or maybe you don’t have the equipment available. These are very real problems for many brands so consider a 360 eCommerce video instead.

These videos can be live footage or a digitally rendered file, but at the minimum, every brand should show all angles of their product.

These videos can take many forms. Blundstone uses a model to showcase their product as if they were on a catwalk. What more stylish demonstration could there be for a pair of shoes?

☝️ No questions left!

Consumers should be able to get all of the information they need to make a purchase decision from your PDPs.

No questions should be left answered because, after such a significant time investment from your consumer, the value needs to be there for a successful conversion.

Make your page a joy to scroll through with creative visuals, diverse environments, and a commitment to transparency.

Are you using PDP pages and seeing huge conversions? Reply to this email and let us know what’s working for you. 📧


Retention is the trend in 2023, and mobile apps make it easy.

🗣 We talk about it all the time, and you know it…

Customer retention is critical!

  • It's 5x more expensive to acquire a customer than to retain one
  • 50% of revenue comes from repeat customers
  • And they spend 67% more than new customers

Mobile (which covers more than ⅔ of eCommerce activity, BTW) is the fighting ground for maintaining customers.

🥷 What is the secret weapon top DTC brands use? Mobile apps – a seamless experience for your customer, improved brand loyalty, and 40% higher conversion rates than mobile browsers.

That means more money for your business!

🚀 Harness big brand energy! With a two-week average time to launch, Tapcart creates an easy (and inexpensive) mobile home for your most loyal customers. Giving you an increase of 2.4x value in your average customer lifetime!

👉 It's time you maximize the LTV of your top customers. It's time you start using Tapcart.


⚡️Shock And Awe

Have you seen an ad that really stuck with you? Not in the nostalgic or warm and fuzzy way…more like a thriller movie that hasn’t left your mind before bed.

If so, you’ve experienced shock value marketing. This is described as “the deliberate act of shocking the audience by violating social norms for social values and personal ideas,”  by Darrel W. Dahl at the Cambridge University Press.

The ‘shock’ era of pop culture is often attributed to pioneers like Alice Cooper or modern day champions like Lady Gaga and her infamous meat dress. 🥩

🚨 Viewer discretion advised

At your own risk, check out a few past examples of shocking ads from big-name brands. But what about some contemporary uses?

Difficult subjects are difficult for a reason. Approaching sensitive topics without proper consideration, research, and testing can devastate a brand’s reputation. We’re looking at you, Dove.

Using sensitive material as a for-profit business already puts marketers on their heels. So is it worth the risk, and is it effective?

⚠️ Tread carefully

Let’s say you have an amazing idea for a controversial ad to run. Let’s stir the pot and get people talking on social media. This could be the big break that you need.

First, take a deep breath, keep reading, and remember that education should come first…👇

🌎 Culture

If you’re not intimately familiar with a culture, don’t try to use elements of it in your ads. Odds are that you’ll get it wrong, and that’s a reputation you don’t want to have. Vogue made that mistake with Karlie Kloss dressing as a Geisha in 2017. Now that ad is only remembered as another stain on Vogue’s reputation.

🔎 Discovering your audience

If you create a controversial ad, at least one consumer will see your brand for the first time through the lens of this ad. Is that impression a healthy one to start a relationship with? 🤨

In most cases (like 99%!), you’ll want to use shock value ads for educational purposes rather than promotional ones.

This strategy frames your ad as a contribution to your vision rather than its profit. It’s just a better starting point for both your brand and audience.

A reputation spiraling out of control is not a position any marketer wants to be in. Many boycotts and protests have formed because of irresponsible decisions made by marketing teams who took things too far.

Take Peloton’s PR disaster, where they pushed things too far in the fitness industry. Surely nothing but regret was gained with that campaign, and rightfully so! 🙅‍♀️

🤨 Why even bother?

From here on out, let’s reframe shock value advertising. You shouldn’t set out with the goal of ‘shocking’ an audience. You need to educate. When you educate, you use data and facts to create change. Education makes issues like climate change, world hunger, and disease prevention more approachable for marketers and audiences.

From here on out, it’s no longer ‘shock’ value marketing. It’s educational marketing.

If your product or brand can educate an audience on a specific cause and how your brand can help, then you can go all in. It’s like going all in on a strong poker hand, it can work.

We can always refer back to the question of 'why' your brand exists. If you can answer this, you’ll likely have an idea of where you can start using your marketing as an educational tool.

With education as the backbone of your ads, they hold extra value for your audience. Is there something your audience needs to know about why you do what you do?

This is a healthy question to ask for two reasons:

  1. It’ll ensure that you are still aligned with the goals that you originally set for yourself
  2. It’ll align your team with these goals

Once you’ve answered the ‘why’ question for your brand, you can start brainstorming some incredibly thought-provoking ads to stir the pot in a healthy way. So, what do we need to know? 😉


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How To Prepare for a Possible U.S. TikTok Ban

A bill before the U.S. Congress in late 2022 seeks to ban some social media platforms in the name of national security — including TikTok.

Politics aside, if the bill does become law, it would have a massive impact on how direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands drive sales via social media and influencer marketing. 😕

✍️ Let's start with the bill

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) introduced the "Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act" which is also called the  "ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act" on December 13, 2022.

This act would completely ban TikTok in the United States. 🤯

The bill is meant "to protect Americans from the threat posed by certain foreign adversaries using current or potential future social media companies that those foreign adversaries control to surveil Americans, learn sensitive data about Americans, or spread influence campaigns, propaganda, and censorship," according to its introduction.

There is at least some bipartisan support as Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said the bill was “a strong step in protecting our nation from the nefarious digital surveillance and influence operations of totalitarian regimes.”

🚨 Concerns not completely unfounded

While this looks similar to then President Donald Trump's attempt to ban TikTok a few years ago, some privacy advocates and journalists have also raised concerns about TikTok specifically.

The potential difference between TikTok and other forms of social media tracking is that the Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated loads of control over China-based tech businesses.

For example, "TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, is required by Chinese law to make the app's data available to the Chinese Communist Party," Rubio noted.

While the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act is certainly political in nature (favored by the Republican Party), the concern that Communist China could track, spy on, and influence Americans via TikTok may not be completely unfounded.

✅ It could pass

Just ten days after this bill was introduced, the U.S. did ban TikTok on government-owned devices. 📲 Other nations, including the U.K. and India, have already enacted complete TikTok bans or banned TikTok from government servers and devices.

Finally, the governors of 19 U.S. states (as of December 20, 2022) were seeking to ban the social media platform in some fashion.

All of this implies that the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act or something similar could become real in America.

👀 How a ban could impact DTC brands

TikTok has hardly felt like a sinister spy network to most DTC marketers. The platform is fun-to-use, engaging, and ridiculously popular, with more than one billion active monthly users worldwide. Perhaps more than most other social media platforms, TikTok has been able to create a sense of community.

This has all been good for the DTC industry. Gillian Follett writing for Ad Age, noted that "the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt soared to 31 billion views this year."

Specifically, DTC brands tend to use TikTok in three obvious ways.

  • DTC brands post TikToks,
  • DTC brands buy ads on TikTok,
  • DTC brands partner with influencers on TikTok.

Any successful ban in the United States, be it complete or partial, could impact DTC brands that depend on TikTok for sales.

The prudent approach for these DTC brands might be to develop a plan B for TikTok promotions. What would your brand do if it suddenly couldn’t rely on TikTok to contribute to marketing promotions?

To help answer this question, the marketers at a DTC company would need to know a few things.

  • What role does TikTok play in marketing now?
  • How does TikTok contribute to a buyer's journey?
  • What percentage of sales rely on TikTok?

These questions will help identify what is at risk if the United States or any other country in which the brand does business limits or bans TikTok

Next, consider your alternatives.

What other social media platforms or marketing methods can be used to promote the brand and its products?

It’s worth noting that most DTC brands already use at least a few social media platforms. Still, it would be a good time to explore them further and identify which offers a solid return — not just for reach and engagement but also for sales.

It might also be worthwhile exploring other marketing channels beyond social media. For example, many influencers also have owned media, i.e. podcasts or newsletters, which are likely to never be subject to bans. These channels might also serve as a plan B.

In each case, set aside an experimental budget now to test potential TikTok alternatives.

What are your thoughts on the future of TikTok? Are you preparing for a ban, or do you think all this will blow over? 🤔

Quick Hits

💰 OpenAI begins piloting ChatGPT Professional.

🇩🇪 Germany says Google has too much control over user data.

🎵 In-app spending surges in China.

🤑 YouTube Shorts revenue sharing will begin in February.

🐥 Twitter accused of a “sham redundancy process.”

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🥤 Sansorium - Fiona Hepher: Sipping Sober with a 30% Return Customer Rate.

❤️ Rootd - Ania Wysocka: Helping a Million Users in the Age of Anxiety.

💰 Mike Fata - CPG Lessons From Scaling Hemp Hearts + A Trifecta of 9 Figure Exits!

📕 Hero Cosmetics - Ju Rhyu: Reversing the DTC Playbook and the $630MM Hero CPG Needs.

💵 EcomCFO.co - Sam Hill: Make Your Finances Anti-Fragile.

💡 Listen to the Biggest Marketing News Stories Today.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight and Michael Venditti. Edited by Claire Beveridge and Eric Dyck.

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