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TikTok Presents an Opportunity for Genuine Engagement

The buzz and advancements in advertising on TikTok continue to increase as user consumption continues to grow, deepen, and evolve. It may not be the first platform for advertising dollars today, but its rise is something to keep a pulse on – just as we did in the early days of advertising on Facebook, Pinterest, and Snap. 

Why Keep a Pulse?

To start, any social media platform that has such an engaged user base with the ability to target accurate and rich first-party data is right up our alley. TikTok’s user base exploded during 2020, growing to reach an estimated 65.9 million users in the US alone, and its typical user is aging up from the teenage crowd that took to TikTok first. Users 18 and older spend, on average, over 30 minutes a day on the platform, inching it closer to the usage of the king and queen of social media, Facebook and Instagram. This engagement now gives marketers the ability to target millions of cohorts and billions of affinities, ranging from #MomsofTikTok to #EduTok and #Cooking. We can quickly see how testing into these audiences could complement any prospecting or upper-funnel media program looking to drive awareness and engagement of your brand. 

TikTok vs. The Other Guys

When you spend time on TikTok, it’s clear that their users engage in both a natural and authentic way. Because of this, inspiration, influence, and trust have become essential guideposts in what TikTok has become as a social platform – and how it wants marketers to think about the ways its products and services resonate with customers. We believe this provides many opportunities to think differently about marketing, focusing on building a connection with your customer through creativity and entertainment. And in TikTok’s experience, those brands that become a part of its culture show up as genuine, real, and honest. This is influencer marketing and how you build brand loyalty at its core. 

Measurement and Reporting Continues to Evolve

Brands testing into the paid placement space on TikTok leverage high-impact placements with TopView and OneDayMax video formats, which capture 100% share of voice and are the first paid ads seen on your #ForYou feed. Additionally, in-feed video (similar to Instagram Stories) can be optimized to various KPIs across the funnel – whether you’re looking to drive targeting reach, high engagement, or product purchase. TikTok is partnering with key measurement partners like Nielsen to help advertisers measure their interactive advertising success. As data continues to be at the core, we expect measurement parity with other paid channels to evolve and further underline the platforms' confidence in the investment. 

Where to Start

TikTok urges brands to “make TikToks, not ads”, and when you think about it, that intuitively makes sense and is the right place to start. Brands should first engage with customers organically with their TikToks and see what messaging resonates. Gaining insights on who is engaging with your posts and the best way to talk to these customers are critical learnings that can make a paid campaign even more successful on the platform.  There are a variety of creative ways to engage with users, which TikTok makes easy with tools for editing, adding sounds, effects, and filters. 

After that, we would encourage brands to think about what action they want users to take with their Tik Toks (aka ads) – and build a paid testing strategy which could include:

  • A branded hashtag challenge to engage with your customers in a unique and fun way
  • In-feed videos with a customized call-to-action to drive awareness (through efficient CPMs) or action to maximize traffic and/or conversion
  • Continuous audience exploration across the funnel to find the right audiences to drive performance

In summary, users say that advertising on TikTok is different than other platforms, presenting both the challenge and opportunity to think about how your brand can be marketed in a different way to the right customer at the right time. 

Now, most importantly, I’m off to buy non-skinny jeans.