With TikTok on the rise, and on track to become the next billion-user platform, an increasing number of marketers are also looking to the app, and considering if and how they might integrate the platform into their promotional efforts.
But how effective are TikTok ads, and what are the key strengths of the format?
To glean some additional insight on this, TikTok recently commissioned Kantar to conduct a new study as to how ads on TikTok are perceived, in comparison to promotions on other platforms. Kantar interviewed more than 25,000 participants, across 20 different countries, between September 2020 to January 2021, in order to provide these notes on TikTok ad effectiveness.
1. Ads on TikTok are 'inspiring'
The research shows that 72% of respondents found ads on TikTok 'inspiring', the highest across all platforms.
"TikTok users are in a discovery mindset when scrolling through the For You feed, and receptive to new and inspirational videos from creators and brands alike."
Of course, that would be relative to the creative elements of the ad itself - if your ad aligns with the TikTok ethos, and looks natural in the feed, that can have an impact on inspiring purchase.
TikTok has repeatedly noted that advertisers should not make ads, but make TikToks instead, and I suspect that this is the key element in fueling this response rate. Natural, engaging content, which displays a product in action, can lead to strong purchase responses via TikTok promotions.
2. Ads on TikTok are trend-setting
As per the report:
"Compared to ads on other platforms, people considered those on TikTok to be 21% more trendsetting, with almost 7 out of 10 people agreeing to this statement. With innovative ad formats such as the Branded Hashtag Challenge, brands on TikTok now have the tools to become part of culture, enabling their audiences to create trends based on branded sounds, actions, effects or brand-related storylines that can travel freely across the TikTok community and beyond."
Again, this goes back to the 'make TikToks' approach - the focus on simplified engagement with popular trends makes it easier for individual users and brands to tap into the latest. Brands can still come off as 'cringey' within this, but again, by focusing on the common elements ot TikTok clips, and aiming to align with the platform aesthetic and approach, you can become part of the culture, which can have positive branding impacts.
3. Enjoyment and optimism is key
TikTok says that users come to the platform to discover uplifting content from the TikTok community, which has a spillover impact for advertisers.
"8 out of 10 research participants agreed that TikTok is enjoyable, while almost 7 out of 10 also agreed to the statement when asked specifically about ads on the platform."
That points to the focus of your TikTok campaign approach, and what users expect on the platform. It's not the place for hard-hitting, controversial angles, but for more positive, helpful updates, relevant to the in-app audience.
4. TikTok ads grab attention
The research also shows that TikTok ads are good at grabbing attention, with 67% of respondents agreeing that ads on the platform get their focus - a 7% lead over other platforms.
The full-screen, immersive format helps to get attention and keep it, while TikTok users are also more likely to be viewing content in a sound-on, lean-back approach, adding to your options.
TikTok also notes that ad placement options like TopView, or the first video a user sees when opening the app, address users "right in the moment when they're the most receptive and attentive".
5. TikTok users view ads more favorably
Finally, the research also shows that TikTok users view ads more favorably in the app, in comparison to other platforms.
"Combining all attributes, ads on TikTok showed a 10% better ad receptivity on average compared to other platforms tested. What's more, many of the ad attributes tested were shown to be highly consistent with the way TikTok as a platform was perceived, indicating that ads on TikTok have found ways to authentically and nativelly become part of the TikTok community and experience."
Again, a lot of this comes down to approach, and how your present your in-stream promotions, but the immersive, engaging nature of TikTok, again fueled by that full-screen presentation approach for each individual clip, provides strong opportunity to connect with audiences with your brand messaging, and become part of the culture that's being facilitated by the app.
These are some good notes, and while it always comes down to your own creative execution, it's worth factoring these pointers into your TikTok marketing strategy, as you consider how you might be able to incorporate TikTok ads into your process.
You can read the full TikTok x Kantar study findings here.