TikTok’s self-serve ad manager tool is now available for SMBs to start advertising on the platform, introducing a new way for brands to reach a young, engaged, global audience. TikTok is in the media a lot right now, which can all be attributed to its success – but for different reasons.
The app is hugely popular, a pandemic favorite offering up a different type of virality, with content spreading like… wildfire among its 84 million active-daily users in the United States. TikTok is an important app. so much so that social media rival Instagram is not only launching a rival service, Reels, but offering money to TikTok’s biggest stars to lure them (and their followers) away from TikTok.
So what makes TikTok so significant? The users.
Key TikTok User Statistics
- 84 million daily active users in the United States
- 70% of users are under 34 years of age
- 16-times, the app is opened by a user each day on average
- 347 seconds per session (more than Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest)
- 40% of TikTok users aren’t on Instagram
Should You Be Advertising On TikTok?
When you are advertising on TikTok, you’re reaching a highly-engaged, young audience. TikTok is popular with Gen-Z and those users aren’t abandoning the app as they grow older – in fact, millennials are now moving on to the app (now that our parents are all on Instagram and Facebook).
The exciting thing about TikTok is that viral-trending content is most often created from the ground up, where regular users create a trend and then celebrities get on board. So if you decide to advertise on TikTok, it’s important to change your creative style to match the environment and stay involved with the community. As TikTok puts it – Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.
This means staying on top of the viral trends making the rounds on the app, and not looking too polished. If you’re advertising on TikTok, your content should feel organic in its environment: become part of the cultural conversation, and stay authentic and relevant with your audience.
With any new advertising medium, there’s a lot of room to have some fun with your creative. And TikTok lets businesses create ads within the platform so they can feel more organic within their environment. But just because you can TikTok, doesn’t mean you should.
You don’t have to use ad dollars to achieve success as a brand on TikTok. The Washington Post’s video producer, Dave Jorgenson, has become their TikToker-in-Chief, using the medium “to build trust with TikTok’s young viewers and help them become familiar with the Post’s newsroom.”
Partnering With TikTok Influencers
Because trends on TikTok have been building from the ground-up, regular users have risen to TikTok heights with successful (or at least frequent) content – giving rise to TikTok influencers. TikTok doesn’t pay creators, they don’t receive any of the ad spend generated from businesses advertising on the platform. However, creators are leveraging their popularity and fame outside of the app.
Ordinary teenager turned accidental TikTok sensation, Charli D’Amelio, has amassed 70+ million followers. Leveraging her fame, she has been recruited by Hollister to successfully kick off their TikTok presence. The clothing brand’s first video is also a paid placement and earned them over 60 thousand followers in less than a week. D’Amelio also performed a stay home PSA, the #distancedance, at the behest of the Ohio governor and partnering with P&G.
Issues with advertising on TikTok
The primary concern with TikTok is over data security and user privacy, it’s the principal reason the U.S. government is considering banning the app (either that or it’s because the President’s feelings were hurt).
There are also ethical concerns over how the company is using content moderation as a propaganda tool. Florida Senator Marco Rubio argued there is evidence that TikTok are “censoring content that is not in line with the Chinese Government and Communist Party directives.”
But for a generation maturing into a world rocked by the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, users may have abandoned their expectation for internet privacy in favor of just enjoying a fun app for what it is.
Placements and Targeting
On a practical level, there’s little control over the content in the feed in which your ad might get placed next to – so there’s always the risk that your ad will appear in a feed next to content that is off-brand.
And unlike Facebook and Google, TikTok has not been designed for advertisers to target specific geographic audiences. You’re in luck if you want to target an entire State, but without the option to target DMAs or Zip Codes, TikTok isn’t a great platform for local campaigns.
Like other advertising platforms, TikTok has a pixel for businesses to implement on their website. The pixel will help with your targeting by allowing you to build remarketing campaigns and lookalike audiences, and it will help you track on-page events and conversions. Although the set-up process is cumbersome, it’s the best way to monitor and optimize your ROAS.
Also like Facebook Ads and Google Ads, TikTok is currently offering ad credits for US businesses to start advertising on the platform in a rush to get more SMBs advertising on TikTok. As well as a $300 ad credit for both new and existing advertisers, TikTok will also match your ad spend balance on a dollar for dollar basis, up to $2000.
If you’ve decided TikTok is a good move for your brand, be cautious, be creative, and make the most of the ad credits available to you. There are a lot of benefits to being an early-adopter to a new platform and, despite all the negative press coverage, I think TikTok is here to stay – so start building your audience now.