Let’s be real; traditional advertising doesn’t work the way it used to.
We live in a weird time where people can tune out advertisements with the swipe of a finger, and companies/brands have to get creative if they want to reach their target audiences. This is why utilizing things like TikTok Ads are so important.
The TikTok Potential
In 2021, 49% of TikTok users had purchased a product they saw on the app. With around a billion users, that’s a market worth tapping into. Most of these purchases were spontaneous, meaning the user wasn't looking to buy. Instead, they saw it, they liked it, they wanted it and they bought it (Queue Ariana Grande).
The selling potential of TikTok is insane, and getting your product, service, or brand out there and visible lets you tap into a virtual goldmine.
Types of TikTok Ads
There are five formats for TikTok ads. Let's break each one down.
- In-Feed Ads - This is likely what you picture when you think of a TikTok ad. In-feed ads feel very natural as people scroll through their FYP since they don’t interrupt the scrolling experience. This type of ad can be up to sixty seconds long, and TikTok users can like, share, comment, and engage with them. In-Feed ads are skippable, so boring videos will result in low views. This type of ad includes a call to action button at the bottom that prompts users to purchase a product or subscribe to a landing page.
- Spark Ads: This style lets brands promote a creator's video instead of making their own unique content. These videos also feel organic and appear in your feed without interrupting the scrolling experience. As a brand, you need to understand spark ads are linked directly to the specific TikTok account that created the video, not your own page. So likes and comments are left on the original user's profile. If a brand purchases a video from a content creator, that brand will not get any likes; the creator will.
- TopView Ads: These ads are… wait for it… also sixty seconds long and pop up right when users open the TikTok app. They auto-play, take up the entire screen and can include a CTA within the ad. This type of ad does not have an organic feel since it interrupts the scrolling experience. These ads feel the closest to the typical "commercial" marketing. However, they can still be highly effective since they literally force your attention. So if the audience you’re targeting will likely sit through the whole thing, it can be worth the cost.
- Brand takeover ads: These takeovers, also pop-up ads, are either a three-second image or a three to five-second video. This type of ad can drive traffic to internal and external landing pages. These are sometimes preferred over a TopView Ad, since they take up less time in the user's experience with the same outcome.
- Branded Hashtag Challenge Ad: Branded challenges are a great way to create fun interactive and highly engaging ads. These challenges are displayed at the top of the Discover Page. Users can click on the challenge to see a description page that explains the rules and purpose. TikTokers can create content within the challenge rules, using the brand's hashtag to link their post to the challenge itself. This marketing style definitely rewards creativity!
- Branded Effects: For this one, think Snapchat filters. This type of ad lets brands create a shareable filter, sticker, or special effect of some sort. Users can then interact with the effect and create content connected to the brand. This can be a good option to combine with other types of ads.
How to set up an ad campaign
Now that we have covered all the different formats available for ads TikTok offers, let's go over the actual creation of your ad.
Setting up your ad is pretty straightforward once you download TikTok's ad manager. You will need a TikTok Business account to do so.
Once you are logged into TikTok Ads Manager, click "Create" under the campaign button.
From there, you will be taken through the ad creation process. The process is split into three sections; Campaign, Ad group, and Ad. Think of these sections as starting out broad and getting more and more specific. You start with the overall goal of your ads, and through the entire process, you narrow everything down into individual video content.
Follow along for step-by-step instructions on the process.
Section 1: Campaign
1. Advertising Objective
Think about the ultimate goal of this campaign - sales, views, likes, etc.
The options are broken into three categories:
- Reach- Show your ad to the maximum number of people
- Traffic - Send more people to a destination on your website or app
- Video Views- Get more views and engagement for your video ads
- Lead Generation- Collect leads for your business or brand
- Community Interaction- Get more page follows or profile visits
- App Promotion - Get more users to install and engage with your app
- Website Conversions- Driving valuable actions to your website
Once you have decided on your ultimate goal, select the option that best aligns.
Under "Campaign Name," select the title you want to use. You can use up to 512 characters.
You can also set a "Campaign Budget" and opt in or out of "Budget Optimization." If you decide to use optimization, it will look for the best ways to use your money to push your campaign. You also can create a "Split Test," which will run your ads against each other to see which one yields the best results.
Section 2: Ad Group
Select a name for your specific ad group.
2. Promotion Type
You can link any external website or app information you might be using.
You must choose between "Automatic Placement" and "Select Placement." This basically just means you need to decide if you want your ad only to show up on the TikTok app itself or to push it into the entire TikTok Family.
4. Creative Type
If you want TikTok to optimize your content into ads, you can opt-in for the optimization. This means TikTok would design your ads for you.
This allows you to identify your target audience. If you want to keep it broad, you can do so. If not, you can specify based on location, language, gender, age, income, and more. You can also opt to include and exclude customizable groups.
6. Budgeting & Schedule
You can decide how you want your budget spent. You will need to set a daily budget minimum as well as a running schedule budget. You can get pretty specific here; it depends on how much coin you want to spend.
7. Bidding Optimization
In this section, the last thing you choose is what your optimization goal is. You can choose between options like "Conversion" (where your main goal is sales or subscribers) and "Click" (the main goal would be getting people to your external site). You also will need to choose your bid strategy. Basically, you are deciding how your budget will be spent and run.
Section 3: Ad Name
1. Ad name
Pretty self-explanatory, you choose the name for the ad itself.
If you are planning on delivering Spark Ads, you will toggle over here.
3. Ad Details
This is where you will upload your actual content. You can upload and edit your content or just select a pre-edited video. To get the best quality results, follow the Video Ad Specifications provided through TikTok. You can preview your ad before you hit "Submit."
Tips for Successful Ads
Once you learn all the steps in the process, creating an ad is pretty straightforward. The trickier part is making sure the ad does well. We wanted to quickly go over three suggestions to improve your ad's performance.
- Know your target audience. No, really… know your audience. Know who will likely interact with your content. If you are selling a product that "Gen Z" probably will not be able to afford, you may want to rethink the style of content you are putting out there. Content for a younger vs. older audience should cater accordingly.
- Include easy and direct CTAs. If you are selling a product, make sure you clearly state where and how your followers can purchase it. If you are promoting a brand or a subscription, explain what action you want your followers to complete. Any confusing wording or messaging will not help you.
- Produce quality content. Now, many people like TikTok because it feels like a more "authentic" app compared to the very curated Instagram. With that being said, still take the time to create videos that are eye-catching and interesting to watch. It's short-form content, so think about packing as much good stuff as possible into a very small amount of time. Make sure to follow trends using catchy audio and play to your audience.
The verdict is in, and it's official: TikTok ads are worth your time. With an ever-growing user base, there's no question that the market for ads exists and is only going to continue to grow.
So what are you waiting for? Give a TikTok ad campaign a try and see how it goes. As with anything social media-related, it will take time and some tweaking along the way but stick with it. The end goal is worth it.
In the meantime, keep reading our blog for more insights on all things digital marketing!