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TikTok Advertising 101: The next generation of social media
TikTok is one of the newest social media platforms to catch on with a mainstream audience. It gained popularity in 2018 when it absorbed the already popular app Musical.ly.
TikTok users can upload clips up to 15 seconds in length, like Instagram and Snapchat Stories. Unlike those other platforms, however, TikTok's videos are based on creativity, closer to mini-YouTube videos than traditional social media posts.
It's the focus on content creation rather than sharing selfies that makes TikTok so unique and popular. The app appealingly brings music, sound bites, video, and user collaboration together.
Who uses TikTok?
Though TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps over the last few years, it has a relatively specific base of users. TikTok appeals to younger audiences, especially girls. The average age of TikTok users is between 18 and 24, a group that makes up 25.8% of the platform's audience.
The 25 to 34-year-old demographic makes up another quarter of the platform’s users, at 24.5%. That means that the majority of TikTok users fall under the age of 35. Two million more women are using the platform than men, making women ages 18-24 the primary TikTok audience.
Should you use TikTok advertising?
There are three questions you should ask before advertising on any social media platform:
- Is the app popular enough?
- Does our target audience use it?
- Is it right for our brand?
For TikTok, the answer to the first question is a resounding, "yes." It's one of the most popular platforms in use today. The second should be easy enough to answer if you know your demographic. If your core audience is over 30, TikTok probably isn't a good investment.
Deciding if it's right for your brand is a little trickier. You'll need to think about your brand's personality, image, and products to determine if TikTok is a good fit for your business. You'll also need to determine if you have the budget to advertise on the platform.
How much does it cost to advertise on TikTok?
After demographics, the cost of TikTok advertising will be the fastest way to decide if you should be running ads on the platform. Right now, because of the platform's young age, ads are much more expensive than any of the other major social media platforms.
A TikTok advertising campaign starts at $500 and could grow to more than $100,000. For standard ads, the price starts at $10 CPM (cost per 1,000 views).
- CPM: $10/1,000 views
- Brand takeover: $50,000/day
- Hashtag challenge: $150,000/week
Though these prices are high, especially when compared to TikTok competitors, they are expected to decrease as advertising becomes more standardized on the platform.
How to advertise on TikTok
Now that you have a clear idea of whether or not TikTok is the right option for your business, let's walk through the basics of launching a TikTok advertising campaign.
1. Create a TikTok Ads account
First, you're going to need to create a TikTok Ads account. This is separate from a regular TikTok account in that (you guessed it), it's specifically for creating ads. You can sign up for a TikTok Ads account here.
Unlike a standard TikTok account, you won't get access to your account right away. Because the advertising services are still in beta, not everyone can have a TikTok Ads account, which means you’ll have to wait 48 hours to see if you’re approved.
For those who aren't approved for an Ads account, you can still advertise on the platform with a basic account (scroll down to How to advertise on TikTok for free).
2. Start an advertising campaign
Next, it's time to create your TikTok advertising campaign. This is done completely through your TikTok Ads account. Once you sign in to your TikTok Ads dashboard, you'll see a tab at the top of the screen labeled Campaign.
This tab is where you'll specify the goals and parameters of your campaign. You'll choose things like the purpose of the campaign (drive traffic, get app downloads, or earn conversions), create a budget, and set up your billing.
It's a pretty quick process, especially if you already have a marketing plan in place. All you're doing is checking options to let TikTok know more about your advertising campaign so that they can help you optimize your strategy.
3. Create a TikTok advertising budget and schedule
You should already have a TikTok advertising budget in mind before you go into the campaign creation process. All you're going to do here is enter that budget and decide how you want to spend it.
First, you’re going to decide when you want your advertisements to stop running, and then you'll either set a daily budget or a total budget. From there, you can establish your pacing, which is how fast you want your budget to be spent. You can space it out evenly or set the app to spend your budget as quickly as possible.
4. Purchase TikTok ads
Once your initial campaign is created and budgeted, it's time to decide how that budget is going to be spent. You should consider the types of ads you want to show, though the deciding factor in which ads you show will be your budget.
In-feed advertisements are the most common and affordable form of TikTok advertising. These are ads that periodically appear in between videos viewed by a user. In-feed ads are the bread and butter of TikTok advertising and will be a must for most advertisers.
Brand takeover ads, sometimes known as pre-roll ads, are advertisements that play when a user first opens the app. They take up the entire screen, making them incredibly visual and memorable. As you might've guessed, these are pretty costly.
Hashtag challenges are created with the TikTok marketing team, and they encourage TikTok users to interact with your hashtag and brand. Hashtag challenges typically run for six days at a time and are promoted by TikTok across the platform.
Branded filters and lenses
Lastly, we have branded filters and lenses. Similar to the branded filters on Snapchat, these are video effects that users can overlay on their videos for a limited time. Like hashtag challenges, branded filters encourage user engagement and benefit from the sharing aspect of the platform. Everyone who uses one of these filters will be sharing it with all of their followers, promoting your business in the process.
5. Use TikTok's video creation kit
Now that you know which types of ads you want to use, it’s time to start creating. Since TikTok is a video creation platform, you can make your ads in the app. Just upload the images and videos you want to use and start tweaking them. You can use horizontal or vertical videos for TikTok advertising, though vertical is recommended since it's how most content on the platform is displayed.
If you don't have any content to use for advertising, you can use templates from the app. TikTok has royalty-free stock images and background music that make creating ads within the app quick and easy.
How to advertise on TikTok for free
Fortunately, those who don't have the budget for traditional TikTok advertising can take a more old school route to market on the platform: using a standard TikTok account.
These days, we see brands like Wendy's and Pop-Tarts using social media to their advantage by merely interacting with users and posting engaging content. You can use the same strategy on TikTok, eliminating the need to spend a penny on the platform.
Here are our tips for marketing on TikTok (and other platforms) for free.
Remember why people use the platform
One of the most important things to keep in mind when advertising on social media is to remember why people use the platform in the first place. Nobody opens TikTok hoping to see commercials, so you need to create commercials that disrupt their expectations as little as possible.
The best way to show ads without being intrusive is to create ads that go along with the rest of the platform's content and personality. TikTok is meant to be fun and silly, so create ads that match that tone. Challenges, dances, and duets are prominent on the platform as well, which are all things you can incorporate into your advertising.
Interact with users and influencers
More so than any other social media platform, TikTok is about collaboration. Users are constantly making videos with one another, often people they've never met, through duets. And users also take sound bites from each other's content and use it in their videos.
Just like how the best business social media accounts engage with followers daily, your brand should be making efforts to collaborate and share with your TikTok followers. If you're just posting videos and logging off, you'll soon be forgotten.
Hire savvy social media managers
While anybody can use social media, not everybody knows how to make a social media account a success. This is why savvy social media managers are so important. You want someone who can connect with the users on the platform in a way that encourages brand awareness.
For TikTok, this is generally going to mean picking someone already familiar with the platform. This type of person can take the ideas your marketing team has come up with and apply them to TikTok in a fresh way.
Use trial and error
Finally, use trial and error during your TikTok campaign to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and, most importantly, why. If your campaign only consists of scheduling social media posts months in advance and neglecting any follow-up, your results are going to be negligible at best.
You want to constantly experiment with your advertising campaign, using metrics to determine which types of content and user interactions are generating the most feedback. Stay active in your campaign, and your audience will too.
TikTok advertising is going to grow in 2020!
TikTok may be a few years old now, but advertising on the platform has only begun to take off recently. Now is the time to take advantage of what the service has to offer. For more tips on how to market your business this year, check out the rest of B12's Resource Center.
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