Not so long ago we spoke of TikTok tricks and lifehacks, but today we’re going to do a full-fledged explanatory article on how to create a really successful TikTok advertising campaign strategy from scratch.
First of all, in 2021 we more or less know what TikTok is, some of us — from a user point of view. We assume that there is no need to explain how every brand with online presence needs TIkTok (because it is not true, however, chances are that, if your product is not “niche” you need this app today or at least tomorrow), how its audience changed throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, how challenging and fun is to test new formats, etc), so let’s get straight to business!
How is TikTok special from an advertiser’s point of view? First of all, how do TikTok users see the ad content? How’s it different from, for example, in-app ads we are used to? Or pre-roll ads? Or even TV advertising?
the content is fullscreen (for example, people do not make the video fullscreen until the content starts: they wait for the pre-video ad to end)
the sound is on (TikTok is much more a video app where music and sounds play a huge role than, for example, Instagram. Gamers also play with the muted sound so TikTok is literally the loudest of a kind)
You have 100% of the user’s attention (TikTok users are not likely to “consume other content” like watching TV, Youtube, etc, while using the app, according to the stats). Many of the ad formats in TikTok are made to imitate the native content as much as possible
Sounds pretty nice, huh? So what is it that people do there that grabs their full attention?
Create videos (by uploading and editing) or filming them right in the app and adding the cool buffs to them. The outstanding feature is the ability to work with Music: there are integrations with streaming platforms (so your chances to escape copyright infringement are as high as your potential music library is big),as well as the possibility to remix and compile tracks.
Explore content and interact with it: there are accounts and hashtags to follow (and hashtags are the power you cannot ignore but we’ll get back to them later). The recommendation system deserves praise: it is very responsible for the “can’t put down” effect of the content feed.
Reward content creators: users can express their gratitude with not only hearts and follows but also with virtual currency that can be converted into cash.
First steps and basics:
In the beginning, you need to create a TikTok account and then switch to Pro. Pro is not for brands only: this type of account is available to all users who want access to enhanced account analytics which looks like this:
Get started with TikTok for business (if you want to run your campaigns in-house), if you are planning to work with a marketing agency they will most likely use their own accounts. TikTok are known to support new brands that want to start advertising with them directly, so you can positively hope for a “getting started” call with their representatives.
Get to know the existing ad formats and placements:
Open screen (the first screen after opening the app). A premium placement meant to receive the maximum of user’s attention.There are two types of Open Screen — TopView (video that lasts up to 60 seconds) and Brand TakeOver (video or banner, 3-5 seconds) — all of them are the advertiser’s top choice when they want viewability and 100% attention.
InFeed — videos appearing in the content recommendations and imitating UGC perfectly. Also, smart ad campaign optimization is available: the creative will be shown to those users who are likely to interact with it.
Branded effect — a brand with its own account in TikTok can create branding features that the audience applies to the content they create. AR technologies are at your service (well, you might need a third party specialist to make a really cool effect for you). Also, you can gamify the user experience of place a purchase/more info QR code right away.
Hashtag Challenge. “These are usually dances or small actions associated with a specific sound, like a popular song. People from all around the world use hashtag challenges as inspiration to create their own TikTok videos”. For brands the format provides extensive opportunities for provoking interactions and working with brand identity.
Also, it’s a perfect way to get some new content without doing anything other than the challenge itself.
What’s next? Each and every ad format requires a certain knowledge of the format (surprisingly), but there are basic rules to follow in order to advertise on TikTok like a pro. Also, each format is said to serve different business goals: some are tailored for gaining the maximum reach, others work on customer retention of making your brand more iconic than it used to be.
1. Forget everything you know about traditional advertising.
Well, almost everything: don’t forget your goals and brand identity, other things are to be relearned.
However hard you wanted to apply your Instagram and Facebook strategy, it won’t work.
2. Make your message simple.
Even simpler. The average users must be able to catch your ideas in the first seconds of content interaction. If you want a longer story, make it accessible by starting it the easy way. If you want to show that you care about gender equality, begin with showing how to make a fun statement, showing a cool pattern to repeat. Then those who might get interested will be interested — you’ll lead them to some pieces of content that will provide a broader view and help deeper understanding of your ideas.
There might be a day when you create something new and viral, but the best way to start is to integrate into the existing trends ecosystem. Follow the rules, copy like an artist. The next step will be identifying trends that only start to gain popularity and then being the first to ride the wave.
Try to think like the top content creators, try to think like your target audience. That approach is easy to notice and easy to make fruitful.
4. Collaborate. You know what to do when it comes to “choosing the influencer who best fits your brand image”, and we won’t tell you against this, but, on the other hand, suggest that you a/b test. Maybe it’s high time you chose the local heroes in the know of the local trends. You can cooperate with TikTok creators if you don’t want to choose yourself — TikTok platform provides the opportunity without needing to refer to third-party influencer agencies.
5. Be true to your brand identity and authentic.
We advised you to try hard to fit into TikTok unspoken rules, but you don’t need to mutilate your ideas or, what is worse, bend your “rules” to look cooler for some of your audiences. We suggest that you profess omnichannelism, so your Facebook audience might catch you in the act of.. changing. That does not refer to a slight simplification of your ideas or trying something new. You speak a different language but say the same words.
6. Reserve a time spot for analytics.
Apart from analyzing your own ads performance, it would be great to visit the Creative center where the business platform allows you to take a glimpse of the other advertiser’s best performing creatives.
7. Don’t forget to have fun!
This only helps to reach other mentioned goals. Remember that your users/clients/audience are there for entertainment purposes, why should you be different?
Rest assured, you think of a strategy as of something funny and challenging, the ideas and the right type of creativity won’t take long to come,
We won’t say “that’s pretty much it”: there’s more to this booming social network and its ad system than a single article fits.
The only thing we’d like to repeat: read the TikTok for Business instructions, arrange a couple of brainstorming sessions with your team and get ready to enjoy yourself and be surprised in many ways.