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Digital Marketing 11 min read

TikTok for Business: Is It Right for Your Brand?

Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Published 16 Jun 2021

TikTok—the latest social media app—has taken the world by storm. A quick Google search shows that it has scored hundreds of millions of downloads since it launched in 2016. Not a bad day in the office. In fact, it’s currently the world’s most valuable startup, with an estimated valuation of 100 billion dollars. Hm—that’s actually a really great day at the office. 

With an ever-growing user base, the app launched an advertising platform in July 2020 called TikTok For Business. Oddly enough, few businesses are leveraging TikTok as an advertising channel. 

Hey, we get it. Sometimes it’s hard to take the channel seriously when the most viral content is wacky food challenges, dance routines, and pranks. (Kids these days.)

But our paid media experts urge you not to write it off quite yet. There’s a lot of advertising white space on TikTok, which could give you a huge boost over your competition. You just need to know your way around the platform—and what makes users…tick.

So let’s figure that out. As part of our Paid Media Series, we’re introducing TikTok For Business and five reasons why you should consider it for your business. But first, some introductions are in order. 

What is TikTok?

Let’s start with the basics. TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos on any topic. And its popularity is spreading fast—almost as quickly as this video (of a skateboarder lip-syncing to Dreams drinking cranberry juice) did on its platform. 

Launched roughly five years ago, TikTok is the seventh most-used social app in the world. As of January 2021, TikTok has 689 million active users in over 200 countries, and roughly 100 million reside in the United States. 

The world's most-used social platforms by Hootsuite as of January 25, 2021.

Source: Hootsuite

These statistics should pique any business’s interest—because that’s a whole lot of viewers. But is it your target audience? You’re about to find out.

Is TikTok Advertising Right For My Business? 

If you see a potentially massive marketing opportunity, your intuition is correct. With a massive (and growing audience), TikTok advertising could be the next big thing.

At the same time, you may be wondering if it’s your next big thing—and that’s a fair concern. So we’ve created a checklist to help you assess if TikTok For Business is suitable for you:

  • Your target audience is under 30 years old: As you probably guessed based on its content, most users are under 30. In the United States, roughly 48% are aged 18-29.
  • Your goal is to expand brand awareness and trust: Engagement on TikTok is super high, making it easy to drive consumer advocacy. Want to go viral? Then you’re in the right place.
  • You’re down with video content: TikTok users are there for the video content. No video, no views.
  • You can create light-hearted content: It’s a video-sharing app, but you can’t share just any video. For example, a dull explainer tutorial won’t fare well. Short, engaging clips prevail here.

Plot twist: You don’t need to check off all the boxes for it to be suitable for your business. 

It’s a good initial gut check. (You know, if you sold encyclopedias or something, you’d probably table the idea for now.) But for most of you, we encourage you to read on. Hear about all the juicy benefits first—then make a final call. 

What is TikTok For Business?

As we mentioned earlier, TikTok For Business is an advertising platform—much like Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Though, the types of ads you can create are a bit different from what you’re used to. Let us break them down for you. 

4 types of TikTok ads.

Source: Take Some Risk Inc.

  • In-Feed Ads: In-feed ads are TikTok’s standard ad format. They auto-play within a user’s For You feed—hence the name. Although they can be up to 60 seconds long, the optimal duration is 15 sections. 
  • TopViews: With TopViews, you can put your brand front and center by occupying TikTok’s prime ad real estate. These ads capture users’ attention by appearing at the top of their For You feed when first opening the app. In this format, videos can be up to 60 seconds long.
  • Brand Takeovers: Brand takeovers are full-screen, high-impact ads featured right when the user opens the app. These need to be short and snappy—either a 3-second image or a 3-5 second video. Because they can direct traffic to internal and external landing pages, they can lead to bottom-funnel action.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges: Branded hashtag challenges are a way to engage audiences and encourage content creation. They can be found in three different places within the app: in-feed, the Discover page, and the Hashtag Challenge page.  
  • Branded Effects: Brands can create branded effects, such as shareable branded stickers and filters, for users to use in their own video content. These effects can be used in standalone campaigns or integrated into your branded hashtag challenge for an even richer ad experience.

Just when you were just getting used to Facebook carousel ads and Google display ads, we had to throw this curveball at you—didn’t we? 

Don’t worry, TikTok For Business provides guidance every step of the way—from creating advertisements to picking target audiences and setting budgets. If you’re a visual learner, this step-by-step video tutorial could be helpful. 

TikTok Ads step-by-step free course for beginners.

Or, if you’re eager for some TikTok ad inspo, take a look at these case studies

Five Reasons Why You Should Consider TikTok For Business

If you made it this far, you see some potential in TikTok advertising. So—*in our best infomercial voice*—here are our top five reasons why you should consider using TikTok For Business. 

1. Ads appear more authentic: 

Trust is crucial for acquiring loyal customers—and right now, it’s hard to come by. With so many brands out there, it’s tough for consumers to differentiate the good ones from the bad. Therefore, conveying authenticity in your ads is incredibly important.

TikTok’s in-feed ads are an excellent vehicle for making your ads less “salesy” because they nestle between organic posts. Take advantage of this format and make your ads look like regular content. How? Create videos with your team using a phone and natural lighting—just like TikTok users do—and have your faces front and center. You’ll be rewarded for keeping it real.

2. You can turn ads into user-generated content:

User-generated content (UGC) is the epitome of working smarter, not harder. If you can get real users to market your product, you’re building brand awareness—for free. 

TikTok is a breeding ground for user-generated content. How can businesses take advantage of its high user engagement? By launching branded hashtag challenges and branded effects.

3 Pages of TikTok with sponsored videos, and trendy hashtags.

Source: Later

Branded hashtag challenges appear on TikTok’s Discover page. When users click on one of the hashtags, they’re directed to a branded landing page that provides information about the challenge, the brand’s website link, and UGC from TikTokers who have already participated. 

Branded hashtag challenges and branded effects are particularly effective because, well, they’re fun. Unlike in-feed ads or brand takeovers, these ads allow users to be creative and express themselves, which creates a valuable connection between your brand and your audience.

3. There’s room to be off-brand and experiment: 

TikTok is all about bite-sized media, meaning you can’t just import your Facebook and Instagram content to TikTok. While doubling up on your content creation can be a bit of a pain in the behind, think of it as an opportunity to experiment with new ideas that you wouldn’t try on other platforms. 

If there’s a time to test out the goofy, witty, or unexpected angle in your ads—it’s now. 

Take the Washington Post as an example. Its Instagram feed keeps on the straight and narrow. 

Washingtonpost Instagram profile.

Its TikTok content is another story.

TikTok video showing My 2020 anxiety.

TikTok marketing is a whole different ball game. So get out there and try something new. 

4. There’s a higher chance of going viral: 

What if we told you you had the same chances of going viral as a puppy video? You probably wouldn’t believe us, would you? 

We love that businesses and users alike can find overnight success after posting just one video—it has happened many times already. How can you increase your odds? Creating ad content that syncs up with something already trending. 

Here are types of videos that seem to go viral: 

  • Challenges
  • Dance routines
  • Lip syncs
  • Dialogue reenactments
  • Cute animal videos
  • Making art and food
  • Tutorials
  • Freeze videos
  • A day in the life

If TikTok users see content that they like, they’ll engage with it. Speak their language, and your story will be heard very quickly. 

5. The advertising space is less saturated: 

As we hinted to earlier, there’s not a lot of advertisers on TikTok yet. One reason for that is because the platform is relatively new. We’re still in the realm of first adopters. What does that mean for you? Less competition and battling over the same target audiences. 

With that said, some ads—such as brand takeover ads—can be pretty expensive. Users will only ever see one per day, and they appear right when they open the app. It’s a great way to get your brand in front of many eyes—but it could cost you thousands of dollars. 

But hey—if TikTok houses your target audience, the payoff could very well be worth it. 

Want to Talk About TikTok For Your Business? 

I think we all learned a lot today—primarily, that TikTok is not just about viral dance videos. From a business lens, it can also be very effective for increasing engagement, building brand awareness, testing ad ideas, and standing out from your competitors.

Sounds great in theory, but operating its business app—TikTok For Business—could be a bit unfamiliar and intimidating.

So if you’re curious about TikTok advertising but would prefer a little extra guidance on getting started, our paid media experts are here to help!

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Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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