An Overview of TikTok Advertising

Chloe Just
June 24, 2020
As one of the world’s most downloaded apps in 2020, marketers cannot ignore the power of TikTok. Learn the history of the platform and understand its advertising capabilities.

An Overview of TikTok Advertising

TikTok, the short-video sharing app, has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps in 2020. With over 800+ million active daily users across 150 countries, TikTok is considered one of the most popular social platforms among teens and Gen Z. The growing popularity and usership of the app should not be ignored – especially if you are looking to reach an audience under the age of 30.

An overview of TikTok advertising

First, a history lesson on TikTok

TikTok is owned by the Chinese tech company, ByteDance, which has been likened to a “Chinese Facebook” thanks to its broad family of apps and web services. What you may not know is that TikTok hasn’t always been TikTok. Invented in 2016, the app was first known as Douyin and was only available in China. But by 2017, it expanded to other countries like Japan and Thailand under its current name, TikTok.

Choose an objective:

Like any social media campaign, it is important to first establish your marketing objective – what is the goal of your campaign?  What do you want your target audience to do? For example, if you want to drive more visitors to your website, selecting the “Traffic” objective will help optimize your ads towards users who are most likely to click through to your landing page.

TikTok campaign objectives fall in to the following three categories: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Under each category, you are able to select from a variety of campaign objectives:

  • Awareness:
    • Reach: Show your ads to the maximum number of people possible. This objective is best if you want to get users more familiar with your brand, service, or offering. Rather than optimizing for clicks, engagement, or on-site conversions, success for this campaign will be measured by reach percentages and impressions.
  • Consideration:
    • Traffic: Drive people to any URL, such as your website’s landing page, a blog post, app, etc. This objective is best for getting people to think more about your brand, learn new information, and ultimately take small steps towards future conversion. Success for this campaign would be measured by clicks and click-through rates.
    • App Installs: Send people to the app store where they can download your app. This objective is pretty straightforward – if your goal is to get more users to download and use your app, this might be the right place for you! Success for this campaign would be measured by total app downloads.
    • Video Views: Encourage users to watch your video while in-platform. Success for this campaign would be measured by total video views, cost per view, view rates, etc. (This objective is currently in beta, and only available for certain accounts)
  • Conversions:
    • Conversions: Encourage users to take a specific action on your business’s site, such as having them add items to a cart, download content, register for your site, or make a purchase. This objective is best if you are focused on lead generation or driving transactions. Success for this campaign would be measured by conversions, conversion rate, and cost per conversion.
    • Catalog Sales: Similar to the Conversions objective, but specific to sales from your product catalog. (This objective is currently in beta, and only available for certain accounts)

Know your ad options

TikTok’s self-service advertising dashboard – called the “For You” page – allows you to set up in-feed video campaigns. But to take advantage of the variety of other ad placement/format options, you will need to work with a TikTok ad manager.

Here’s an overview of the ad options:

  • In-feed video ads: Ads will appear as native ads on the “For You” page (#fyp)

in feed video ads

  • Brand takeover: Ad unit will completely take over the screen for a few seconds after a TikTok user opens the app, before turning into an in-feed video ad

brand takeover

  • Hashtag challenge: Ad appears on the Discovery page, encouraging users to participate in user content creation challenges (think #savagechallenge) – these can include a shoppable component for retailers

Hashtag challenge

  • Branded AR content: Similar to Snapchat AR lenses, these ads appear as branded lenses, stickers, and other 2D/3D/AR content for TikTok users to leverage in their own videos

Branded AR Content

  • Custom influencer package: Like Facebook and Instagram influencer ads, these ads appear as part of sponsored content created by a TikTok influencer

custom influencer packages

What marketers need to know

Not sure if TikTok advertising is right for your brand? Unconvinced it will live up to its hype? Consider the following statistics from Hootsuite before you pass up the opportunity to advertise with the app loved by Gen Z-ers everywhere:

In short, we don’t see TikTok going away any time soon. If you’re looking to target an audience under the age of 30, you should strongly consider adding TikTok to your 2020–2021 marketing mix – or risk being left behind.

Sources: Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Top Photo Source

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