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 Musical.ly 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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