TikTok Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which One Should You Use for Your Brand?

Ioana Cozma
May 21, 2024
February 21, 2023

Choosing between TikTok ads and Facebook ads is like choosing between a crossbow and a fishing pole. Fishing poles are better for fishing, and crossbows are better in a zombie apocalypse.

You need to set your goals – marketing goals in this case.

As a go-to TikTok ads agency, we’ll teach you how to do that. This guide discusses key differences in TikTok ads vs. Facebook ads starting from your campaign objectives. We’ll show you how to judge these social media platforms not solely based on their generic features but on what you need.

To spice things up, we’ll sprinkle this article with insider tips, actionable advice, and stories from our clients. Keep reading below!

TL;DR

  • TikTok: Raw content, Gen Z focus, organic reach.
  • Facebook: Precise targeting, diverse ad formats, large audience.
  • TikTok costs more, offers content creator options.
  • TikTok: CPM $10, CPC $1, ROAS $1.20-$3.
  • Facebook: CPM $7-$20, CPC $0.6-$1.50, ROAS $2.
  • Both platforms offer targeting, but Facebook has more options.
  • TikTok’s algorithm boosts reach intuitively.
  • Choose based on goals, audience, not familiarity.

TikTok Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Pros and Cons

Let’s start with the obvious question: what are these platforms’ advantages and disadvantages?

What Are TikTok Ads?

TikTok Ads are ads you publish on TikTok so that it becomes visible to the platform’s user base. At inBeat, we discovered that TikTok success examples use the following structure for their ads:

  • Hook: This phrase captures people’s interest from the first few seconds and prevents them from scrolling away.
  • Offer: The unique selling point shows how the brand/products can fulfill people’s needs like no other.
  • CTA: The call-to-action is essential for people to understand what’s required of them.

Insider tip: inBeat has discovered that longer TikTok video ads perform better if they have more hooks. We typically use three hooks for such longer clips; we also noticed that a good first hook could decrease CPAs by 30 to 70%.

For example, travel app Hopper partners with content creators that showcase it as a “travel hack” or “travel secret.” Therefore, people get curious and are likelier to watch the entire ad:

Hopper TikTok video ad

Pros of TikTok Advertising

At inBeat, we often use TikTok advertising for brands that target Gen Z or whose audiences crave raw content. Our research also shows that TikTok is an amazing channel for various topics, from finances to mobile apps and fashion. That means TikTok is home to a wider variety of audiences than other channels.

Here are the advantages:

  • Growth trajectory: TikTok has had an impressive growth trajectory, reaching 1 billion active users worldwide. This channel, therefore, gives you access to an impressive target audience.
  • Unique content (raw, uplifting): TikTok’s content is raw, relatable, and uplifting, whereas Meta primarily relies on negative reinforcement. The platform is home to a wide range of niches, from automotive to cleaning, fashion, binance, and more.
  • Used as a search engine: Studies show that TikTok has slowly replaced Google as a search engine. TikTok’s own research suggests that people use this platform for product discovery, education, and purchase.
  • Targets Gen Z: Gen Z and young Millennials comprise much of TikTok’s audience. Reaching this age group might be essential for your business to thrive.
  • Algorithm: TikTok’s algorithm detects specific user patterns, encouraging organic distribution. If you create a compelling ad that people find useful or relatable, regular users can post content about it.

inBeat successfully helped NYC to reach young voters through a series of Spark ads and TikTok influencers.

This generation can’t be reached through conventional voting campaigns because they’re more skeptical of political messages.

However, TikTok’s native format and the creators’ raw messages appeal to Gen Z’s needs. This format makes them feel:

  • Included in the discussion
  • Part of the solution

Pros of TikTok Advertising

At inBeat, we often use TikTok advertising for brands that target Gen Z or whose audiences crave raw content. Our research also shows that TikTok is an amazing channel for various topics, from finances to mobile apps and fashion. That means TikTok is home to a wider variety of audiences than other channels.

Here are the advantages:

  • Growth trajectory: TikTok has had an impressive growth trajectory, reaching 1 billion active users worldwide. This channel, therefore, gives you access to an impressive target audience.
  • Unique content (raw, uplifting): TikTok’s content is raw, relatable, and uplifting, whereas Meta primarily relies on negative reinforcement. The platform is home to a wide range of niches, from automotive to cleaning, fashion, binance, and more.
  • Used as a search engine: Studies show that TikTok has slowly replaced Google as a search engine. TikTok’s own research suggests that people use this platform for product discovery, education, and purchase.
  • Targets Gen Z: Gen Z and young Millennials comprise much of TikTok’s audience. Reaching this age group might be essential for your business to thrive.
  • Algorithm: TikTok’s algorithm detects specific user patterns, encouraging organic distribution. If you create a compelling ad that people find useful or relatable, regular users can post content about it.

inBeat successfully helped NYC to reach young voters through a series of Spark ads and TikTok influencers.

This generation can’t be reached through conventional voting campaigns because they’re more skeptical of political messages.

However, TikTok’s native format and the creators’ raw messages appeal to Gen Z’s needs. This format makes them feel:

  • Included in the discussion
  • Part of the solution
NYC Votes TikTok ad

Our campaign brought these results:

  • 10 seconds average view time
  • 5 million video views
  • 56% of users watched more than 50%

Cons of TikTok Advertising

The main disadvantage of TikTok advertising we noticed at inBeat is the less precise targeting algorithm. That means TikTok Ads may be harder to control.

Even if you set all the campaign’s targeting options, the advertising platform can still make some content more visible to a specific audience based on its “observations.”

Insider tip: That less specific targeting is why we recommend TikTok for broader audiences.

Another significant disadvantage with TikTok is mobile attribution; your attribution window is currently just one day.

What Are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are online ads that Facebook users see in their newsfeeds.

90% of social media marketers already tap into the impressive power of Facebook ads to achieve their marketing goals.

Pros of Facebook Advertising

Facebook ads sport plenty of advantages as well:

  • Not intrusive: These ads appear on people’s Facebook Newsfeeds, so they’re already addressing an interested audience. Of course, if you used Facebook’s targeting options correctly.
  • Help increase traffic: Facebook ads have CTA buttons that send people directly to your website if they see your ad on their phones. The mechanism behind this is called app-to-web deep linking. A huge advantage here is that users visit this website without leaving Facebook.
  • Access to a large audience: Facebook has more monthly users than TikTok, reaching 96 billion. Besides, Meta has both Facebook and Instagram, so using Facebook Ads also gives you access to Instagram Ads.
  • Specific targeting algorithm: Facebook has extremely precise targeting options. That means you can simultaneously adapt the same ad campaign to multiple audience segments. Again, this gives you access to a significant number of people at a reduced cost.
  • Included A/B split testing: This feature allows you to test different versions of your ad creatives to see which content performs better.

Side note: If A/B testing is what you need, use our free ad mockup generators. They’re not limited to Facebook; you can use them for different platforms, from TikTok to Snapchat and Instagram.

Here’s a video ad example from investing app eToro:

eToro video ad

Cons of Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads aren’t perfect either:

  • The learning curve is steeper: You must master Facebook’s detailed targeting and retargeting options. And that’s not something you do in one day; it takes a lot of practice, patience, and flexibility.
  • The content is not as unique: TikTok video ads can be polished or unedited, funny or informative, using creators or not. By comparison, Facebook ads are typically highly edited, using mostly images and not relying on the power of content creators.
Get the most out of you paid media with inBeat TikTok Ads Agency

TikTok vs. Facebook Ad Types

These two marketing platforms have almost the same number of formats. The point is not how many ad formats you have; it’s how to use them according to your goals.

Facebook ad types include:

  • Carousel ads: These ads comprise up to ten slides that can showcase different products of facets of the same product. Leverage these ads for a remarketing campaign or generate awareness about a more complex product.
  • Image and video ads: These ads appear in Facebook users’ feeds. You can use them to sell your products, drive engagement, or increase traffic.
  • Poll ads: Best for engagement campaigns because your audience interacts with your brand, answering your questions.
  • Story ads: You can achieve a wide range of goals with story ads, especially if you’re using organic Instagram UGC. But most importantly, people who click on your stories are a more interested audience than those that don’t. For example, parents clicking on this story with a crying baby immediately find out about Swaddelini:
Bumble in-feed ad
  • Collection ads: These allow you to showcase your ecommerce products to your audience.
  • Messenger ads: People interacting with Facebook messenger ads are qualified, high-quality prospects that you need for conversion campaigns.

Here’s one ad I got in my Facebook messenger:

Bumble in-feed ad

TikTok ad formats include:

  • In-feed ads: Appear in TikTok users’ feeds and allow people to interact with them. WTheir advertising potential lies in increasing engagement and boosting sales.
  • Top view ads: These full-screen videos appear three seconds after opening the app, and they’re perfect for exposure campaigns.
  • Brand takeover ads: Best for creating awareness and recall, these ads take over your screen when you open the TikTok app. Afterward, they transform into a typical in-feed ad.
  • Branded hashtag ads: These ads are best for UGC campaigns or hashtag challenges because they ask regular users to create TikTok clips using the company’s hashtag.
  • Branded effects ads: These ads encourage TikTok users to create videos using a branded effect from the company. As a result, you can create desire and social proof, plus build a UGC library.
  • Collection ads: Best for e-commerce stores, collection ads allow TikTok users to browse your products.
  • Spark ads: These native ads allow you to leverage posts from your account and your creators’ accounts (if they allow you, of course). These ads are best for TikTok UGC, increasing interactions between you and your audience. In fact, your audience may produce viral videos themselves in response to these clips.

Here’s an in-feed ad example we used for the dating app Bumble. The idea behind this marketing campaign was “come to my first date with me, ” and we partnered with five influencers who recorded their dating experiences:

Bumble in-feed ad

And we used Spark Ads to create increase the levels of engagement for our NYC voting campaign:

Bumble in-feed ad

As you can see, Facebook ad types are arguably more diverse because you can use them in different places across the platform.

However, TikTok ads help you achieve different marketing goals even if they all appear in people’s home feeds.

TikTok vs. Facebook Ads Cost

You will typically need a higher advertising budget for TikTok than Facebook.

However, some TikTok ads may be cheaper than Facebook ads if you use content creators.

The new TikTok Promote helps you decrease advertising costs, too, because it allows you to turn any TikTok post in your feed into an ad.

But to assess Facebook and TikTok advertising costs more precisely, let’s analyze the performance metrics that measure the ad costs on these social networks:

CPM

The cost per mille (CPM) is the price calculated for 1, 000 impressions. Let’s look at the average costs:

  • TikTok CPM: $10
  • Facebook CPM: $7 to $20

CPC

The cost per click (CPC) defines how much you pay when someone clicks on your ad:

  • TikTok CPC: $1
  • Facebook CPC: $0.6 to $1.50

ROAS

ROAS stands for Return on Ad Spend. That’s basically how much profit you get from these ads. Here’s the average ROAS for both platforms for each $1 spent:

  • TikTok ROAS: $1.20 to $3
  • Facebook ROAS: $2

Bonus tip: use a free ROAS calculator to measure your return on ad spend.

CTR

The click-through rate defines how many visitors click on your link out of everyone who saw your ad.

  • TikTok CTR:
    • In-feed ads: 1-5%
    • Brand takeover ads: 7-10%
    • Top-view ads: 16%
  • Facebook CTR:5-1.6%

ACR

The Average Conversion Rate (ACR) shows how many conversions you got from all the people who clicked on your ad.

  • TikTok ACR: 5-3%
  • Facebook ACR: 2-15%

TikTok vs Facebook Ad Targeting

Both platforms offer:

  • Demographic targeting
  • Interest targeting
  • Behavior targeting
  • Device targeting

Pro tip: You can also create lookalike audiences of people on both social channels.

This option lets you target an audience segment that looks precisely like your customers. This audience is more likely to purchase your products, thus increasing your sales.

Here’s where these social channels differ:

Facebook boasts more targeting options, and some marketers might love this extra sense of control. By comparison, TikTok has a secret weapon: its algorithm.

Storytime:

One of our clients is Unroll.me, an email cleanup app. Pretty much everybody can relate to having a cluttered inbox, so TikTok UGC was a neat way to advertise a product like that.

We selected broad targeting on TikTok, and we noticed that the TikTok Ads algorithm is excellent at finding who will resonate best with a particular ad:

  • One of our top performers from the past few months is in her twenties and has a slow-paced ad with a green screen effect where she shows how the app works. This simple ad delivered great results in the 55+ age group.
Bumble in-feed ad
  • The other top performer is a male in his twenties, a YouTuber with more experience. His ad looks more professional, with better lighting and pro editing. The clip also includes fast-paced animated text instead of captions. This ad performed exceptionally well for 18 to 24 men.
Bumble in-feed ad

TikTok vs. Facebook Ads Analytics

Facebook analytics are also arguably better than what TikTok offers. After all, the giant company knows everything there is to know about its users.

That means you can use Facebook Ads Manager for social listening, tapping into its slew of advanced analytics to increase your ad performance.

Those results informed us that different TikTok UGC styles can work even for the same brand or product if they target different audiences.

What does this tell us?

Facebook has a more precise targeting mechanism with more options, but TikTok’s algorithm is more intuitive. So if you want your content delivered to the right audience, you can count on TikTok.

Facebook Ads Manager

TikTok is constantly growing its capabilities, though.

The TikTok Ads Manager allows you to monitor your advertising campaign performance, track conversion, and read detailed reports.

TikTok Ads Manager

TikTok Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which Should You Choose?

As always, we encourage you to analyze your marketing goals before choosing. Your audience will dictate those goals; determine what channel these people use and what messages they respond to better.

This will help you decide whether to use TikTok, Facebook, or both – or even none, for that matter.

The biggest mistake you can make is choosing the platform you’re most familiar with, regardless of your business objectives.

So if you need help getting started, book a free call with us.

We’ll discuss your objectives, marketing tools, and the best channels to reach your audience efficiently.

Want more examples of successful influencer marketing strategies? Check out our case studies.

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