TikTok, which initially started as a social network for cool teenagers, today is a popular promotion tool. According to eMarketer’s forecast, the US TikTok market will be worth $80 billion by 2025.
Let’s take a look at the rapid growth of this social network. TikTok appeared in 2016 but has already managed to get the same audience (1 billion users) as Instagram (founded in 2010) — it’s three times less than Facebook (2004) and two times less than YouTube (2005).
Moreover, TikTok sets new trends — following its example, YouTube has introduced a short video format called Shorts, and Instagram has added Reels. The other thing is Instagram Remix, which allows users to record content along with other users’ videos, like Duet on TikTok.
Today you will discover the benefits of using TikTok for eCommerce, the most promising ad formats, the dos and don’ts of running a TikTok account, and five successful TikTok brands.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Table of content:
- The Reason to Use TikTok for eCommerce
- TikTok and eCommerce: Give It a Try?
- 5 Types of TikTok Ads
- Key Metrics to Track
- How to Strengthen a Brand on TikTok
- How to Promote eCommerce on TikTok
- Things to Avoid on TikTok for eCommerce Brands
- The Most Successful eCommerce Brands on TikTok
- Final word
The Reason to Use TikTok for eCommerce
TikTok has 1+ billion monthly active users from 150 countries, speaking 75 languages. And they are genuinely active — 9 out of 10 people check the app several times a day, spending about 52 minutes, twice as much as on Instagram or Snapchat.
TikTok users tend to make spontaneous purchases — only 14% purposely search for products, compared with 28% on other social networks. At the same time, they buy 1.7 times more often on TikTok than on other social media. You must have seen the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt with 11 billion views.
TikTok is all about generation Z and millennials who search for light, authentic content. That’s why local advertising should be entertaining, not intrusive. The main challenge for sellers is to create something unique — it’s even more essential than perfect quality.
The good thing is that if your video goes viral, you get not only brand awareness. Also, you increase sales as people buy the product to make their videos. For example, sales of tight-fit leggings on Amazon grew from 35 to 442 units, and the keyword “sexy butt lifting leggings” was at the top of the search for a long time.
TikTok and eCommerce: Give It a Try?
Who is an average TikTok user? According to data provided by Statista, only a quarter of users are teenagers between 10 and 19 years old. At the same time, 22.4% of users are 20-29 years old, 21.7% are 30-39 years old, 20.3% are 40-49 years old, and 11% are over 50. In other words, most TikTok users are adults able to pay, primarily young women. Sounds like your target audience?
Brands use TikTok for several purposes, from brand awareness (33%) to sales (26%). One of the reasons is CPC — it’s two times lower compared to Instagram or Facebook.
The social network has a well-planned advertising model, which is regularly updated. Sellers have access to various f ad formats to choose the most effective one. That is what we are going to talk about next.
5 Types of TikTok Ads
Despite the incredible rise of TikTok, some brands still hesitate to advertise on this social network. You can take advantage of this opportunity and strengthen your position in the market by capturing a new audience. TikTok provides all features you need — different ad formats, advanced targeting, and budget settings.
So, what are the most effective types of TikTok ads? Let’s figure it out.
In-Feed Native Ads
In-feed ads are what users see on their “For You Page” (FYP). The video should be under 60 seconds, but 9-16 seconds is considered standard. Such ads can be liked, commented and reposted, or skipped. It also includes a button that drives traffic to the landing page.
This ad format is perfect for getting started as it is the easiest to create. Also, it allows brands to show physical products in action. However, the main thing is that advertising is organically built into the feed and looks native, thanks to TikTok algorithms which select ads based on the other authors’ content. Brands try to stand out using storytelling, bold colors, and catchy music.
A brand takeover is a full-screen ad that appears after opening TikTok. It contains a 3-5 second video or three 1-second images, referring users to a landing page or hashtag challenge. The key advantage is that users see only one branded takeover daily, which cannot be skipped.
It is an expensive ad format, and companies use it when they want to generate a big one-time burst of traffic, e.g., to announce some breaking news, draw attention to an event, increase brand visibility, or get a trending TikTok hashtag. In any case, you should create a clear and attractive CTA.
Hashtag Challenges are at the top of the Discover Page. Clicking on a hashtag gives the user access to the page with challenge rules, a brand logo, and a link to the site. Everyone can join the challenge by making a specific video with a brand hashtag. This format maximizes user involvement and allows companies to reach a new audience.
Try hashtag challenge to strengthen your connection with consumers and increase brand awareness. It will also work great if you already have your own branded hashtag and use it on all platforms. All you need is to think over an engaging, funny task and create an awesome hashtag to convey the message.
Dynamic Showcase Ads (DSA)
DSA are personalized video ads created in real time. They are based on templates filled with data from a product feed — a file with all the information about your products. It’s important to keep your feed relevant and optimized.
DSA are suitable for attracting new prospects and retargeting existing customers from your website, application, or TikTok. It is a perfect solution for eCommerce with large product portfolios. DSA simplify the personalization process and help sellers reach potential customers across different devices and platforms.
Video Shopping Ads
Meet a new video ad format that makes products available for purchase. The Video Shopping Ads solution combines the features of Dynamic Showcase Ads and Collection Ads. Users see ads on the For You page, go to product cards in your TikTok store, and make purchases already on your website.
Depending on the settings, brands can achieve any goal, from attracting attention to the brand to driving sales of specific products. In any case, this solution simplifies the connection with prospects at any stage of the buyer’s journey.
Key Metrics to Track
So, when you already know about ad formats, it is the right time to understand how to evaluate the effectiveness of these campaigns. There are many metrics, but the most significant are:
- Average Time Watched;
- Watched Full Video;
- Reached Audience.
The first metric is quantitative, and the other two are qualitative — they help video boost its virality. Some numbers to consider: Average Time Watched is 16 seconds, and Watched Full Video is about 41.9%. The higher these indicators are, the higher are chances that users will see the content.
How to Strengthen a Brand on TikTok
People use TikTok for various stories. They could be funny, inspiring, or even embarrassing. Unlike a perfectly retouched Instagram, the TikTok audience prefers real life with its ups and downs. Therefore, the main rule for a brand is to show the truth, and the rest tips you’ll find below.
Let your content be seen by the people who truly want it with the help of hashtags. Hashtags allow users to save their time on scrolling For You page and immediately find relevant videos or join communities.
Use industry hashtags like #fitness or #heailthyfood to fill the space and see how other brands promote their products. Keep an eye on which hashtags are popular but not too mainstream. Also, come up with your own branded hashtag or even create a challenge — you can always get some fresh ideas from other industries and adapt them to your niche.
Test TikTok Ads
Growing your audience with organic content is possible, but it can take years you do not have. To achieve your business goals faster and more efficiently, use TikTok advertising opportunities.
Start by creating a TikTok business account and connecting to TikTok Ads Manager to see all available ad formats — the most effective ones we have discussed in the previous sections. You can either invest in full-fledged advertising campaigns or promote individual videos; it depends on your goals and budget.
Another way to break into TikTok is to promote products by engaging other users. You do not have to spend a lot of money on top influencers. Just find those who have a suitable audience and eye-catching content. Remember that 53% of social media users admit that other users’ recommendations influence purchasing decision the most.
Start with visiting the Creator Marketplace with thousands of influencer profiles to find the ones that suit you best. To participate in the affiliate program, check out TikTok Selling Center, where you can create your promotion plan and get partnership tools.
The cooperation scheme is quite simple — the partner publishes content using a link to your store or product and receives a commission for each sale from this link.
A giveaway boom is not over yet, and it’s understandable, as contests are a reasonably inexpensive way to create user-generated content. Furthermore, 82% of brands run simultaneous activities across multiple networks, experimenting with content formats and audiences.
To try a giveaway, firstly, create a hashtag to bring content together. Choose prizes and decide on the timing and rules. Think over the task in such a way to make it really exciting for users to join it even without a reward.
How to Promote eCommerce on TikTok
Brands often put off creating and posting content on TikTok due to perfectionism. Do not forget that app content is about simple videos with storytelling shot with a smartphone. Continue reading to find out what tricks will help you succeed on TikTok.
Show the Real You
86% of users say that brand authenticity positively impacts the purchase decision. We should admit that in 2022 people want to see human brands. So show the company’s internal processes — its production, meetings, and team buildings. Tell a funny story that happened to you or your employees. In a word, show the user the real you to evoke interest and build trust.
Educate Your Followers
43% of buyers will switch to competitors if they lose trust in a brand. And the best way to save it is to become that experienced buddy who shares life hacks, tells about new products, and teaches how to use them correctly. Educational content is a great way to attract a new audience and build loyalty with an existing one.
Understand the Customer
Before planning an advertising campaign on TikTok, research your target audience. Who are these people, what is their lifestyle, what fears and secret fantasies do they have, and what tone of voice do they use? Make sure to compare that data with what is trending on TikTok.
Frequency is the key to success on any social network, and TikTok is no exception. Considering the content plan and preparing videos for future needs is crucial. On average, top brands post 3.52 times a week, so try to rely on this data. But remember about quality, it is much more important than quantity.
Pay Attention to Music
Unfortunately, brands cannot use many tracks available to regular users. Create your own sound or use paths from the Commercial Music Library by contacting the Partners Department. Make sure that chosen music draws attention, conveys your company’s position, and is trendy.
Try to Go Viral
There is no single recipe for how to create a viral video, but there are some tricks that will help you increase your chances. For example, you can use the power of paradox, slow motion, epic music, rethought memes, and pop culture moments.
Things to Avoid on TikTok for eCommerce Brands
Talking about the success on TikTok, it is important to remember that some things are not suitable for its users. Do not make mistakes that will cost you audience and their loyalty. Here are three key things to avoid:
1. No Dull Content for TikTok
TikTok is all about authenticity. If your content is boring, dry, or too long, viewers will turn off the video after a few seconds. Forget what you have already created for other social networks, as TikTok content should be created exclusively for its audience. Instead of editing your video to perfection, just show the essence of your brand.
2. Forget About Aggressive Marketing
Too promotional content is more likely to scare away your prospect than to encourage a purchase. This rule works on any platform, but especially on TikTok. Do not be intrusive, just show how the product works and how it can be useful. Tell a story to make users feel that you understand them.
3. Do Not Be Presumptuous
It is such an essential point that we will repeat it — use the help of influencers and creators. It could become the marketing weapon that will take you to a new level of awareness and sales. Invite influencers to create videos with your product, ask them to join your challenges and contests, and encourage them with free samples and generous commission.
The Most Successful eCommerce Brands on TikTok
Maybe you are still unsure if TikTok can work for eCommerce, so look at what other companies have achieved. Here are five brands that have amassed a million audience thanks to the marketing and advertising tools we have just discussed.
The account of the Mexican network Chipotle has about 1.9 million users and 41.8 million likes. The brand achieved success by pioneering a hashtag challenge solution. #ChipotleLidFlip challenge involves millions of users trying to imitate a trick a Chipotle staff member shows.
Then was the #GuacDance Challenge which made some hype around the brand and stimulated more than 800,000 sales for National Guacamole Day. An ad with the hashtag #Boorito received 4.2 billion views and helped the brand open the Roblox store promoted in the video.
While many brands were spending a lot of time experimenting with content, Guess (123.9 thousand followers, 780.9 thousand likes) started the #InMyDenim campaign from the very first post. The sense of the challenge is that people turn old, worn-off clothes into stylish outfits from Guess.
To make the campaign more effective, the brand invited the composer and songwriter Bebe Reksha to cooperate. Her song “I’m a mess” has gone viral on TikTok. Collaboration with bloggers helped to get 53.5 million views. The second challenge — #LoveGUESS — also ran with influencers’ support and brought the brand another 24 million views.
Gymshark, a sportswear brand with 3.8 million users and 59 million likes, knows how to manage a TikTok account. Guys take the maximum from the platform. They post daily motivating content, adapt TikTok trends, work with influencers, and use hashtag challenges and contests. For example, in the #gymshark66 challenge, participants were asked to set a goal for the next 66 days starting on January 1, and this hashtag received 45.5 million views.
Skincare brand Starface loves to cross-promote on TikTok and Instagram. And it works since its TikTok account has about 1.4 million subscribers and 25.5 million likes. Juicy and funny content fully reflects the essence of the brand. For example, the company produces star-shaped acne stickers inspired by Euphoria and Generation Z. Starface uses humor, popular sounds, duets, and other trendy things on TikTok.
We’re Not Really Strangers
We’re Not Really Strangers (WNRS) is a brand of card games that allows you to strengthen your relationship with the family, friends, partners, and yourself. Thanks to a thought-out strategy, their TikTok account has 4.4 million followers and 177.8 million likes.
The company publishes cards with questions in the form of notes, posters, and signs, inviting users to answer them and tag their friends. As a result, posts become viral and appear on the For You page.
TikTok is a popular social network that helps brands grow their audience and increase sales. It is time to use this opportunity now when the platform is not yet oversaturated with business offers.
You already know how TikTok influences sales, what types of advertising are the most effective, and what you need to do to become a TikTok celebrity.
Try something new and have a good profit!