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TikTok Ads: To Buy Or Not To Buy?

Last Updated June 22, 2021

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If you haven’t taken advantage, or aren’t even thinking about taking advantage of TikTok ads for your brand, you're missing out on something big. You can bet that some of your competitors are using TikTok ads, even if you aren't.

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What is TikTok?

TikTok is an effective social media platform to create and share trends globally with a diverse audience. The app grew in popularity last year but has gotten a stronger “boost” since the start of the pandemic, which paved the way for TikTok For Business. The platform even doubled-down on marketing opportunities by offering small business credits for brands running TikTok ads for the first time. Currently, TikTok has more than 800 million active users worldwide. Approximately 15 percent of those are located in the United States.

What is TikTok For Business?

TikTok positions itself as an avenue for marketers to create content that becomes part of its community through its self-serve advertising initiative, TikTok For Business. Similar to the Google Ads and Bing Ads program, TikTok For Business is carefully designed to give advertisers the right tools to market their brand creatively with TikTok ads, to reach both their target and new audiences alike, and to optimize their campaigns with robust data. In a lot of ways, advertisers will find that TikTok For Business is similar to what other social media advertising platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, are offering. What sets TikTok ads apart from the pack at this moment is that this platform isn't nearly as saturated with advertising, thus making your ad stand out. 

TikTok For Business features the following ad formats:

  • TopView - An ad that appears when a user first launches the app.
  • Brand Takeovers - Three to five-second ads that can either be a video or an image.
  • In-Feed Videos - Ads of up to 60 seconds in length that run with sound.
  • Hashtag Challenges - This function allows advertisers to participate in the user community by inviting users to create content around a hashtag of the advertiser's choosing.
  • Hashtag Plus - This function allows your ad viewers to shop for products from within the app.
  • Branded Effects - The ultimate in TikTok ads, this function allows the advertiser to insert their brand or product directly into the user’s content creation experience through a 2D, 3D, or AR (augmented reality) format in either the foreground or background of the video.

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How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on TikTok?

Like other social media marketing programs, advertisers pay for TikTok ads when someone clicks on the ad. Pricing starts at $10 per 1000 views with a minimum $500 ad commitment. Like other, similar programs, the advertiser sets his or her advertising budget, the duration of the ad, the frequency, and the ad keywords.

Pricing varies depending on the ad format, the bidding amount, and the target audience demographics. In general, TikTok ads tend to be more expensive than similar ads on other social media platforms. However, you can make a good argument that TikTok ads are more effective.

Just a few things that TikTok ads have going for them that other social media ads lack include:

  • less competition for ad space;
  • the ability to reach multiple generations with a single ad;
  • and, the versatility in the ad formats. (You can create a text ad with an image or a more dynamic ad with video, multiple images and even AR.)

Getting Started with TikTok Ads

TikTok Ads makes it easy to get started with their program. 

  1. Create a TikTok Ads account. The first step is to create a TikTok Ads account by clicking on the "get started" button on TikTok For Business home page. You can link your account to either your email address or your phone number.
  2. Create a campaign. Next, you'll create an ad campaign, based on your advertising goal. Currently, TikTok offers three options--traffic, conversions and app installs. You'll need to set your ad budget. This can be daily or total, but it needs to be at least $500.
  3. Choose your placement. TikTod gives you the option to run your ads on TikTok or its affiliates, such as BuzzVideo and News Republic. You can also opt to let TikTok choose the placement. You can target your ads to specific demographics here, such as age, gender, location and interests.
  4. Set your ad schedule. Here, you'll tell TikTok when you want your ads to run. You can also allocate your total ad budget to daily ad spends here.
  5. Design your ad using TikTok's ad creation tool. TikTok makes creating a professional ad easy with their intuitive creation tool. This tool provides video and image templates to help you customize your ad using your existing images. It also comes with 300+ options for copyright-free, no-cost background music.
  6. Optimize your TikTok ad with a call to action. As intriguing as the TikTok video ads can be, they won't convert unless you tell your viewers what you want them to do. You're limited to 80 characters for your CTA, so it's important to keep your message short and sweet. As with most social media ad formats, it’s a good idea to experiment with a variety of CTAs and targeting options before narrowing your ad down to the most successful combination of elements.

Learning from the Potential TikTok Ban in the US

To fully understand TikTok, it's a good idea to look at a little of its history and understand what people may be saying about TikTok. Around the same time that TikTok was to roll out its ad program, TikTok came under public scrutiny and even faced the threat of being banned in the United States.

In 2020, TikTok faced political heat in the US because of its ties to China. (TikTok is a Chinese-owned company.) The Trump administration ran ads on Facebook asking people to sign a petition to ban TikTok over cybersecurity concerns, citing concerns surrounding user data misuse and national security interests.

What were the chances that a national TikTok ban could have gone into effect? It’s difficult to say, but the TikTok situation should be a stark reminder to all digital marketers that brands shouldn't rely on just one platform for their marketing.

Why You Should Try TikTok Advertising Anyway

What's a reward without a little risk? TikTok isn't the biggest name in the social media ads game, but the popularity of the app is continuing to grow.  Besides, as compulsive experimenters here at EmberTribe, we love taking risks because sometimes they pay off big time, and we always learn something new. 

TikTok has been downloaded approximately 165 million times in the US and more than two billion times globally, according to Sensor Tower. That, in itself, implies a multitude of possibilities for your brand! Think of the audiences you can reach in new and engaging ways, especially as an early adopter of this social media ad delivery service. 

Video content is proving to be the future of conversion-centric marketing ad creation, and TikTok shows us that short videos are the hottest thing in social media marketing. 

Regardless of TikTok’s fate, going all-in now on your digital marketing campaigns will drive both sales and awareness from your audiences.

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Are you ready to try TikTok For Business for your social media campaigns? Book a 30-minute discovery call with our team to talk about your options!


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