TikTok Advertising: Audience Targeting For Your E-Commerce Brand

May 11, 2022
by Ashley R. Cummings

TikTok reigns as the fastest-growing social media platform ever. It was the most downloaded app of 2021, with well over 600 million downloads — and this is the third year in a row it’s earned that distinction. Overall, TikTok has been downloaded over 3 billion times and adds roughly 8 users per second.

But, even though TikTok is wildly popular, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically find your target audience and create winning campaigns.

Without proper audience targeting, you’re essentially shouting into the void. And it’s a really big void. You’ll waste a tremendous amount of time and money if you simply post videos and hope for the best. 

Adrienne Barnes, the founder of Best Buyer Persona, agrees:

“For e-commerce brands, audience targeting is the difference between throwing money towards ads and hoping something reaches the right people, and knowing exactly who, where, how, and why your buyers buy.”

Not sure how to start? Here are four tips you can use to better target your TikTok marketing strategy today.

1. Choose the Right TikTok Ad Placement

This first tip relates specifically to TikTok ads placed using the TikTok For Business program. These appear as standard TikTok videos at first glance, and you probably want to treat them as such when creating them. 

However, you can select different placements for them through the TikTok advertising platform. Once you’ve done this, your ads appear in the appropriate place as users are scrolling on their phones. 

Choosing the right placement is important — it not only impacts the number of impressions you’ll get, but also the quality of those impressions, which is arguably more important. After all, if the people seeing your ads aren’t the people interested in buying your product, it hasn’t done much good. 

The main options available are:

  • TikTok. These are in-feed ads that appear on the “For You” page in the TikTok app. (If you’re sponsoring ads through the TikTok platform, you’ll probably want to choose this option).
  • News Feed Apps. These ads appear in TikTok’s News Feed apps, like BuzzVideo and TopBuzz, but not the TikTok app itself. 
  • Pangle. Pangle ads can appear across any app in the TikTok Audience Network. This one is available only in select markets.

Choosing the right option here can be the difference between your videos sailing off into the ether, versus finding your target audience and driving sales.

2. Get to Know Your Audience

Speaking of getting your ads in front of the right people — TikTok offers an array of native targeting tools to help you do just that. However, to get the most out of them, you need a strong grasp of who your audience is.

"Spending time talking with your customers before you launch a campaign will save you money during your campaign,” agrees Barnes. 

You can start with the basics, like age, location, and language (age can be particularly important). However, some of the most useful insights come from digging a little deeper. For example, it’s powerful to know the pain points of your customers and how they relate to your product. 

Let’s say you sell shoes. What issues does your audience have with other shoe brands? You can then create content that addresses those pain points, and thus is more likely to catch the attention of potential customers.

3. Create the Right Content at the Right Time

What people in their 40s find interesting is going to be vastly different from teenagers. This is one of the reasons influencer marketing works so well — influencers have very niche audiences and are therefore able to know and focus on exactly what their audience likes.

"Knowing your audience means you know exactly when and where to show up and what kinds of content will balance education and entertainment and ultimately entice them to buy,” says Barnes. 

And, it’s working. Not only are TikTok creators entertaining audiences, but they are playing a critical role in the rise in social shopping. Sixty-seven percent of TikTok users say the platform inspires them to shop, even when they weren’t planning to shop. Additionally, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has become a community commerce phenomenon, and the hashtag received over 7.4 billion views in 2021 alone.

TikTok Business has robust analytics built into the platform to help surface what content resonates with your viewers. You can see the status of all your campaigns at once, or dive into each ad for more detail. Then you can generate custom reports to help guide your TikTok strategy in the future.

4. Be Patient and Stick With It

This one might sound obvious, but getting any new content program off the ground takes time. While viral, overnight successes do happen, it’s not nearly as common as you might think. You’re more likely to succeed if you take a patient, thought-out approach that makes use of all the available tools (this is true for almost everything in the digital marketing world).

Leverage your user surveys, demographics data, and analytics to determine the best course of action. Then, create your content. If it falls flat, review the data to determine why, pivot, and try again. Consistency will pay off in the long run. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that trends change quickly these days. You may feel like you landed on the perfect format, only to find that the next week (or even day) it’s no longer popular at all. Be nimble, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Stay on Target

Audience targeting is important for every e-commerce business, but it’s especially vital for effective content marketing in today’s saturated landscape. Any e-commerce brand would do well to spend more time with audience research before launching campaigns. 

Keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re targeting properly:

  1. Choose the right ad placement to maximize impressions. 
  2. Get to know your audience with thorough research.
  3. Create the right content for that audience. 
  4. Don’t give up. Content creation is a long game.

And if you’re still feeling lost, get in touch with us today. Our performance-obsessed digital marketers are ready to help you get the results you need from your TikTok campaigns.

About the author: Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer and content marketing consultant specializing in e-commerce, marketing, and SaaS. Connect with her on Twitter!

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