If you haven’t already heard, TikTok is the short form mobile video app which has garnered tremendous popularity amongst generation Z users. Its young user base has been growing very rapidly, such that it has caught the attention of marketers who have been itching to make use of its advertising options.
A beta version of those ad options was launched nearly a year ago, and their true capabilities are not yet fully understood by businesses in Western markets. Many are still attempting to gain an understanding of the options themselves as well as their capacity, so they know whether to include them in their marketing strategies. To clear up some of that uncertainty, an overview of current ad options available is described below, as well as how they actually function.
This particular type of ad appears immediately whenever a user opens up the app, causing an advertised message to be displayed front and center to the user. From this setting, you can then direct users to a destination which is either external or internal. Currently, this format is limited to a single advertiser per day. During the testing phase of ad options, food delivery service company GrubHub conducted extensive trials of this ad option, and found the message delivery to be highly advantageous to its operations.
On TikTok, this type of ad is not much different than what it would be on most of the other social media platforms, since they all have some form of biddable ad process. These kinds of ads are usually in the format of a self-service platform, wherein the marketer is free to establish and run the ads all by themselves. In April of this year, TikTok launched a beta version of its managed service platform, which was its entry into the biddable ads arena. It still requires representatives to run those ads, so ads which are fully self-service are not available to businesses at present.
Standard in-feed video ads
At the moment, TikTok’s main ad unit is the standard in-feed video ad. This should not be surprising, given the fact that the platform itself provides a constant feed of short video clips. It’s therefore a very natural thing that the platform should introduce its users to in-feed ads, because they are in the same format of much of the other content on the site.
There are three primary models of these in-feed ads, those being cost per click (CPC), cost per impression (CPM), and cost per view (CPV). To assist businesses with their targeting capabilities, TikTok provides targeting based on gender, age, and state-level geo-targeting. In the future, the platform is committed to also introducing targeting based on interests, behaviors, and increased granular demo targeting. There is no minimum spend threshold, although TikTok encourages marketers to make large enough investments that discernible results can be achieved, and actual earnings can be returned.
You would also have the ability to create custom audiences, for instance CRM lists, and you would be able to blacklist specific audiences or whitelist them. At this point, CRM integration is not possible, although physical lists can certainly be implemented for targeting. There are a number of API integrations as well as additional self-service options which are currently being developed by TikTok, but no firm release dates have been provided, so it’s hard to tell how far along these processes really are.
This form of advertising on TikTok calls for user-generated content, which appeals to users to participate in a challenge. These have become enormously popular on the platform, and have therefore become somewhat popular as a means of advertising as well. The way it works is to capitalize on users’ built-in tendencies to create content on the platform, and then share it with a whole network of their friends and acquaintances. This gives it a huge potential for reaching vast audiences, and in some cases for even going viral. For six days of the advertising campaign, a TikTok representative will partner with a brand, so that the maximum audience can be reached, and so the intricacies of the format can be managed efficiently.
This advertising option is very similar to the branded lenses offered by other social media platforms, and it can bring a number of different features such as 3D to users. Augmented reality lenses have already achieved an incredible level of engagement with users, and that’s one of the main reasons why TikTok opted to provide this as an ad option for its users. It has enjoyed modest popularity thus far, but it is expected that it will soon become an extremely popular option for boosting brand messaging for companies.
The future of advertising on TikTok
As of June 2019, TikTok had approximately 500 million users who are active every month, all around the globe. Of these, approximately 26 million are U.S. adults who routinely make use of the platform every month. Those are growth numbers which can’t be ignored by businesses, and that means it’s well worth your while to consider advertising on TikTok.
Like with all the other social media platforms, it may not be the best fit for your business, because your primary target audience may not spend a great deal of time on TikTok. But it’s still worth doing some research to find out what percentage of your users do spend time on this platform, because it just may be worth your while to invest in some existing advertising capabilities, so as to quickly reach your target audience.
One of the advantages of taking this approach will be that when TikTok does get around to rolling out its next group of advertising options, you will already have established a presence on the platform. That being the case, it should be a simple matter for you to scale up your presence on the platform, so that you can reach even more of your potential customers, and experience a much greater return on investment.