TikTok Ads: The Basics and Benefits of TikTok Advertising | Adapt - Adapt (2024)

TikTok is no longer the new kid on the block. Monthly active user figures for TikTok have surpassed Snapchat and Pinterest cementing its place in the social sphere.

As with most social media platforms, TikTok did not initially feature paid advertising but this has been tested within the platform since early 2019 and has developed into a multifaceted service that should be heavily considered as a marketing avenue for most B2C brands.

For our guide to five new TikTok Advertising features for 2021, you can head over here...

If you’re still new to the world of TikTok, we will take you through the basics of TikTok, the different ad formats available, and the benefits of TikTok advertising. Let’s take a look below.

TikTok Ad Formats

There are multiple advertising products available within the TikTok marketing platform including In-Feed Ads (including Lead Forms and Spark Ads), Top View ads, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects.

In-Feed Ads are currently the only self-serve option within the platform available to all advertisers. These ads appear on the For You page, which is a continual feed of organic and paid content unique to each user.

Content within this feed is based on user preferences and has either been preselected or inferred by the algorithm based on their behavior within the platform.

In-Feed Ads contain:

  • A video or image that can run for 5-60 seconds
  • Brand/App display name between two-40 characters
  • Text that is between one and 100 characters
  • A call to action from a predetermined list of 22 actions
  • A destination URL that is not visible

These details are based on TikTok placement only.

Types of Ad Creative

Although the In-Feed Ads have a relatively small character limit compared to some other platforms, in an effort to avoid disappointing avid copywriters there are a number of prefabricated video templates that allow the creation of dynamic creative with greater character counts.

Not only this, but TikTok has three data-driven tools to orchestrate creative with the organic attributes that have proven to increase engagement. As TikTok advocates “Don’t make ads, make TikToks”, these tools can be useful in the quick creation of quasi-native content.

Smart Video

This tool allows you to upload assets including images, video and text which are then used to generate combinations of video ads to your specified length.

You can use an entirely TikTok-generated piece of content or combine this with your own voiceover/soundtrack.

Smart Video Soundtrack

This form of ad creative allows you to upload video files up to 500MB, which the platform will then suggest music that simply syncs to the content.

Automated Creative Optimisation (ACO)

ACO is a setting applied to ad groups, which allows you to upload up to 10 images and videos alongside text descriptions. These text descriptions are allowed to be between 5 and 100 characters.

In theory, this eliminates the need for A/B testing and extends creative life due to the type of variations available. However, once ACO has been selected you can upload new assets into the ad group, but you cannot turn ACO off again.

TikTok Ad Targeting

Ensuring you are targeting the right audience is marketing 101, and luckily for you, there are 6 key types of prospecting targeting available within TikTok:

1. Audience

    There are 5 standard custom audience types available for creation within TikTok:

    • Customer File - IDFA, GAID, phone number, and email
    • Website Traffic - created through interactions recorded with the TikTok Pixel
    • App Activity – downloads, in-app purchases, etc...
    • Engagement – interactions with ad content such e.g. clicks
    • Lead Gen – lists of users who have submitted a form through a Lead Generation ad

    Each of these audiences must be cross-referenced with TikTok users and (providing they populate beyond 1000) can be used to create lookalike audiences.

    These lookalike audiences can be selected as narrow, balanced, or broad, which directly impacts their size.

    2. Demographics

      These are general dimensions that marketers use regularly, which include location, gender, age, and language (of the platform on their device).

      3. Interests

        Interest targeting is based on the behaviors of users and inferences made by the TikTok algorithm dictating their preferences for content

        4. Behaviour

          Behaviour targeting delivers ads based on a user's in-app behaviour and interactions with content such as a like on a nature post within the last 7 days.

          5. Creators

            A relatively new feature of the platform, creator targeting allows you to serve ads to individuals who have followed or viewed the profile of a “creator” within a predefined list of categories such as DIY.

            This is a gentle nudge for marketers to dip their toes into the depths of influencer marketing.

            6. Device

              Extremely granular device targeting is available that includes the operating system and version as well as device model (down to an iPhone 4s), connection type, carrier, and device price. However, just because you can, does not mean you should.

              Why You Should Be Advertising on TikTok

              Some marketers are still skeptical about advertising on TikTok, due to its overwhelming popularity in the younger generations. However, this viewpoint is extremely misguided and comes from a misunderstanding of the social platform itself.

              If marketers took the time to investigate TikTok properly, they would find that advertising on it can be extremely beneficial. Below are just a few reasons why you should be advertising on TikTok.

              The Power of Influencer Marketing

              Although a self-proclaimed influencer can often be met with an eye roll from some marketers. Influencers have power and TikTok has created a platform to connect businesses and influencers through TikTok Creators Marketplace (TCM).

              This is an arena where businesses can interact directly with verified influencers to match organic content to their products and services.

              The clear benefit of this type of marketing is that users are far more likely to trust the opinion of a person they follow, like, and respect over a sole brand endorsem*nt.

              Influencer advertising on TikTok works particularly well as this social media platform is known for showcasing authentic and natural content.

              For example, watching an influencer record themselves trying out a new shampoo in their own home, feels way more realistic than watching an overly stylised “hair flicking” advert on TV.

              Partnering with popular influencers is also a great way to keep your ad campaigns fresh, relevant, and cost-effective.

              This is because influencers can easily boost a branded hashtag on TikTok’s Discover page. Without the help of an influencer, boosting a hashtag could cost as much as $100,000!

              User Engagement Is at an All-Time High

              For your social media advertisem*nts to work, your targeted users must fully engage with the social media platform in question, and users can’t seem to get enough of TikTok!

              And the stats speak for themselves. 90% of TikTok users go on the app multiple times a day, and these users will spend around 45 minutes a day scrolling on the app itself, which makes the cost of TikTok advertising seem more than worthwhile.

              Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok appears to attract an active and engaged audience, which other social media platforms struggle to replicate. If your users are engaged, they are far more likely to respond well to advertisem*nts, especially to those that are un-intrusive.

              Millennials and Gen Z are much more tech-savvy, and most use ad blockers throughout their apps. However, TikTok offers marketers a fantastic way to advertise their brand due to the high volume of user engagement.

              Instead of focusing all your efforts on a marketing strategy, you can use TikTok to promote consumer advocacy. This means that you can build strong brand awareness with an audience that is actively engaged with what you have to offer.

              International Reach Is Still on the Rise

              TikTok has dominated the social media world on a global scale. At present, there are over 1 billion users on TikTok, and is available in 150 countries and 75 different languages.

              So, with these numbers, it should go without saying that if you’re looking to expand globally, then TikTok could be an ideal choice.

              Covid-19 played a big part in the rise of TikTok users, and its audience is still expected to grow. Country lockdowns had people stuck in their homes looking for new forms of online entertainment.

              Even though parts of the world are opening again, the demand for this form of social media is not slowing down, which could be partly due to the world’s shift to online spending.

              Buying online seems to be the favoured option for billions of users worldwide and TikTok is one of the key players influencing spending decisions and shaping purchases.

              Advertising your product or service on this platform could help your eCommerce business expand on a global scale and reach audiences you never thought possible.

              It’s Easy to Use

              Sometimes, the thought of making a video advertisem*nt can be daunting, particularly if you are a novice. But with TikTok, creating video content is incredibly quick and easy.

              TikTok always aims to promote authenticity, which means that your ads don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t need to throw everything and the kitchen sink at your ads either.

              Over-the-top and over-produced adverts on TikTok have previously turned users away, so it’s best to keep it simple.

              Final Thoughts

              TikTok’s world domination has only just begun. The fact that it only entered into the top 5 downloaded apps at the beginning of 2021, just shows that it’s still very much fresh and exciting for users.

              This ever-growing audience of engaged users offers marketers an invaluable opportunity to reach new audiences across the globe and increase their brand exposure. Once you see how simple and effective TikTok advertising can be, it will become part of your marketing strategy in no time.

              TikTok Ads: The Basics and Benefits of TikTok Advertising | Adapt - Adapt (2024)
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