Is it time to include TikTok Ads for eCommerce in your store’s social media marketing strategy? It may just be – for the right product and market, that is.
TikTok is available in more than 150 countries, with users spending 476 minutes per month on the app, second only to Facebook ads. TikTok has over 1 billion users worldwide, with 50 million+ active users generating $86.5 million in the US alone.
In this post, we review who should be using TikTok Ads and take you through everything you need to know about adding TikTok advertising to your social media marketing plan for eCommerce. Feel free to jump ahead here:
TikTok Ads for eCommerce
So, should you be testing TikTok advertising with other social media platforms?
The short answer is yes.
In one case study, fashion brand ZALORA saw a 72% decrease in CPAs and 1.7 conversion rates from their TikTok short-form mobile video and For You feed ads.
However, TikTok Ads for eCommerce aren’t for everyone as the platform has a very specific demographic.
Their core platform reach is Gen Z and millennials, who account for 75% of TikTok’s user base, with 41% aged between 16 and 24.
In a nutshell, if your core target shopper is older, or if you’re not looking for new creative ways to reach younger shoppers, then it’s probably not worth testing TikTok advertising for your store.
That’s not to say that the platform isn’t starting to increase in popularity with older users in the US and other countries as it becomes more mainstream.
However, if you have a product or brand that fits perfectly in this demographic, TikTok Ads can offer the following pros:
eCommerce TikTok Ad Pros
- Less market saturation: TikTok ads are still pretty new, so they have far less ad competition than Facebook ads and Instagram. Additionally, as the platform is best suited for shoppers under 24, fewer brands are testing reach.
- Access to new markets: TikTok’s fast-growing global reach means more marketing opportunities for international sellers.
- Mass audience reach for key demographics: TikTok has a keen understanding of their market and has been able to integrate ads in a way that does not turn off their key users. If you add this to their growing user numbers, it offers mass reach for a core demographic on one platform.
- Fast-growing development: TikTok is constantly upgrading and increasing TikTok ad campaigns designed to help retailers showcase and sell products.
If this applies to your online store, then it is definitely worth adding TikTok to your social media and PPC marketing strategy. If you’re using robust PPC management software, like Traffic Booster, reach out to your dedicated account manager to add TikTok Ads to your advertising portfolio.
If you’re not using PPC automation, no problem. In the remainder of this TikTok advertising guide, we will take you through different TikTok ad formats and marketing opportunities available to store owners, and offer some marketing tips for brands testing TikTok Ads.
TikTok Ad budgets start at $50 minimum at the campaign level and $20 at the ad group level, and if you are in a region where self-service ads are activated, they are relatively easy to set up. You can click here to get started with the TikTok Ads Manager.
To set up TikTok Ads, you will need to first install the TikTok pixel, then create your advertising campaign, and finally, add your ad groups.
Similar to how you would for other social PPC platforms, you will follow these advertising campaign setup steps:
- Choose your TikTok campaign objective (campaign level)
- Name your campaign and set your budget (campaign level)
- Choose placement (ad-group level)
- Select creative type (ad-group level)
- Allocate your targeting (ad-group level)
- Choose bids (ad-group level)
Additionally, when it comes to TikTok ads for eCommerce specifically, brands will also need to set up their TikTok product catalogs. If you or your marketing team are new to TikTok ads, this video will help you get set up.
New TikTok Shopping App Alert: TikTok is currently testing the TikTok Seller app, which allows their seller community to take advantage of a suite of TikTok Shopping and social commerce features. Launched in December 2021, this app is currently only available in Indonesia. In a nutshell, it gives sellers the ability to run all aspects of their TikTok shop, from managing inventory and orders to analyzing their online business.
TikTok’s marketing is still new, but evolving quickly. They offer a variety of marketing and TikTok advertising opportunities that eCommerce brands can capitalize on. These include:
TikTok Ads for eCommerce
In September 2021, Tiktok expanded their TikTok Shopping features beyond Shopify merchant integrations to include a host of solutions, features, and advertising tools designed for eCommerce retailers. In short, it’s this ad platform’s answer to social commerce.
This included direct integration for smaller sellers who want to upload products and manage sales directly from TikTok, and integration with a wider list of eCommerce platforms, including Square, Ecwid, and PrestaShop.
From an advertising perspective, TikTok Shopping features include:
- Product Links: This feature enables brands to highlight multiple products and send TikTok users to instantly loading product detail pages.
- LIVE Shopping: LIVE Shopping features enable brands to share dynamic links to products in real-time with TikTok LIVES.
Designed for eCommerce and part of TikTok’s Shopping suite, Collection Ads are currently being tested in select markets. They are made up of swipeable product cards and In-Feed video ads, and lead potential customers to an Instant Gallery Page.
Unlike regular In-Feed ads, these TikTok Shopping ads require customers to leave TikTok and visit your brand’s store. To test this ad type you will need to:
- Ensure you have set up your TikTok product catalog
- Set up your campaign
- Build a gallery page for your campaign
Another new TikTok eCommerce ad type currently being tested in selected markets are Dynamic Showcase Ads. These ads are designed to show dynamic, more personalized targeted ads to potential shoppers based on their interests. Think of them as TikTok’s version of Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads.
To be ready to use these ads, brands will need to:
- Set up their TikTok Pixel
- Ensure they have set up their TikTok product catalogs
- Create product videos for TikTok catalogs
Despite limited roll-out, this ad type is already having a lot of success. Women’s athletic wear eCommerce brand Aerie, for example, were one of the first brands to test TikTok DSAs. Having had great success with their crossover leggings going viral on TikTok previously, they used TikTok Dynamic ads to automatically promote thousands of products and deliver a curated ad experience to their most relevant audiences. Some impressive stats from their campaign include:
- ROAS: increased from 2.24 to 7.78
- Conversion Rates: initial DSA campaign saw a 0.94% conversion rate which then more than tripled to 2.93%
- CPA: 78% more efficient CPAs
You can read more about this successful TikTok example campaign here.
If you’re looking to expand influencer marketing to TikTok, then the Creator Marketplace is a good place to start. Launched by TikTok, it helps brands find popular TikTok influencers to partner with to promote product or store links.
Pro Tip: Choosing the Right TikTok Influencer for Your Online Store
Before committing to a TikTok influencer, you should:
- Make sure their viewers/followers line up with your target audience
- Review content to ensure it lines up with relevant niche topics
- Put more weight behind engagement than follower numbers – it’s better to go with a smaller follower list if that TikTok influencer’s followers are more engaged
Brand Takeovers are promotional posts that reach users on the app launch screen. Lasting only a few seconds (three to five seconds for video or three seconds for a static graphic), they are fast and in users’ faces.
They also appear on users’ For You pages and include either a clickable link or a branded Hashtag Challenge.
TikTok Brand Takeover Ads will:
- Show a full-screen video when targeted TikTok users (your audience) open the app and appear on the For You feed page.
- Be exclusive to a specific category. In other words, TikTok will only show one Brand Takeover to each user per day.
Although great for awareness, a Brand Takeover can be pricey. Therefore, they are best suited for more established eCommerce brands with bigger budgets.
TikTok Brand Takeover Ad Placement: Takeover Ads appear as soon as a TikTok user opens their app, taking over for a few seconds before changing into an In-Feed video ad.
Branded Effects offer eCommerce marketers a fun way to build product awareness. It’s where you create branded filters, stickers, effects, or lenses for users to use on their own content, creating a more immersive experience. They are a great way to encourage eCommerce brand engagement, promote UGC, and have fun with potential shoppers at the awareness stage.
Similar to Instagram AR filters, Branded Effects can stand alone or be integrated into other formats and campaign types, such as a branded Hashtag Challenge. Halls had a lot of success building various campaigns around Branded Effects to lift new product awareness by 60.93% and get 17 million video views.
TikTok Branded Effect Ads Placement: These filters can be applied to a variety of content and ad formats.
Ideal for growing TikTok brand followers or interacting with new audiences, In-Feed Ads are placed in potential shoppers’ For You feeds and can be up to 60 seconds long. Their ad format is similar to that of Instagram stories, and leaves a lot of room for creativity. In other words, they’re like personalized ads.
TikTok In-Feed Ads:
- Can be liked, shared, followed, and commented on by users.
- Enable TikTok advertisers to use music in these ads to shoot their own videos.
- Have formatting that allows for multiple CTAs.
- Appear on TikTok users’ For You pages.
TikTok In-Feed Ad Placement: In TikTok users’ For You feed page.
Pro Tip: If you want to make sure your personalized ads stand out to users, always ensure your videos can grab attention without sound on. Like with any social media platform, you have limited time to make an impression. When creating any social media advertising video, you should:
- Stay as authentic as possible by prioritizing ‘vibe’ over social media platform specs
- Make the first two (yes, two) seconds count
- Always take no-sound users/viewers into account
Taking eCommerce Brand Takeovers further, TopView TikTok ads are full-screen video ads of up to a minute.
Placed in front of users as soon as they open the app and then in their newsfeeds, these advertising campaigns are designed to grab attention and build brand awareness.
Here’s an example from Pepsi. For this TikTok campaign, they leveraged TikTok’s TopView to create immersive, sound-on experiences that resulted in 5 million+ views, 22.71% engagement rate, and 21% CTRs.
TikTok Topview Ad Placement: This ad format is placed as the first In-Feed post after three seconds.
One of the most popular branding options on TikTok is Branded Hashtag Challenges. Designed to boost awareness and drive engagement beyond traditional ad clicks, Hashtag Challenges can be highly effective when used strategically.
With these Hashtag Challenge Campaigns, brands invite TikTok users to participate by creating content around your campaign theme. TikTok states that these ads offer an average engagement rate of 8.5% through likes, comments, and shares during the six days of the campaign.
Here’s an example from ASOS that resulted in 488K+ created videos and 1.2 billion video views in just six days.
Bonus: Small Gestures Feature
During the worst of the pandemic in 2020, TikTok launched their Small Gestures feature. Although it’s not technically an ad, many brands are using this feature to reward customers. This includes brands such as Pandora, NYX Professional Makeup, Essie, and Fitplan.
- Ad Platform Auction Marketplace: Similar to Facebook advertising, TikTok enables eCommerce advertisers to start with smaller budgets to create campaigns that target TikTok users with specific interests and/or demographics.
- Audience Campaign Targeting: As TikTok is newer, it generally has fewer targeting options for eCommerce advertisers. However, TikTok enables advertisers to retarget video viewers based on whether they finished the video or commented on it, and targeting is increasing regularly.
- Video Ad Engagement: Viewers of both Facebook and TikTok video campaigns can comment on ads. However, TikTok doesn’t enable brands to reply to these comments.
- Ad Platform Account: Unlike Facebook advertising, TikTok advertising requires brands to have two separate accounts: one regular account profile, and one advertiser account to run campaigns.
- Costs: Generally, TikTok advertising campaigns costs are lower than Facebook’s.
- Ad Platform Pixel: TikTok’s ad platform pixel isn’t as developed as the one Facebook advertising offers in terms of data collection.
- Users: Both TikTok and Facebook advertising have high success rates for targeting younger audiences. Generally, though, Facebook offers a much broader user base in terms of demographics.
Bottom Line: TikTok advertising is a great addition to an omnichannel eCommerce ads strategy which includes Facebook ad campaigns and others all working together to drive more potential customers to your store.
When it comes to adding and creating TikTok Ads to your overall social media marketing strategy, you will want to:
- Fast-growing eCommerce retailer? Manage TikTok on autopilot and professionally integrate TikTok with your full eCommerce marketing strategy with PPC management software and automation tool Traffic Booster enterprise.
- Stay on top of music trends and viral videos. This is a fast-moving social media platform, and you want to stay ahead of content trends to make sure your ad content is always relevant.
- Keep videos short to encourage more views. The #ForYou feed algorithm is based on watch time, so the longer viewers stay engaged, the better. Longer videos mean watch time ratios will be lower.
- Use TikTok’s Creator Marketplace to find popular influencers in your niche. You’re looking for those with regularly engaged TikTok users.
- Shopify merchant? Connect Shopify stores to TikTok to use their Shoppable TikTok videos and allow for easier consumer checkout.
It’s Time to Include TikTok Marketing in Your eCommerce Ad Platform Strategy
As you can see, there are quite a few options when it comes to TikTok Ads for eCommerce. With the right strategy, any eCommerce brand can really capitalize on awareness and engagement like Gymshark has done below.
Here’s a recap of the type of ad formats this social media advertising platform offers:
TikTok Ads for eCommerce
- TikTok Shopping Features
- TikTok Collection Ads
- TikTok Dynamic Showcase Ads
- TikTok Creator Marketplace
- TikTok Brand Takeover Ads
- Branded Effect TikTok Ads
- TikTok In-Feed Ads
- TopView TikTok Ads
- TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenges
Bonus: eCommerce TikTok Account Highlight
Thinking of going all-in with TikTok and looking for account inspiration? Have a look at Gymshark’s account!
With 2.4+ million active followers, they are winning TikTok by tapping into their audiences’ content preferences.
If you want to make an impact quickly, now is the time to test this PPC channel, getting ahead of your competitors.
However, like with any new social media marketing or PPC channel, you will want to test TikTok for your specific audience and niche before throwing huge budgets at it.
You should also make sure that you focus on creating highly personalized ads that tap into this platform’s core demographic.
Ready to get started with TikTok Ads? You have two options:
- Head over to TikTok Ads Manager and create your first campaign yourself.
- Automate your TikTok and other PPC advertising platforms with Traffic Booster’s enterprise option.
Note: If you are already a Traffic Booster Merchant, speak to your account manager about upgrading your account to Enterprise.
And if you’re not already, follow us on TikTok.
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she's not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she's an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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