‘The whole lot might be home-centric’: How Walmart is utilizing inside design to faucet into TikTok’s Gen Z viewers
As TikTok increasingly becomes a staple of advertisers’ social media marketing budgets, Walmart, one of the first to adopt the platform, is doubling its TikTok efforts.
Recently, the global retailer set out to reach Gen Z buyers with its newly launched TikTok home channel 4Walls in partnership with Gen Z media company Kyra Media. With this initiative, Walmart hopes to expand its reach on the platform and targets Generation Z as they buy their first homes, apartments and student dormitories, according to Jodi Durkin, senior director of social media at Walmart US
“There are more and more people looking for easy ways to buy things that inspire them on social media,” said Durkin. “Integrating that into our TikTok strategy was a perfect fit for us.”
This next phase of Walmart’s TikTok strategy leverages both paid and organic content, leveraging TikTok influencers, trending content, and producing editorial videos related to home improvement with Walmart products and celebrity home tours. The TikTok channel, launched in mid-July, has more than 130,000 followers and almost 400,000 likes. On its main brand account, Walmart has at least 1 million followers and has garnered nearly 5 million likes.
Interior design was an untapped market on TikTok with no single retailer leading the space, which gave Walmart space to capitalize on that audience, according to Kelsey Arnold, director of U.S. Brand Partnerships at Kyra Media.
“In terms of editorial content, we are looking at our strategy for the next year and are finding various editorial pillars that we can develop,” said Arnold. “Everything will be centered on the home, but just other pillars that we can tap into to make sure we meet these people where they are.”
Durkin declined to say how much Walmart spent working with Kyra Media on its interiors initiative. According to Kantar, Walmart spent nearly $ 300 million on media in the first quarter of this year, compared to $ 96 million last year. Those numbers don’t include Walmart’s social media spend as Kantar doesn’t track them.
For social spending, social intelligence and analytics platform BrandTotal said at least half of Walmart’s digital advertising revenue goes to Facebook. The remaining budget is distributed on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – but not on TikTok as BrandTotal does not track TikTok spending.
Having an active presence on TikTok is key, said Metaforce co-founder and brand analyst Allen Adamson. But when it comes to brand awareness, it’s less about how often a brand appears on the platform and more about how well the brand appears on the platform, which drives audiences to associate editorial videos with the brand.
“I compare it to Super Bowl advertising,” said Adamson. “People remember the funny commercial, but they have no idea who it is for and it doesn’t make them want to buy a product because it has nothing to do with the product.”
It’s pretty far for big, traditional retailers to get buyers on a fast-moving channel like TikTok, Adamson said. In the case of Walmart, they’re on the right track by firing at all of the cylinders. But the more the retailer stays true to their brand, the better, he said.
“I don’t think they should shoot for the home run. You should go for a lot of singles, ”he said of the retailer’s current strategy. “Because if you’re going for the home run, chances are you’re doing something that is so irrelevant to you that it doesn’t make a difference.”
The newly formed partnership with Kyra Media builds only on Walmart’s already massive TikTok presence. The global retailer first launched on TikTok in 2019, hosting live stream shopping events and branding songs – it even encouraged employees to post while they work, as shown in previous Digiday reports. Looking ahead, Walmart plans to expand its live shopping experience on social media.
“We need to find out how our customer picks up the phone during the day,” said Durkin. “We have to embrace that and find the right way to deliver the experience customers are looking for and a way that adds value to their lives.”