TikTok has started blocking links to app stores in creator bios, AapkaDost learned and the company confirmed. The block, which will have a significant impact on CPI (cost-per-install) campaign deals between creators and brands, also extends to external link-in-bio solutions like Linktree.
The change was first noticed by Sendit’s co-founder David Tesler, who commented on Twitter he and others had tested the functionality on different accounts and found that the links no longer worked to redirect clicks to the App Store. Instead, when clicked, the links displayed a message saying “action cannot be completed.”
Tesler also noted that the only exception to the problem seemed to be accounts that had an ad relationship with TikTok.
While TikTok did not make an official statement about this recent change, the company did confirm that personal creator accounts no longer have the option to link to app store pages. However, they can link to websites just like before.
Going forward, only TikTok business accounts will be able to link to app store pages. There are no costs associated with this functionality. In other words, companies don’t have to pay to add the link or agree to advertise on the platform to use this option.
Plus, TikTok says it’s rolling out a new “Download app” button for business accounts — and this isn’t an advertising product either.
The company believes this change will improve clarity between business and personal accounts by making their feature sets clearer. But it’s also clearly an effort to shift more of the ad dollars flowing to creators through campaigns these days into TikTok’s coffers. Now, companies that want to direct TikTok users to their app’s App Store listing will likely want to promote the account with the functional link through ads.
In recent years, TikTok has become increasingly influential in the App Store’s top charts – sometimes artificially inflating the popularity of certain apps in the real world as a tidal wave of TikTok users rushed to install the app from a marketing campaign. These users don’t always stick around after the initial install, but the speed of the new downloads would send the app to the top lists, allowing others to discover it as well. This change will allow TikTok-driven installs to decrease in the app stores, as creators will not be able to run the same kind of campaigns as before.