How to Get Started with TikTok Advertising 

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It is no secret that winning at marketing and online selling is generally dictated by how well-aware and decided you are about your strategy. It is all about having a clear direction in your mind about where you want to go and working really hard on achieving your goals, consistently leaping from point to point based on your capacity and the opportunities that come your way.

To reiterate, a strategy is a guide to your action, but more importantly, one must act to achieve these goals. You can plan thoroughly and fill your social media calendar with lots of scheduled content, but it will all go down the drain if you do not actualize them. This can be a problem area for most. We are often excited about new ideas here and there, but what we lack is actual knowledge on how to carry them out.

Once you have decided on your objectives and you have your content plan, about half of the problem is already solved. What’s next is all about the technicalities. In this article, we discuss the basics of TikTok advertising, the different types of ads that you can maximize according to your specific goals for your business, the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of both paid and organic advertising, and how to use the right tools for the right things, and at the right moment.

What are TikTok ads?

Primarily, TikTok ads come in the form of sponsored videos that brands can utilize to expand their audience reach. You might be unaware of them or are concerned about the additional cost you may shell out for these ads, but these are considered one of the most effective tools to gain traction and ground following on the social media platform. After all, it all seems natural and comes in the form of a video that a user can easily view via their For You feed.  

The effectiveness of TikTok ads has already been proven by multiple products that are featured under the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag that took social media by storm. The benefits of using a social media platform to market products have even propelled TikTok to introduce in-platform shopping options and their own courier delivery services. 

Even seasoned marketing strategists acknowledged the viability of TikTok in increasing brand awareness. In fact, 24% of marketers surveyed in a study have chosen TikTok as one of their preferred platforms for their digital marketing. TikTok ads are a handy tool to help you increase brand awareness, build online communities, provide customer service, advertise your products or services to customers, and increase sales and other related activities. 

Types of TikTok Ads

When you strategize your campaign, you must be familiar with the different kinds of TikTok ads available, learn their strengths and weaknesses, and know where and when to place them for the duration of your whole campaign. Each type of TikTok Ad is unique and serves a specific purpose, so be sure to align them with your particular objectives when choosing which one to use.

Top View Ads

Top View Ads are full-screen 60-seconder videos that offer viewers an immersive viewing experience. It instantly captures your audience’s attention from the moment they open their apps. With Top View ads, your video content is virtually unmissable by the audience as they are given prominent space on their feeds and algorithms. You can also rest assured that your content is the only thing the viewer is focusing on, as TikTok ensures that no content from your competitors gets seen while your ads are up. 

One of the perks of using Top View ads is a guarantee of having millions of views for your content within just 24 hours of release. Even TikTok, according to feedback from its users, declares that the Top View ads just have that edge as they are deemed more engaging and more attention-grabbing. A huge percentage of TikTok users prefer these types of ads.

Top View ads are not only proven to increase brand awareness, but also cumulative sales. Most brands who have used this ad type have recorded an average of 67% increase in sales, compared to other types.

Collection Ads

Collection Ads, on the other hand, are in-feed ads, meaning they appear occasionally on the users’ feed as they scroll through content on TikTok. When they chance upon a Collection ad that you put out, they get sent directly to a gallery page where they can instantly view your curated products and check them out, to help them decide and choose which or whether to buy at all. With this in-feed feature, users can look at your products closer without ever leaving the app.

The idea is that along with a branded video you can choose a selection of your best products and have them featured along with your paid content. They are shown in a conspicuous place at the bottom of *your branded video. Based on feedback, Collection ads are also deemed engaging by users, and they are proven to provide smoother shopping experiences for choosers who were already convinced by your ad content. The only problem is that Collection ads are not yet available to every user or TikTok market. But they are expected to be rolled out sooner or later, so don’t worry, just keep your eyes peeled and wait for them to arrive, in case they haven’t yet.

In-feed ads

Sometimes, when you are scrolling through your TikTok feed, you chance upon ads, but you don’t know it’s an ad until it sells you a product because it looks like just the other videos you are watching. This is what TikTok dubs In-feed ads. They have the great advantage of being a more natural, non-obstructive way of advertising because it blends with the rest of the content on the app. The challenge for you is to create solid brand imagery and messaging to make your ad stand out.

In-feed ads are embedded onto a user’s feed and can appear based on an algorithm determined by TikTok, based largely on the user’s interests and the content they have previously engaged with. Research shows that users find In-feed TikTok ads more memorable and impactful compared to the ads they see on television and elsewhere.

Branded hashtag challenge

Hashtags play an integral role in the TikTok marketing experience. It is a helpful way to categorize and easily access ongoing trends, increase brand awareness, and entice users to provide their own user-generated content to complement your branded content. 

This form is also more cost-efficient because you are essentially enjoining your base of followers to post testimonials, how-to videos, user demonstrations, and real-life examples of their experience with your product. Even in the marketing world as a whole, word-of-mouth marketing is most useful in introducing and selling products. But this time, you apply these lessons and add them to your digital marketing arsenal.

It also taps into your followers’ creativity and produces a greater sense of belonging to your community. In short, they treat your product as their own, see their value, and own their place as your marketing partners. 

Branded effects

This next ad we will discuss is more advanced and may require the help of experts, but it could truly be worth it when done well. Branded effects concern themselves with the creation of filters, stickers, and other effects for users to apply to their videos, providing an easier route for them to participate in your campaign for user-generated content.

What’s better, you can launch these branded effects in congruence with your branded hashtag challenge, and they can work together in harnessing your follower base’s creativity. In turn, this will result in a higher volume of user-generated content, which proves to be more appealing, and looks more approachable to the rest of TikTok users. It just seems like a friend is sharing their best buy with another friend.

Spark Ads

Spark Ads is another ad type on the more-advanced scale. When we speak of a Spark Ad, it is an ad format that allows you to put out branded content that looks like it is coming from a popular content creator, not from a brand. This strategy can work for users who prefer to turn to influencers and popular content creators for recommendations rather than viewing upfront branded content. It lessens that intimidation and makes your advertising look a little more effortless.

The process is roughly as follows: You browse through TikTok or do your market research on existing content produced by influencers. If you deem something useful, you can relate with the content creator and strike a deal with them for you to use their content as a Spark Ad. Simply put, you are boosting content by other creators, and you pay TikTok a fee to give their content a boost – of course, to the benefit of your product and online store.

This is one of the best types of ads because of its advantage of looking very natural, and frankly, not a hard sell. It has also recorded the largest increases in engagement when compared to other types of ads. Well, we guess, nothing beats natural – or natural-looking, for that matter.

Paid vs. Organic

Before we go further, let’s set the difference between paid and organic advertising. The only difference is that organic ads are those you put out without paying TikTok a fee. These include all the videos you put out on your profile. When you feel like things are taking a bit longer to blow up and reach your target audience, you can allot an advertising budget that you spend on paid ads that are customizable on the TikTok app. Do not worry though – if you have your strategy set and you know who you want to reach, you can tweak the specifics. Knowing what to do has given a lot of social media marketers a great deal for the money they spend on paid ads.

An organic ad, on the other hand, means you are reaching your audience through “organic” connections, which means they see your content because a TikTok contact has engaged with your content. They may have liked, shared, or commented on your content, which increases the chance for your specific ads to show up on the For You Page of their connections.

Find the perfect mix

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It is perfectly fine if you cannot go all out with your budget for paid advertising, especially when you are still starting with digital marketing. And actually, paying for ads cannot solely save your advertising problem. They just give your content a boost. The number of interactions and conversion to sales will ultimately depend on how well you introduce and present your products. Testimonials by TikTok users on how your products have been beneficial to their lives will help you get a long way.

Engaging content, strong brand messaging, and attractive imagery are also aspects that you have to study. Resources are available online, and you can also seek help from professional experts on how to do this. Make sure your brand becomes solid yet adapts to changing times and situations. Buyers, especially those who prefer to shop on TikTok, are very interested in stories and want to consume the same content, even if they are advertisements. 

So, as you are building your brand strategy, it is important to carefully organize your products, your ideas, your ad copy, your images, and everything else – and put them together masterfully like puzzle pieces that will form a stunning image. Impact, in the end, not only means large numbers in terms of engagements or increased sales but making waves in the lives of thousands, even millions, of satisfied customers.

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