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. 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 Ads Pros
- Less market saturation: TikTok Ads are still pretty new, so they have far less ad competition than Facebook 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.
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)
TikTok’s marketing is still new and evolving all the time. However, they offer a variety of marketing and TikTok advertising opportunities that brands can capitalize on.
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–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 TikTok Ads 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 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 Effects Ad 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 leave 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 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, lots of brands are using this feature to reward customers. This includes brands such as Pandora, NYX Professional Makeup, Essie, and Fitplan.
When it comes to adding and creating TikTok Ads to your overall social media marketing strategy, you will want to:
- 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.
- Connect Shopify stores to TikTok to use their Shoppable TikTok videos and allow for easier consumer checkout.
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.
TikTok Ads in a Nutshell
As you can see, there are quite a few options when it comes to TikTok Ads for eCommerce. With the right strategy, eCommerce brands can really capitalize on awareness and engagement like Gymshark has done.
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.
Here’s a recap of the type of ad formats this social media advertising platform offers:
TikTok Ads for eCommerce
- TikTok Creator Marketplace
- Branded Takeover Ads
- Branded Effects Ads
- In-Feed Ads
- TopView Ads
- Branded Hashtag Challenges
Ready to get started with TikTok Ads? You have three 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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