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Here’s a riddle for you: What started in China and rapidly infected the entire planet but wasn’t the coronavirus? That’s right: TikTok.

This app has roughly 800 million monthly users, but most marketers still don’t know how to use it. In this post, we tell you how to run ad campaigns on TikTok that won’t waste your money.

TikTok Is Just for Fun

One of the biggest secrets to TikTok’s success is its simplicity. Users open this app to have fun.

They’re not interested in reading business news like they get on Facebook. Nor do they want to follow the life of fashion bloggers like the ones on Instagram. TikTok is corny and relaxing and gives them short, funny videos. This platform allows people to express themselves. Using a fairly simple constructor, you can create a video and get your few minutes of fame.

TikTok is based around a self-learning personalized recommendation algorithm. Here’s how it works: You start by watching a video. At first, you’re bewildered. Nonetheless, you can’t tear yourself away for hours. That’s because the application analyzes user behavior and learns to show users videos that are more and more relevant to their tastes.

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TikTok Is Currently Expensive, Risky, and Unpredictable for Advertisers

For advertisers, though TikTok is a puzzle they must solve.

That’s because advertising on TikTok is relatively expensive. For instance, the minimum budget is $70, and the average CPM is $10. This is a little more than you would spend on Facebook to reach the same number of viewers in your premium target audience.

Initially, it was only possible to work with TikTok in some European countries through an advertising cabinet, called eLama. However, in June 2020 TikTok rolled out its platform for brands and marketers, called TikTok for Business.

Basically, the company said that marketers can now configure different ad formats through the platform. The formats on offer are brand takeover, hashtag challenge, brand effect, and in-feed video. However, at the time of this writing, only the latter was available. To launch a brand challenge, you still need to negotiate directly with the social network’s official representatives, and the minimum price for a standard package, according to TikTok representatives, starts at $95,000.

It turns out that the only benefit of TikTok for Business is that it gives business owners the ability to pay for ads directly from a debit or credit card. Still, this benefit might be relevant for some small businesses.

Approach TikTok as a User, Not as an Advertiser

What this means for marketers and business owners is that TikTok is now, first of all, an experimental platform. Mostly, it will be useful for large brands that need to work with a young audience. Nonetheless, this social network, despite its relatively high cost of advertising, is also suitable for promoting small companies.

For example, small businesses can create their own account and publish content there. Then, they can use that account to attract the attention of their target audience. However, their promotion strategy here will need to be different from the strategies they apply to other social networks.

For instance, you can create posts on Instagram that are both entertaining and effective with marketing. But TikTok videos that try to hammer users with a “buy” message won’t gain traction. The audience will ignore them and they will net few views. As a result, the algorithm will stop showing them to users.

It is possible to get around this limitation, however. As an example, the Lichi clothing brand ambassador does things right in his TikTok account. He shows viewers how to combine articles of clothing for a stylish look, and along the way, he shares fashionable life hacks. Also, the cosmetics store HeyBabes Cosmetics does well on TikTok. In their account, customers review their products. While the videos show the products, the content resonates with the audience because it contains honest reviews and opinions.

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Make TikTok a Part of Your Sales Funnel

TikTok also offers marketers a convenient opportunity to build sales funnels. An ad campaign can have the following goals: traffic, conversions, video views, reach, app installs. Advertisers can also choose among various targeting options, such as by demography, language, location of users, users’ interests, phone operating system, type of connection (Wi-Fi, 3G, etc.), mobile operator, and device cost. You can set up retargeting from the site or application and by engagement. For example, you could target people who have already watched your promotional videos.

There Are Other Opportunities, Too

Another option is to arrange for placement with an influencer with an audience of a million or more viewers. Such advertising integration costs on average $70-$100. However, a video might get several times fewer views than other posts by the same blogger. If your video does not receive enough reactions and inspections in the first few hours, its impressions will decrease. Also, moderators can also limit the impressions. If that happens, your efforts will be wasted, as views will come to a screeching halt. For this reason, it is best to design your video so that it does not look like explicit advertising.

To understand if this site is right for your business, you need to experiment. First, launch a test ad campaign with a minimal budget and track its effectiveness. Also, if your target audience is middle-aged and elderly people, TikTok is probably not the right social media platform for your business to advertise on. Currently, the application is mainly used by representatives of Generation Z, young people born between the mid-1990’s and the early 2010’s.

Learn to Recognize What’s Happening on the Platform

The goal of an effective TikTok campaign is to entertain users, gain their attention, and set off a viral effect. This can be done only if you speak with the target audience in their language. Nothing else will do.

Therefore, to successfully promote or sell something on TikTok, you need to become an active user. In essence, you need to become a part of the subculture, imbued with it. You need to absorb the atmosphere of this social network. Trends change rapidly here, so you must constantly keep your finger on the pulse. Transferring developments from other sites most likely will not work. TikTok’s format is too specific for that.

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Understand Where to Look for Influencers

Within the TikTok culture, you’ll find its stars and micro-influencers. Their videos fall into the “Recommended Accounts” section. If you need more help, use special services like TikTokRush, where you can even find TikTok followers to buy.

When it comes to TikTok influencers, one of the most popular bloggers on this social network is a 16-year-old girl named charlidamelio, who has almost 70 million subscribers. She is from the Hype House community, which includes two dozen influential “TikTokers.” Each TikToker in that TikTok house has more than a million subscribers. There is something similar in East Europe, the TikTok house called Dream Team House. This house brings together a dozen bloggers, each of whom has more than a million followers. It would be smart to look for influencers for your campaigns in these TikTok houses.

TikTok is good for dances, jokes, funny videos from life, and challenges. For example, Old Spice engaged a blogger nicknamed Vikulik-Krasotulik, who has 260,000 subscribers, for its recent campaign. This TikToker raps and makes funny videos—and incidentally sells Old Spice products.

Advertise on TikTok If This Is Where Your Customers Are

In case you don’t already know, a “brender” is someone who is both a brander and a friend. Since more and more brenders are now moving over to TikTok, the cost of advertising campaigns there will gradually increase. Therefore, if your potential customers hang out on this social network, it is worth your time to start mastering this platform right now.

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