Although it may be one of the newest apps to join the squad of social media platforms, TikTok has wasted no time making a household name for itself. The platform recently announced that it reached 1 billion monthly users, a 45% increase from July 2020. TikTok took only five years to reach their 1 billion user milestone, while Facebook didn’t hit that number until 2012, eight years after it launched.
Sure, the pandemic definitely helped with TikTok’s success, due to users being bored in the house with only free time on their hands, wanting entertainment, but the momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
An estimated 56% of U.S. consumers under age 24 were on the platform last year, according to Forbes, and on average, they spent 52 minutes per day there. That’s a lot of eyes on a lot of content for a long time each day.
Considering the platform’s popularity, marketers are eagerly looking to get in on the action in the ways that make the most sense for their brands.
There are many different ways marketers can consider targeting audiences and capturing attention through TikTok. The speed of trends and viral videos go a million miles a minute, so it’s okay if it seems overwhelming when you start to strategize how to advertise on TikTok.
INSIDER TIP: Be intentional about joining TikTok! Make sure that this platform makes sense for you. Set clear objectives for your content and see them through.
Here’s a look at the ways you can advertise as a brand on TikTok and tips on how to select the right method for you.
Before we jump into it, let’s talk about costs: TikTok ad prices can range anywhere from $50,000 to over $150,000 for larger-lift campaigns, such as branded hashtag challenges or brand takeovers. However, in-feed ads are more accessible and affordable based on bids with a minimum spend of $50 per campaign and $20 per ad group.
Brand takeover ads: As soon as users open the TikTok app, brand takeover ads will be the first thing they see. For the first few seconds, the ad takes over the screen before transitioning into a normal in-feed video ad. Brand takeover ads can also show up on the for you page (FYP) as still images, videos or gifs with clickable links leading to landing pages within the app. This ad format is probably the most exclusive one on this list; TikTok only features one brand takeover per day, which can make this a costly option.
Above: Brand takeover example from makeup brand Too Faced, promoting their new Lip Injection Extreme lip gloss.
Native video ads: Displayed within a user’s FYP on TikTok, in-feed ads blend in well with the feed, making it easy to keep scrolling, but also attractive as a full-screen ad that stops users from scrolling past, if engaging enough. Same as with normal TikTok videos, users can like, comment, share, and interact with these ads.
Branded hashtag challenges: A popular ad method on TikTok is branded hashtag challenges. These usually involve asking users to record a video of themselves doing some kind of challenge or dance in line with the sponsored product or company. They need to include the defined hashtag, too. Hashtag challenges can gain a lot of community momentum and encourage engagement and brand awareness. Expect to spend some money with this ad format, though. #PlayWithPringles is a great example of a well-executed hashtag challenge!
Above: Two examples of branded hashtag challenges from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and #wrapbattle featuring Cardi B and Offset.
Branded effects and lenses: Branded effects allow companies to create an ad with their own custom TikTok filter. The ads can last up to 10 days at a time and are a fun way to allow users to engage with your brand. You can even pair branded effects with branded hashtags to create a full-fledged TikTok campaign to maximize your efforts.
Just like on Instagram or Snapchat, you can also create branded AR filters (lenses). TikTok’s virtual #MuseumMoment event allowed users to use an AR filter to come alive as Marie Antoinette running through the virtual gallery at the Palace of Versailles. It became a platform-wide trend, reaching many different niches and gaining more momentum even after the event. (AR filters on TikTok are a bit more technical to create however, so if you’re looking for quicker execution, we recommend looking into some of the other ad formats first.)
Above: Examples of how users have used TikTok’s #MuseumMoment filter.
Top view ads: Similar to brand takeover ads, top view ads occupy the first in-feed video for 3 seconds when users open the app, leading into a full-screen video with auto-play and sound to increase brand exposure. In this ad format, the video can be up to 60-seconds long, offering an immersive, full-screen viewing experience with no other content competing.
Influencer collaborations: Sponsored influencer content is another method of advertising on TikTok. You can find a wide range of influencers to promote your products or services in so many niches and demographics. According to a 2020 Statista report, influencers with fewer than 15,000 followers had the highest engagement rate, at nearly 18%. This is most likely one of the best options for brands with smaller budgets, as you can select influencer partners that fit within your budget and goals.
It’s worth noting that there is no standard influencer marketing structure or pricing on TikTok yet, so working with a dedicated influencer marketing platform such as CreatorIQ or a company like WITHIN can further help you define best practices.
INSIDER TIP: When it comes to influencers, don’t just look at their popularity. Look deeper at the quality of their content overall and how it aligns with your brand and objectives.
So, with all of these different formats to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?
As with any other social media platform, having a clear objective will greatly help define which format to choose for your campaign.
Do you want to push a new product or campaign or get users to know your brand a bit better? It may be worth choosing a brand awareness method such as brand takeover.
Do you want users from around the world to participate and have fun creating content? Maybe a branded hashtag challenge is more up your alley.
Let’s say you want paid influencers to push their affiliate promo codes around a specific holiday campaign coming up; influencer collaborations would be the obvious choice for this.
It really depends on your goals, but with the large (and growing) audience base on TikTok, as long as you have a solid understanding of the best practices for advertising on TikTok and have clearly identified your target audience, you should be in good shape to begin testing and seeing what works for your brand.
TikTok for Business has many different methods to help measure campaign success, so don’t fret. The most important thing is getting started so you can determine what works, what doesn’t work, how your audience is engaging, and to have fun and let your brand’s authenticity shine through.
You will need to allocate resources and time to set up and execute well-crafted TikTok ads campaigns. It takes a dedicated social media or account manager and a real budget to make things happen and make the results worth the effort.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your content creation and promotion efforts on TikTok, make sure you follow some of these general best practices.
TikTok content creation and success measurements can be difficult to execute alongside everything else you’re doing on the social front. If you need help building out your TikTok strategy, creative design and execution, let’s connect.
Featured image by Olivier Bergeron on Unsplash.
Bailey Hopp is the Social Media and Community Manager at WITHIN. She was born and raised in Portland, OR, but she spends time traveling abroad whenever possible. She’s a big fan of weekend road trips and hiking, concerts and music festivals, binge-watching the newest Netflix reality shows, finding the best places for margaritas, and endlessly scrolling TikTok.