Making TikTok Work for Your Performance Brand

By Rob Medevd, CEO

Originally published in the March 2023 issue of Results Magazine

TikTok has emerged as one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide. With its rapid growth and high engagement rates, TikTok has become a popular destination for brands looking to reach new audiences and drive sales. Direct to consumer (DTC) advertising on TikTok has proven to be an effective strategy for many businesses, regardless of their target demographic.

TikTok has over 1 billion active users globally, with an average daily usage time of 52 minutes. This high engagement rate has made TikTok a fertile ground for marketers to connect with their audiences and run successful advertising campaigns. The platform’s user base is also growing at an impressive rate, with TikTok reporting a 75% increase in users in 2020 alone.

Contrary to popular belief, TikTok isn’t just for teenagers and young adults. The platform has a diverse user base, with users ranging from teenagers to adults in their 40s and 50s. According to recent statistics, over 50% of TikTok users are over the age of 30, and more than 25% of the platform’s users are over the age of 45. This makes TikTok an ideal platform for brands targeting a wide range of audiences, not just younger demographics.

To run successful DTC ads on TikTok, brands need to use data and insights to inform their advertising strategies. TikTok offers a variety of tools and features to help brands achieve this. The platform’s analytics dashboard provides detailed information about the performance of ads, including engagement rates, view counts, and audience demographics. Brands can use this data to make informed decisions about ad targeting, creative messaging, and overall campaign optimization.  Marketers can also build look-a-like audiences off of their consumer base as well as other ad platform data.

To make the most of TikTok’s DTC advertising capabilities, brands should follow best practices for running ads on the platform. These include creating attention-grabbing content that resonates with TikTok’s audience, using popular music and trending hashtags to increase visibility, and optimizing ads for mobile viewing. Brands should also experiment with different ad formats, such as in-feed ads, brand takeovers, and hashtag challenges, to find the format that works best.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it Short and Sweet: TikTok videos are typically only 15-60 seconds long, so it’s important to keep your message concise and attention-grabbing. Focus on a single product or message in each ad and use visual and auditory cues to make your ad stand out.
  2. Use Influencers: TikTok is known for its influencer culture, and partnering with influencers can be a highly effective way to promote your DTC brand. Look for influencers who align with your brand’s values and have a following that overlaps with your target audience.
  3. Leverage User-Generated Content: TikTok is all about user-generated content, and leveraging this content can be a powerful way to build brand awareness. Encourage users to create videos using your product or service, and share the best ones on your brand’s social media channels.
  4. Embrace TikTok’s Quirky Culture: TikTok is known for its unique and often quirky content. To stand out on the platform, embrace this culture and create ads that are fun, creative, and memorable.

In addition to paid ads, several brands have successfully run non-paid strategic initiatives on TikTok, generating millions of views and driving significant sales. For example, cosmetics brand e.l.f. ran a hashtag challenge called #eyeslipsface, encouraging users to create videos featuring the brand’s products. The challenge generated over 5 million user-generated videos and 4 billion views, resulting in a 218% increase in e.l.f.’s website traffic.

Another successful DTC ad campaign on TikTok was run by beverage company Ocean Spray. The company’s viral video featuring a TikTok user skateboarding while drinking its cranberry juice went viral, generating over 72 million views and also resulted in a 15.2% increase in Ocean Spray’s sales, demonstrating the power of TikTok as a DTC advertising platform.

TikTok offers an excellent opportunity for marketers and brands to run successful DTC advertising campaigns, regardless of their target demographic. With its growing user base and high engagement rates, TikTok has proven to be an effective platform for driving sales and building brand awareness. By using data and insights to inform their strategies, following best practices for running ads on the platform, and experimenting with different ad formats, brands can leverage TikTok to reach new audiences and drive sales.

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