The Ultimate Guide To TikTok Ads

TikTok is an app that’s best understood by Gen-Z! That being said, this social-media app enjoys a following of 1.5 billion registered users and marketers cannot afford to ignore this new channel. In just 2 years, Tik Tok has come to rival Netflix, Youtube, and Facebook and is the number 1 non-gaming app in the USA.

Owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, it was first launched as Douyin in China which has 400M monthly active users which are nearly 3 in 10 people. It then bought its competitor to rebrand as Tik Tok. 

TikTok now has a monopoly in the micro-video app market. In 2019, the app overtook behemoths like Youtube, PUBG, Whatsapp, and Instagram to be the most downloaded app in the App Store. Today there are nearly a billion monthly active users from 150 countries. 

So What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-video sharing app mostly covering lip-syncing, dance and acting, stunts and comedy. It is an app for iOS and Android. Usually, TikTok videos are 15-seconds long, but you can stitch a few clips together to make a 1-min long video. Filters, music, and animation are all part of the act and like most social media apps, you can like and comment on other videos and Livestream. 


notice me Bobby Flay 🥺 #foryou #fyp #artchallenge #summerwins #painting

♬ #asmr – spence

Who Uses TikTok?

TikTok has found its base in Gen Z and younger Millennials with a female bias. The average age of its users is between 18-24 which accounts for 60% of its user base in the USA.  66% of worldwide users are under 30 years of age. And it has certainly spread from its hometown to find fame in the USA, India, and in the form of Douyin, China. Douyin has reported 400 million monthly users.

Why Should Brands Use TikTok?

  • There are many niches on Tik such as makeup, art, fitness and more and it is relatively simpler to gain fame and popularity on Tik Tok vs other saturated social media like Facebook, Instagram
  • You can grow an audience really fast and then connect them to your other platforms like Instagram or Youtube.
  • The app has a sharability factor and one can save videos as a GIF or on their phone
  • You’ll get more bang for your buck as the engagement rate on TikTok is much higher than other social media. Also, people spend an average of 52 minutes on the app daily which is a lot higher than the 30 min average on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook.
  • It is a low-pressure environment as of now. It’s not about showing ‘your best self’ or posting perfect images that a lot of young people can relate to.

Here are some ways you can use TikTok to your advantage:

#1 Hashtag Challenge

Challenges are an integral part of TikTok and have the potential of going viral when done properly. Just create a challenge, post a hashtag and invite others to try it out. 

One good example is the #tumbleweedchallenge created by the talk show host, Jimmy Fallon’s. He challenged others to post videos showing themselves falling to the ground and rolling around accompanied by western music. Though it sounds quite simple, it actually got over 8,000 submissions and more than 10 million engagements. 

Brands can also encourage hashtag challenges on TikTok. If you’re a well-known brand, you can do this by yourself otherwise, it’s best to partner with influencers to get the ball rolling.

#2 User-Generated Content

Again, this is a type of marketing that brands can either base from their own TikTok channel, or alternatively, work with influencers to encourage their follows to create user-generated content (UGC) supporting the brand in some way.

Generation Z loves the full immersive experience. That’s why they don’t sit at home watching traditional broadcast TV – it’s too much of a passive experience. Generation Z far prefers to be involved.

If you can find a way to encourage your customers to share videos of themselves using or interacting with your products ins some way, you’re likely to get a high buy-in.

#3 Traditional Influencer Marketing

While you can use the paid ads, here’s another way you can use your marketing budget- influencers! This form is platform-agnostic and is already being used on Instagram and Youtube but there’s no reason why this can’t work on Tiktok too.

Find an influencer who suits your product’s values and demographic and work via a paid-partnership. It’s best if the influencer can create content in a way that’s authentic and not very ad-like. Do not forget to disclose this partnership via a hashtag though.

TikTok Advertising

At the moment, Tik Tok has introduced the following types of ads in select countries:

TikTok Ad Products 1024x447 2
  • Brand Takeover

This is a full-screen ad that is displayed when a user opens the app. It can be a GIF or an image but you know which one does better at this point. The ad can be directed to a hashtag challenge or the landing page of a brand. At the moment, only one brand can take over a category for a day.

  • Hashtag challenge

This is the way to go if you want users to interact with your brand and leave a lasting impression. Simply create a challenge, choose an accompanying song and challenge users to take part. While there are many organic challenges in the app, paid ones are hosted in the discovery section for 6 days.

  • In-feed native video

Similar to Instagram, the in-feed video ads consist of video ads that appear while users are exploring content. You can have a 15-second video with an audio background. This kind of advertising is great for gaining impressions and directing people to a CTA which can be visiting a website or a hashtag challenge.

  • Custom influencer 

You can partner with an influencer on Tik Tok to create content in their own personal style and reach their followers. The success of such campaigns depends on if the influencer is the right fit for your brand.

  • Custom lens/filter

TikTok has adapted and improved on the filter and animations feature from Snapchat and Instagram to offer face filters, animated objects and more. Using 2D, 3D, and AR, the custom filters can dramatically change your environment. The branded lens and filter allow for a lot of interaction with the brand which can lead to consideration to buy.

Should You Consider Tik Tok?

The good news is that only 4% of marketers are using Tik Tok to further their branding so you can get on it before your competitors do. The ad forms are quite similar to other platforms like Instagram & Snapchat. So it will not be too difficult to explore Tik Tok ads. Even if Tiktok is not there in a year or two, you can still grab attention while it is there. 

Since the demographics on Tik Tok skew young, try this ad network only if your product/service appeals to Gen Z or young millennials.  

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An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Instagram Advertising

Instagram reached two important milestones in 2015. Neither of them had anything to do with Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Firstly, Instagram surpassed Twitter to become the second biggest social media platform in the world, after its parent company Facebook. Secondly, and most importantly for this blog topic, Instagram activated its advertising API for marketers to use in their advertising collateral. Read on to find out how Instagram ads can help get your app more downloads in 2016.

As we have stated in one of our previous blogs, businesses are moving away from traditional advertising channels and taking advantage of social media’s powerful influence on society. Instagram is following Facebook’s lead on advertising and now allowing small businesses, as well as large companies, to advertise within the app. We have seen the benefits of Facebook advertising for small businesses but can Instagram Advertising have the same effect?

According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will reach $2.81 billion by 2017. This will account for over 10% of parent company Facebook’s global ad revenues, surpassing Twitter and Google’s ad revenues altogether. This indicates that Instagram will quickly become a leading platform for advertising. As a rsult, early adopting businesses will reap the rewards of using the Instagram app for mobile marketing.

Instagram Mobile Marketing

Instagram’s Ad revenue is set to surpass Google and Twitter by 2017. Source: eMarketer

But how will Instagram ads be different from what’s in our feed’s now?

Previously, Instagram ads were targeted based on country, gender and age. Now Instagram will use an algorithm, which incorporates data from users Facebook profiles and Facebook ad buys, to make their advertisements more relevant but without a huge increase of ads on the average feed. This means that advertisements are going to be more effective as the relevant people are going to be reached.

So you’re an app entrepreneur that wants to make use of Instagram advertising, but want to understand the science behind what makes an Instagram ad effective. Here’s our top 5 tips and tools to creating adverts that are #instagood.

1. Learn About The Different Forms of Advertisements On Instagram.

Instagram advertising has evolved quickly in the past year. There is now an array of options that you can apply for your Instagram advertising campaign. Lets look at them below:

Photo Ads

Photo ads are what users see the most in their Instagram feeds. They use high quality visual imagery to deliver your message and engage viewers. They are simple but extremely effective in reaching target markets and creating brand awareness. All these ads have a small ‘Sponsored’ icon in the top right corner to distinguish themselves from regular Instagram posts.

Video Ads

Video ads allow up to 30 seconds of creative video, including sound, to entice your viewer. The use of short video advertisements is rising and the benefits of video advertising are there for all marketers to see. However, it’s important to use engaging visual imagery to capture the viewer’s attention and not rely solely on sound to deliver your message, as the ad must be clicked on to for sound to be heard.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are Instagram’s newest advertisement feature. You can advertise your app using a number of different images in the same advertisement. Swipe right and the viewer see’s another image, with a different message or call to action. Swipe right again and they see another image. Carousel ads are strong performing and flexible, allowing you to use a number of different images and call to actions.

Instagrams Advertisements

The three Instagram advertising formats. Source: Instagram Business.


2. Get Your Advertisement Design Right.

The design element of your advertisement is crucial to the overall success of your advertisement. Unfortunately, just posting up an image of your product that hasn’t been given much thought will not get the desired response you are after. I’ve outlined some key steps to follow when designing your advertisements.

  1. Create a focal point in your image, which will engage the viewer and capture their attention.
  2. Make use of the rule of thirds and symmetry in your advertisements. Rarely place your focal point in the centre of the image.
  3. Use your logo subtly, not as the focal point, as it becomes a distraction and takes away from the content of your advertisement.
  4. When using text, utilise it to compliment the focal point and make the same fonts, one or two max, consistent across all of your posts. Only 20% of your image can be made up of text.
  5. The use of colour and contrast is key to creating a strong image. Use a plain background to help your focal point colour shine and make the image pop. When using a coloured background, contrast this with a white coloured focal point or text.
  6. Be consistent with your brand advertisement look. Your different advertisements should have a consistent look, whether it is similar compositions, use of fonts and colours or place of logo. This makes your brand recognisable and distinguishable to customers from other content.

3. Make Your Advertisements Look Native.

Making your advertisement look native doesn’t mean you need to have images of people from the depths of the African jungle in your ad. What I mean by native is making your advertisement blend in so it appears as though it isn’t even an advertisement.

You want your advertisement to look like any other Instagram post that might pop up on the average newsfeed. This means that you are not ruining the users overall Instagram feed by spamming them with obvious advertisements, much to the chagrin of many users (myself included!) and creating negativity around your app.

Instagram Ad Post

The Sprint ‘post’ to the left is clearly an ad, while the post to the right looks like a normal Instagram post. Source: The Verge

4. Use calls-to-action

Before Instagram allowed advertising, the only way to create traffic to your website was through putting a link to your website in your bio. Instagram was great for promoting brand awareness, but for directing users to a buy now page or prompting them to download your app? Not so much.

With the new advertising API release, Instagram has created Calls-to-Action buttons for use in advertisements. You can use these calls-to-action including, Install Now, Shop Now, Sign Up, Download and Learn More.

Instagram Ads Call To Action

These calls-to-actions can do a number of different things, such as opening a shop inside of Instagram or linking the user directly to their respective App Store for download of your app. Calls-to-action are making Instagram a far more effective marketing tool and all strong app marketing campaigns going forward will make use of them.

5. Make use of relevant hashtags.

Hashtags are critical to brand promotion, audience engagement and can be used across a number of platforms. Using hashtags comes easy for most of us on Instagram, but for advertising, you need to use them strategically. When used correctly, hashtags can reward brands with a larger audience and engagement outside of their local area. There are three different forms of hashtags that businesses can make use of.

Content Hashtags

Content hashtags, such as lifestyle, event or location hashtags, can get you views and click throughs from people who are searching for or using these hashtags. Hashtags such as #mondays, #coffeefix or #melbourne are all great examples of content hashtags that can be used to great effect in advertising.

Trending Hashtags

Making use of trending hashtags allows you to potentially promote your brand out to a large-scale audience, without the need to create the hashtag yourself. Businesses use trending hashtags such as #AFLGrandFinal or #fitness to effectively promote their brand and engage with a wider audience.

Custom Brand Hashtags

You can create a hashtag for your marketing campaign and promotions. Some of the top brands across the globe use their own hashtags in their posts, which become recognisable to their brand and can then be used by other users to create a community of followers and content around the brand’s hashtag.

They can be difficult to create and maintain, but if your custom hashtag becomes popular, the brand awareness can be immense.

A great example is KitKat’s marketing campaign featuring the hashtag #mybreak. KitKat utilises the hashtag across their social media pages and many other Instagram users upload photos of their own KitKat’s along with the hashtag, creating a community of KitKat fans and a growing audience.

Your Instagram Advertising Campaign Starts Now

Instagram advertising looks pretty straightforward. But without following these key steps, you won’t get the most out of the potential it can offer.

First, decide on what ad format you will use. Next, get your advertisement design looking on point. Your advertisement shouldn’t blatantly look like an advertisement – make it look native to the Instagram newsfeed. Use relevant hash tags to promote your brand and advertisements. And don’t forget to make use of calls-to-action!

Using those tools and tips above will help you design strong advertisements on Instagram and contribute more to the overall advertising of your app.

Do you have any other tools or tips to use for advertising on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below.