What You Need to Know About Advertising on TikTok

What You Need to Know About Advertising on TikTok

TikTok, the short-form mobile video app that’s popular among Gen Z, has been rapidly growing its young user base, and as a result, marketers have been keenly awaiting the full launch of the platform’s ad options to connect with these users.

However, several months after the company launched a beta of its ad offering, the platform remains an uncertain prospect for many, with its ad options and capacity still growing in western markets.

Could TikTok be a viable platform for your social media marketing strategy?

Here’s an overview of the current ad options available, and how they work.

Biddable Ads

Most major social media networks have some type of biddable ad process, usually in the form of a self-serve platform where a marketer can set up and run the ads themselves.

In April 2019, TikTok launched a beta of its “managed service platform” which brought TikTok into the biddable ads space, but still required reps to run the ads. In other words, fully self-serve ads are not available just yet.

An example of a TikTok ad

So what is there to know about TikTok’s current ad products?

First, and most importantly, there is currently only one ad unit: the standard in-feed video ad (example above). Given TikTok is a feed of short video clips, this format makes the most sense, as the platform introduces its user base to ads in-feed.

With these in-feed video ads, there are three action models:

  • CPC (cost per click)
  • CPM
  • CPV (cot per view (6 seconds).

For targeting, TikTok offers age, gender, and state-level geo-targeting, and the company has also promised interest, behavioral, more granular demo targeting over time.

There’s currently no official minimum spend requirement, but the company encourages marketers to make an investment large enough to show results and generate actual learnings. You can also create custom audiences, such as CRM lists, and you can white list or blacklist the audiences. CRM integration is not available at this stage, however, but physical lists can be used.

More self-service options and API integration are in the works, but TikTok currently doesn’t have solid release dates announced.

TikTok also has three other ad formats available, but all require larger budgets and placement exclusively with a rep.

Brand Takeover

This ad type appears instantly when a user opens the app, bringing your message front and center. You can then drive users to an internal or external destination – however, the use of this format is limited to one advertiser per day. Food delivery service Grubhub tried this during TikTok’s testing phase to run a mobile app install ad.

TikTok ad example

Hashtag Challenge

This ad campaign encourages user-generated content (UGC) by asking users to participate in a challenge, which are immensely popular on TikTok.

TikTok hashtag challenge

This capitalizes on the users’ natural tendency to create and share content on the platform, and has a high potential for virality. A TikTok representative partners with the brand for six days during the length of the campaign.

Branded Lenses

Similar to the AR lenses offered by Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok’s branded lenses will bring face filters, 3D objects, and more to users.

TikTok branded lens example

AR lenses can bring an incredibly deep level of user engagement, and given the app’s user base, this could end up being a very popular option for boost brand messaging. 

As of June 2019, TikTok had over 500 million monthly active users around the world and counting, with about 26 million U.S. adults actively using the platform. Given its explosive growth, it’s worth considering the potential of its ad products for your business – it won’t be a fit for all, and there’s still some way to go in measuring its viability. But it may be worth testing the TikTok waters and seeing what results you get.

For more information on TikTok ads, click here to visit its web page.

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