By David Morneau | 23 min read
TikTok Advertising Guide: Practical Tips for a Winning Strategy
As ad fatigue climbs, the advertising landscape shifts to new content formats and new platforms.
How can your company adapt to these changes and perform better?
inBeat shares its in-house secrets for success, examining how advertising on TikTok works and how it compares to other platforms.
It’s the Golden Era for UGC in advertising. In the meantime, polished content seems to be ineffective.
“People trust people more than brands, and UGC is content created by the people.”
User-generated content snapshot
People’s trust in user-generated content is formidable. Here are the UGC statistics to prove it:
- “90% of people will make a purchase decision based on UGC.”
- “81% of customers are willing to pay more and wait for extended periods for brands advertised through user-generated content.”
- “73% of people have more confidence in their purchases if a particular brand employs user-generated content.”
- “68% of people perceive themselves in relation to the brands they purchase because they represent their values.”
- “95% of marketers said that personalized content improved their open rates and that their unsubscribe rates decreased.”
- “85% of consumers believe that visual user-generated content is more influential than photos and videos published by the brand.”
- “User-generated content determines 88% increased social media activity, 29% more web conversions, and 25% higher ad performance.”
These findings emphasize the vital importance of incorporating UGC in your marketing efforts.
Leverage UGC to achieve more with less.
Integrate user-generated content in your campaign to decrease your advertising budget:
- UGC-based ads have a 400% higher click-through rate.
- UGC ads cost 50% less than traditional ads.
It’s essential to harness the right channel if you want to see these results.
TikTok is becoming an efficient way to run ads. inBeat noticed that long-established platforms like Facebook Ads are losing popularity and efficiency compared to TikTok. With CPAs climbing on Facebook, this is bound to happen.
This development makes sense because TikTok is the home for UGC.
“TikTok is democratizing UGC in ways we’ve never seen before.”
Benoit St. Laurent, VP of Paid Ads, inBeat
And that’s why you should learn how to harness this type of content.
- The platform has 1 billion active users worldwide, 138 million in the USA.
- The percentages of TikTok users by age are:
10-19 years old: 25%
20-29 years old: 22.4%
30-39 years old: 21.7%
40-49 years old: 20.3%
- TikTok influencers with fewer than 15,000 followers have a 9% engagement rate, the highest on the platform. The engagement metrics are inversely proportional to the influencer’s number of followers. Thus, a large follower count leads to lower engagement.
- 95% of people engage weekly with YouTube and TikTok influencers.
- TikTok rewards quality content above everything else. On Instagram, a content creator needs years to become famous and credible to reach a larger audience. Things move faster on TikTok.
- Its advanced AI algorithm offers users highly customized content from the get-go.
- TikTok users expect authentic content without branding.
This paper gives you actionable advice on how to source creators, find angles for the ads, and create successful campaigns. We disclose many hacks, tips, and insights to ensure your next TikTok campaign’s performance.
Sourcing creators is where we start at inBeat. Nowadays, narrowed targeting and other technical campaigns and content strategies aren’t the only vital elements for a successful campaign.
You need the right content creators.
And then, you need the right content to use. That’s user-generated content.
Our experience at inBeat taught us that impeccable content doesn’t perform as well on TikTok. TikTok knows this and has created the mantra “Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks” for companies.
The solution is simple:
You need influencers who can produce and distribute engaging organic content.
Mistake no. 1 when choosing your influencers:
The biggest mistake most companies make is going by the number of followers of that content creator. However, according to TikTok and all the relevant statistics, that indicator doesn’t matter much.
“TikTok influencers with fewer than 15,000 followers had the highest engagement rates, amounting to 17.69 percent. The rate was lower the more followers an influencer had.”
Another reason why the number of followers is irrelevant is that you’re reaching audiences through paid traffic. Instead, you want to ask:
- Do the influencer style and content fit your brand’s audience and branding?
- Does the creator have the skills to produce great original content for your brand?
- Will there be a long-term commitment?
- Can you rely on that influencer and discuss strategy with them?
How to find TikTok influencers and work with them
That’s the most challenging part of a TikTok influencer marketing campaign because it can make or break your endeavors. But, get this step right, and the rest will follow.
Here’s what inBeat recommends.
1. Use TikTok Creator Marketplace
To zero in on the right content creators, use the filters. You will find many information on that influencer’s audience, from demographics to preferences.
Warning: This platform isn’t excellent for sourcing micro-influencers because it focuses mainly on extremely popular content creators. Also, the recruitment process is more expensive than if you’d contact the influencers directly.
2. Search influencers yourself
You can search for influencers by yourself, using:
- Specific hashtags on TikTok. Let’s say you have an e-commerce website that retails women’s shoes. In this case, your hashtags can include #womensfashion, #fashion, #sylishshoes, #summervibes, #sponsored, and #ad.
- Specific items. For example, inBeat’s Phone Loops campaign wanted to show people that taking selfies is much easier using this device. Thus, we targeted iPhone+ users or influencers, showcasing how the grip is better with phone loops.
That brings us to the following point. You can source content creators by:
- Searching precise names if you have someone in mind.
- Analyzing your database of customers or employees to narrow down on already loyal people who would love to represent your brand.
3. Use dedicated influencer platforms
inBeat.co will help you work out and track your entire campaign. This platform allows you to find the red thread that gives consistency and meaning to your entire campaign.
For example, you can use inBeat TikTok engagement rate calculator. We help you research these content creators by going beyond the usual vanity metrics and delving into the influencer’s:
- Content quality
- Previous partnerships
- Audience profile and values
Side-note: Even if you don’t choose inBeat, remember to use these variables when researching potential influencers.
Next, pitch the selected influencers. Here are the things you should consider and that we can help you do:
- Customize your messages.
- Showcase the mutual benefits of this future collaboration.
- Ask for the influencer’s input.
4. Define the partnership terms
This point is essential because you want to be on the same page with your influencers. At the same time, you need to make everything legal:
- The content style, type, and meaning
- Repurposing permission
If you don’t have any previous experience working with influencers, use a specialized platform or get your legal team on it.
Good tips for sourcing creators from inBeat:
- Onboard multiple creators, not just one. It’s time-consuming, but you can find a place for more negotiations.
- Shortlist and pick the right content creators for your brand.
- Start with various content pieces for your campaigns: the more content you can test, the better.
- Don’t be too controlling. Remember that TikTok users avoid polished content, so it’s best to hand the storytelling to your influencers. However, remember to draft that contract to ensure everyone knows what they should be doing and towards what goal.
Content for good performing TikTok ads
TikTok Content Vs. Other Social Media Platforms
The harsh truth is that you can’t simply copy your Facebook or Instagram videos on TikTok and expect them to succeed; TikTok marketing is different.
“I remember when I first started using TikTok ads. I was watching the videos we were going to use for campaigns, and I thought, ‘This will never work because it was just too raw.”
Let’s break down the multiple differences between creating a TikTok ad and an Instagram or Facebook ad:
Facebook and Instagram rely heavily on targeting, funnel, and remarketing. You need the right social strategy and advertising. TikTok is similar, with some different realities:
- TikTok is more about the content, particularly UGC. Therefore, you have to test different types of content to see what works.
- On TikTok, you have ads that never would have worked on Facebook a few years ago. Even more interestingly:
- Now, these ads may work on Facebook and Instagram because TikTok influences all the other platforms.
- Warning: The ads may not work the other way around.
2. Creativity vs. Strategy
A secret we’ve discovered at inBeat is that TikTok ads rely more heavily on creativity than other social media ads. That’s another consequence of TikTok’s UGC-oriented dimension.
Golden nugget: You have to catch people’s attention, so be very straightforward with your proposition from the first seconds.
If you miss this 2-second window of opportunity, your audience will keep scrolling down to find more exciting content. You are one thumb away from being forgotten!
Don’t neglect strategy.
- Choose the right audience. For example, with Phone Loops, a Canadian brand that makes phone straps, it’s relevant to target iPhone Plus users because they most likely need a better grip on their phones.
- Use an enticing caption. Think of this caption as a hook that leads to relevant content in that ad for your audience. Otherwise, they will skip your future content – and maybe even develop some resentment towards you.
- Example: inBeat’s caption for Phone Loops was “Lifehack for iPhone users.”
3. Understand the General TikTok advertising Audience
There are two things you should remember about TikTok advertising:
TikTok’s audience is younger, but not for long.
Everyone talks about TikTok’s younger audience – and that’s true if you analyze the stats above.
But prepare to adapt because will change in a few years.
Every social media platform mainly had young users when they first started getting popular. But just like Facebook and Instagram, more demographics will start using the platform with time.
The targeting on TikTok is broader than some other social platforms.
Unlike the advertising on Meta (Facebook & Instagram Ads), the targeting on TikTok depends mostly on how its users interact with the content within the platform. Do they watch videos about family tips until the end? What kind of creators do they follow? TikTok creates their user’s advertising profile with these in-app usages, first-party data.
When on Facebook, it also relies on a third party collected from its pixel, purchased, etc.
Therefore the targeting on TikTok is by nature broader, but that doesn’t mean it’s of lesser quality; it simply offers different advertising opportunities.
Let’s say your e-commerce website retails babywearing systems. Targeting based on how people interact with videos means finding people who like, comment, or share:
- Baby and parenting videos
- Baby-rearing tips
- Parenting advice
By contrast, Facebook ads take into account the websites that people visit. Thus, Facebook can infer which websites, products, and ads these people are more likely to favor.
Little tip: You don’t necessarily need to use subtitles on your TikTok ad content.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram users, sound is an integral part of the TikTok experience. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need those subtitles.
Here’s where there are less differences between TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Although these platforms and content are different, they both are located at the bottom of the funnel, in the educational phase…Except for the remarketing campaigns, of course.
People aren’t aware of their needs yet.
By comparison, people use Google Search when they already know which type of product they need. Or, at the very least, they know what problems they want gone.
On the other hand, people on TikTok, IG, and Facebook are in the early stage of the funnel.
Pro tip: If you want to build an effective TikTok marketing campaign, you should first focus on education and consideration.
Finding angles for the ads
TikTok ads are different from ads on other social channels. That’s why you need to tread carefully.
1. Focus on the right thing
“Before any outreach, make sure that you know what needs to be promoted. It goes further than determining the USP of your product/brand.” (Benoit St-Laurent)
For example, you can focus on:
- A specific product: If your company is well-established on the market and you’re launching something new.
- Your brand: If people don’t know your company.
- The relationship you have with your audience or with a specific value: If you want to leverage a trend.
2. Set a goal
You should also find a unique and creative way to approach your goal in your TikTok video.
Remember: The first seconds matter most. It’s all about the first 2-3 seconds!
There are many ways to catch the attention of the viewers. One that works exceptionally well is pointing towards a problem and showing how your product/service solves it.
“Is your email inbox full of spam? Here’s a life hack that will help you, and that only takes a few minutes.”
Using different angles is always good; you never know which one will catch more attention. This marketing strategy has a significant impact on the conversion rate.
Tip: You can find different angles by figuring out the various problems your product/service solves.
Hacks for good performing TikTok ads
- Use captions.
- Make the problem visible within the video to make it more impactful.
- Keep it simple: analyze one situation per short video and how your products/services can solve that problem.
- Be very straightforward in the first seconds.
Now, here’s the patented inBeat process for creating successful TikTok campaigns.
A TikTok campaign follows the same steps as a traditional marketing/advertising campaign on other channels. So, you want to make sure you’re going through all the proper steps:
- Set a goal.
- Research your company, competitors, and audience.
- Build the campaign:
- Set SMART objectives.
- Build a plan that includes strategies, tactics, and tools.
- Have a timetable that you respect.
- Build and disseminate your messages.
- Evaluate results.
- Reconsider and change what you can.
However, TikTok isn’t like any other platform. That’s why we’ll give you personalized, actionable advice on leveraging it.
When it comes to campaign creation, TikTok targeting isn’t as complex as Facebook ads. You’ll generally deal with broad targeting based on how people interact with video content.
- It’s essential to have outstanding creatives that will ensure the qualification of your audience.
- Test different audiences.
- Scale into new markets by partnering with creators that align with these markets.
- Do remarketing, not just from your website but also video views (ex: retarget people who watched 50% or more of your video).
- Test different types of targeting or content.
Secret weapon: Configure tracking
First things first, if you drive actions on the website or app install, you need to configure tracking.
If it’s on a website, make sure you use developer mode pixel with API tracking so you can also track people using iPhones with iOS14 and above.
2. Leveraging Tiktok’s algorithm
Many marketers want to create viral TikTok videos. However, viral has no importance for ads because you’re doing paid reach. As such, it’s not organic.
It would be fantastic if your ad went viral, but it doesn’t really matter.
Conversions are more important.
So how do you leverage TikTok’s algorithm?
At inBeat, we duplicate the campaign, so the algorithm shows our ads to different people. That’s how we know who to focus on and with what content. In the process:
We test a slew of ads to see what works.
Advice to improve your ad performance (tried and tested by inBeat):
- Use as much UGC as possible.
- Use your intuition to select the best hashtags so that people know what your video is about.
- Your TikTok ad must look organic and homemade so people won’t skip it.
- The first seconds are critical to raise interest and create a connection.
- Use attractive captions to prevent people from scrolling down. Your audience must understand what your content is about from the get-go.
- Qualify your target audience first.
Secret weapon: Combat ad fatigue
Sometimes small changes make a big difference, so edit and chop to combat ad fatigue. You can:
- Add subtitles to performing ads.
- Chop the video after the first few seconds.
- Add more elements.
You have to do all that to make the algorithm work in your favor.
3. Monitoring your campaign
According to influencer marketing stats:
“78% of marketers say measuring their influencer campaign’s ROI is challenging.”
Your company shouldn’t be among those that don’t monitor their campaigns. Otherwise, you won’t know what worked and what didn’t. As a result, you won’t know what strategies, tools, and content you can use in future campaigns.
inBeat uses the following metrics and KPIs to evaluate campaign performance (and you should too):
- CPC (cost per click): Usually, the cost-per-acquisition will be high if CPC is high.
- CPM (cost per mille): The price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one web page
- The number of clicks: You want to see how many people were interested in your ad enough to click on it. Also, find out how many TikTok users click on your CTA buttons.
- CTR (the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown): This figure tells you whether your ad is performing or not. A good CTR is 1-4%.
- Pro tip: If your CTR is low, go at the entry-level of your funnel. Most likely, you didn’t connect with your audience, or you didn’t qualify your audience correctly.
- CPA (cost per acquisition): This KPI is arguably the most important, and a low CPA implies low CPC and low CPM.
- Pro tip: Duplicate the campaign to reduce CPA. Even though it’s the same target, same content, just duplicating the campaign will be 15 cents cheaper, and that’s a big difference.
Secret weapon: Tie long-term partnerships with your content creators.
Once your campaigns are ongoing, keep an eye on your best-performing ads and think about reaching back to its creator for more collaboration.
That leads us to the final point in this paper:
Finding Influencers Through Google
Let’s be honest – this is probably the first way that many brands will look for an influencer. “Googling” is now a conditioned response in us, but using it to find your influencers may not yield the best results. Google allows you to narrow the search with advanced options, but, from our experience, they filter too many influencers out.
Elite, expensive influencer accounts are going to show up at the top. You can leverage the Google search to start finding influencers in your niche and work your way from there.
Google search “your Niche” + Top Influencers + (preferred Social Media Platform)
Bonus Part: inBeat Challenges and Final Advice
The largest challenge we at inBeat face, and that you’ve probably experienced too, is staying up to date. Social media channels come and go; strategies change; people fall in love with different content.
The challenge is to adapt.
Transitioning to and leveraging a UGC platform isn’t easy. You have to understand your audience and also the channel’s intricacies.
Secret weapon: Let your influencers help you.
These content creators know TikTok intimately. They know what works on this platform and, even more importantly, what works for them. Most importantly, they will always be on top of what’s working.
Your influencers also understand what makes their audience tick.
Therefore, the best and final advice is to develop close relationships with your influencers. Discuss your plans, ask for their feedback, and leverage it. That’s how you get fantastic conversions – if your product is also fantastic.