TikTok 101: The Top 5 Ways to Increase Advertising Impact

Dance challenges, AR effects, and most recently, upright-standing brooms are a few of the things that a new user might find in their first scroll down the TikTok ‘For You’ feed. At 40 million US monthly active users and 500 million total users and counting, it’s become clear for social media marketing agencies that these quirky TikTok videos are more than just a passing fad. The beta for TikTok’s auction-based ad platform launched in 2019, and Gupta Media has been exploring ways that we can best utilize it in our ad campaigns.  

TikTok 101: The Top 5 Ways to Increase Advertising Impact
TikTok 101

Music Industry Influence 

If you were to browse some of the top Spotify-curated playlists, you’re very likely to come across tracks that first blew up on TikTok. Take Arizona Zervas’ “ROXANNE” for example. At the start of 2020, this song was sitting in the top 10 of both the US and Global Spotify Top 50 lists. The hit first started gaining traction on TikTok in October 2019 because of a popular dance created to it. 

Artist @ansonseabra says that prior to his song “Welcome to Wonderland” becoming a trend on TikTok, it had 20K streams per day. After it caught fire as part of a viral TikTok trend? It jumped 12x to almost 240K streams per day. This app has some serious power to influence the music industry.

So what are the current advertising opportunities available on the app?

Ad Product Offerings 

1. In-Feed Video Ads

These vertical video ad types live within the ‘For You’ feed (TikTok’s main location for content discovery), and include a call-to-action button that can take users to the destination of your choice. The ads appear similar to native content with profile pic, user name, as well as like, share, and comment buttons. They offer the most granular targeting of any TikTok ad option, and the most robust performance metrics. They can be booked via Auction or Reservation Buy. 

TikTok In-Feed Video Ads
In-Feed Video Ads
  • Auction Buy: The more flexible option. Auction Buys have low budget minimums and pricing is based on a mix of what you choose to bid, and how much competition there is from other advertisers. With the power to control your bids and make optimizations mid-flight, this is generally the most cost-efficient option available on TikTok.
  • Reservation Buy: If you need guaranteed volume over key dates, a Reservation Buy may be a better fit. The volume guarantee will be balanced out with higher costs. You’ll be locked into your spend commitment and pay flat rate pricing, and you won’t be able to make changes to the campaign as it’s running. 

2. Branded Takeover Ads

These ads consist of a full-screen takeover as soon as a user opens the TikTok app. The takeover can be a 3-5 second video or static image, and you get 100% share of voice on the day you reserve. US pricing starts at $100k/day.

TikTok Branded Takeover Ads
Branded Takeover Ads

3. TopView

A TopView ad is another option that populates first thing when a user opens the app. These ads can include 5-60 seconds of video, with auto-play and sound on. In addition to offering longer content than Brand Takeovers, these ads allow for user engagement with the ad (like, comment, share, follow). US pricing starts at $160k/day.

TikTok TopView Ads
TopView Ads

4. Hashtag Challenge 

This ad format encourages users to create content around a promoted challenge, similar to the challenges that go viral organically on the platform. These challenges are featured in multiple placements in the app. You can add an explore tab to the challenge page to drive purchases, survey users, or share location data. US pricing starts at $120k for a 3 day package.

TikTok Hashtag Challenge Ads
Hashtag Challenge Ads

5. Branded Effect

This format allows you to offer a branded AR effect powered by face and gesture recognition technology. The effect needs to be developed in-house by TikTok, and capabilities are limited relative to competitors like Snapchat.

Tips for Effective TikTok Ads

  • Aim for Ad Content that is 15 Seconds or Less.
    This will put you in the best position for winning impressions and seeing strong ad performance. 
  • Don’t Treat the Ads like Snap Ads or Instagram Story Ads.
    Even though all three use vertical videos, don’t assume that all ads should be the same. Functionality and trends can vary app to app. While we’d encourage ‘Swipe Up’ language or graphic indications on other platforms, a swipe up on TikTok would take users to the next video in their feed, not the ad destination.
  • Capitalize on Popular Trends.
    Try calling out a trending hashtag, song, or challenge in the ad creative. 
  • Leverage Organic TikTok Content if You Have it.
    If you have an organic TikTok that’s performing well, repurpose it as an ad to amplify its impact. Authentic-feeling content can often perform better than creative with a higher production budget.
  • Prioritize Audio.
    Sound on rates are high on TikTok relative to other ad platforms, and the audio is often where the humor comes in for TikToks that go viral. Don’t treat audio as an afterthought in your ad creative.
  • Avoid Suggestive Content.
    TikTok is particularly sensitive about ads that show too much skin or contain suggestive dancing. Keep content as clean as possible to avoid disapprovals.
  • Consider Sequential Messaging.
    Utilize TikTok’s engager retargeting to serve new creative to users who engaged with the creative you ran in a previous campaign phase.
  • Don’t Wait to Build Your TikTok Following.
    While TikTok ads show a user name and profile image, they are not tied to real TikTok accounts. This means you can tap into TikTok as an advertising platform even if your brand doesn’t have a presence there organically.

Now in Beta: Creator Marketplace for Influencer Marketing 

Brand new from TikTok is their ‘Creator Marketplace’, a platform-specific influencer marketing dashboard. This new dashboard will help to partner brands and TikTok creators for unique collaborative promotions. The marketplace will allow brands to browse profiles of creators to partner with, start a conversation, and analyze the performance of a creator’s sponsored post directly in the platform. More to come on the Creator Marketplace as the beta continues to develop!