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TikTok Advertising: A Brief Guide for Marketers

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How does TikTok advertising work?
TikTok advertising entails risk, creativity, and budget. If your brand plans on venturing into TikTok advertising, you must be prepared to face what lies ahead with commitment and drive. TikTok advertising could give success to your brand, but always remember to do it right.
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise of TikTok advertising in 2020. With more people staying at home and getting bored, there’s no wonder that a video-sharing platform would catch the attention of many. Now, the question is: should your brand advertise on TikTok? Let’s discover in this article. Have you ever noticed that whenever you scroll through your Facebook feed or browse through your Instagram stories, you could see numerous TikTok videos? That’s because TikTok, with all of its fun features, has become quite popular over the years—even brands find TikTok advertising useful! This guide will tackle how marketers can benefit from TikTok advertising and whether brands should consider this platform as part of their marketing strategies. But first, let’s have an overview of the TikTok social network.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is an application that allows you to share short-form videos. TikTok users may create or edit 15-second long videos. The app has been maintaining a separate account particularly from its Chinese users known as Douyin. Ever since it was launched, Tiktok has gained tremendous popularity all across the globe. Statistics show that it’s the most downloaded video-sharing app in the Apple store alone. TikTok has approximately 500 million monthly active users with a whopping 80 million downloads in the United States alone. The social platform has various features, filters, and challenges that stimulate its users. Celebrities also contribute to the app's growing fame by accepting paid partnerships and kickstarting specific hashtag challenges for other users to follow. What's great about stars trying out TikTok is their power to promote the app on their other social networking accounts, leading massive fans towards the app.

How Does TikTok Promote Brands?

Brand promotion on TikTok is pretty easy if you know how to do it right and keep with the trend.
To some people, particularly those of the older generation, TikTok seems like a lip-syncing video application for teens, and they're not wrong. However, it’s more than just that. Brands and celebrities have found a way to maximize the app's use through TikTok advertising, and TikTok has indeed done a great job. Most brands who have incorporated TikTok advertising into their marketing strategies have harvested fruitful brand awareness rewards. A concrete example is The Washington Post, which accumulated 400,000+ followers in less than a year; thus gearing its reach to a more global mass. And the very same thing can happen to your brand if you use the platform correctly. TikTok likewise promotes brands by allowing them to create a business account, enabling them to gain hundreds to thousands of followers in a short span of time. Brands even gain more fame by participating in TikTok’s trending hashtag challenges—intending to stand out among other challenge participants.

The TikTok Culture

Brands must creatively use the short time frame that TikTok allows. Unlike other social platforms, TikTok has created an enormous "trend culture." True enough, creative and original videos may work well but the most popular and the best-performing ones are those that are easily replicated by the masses or spin-off trends of an existing one. TikTok trends, especially the dance trends, are already an indispensable part of pop culture. These trends aren't limited to one or two types, there are many of them, and they can bring any brand or artist to soaring heights.

Example of a Successful TikTok Campaign

There are still those who ask "Is TikTok advertising is effective? or "Are TiktTk ads legit?" Take it from Guess, one of the first few brands to produce a hashtag challenge to advertise its Fall'18 Denim Fit collection. The brand launched the #InMyDenim campaign and encouraged the TikTok community to change their style by wearing Guess denim clothing to the soundtrack "I'm a Mess" by Bebe Rexha. The hashtag challenge was so successful that in its six-day campaign, Guess earned an additional following of more than 12,000 users on TikTok. Moreover, the #InMyDenim challenge gained over 5,000 user-generated videos, 14.3% engagement rate, and 10.5 million video views.

Adding Links to Your TikTok Business Account

Source: Kapwing Resources
Alongside successful hashtag challenge participation and great content, TikTok allows brands to add links to their bio. However, not everyone can do that yet. In March 2020, all Android users obtained the option to place their links, but not all iOS users gained the same opportunity. It’s becoming more common, though some iOS users still lack the feature. Here's how you can add links to your TikTok profile:

Check if you’re on the rollout.

If you’re an iOS user, check if you’re one of the lucky ones who has been given a chance to place links. If you aren't, disregard the next two steps and wait for your time.

Click on Edit Profile.

You can see the Edit Profile option on the upper portion of your TikTok profile. Click on that to start adding.

Add a website.

On the Website option, just under the Bio, you can find the option to add a website to your profile. Click on that and start filling in your site details. You may omit the https as www. is enough. If you can’t place links, you may go for the alternative of connecting your TikTok profile to your Instagram and YouTube accounts. Taking on the alternative may not be as effective as adding links to the platform itself, but it can still improve brand awareness and reach.

How to Know If TikTok is Best for Your Brand?

If you use TikTok in the right way, you can promote your brand to a broader audience. But you also have to know that TikTok isn't always the best social media platform for all kinds of brands; hence, you need to determine what best fits the shoe. Here's how to identify if TikTok would work best for your brand:

Analyze the Platform

To avoid getting ignored by the TikTok mass, you must study and analyze the platform. By analyzing what content works best and how you could interact with other users, you’ll know how to make your business blend naturally. It’s crucial that before you fully commit to TikTok advertising, you’ve already understood and accepted that TikTok isn't a place for serious sales pitches. The platform is fun and exciting, and most of its users are between the ages of 16 and 24. So, if you want a successful ad campaign on TikTok, you must first learn how to connect with the millennials and Gen Z.

Produce Fun Content

As mentioned above, TikTok is an exciting platform. Hence, your brand should create fun and creative content. One of the most significant benefits of TikTok advertising is its inexpensive way of marketing. You wouldn't even need a high-end camera or a top-performing video editor for your TikTok video; you just have to take out your smartphone and start rolling. You may also use online software such as or Assembly to help you promote your content and amplify influencer marketing for your brand.

Drive a Hashtag Challenge

Launching exciting and novel hashtag challenges is an incredible way to gain success in your TikTok marketing endeavor. An interesting hashtag challenge promotes your business and drives user interaction and engagement.

Take Advantage of TikTok Advertising

TikTok offers many promotional options—just explore the platform and use it to your business' advantage.
It may have taken quite a long while, but TikTok finally introduced ads to its platform. Here are the Tiktok ads examples and formats:
  • Brand Takeovers This type allows brands to take over TikTok for a day. They can use images, GIFs, or videos with links to hashtag challenges and landing pages. One example of this is when you'd open your TikTok app and see a flooded screen from the brand that took over.
  • In-feed Native Content TikTok in-feed ads are similar to Instagram or Snapchat story ads and support various features, such as app downloads and website clicks.
  • Branded Lenses This type of ad is similar to Snapchat's 2D and 3D lenses and Instagram filters. Usually, branded lenses or branded effects are located on the first page of the effects panel and stay there for at least three days.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges We all know what this is, don't we? As of the moment, the branded hashtag challenge format is unique to TikTok. The social platform brags an 8.5% average engagement rate for this format and offers guidance to those who want to participate.
In addition to the mentioned ad formats, TikTok also grants precise targeting to ensure that your ads are reaching the definite users interested in your products and services.

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on TikTok?

Most brands step back a little once they hear the advertising cost that platforms or agencies set. TikTok was undeniably a little slower in implementing a formal advertising program. Because of this, brands looked for alternative ways to advertise on the platform. Hence, influencer marketing flourished so much on TikTok. However, in 2018, TikTok started to consider a formal advertising program though it didn't begin until the following year. Since it launched an advertising program, TikTok charged relatively high for brand ads. It used to cost brands $50,000 to $100,000 for a brand takeover ad, while branded hashtag challenges cost $150,000 for only six days. Imagine how heavy it used to be for brands to promote on TikTok. But now that the platform has offered opportunities for short-video ads, prices are getting much more affordable for brands who wish to advertise on TikTok. The current starting cost for TikTok ads is $10 per CPM or cost per 1000 views. TikTok also requires you to pay a minimum amount of $500 for every campaign. The cost of advertising on TikTok is one heck of a driving force for you not to settle on an ineffective campaign or content.

What Other TikTok Advertising Strategies Should You Consider?

Like this Ferris wheel, your TikTok ad content should be fun, exciting, and colorful. Most importantly, audience engagement must be always rolling, not stagnant.

Take Calculated Risks

Nobody could climb the ladder of success without taking any risk. Taking calculated risk is a prerequisite to success. And TikTok users are taking the risk of creating unfiltered and raw content that has more chances of flopping than going viral.

Loosen Up

If you’ve spent at least 15 minutes watching videos on TikTok, you already know that the content can go wacky, off-beat, and quirky. TikTok is a space for anyone who just wants to loosen up and move as if nobody's watching! So, learn to loosen and lighten up, and show your brand's creative side. Plant it in your mind that TikTok is a fun and free space. Your followers don’t always need serious content to enjoy your brand's ads.

Always Engage

Engagement is important in all social media platforms, particularly for TikTok, where the user base could be little but fervent. So, engage as much as you can. You may respond to those who participate in your hashtag challenges, and even better, try to participate in other brands' hashtag challenges. You could even engage by dueting your fellow users or other brands. Remember the golden rule of online engagement: show your viewers that you’re keeping your feet on the ground and make them feel like a part of the team by actively engaging with them.

How Does TikTok's Algorithm Operate?

TikTok is famous for keeping the algorithm of their For You page a secret. Here are the five key algorithms of TikTok advertising:
  • A brand's exposure is based on the performance of each of its videos.
  • Multiple indicators are taken into account by the platform's algorithm.
  • Geo-location is the basis of any initial exposure.
  • All of a sudden, videos could go viral, whether it’s old or new.
  • Using trending hashtags and music helps boost the discoverability of your content.

Are you ready to jump on the TikTok bandwagon?

TikTok use is rapidly increasing over time; hence, brands should consider advertising on this platform. | Source: Oberlo
TikTok is indeed a great space for brands to advertise in. Over time, brands have witnessed how effective the platform is for brand awareness, follower growth, and audience engagement. So, if you’re looking for a sign to invest in TikTok advertising, this is it. Want to boost your TikTok campaigns with the help of creators? Read our post “Influencer Marketing Guide: How to Work With Social Media Influencers.”
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