Get Started With Tiktok.
Paid Social, Performance Marketing
Tiktok is the most widely used video-based app across the globe, was the most downloaded app in 2021 and has been downloaded a total of 3billion times (Statista). And recent data published by Influencer Marketing Hub showed that an average Tiktok user will spend more than 850 minutes a month consuming content in the app and has the highest engagement rates per post across all social platforms (7.96% on TikTok, 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube)
So it's clear to see why many marketers and wondering whether it's a platform they need to be considering in their marketing mix.
And as with most marketing questions, the answer is 'it depends'. It depends on your audience, your product and your creative capabilities. Firstly, you need to ensure that your target market are spending time on the platform, then assess whether the type of product you are selling feels right sitting amongst the native content and then make sure you have the time, budget or skillset to create the specific content that Tiktok needs in order for your brand to shine.
Tiktok is a very particular platform and it's users have particular expectations so the easiest way to start is to play by the rules. And the best way to get to know Tiktok is to use Tiktok. Download the app and spend some time on the platform as a user, only then can you really understand how it works.
Once you've spent some quality time with Tiktok, here's what you should be looking out for.
There is no "Marketing Funnel".
Tiktok is re-imagining what the path to purchase looks like for their users. They do not operate in a linear funnel; pushing users from the top and down into the bottom. Instead they recognise that users are moving through an infinite loop of discovery and purchase. There is no dedicated entry and exit points, instead consumers can enter at any part of the loop based on their particular wants and needs.
For ads specifically, you'll hear the term "Flywheel' and this is Tiktok's way of explaining how their algorithm amplifies well performing ads. Whilst, you can still set up your campaigns with specific conversion goals, each stage of the flywheel powers the next. So if your content doesn't perform well straight away, you are unlikely to have enough power to keep the wheel moving. Tiktok will simply reduce visibility of your ad as the algorithm will deem it valueless to the audience.
Tiktok's Social Commerce.
It would seem that eCommerce has been the top priority for Tiktok advancements over the past year. Although the platform's primary function is to entertain, it cannot be ignored that nearly all ad solutions are focussed on commerce. And it would seem that their solutions are working.
According to consumer research from Search Engine Journal:
37% of users immediately bought a product after discovering it on Tiktok
44% of users discover new products through ads on their feed
35% of users will go on to buy something they have seen on the platform
Now whilst these are impressive statistics, we have to bare in mind that this is across all products. And the majority of products being sold on Tiktok will be fast moving consumer goods or goods of a lower value. So we can assume that the consideration phase for the purchase of these will be shorter than that of a luxury brand. Therefore we need to take into account that luxury brands on Tiktok may still need to nurture consumers a little more in order for them to make a committed purchase for a product at a higher price point.
As mentioned before, the main ad formats available for Tiktok ads are centred towards eCommerce.
Within Tiktok's suite of shopping ads you can find:
Video Shopping Ads
Video shopping ads are powered by your catalogue. And your catalogue is set up in much the same way as your Google shopping feed. You are able to manually upload products, import them from an online file or upload files from a template.
You will need at least four, in stock, approved and activated products to run a Video Shopping Ad. So if you're just starting out and are looking to run some tests, I'd recommend choosing your top 4 revenue-driving products to start with.
Like regular TikTok ads, you will need video assets to create Video Shopping Ads. However, you have the option of using your product information to dynamically create Catalog Video, or using videos you upload or select from your Asset Library.
Catalogue Listing Ads
Catalogue Listing Ads are Tiktok's newest ad format which combines your product feed with their own recommendation algorithm. The aim is to create product focused ads and push them out to shoppers across the whole of the platform. No video assets are required as these ads are powered solely by your product catalogue, thus creating a new seamless shoppable experience for users.
Tiktok claims that Catalogue Listing ads can help with spending efficiency and driving a larger reach.
A word of warning though, with this ad format, it is imperative that your product feed is set up correctly and your product descriptions, price, stock and delivery information is all 100% accurate. There is no way to hide behind entertaining creative with these ads.
Live Shopping Ads
Whilst live shopping hasn't taken off in the rest of the world as it has in APAC just yet, many marketers are expecting it to start building traction across 2023.
Live shopping ads, when clicked, will take the user to a live stream where they will be given the opportunity to purchase the products you are showcasing through your brand's Tiktok shop.
To learn more about Live Shopping Ads, click here.
Outside of their commerce solutions, you can also set up:
Spark Ads operate much like a sponsored post on any Meta Platform. You can take a well-performing organic post from either your brand's native feed, from a content creator you have partnered with or even organic posts which mention your brand and boost the content to drive further impact.
In-feed ads are your typical vertical video ads. You can choose from a range of conversion goals, CTAs and targeting options. New features include interactive ads ons which can further enhance the users experience.
Top View Ads
Top View Ads are the first ads that appear immediately after the app is opened on a device. It is the first video a user will see, therefore viewability is enhanced.
Creative best practices.
Generally, there should be no distinction between whether a video is an ad or an organic post. Ads should looks native to the platform – as Tiktok say themselves Make Tiktoks Not Ads. That's why first and foremost, you need to be a user of the platform to understand the creative nuances.
Videos should be full screen portrait (9:16 or 1080x1920px). But be aware that captions and buttons will cover a perimeter around the screen so don’t place anything valuable in these spaces.
Tiktok is audio first. So make good use of sounds with either an audio hook within the first 1-3 seconds or trending audios.
Tiktok users thrive on authenticity so think about how you can use more user generated or 'homemade' creative rather than the slick polished ads you might be used to creating for other platforms. That's certainly not to say that you can't have a beautifully shot brand campaign running on Tiktok. But make sure there is variety in the style of video you are creating. Remember the user's shouldn't be able to tell that they're watching an ad.
Brand perception and safety.
Tiktok is trend-driven. Trending topics, trending music, dance trends, challenges are all things you will see. But that doesn’t mean your brand should be jumping on all these trends immediately. It’s wise to take a look at what the trend means and how it aligns with your brand. Just because Tiktok is authenticity driven, doesn’t mean you have to throw your brand and style guidelines out the window, to jump on a trend that might only be popular for a couple of weeks. However, if a trend lines up with your company culture, ethos and feel, then go for it! But act fast, the key is to strike while the iron is hot – otherwise, you might get left behind.