Destroying Your Excuses For Why You Aren’t Advertising on TikTok Yet

June 4, 2024

TikTok has become so much more than just a platform for entertainment; it’s a powerhouse for innovative advertising capable of driving significant brand growth. Despite this, many businesses remain hesitant to dive into TikTok advertising, often due to a mix of misconceptions and unfounded excuses. 

This article aims to dismantle these worries and prove to ecommerce brands that the challenges they expect with TikTok advertising are surmountable, and that not accepting TikTok as a new permanent player in the digital marketing ecosystem means missing out on massive opportunities to achieve growth and visibility.

Below are six of the most common misconceptions marketers believe about TikTok, and why they are outdated or debunked.

1. TikTok Has The Wrong Demographics For My Business

If you’re hesitating to engage in TikTok advertising because you think it’s only for teenagers, it’s time to revisit those assumptions.

With over 1.5 billion users globally, TikTok surpasses platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Reddit, Pinterest, and Snapchat in number of users. In the United States alone, TikTok boasts 150 million users as of February 2023. This isn’t just a group of Gen Z users; it’s a diverse audience spanning various age groups.

Broad Demographic Appeal

Of the adult population on TikTok, 63% are aged 25 and older, with 30.6% falling into the 35+ bracket, and 14.6% are 45 or older (source). These are not insignificant numbers; they represent millions of potential customers, many of whom are actively engaging on the platform for close to 95 minutes per day. That’s a movie’s length of time spent daily where your ads could be seen, interacted with, or acted upon.

Evolving User Base

TikTok might have started out as a playground for younger demographics, similar to the early days of Facebook. But today, everyone from teens to grandparents log onto Facebook, and TikTok is following a similar trajectory. 

TikTok’s user base is expanding beyond its initial young audience as TikTok becomes a staple in the social media diet of an increasingly broad audience.

That said, younger audiences are also worth attention. Gen Z were born between 1997 and 2012, meaning that in 2024, they will be anywhere from 12 to 27 years old. This is a potentially lucrative demographic that most brands should not be ignoring. 

Furthermore, even if Gen Z might not currently seem like the ideal fit for some brands’ products or services, it’s important to strategize for the future.

As time progresses, Gen Z will soon become the core consumer base for many products. Brands that establish a strong, positive presence on TikTok now will be well-positioned to become the go-to choice as these younger consumers age. This is not just about immediate engagement but building long-term brand loyalty. 

Purchasing Power

It’s crucial to note that 49% of Gen Z users on TikTok make purchases through the platform. If nearly half of this younger demographic is engaging in commerce, imagine the potential with the older, often more financially equipped demographics. 

Dismissing TikTok advertising based on outdated perceptions about its user base can result in a missed opportunity to tap into a platform rich with potential. Whether your target demographic is the trendy Gen Z or the more mature groups, TikTok offers a dynamic and growing audience ready to engage with your brand. 

2. TikTok Is For Entertainment, Not Driving Sales

If you’re under the impression that TikTok is just for fun and entertainment, it’s time to look at the stats. TikTok advertising is extremely effective at driving sales.

TikTok’s Impressive Commerce Stats

The statistics speak for themselves: 30% of daily TikTok users have engaged with TikTok Shop, and an additional 33% haven’t used it but are interested in using it. But it goes beyond browsing: a staggering 71.2% of TikTok users have made purchases after seeing products in their feeds (source). 

This isn’t just window shopping; it’s active purchasing driven by compelling content on TikTok. 

Debunking the Entertainment-Only Myth

While TikTok is undeniably entertaining, its ability to drive actionable results is clear. People aren’t just using TikTok to kill time; they are actively seeking out new brands, listening to product recommendations from creators, and making purchases. 

The platform’s design and algorithm encourage discovery and engagement, which naturally leads to sales. This is a far cry from the passive entertainment consumption platform many brands mistakenly believe TikTok is. 

SEO and Search Behavior on TikTok

TikTok’s evolving use means we’re seeing search behaviors on TikTok similar to traditional engines like Google. Gen Z users are increasingly turning to TikTok first to search for products. A search like “black high-top shoes,” may be made on TikTok instead, indicating a shift towards direct response uses. 

This isn’t just about creating awareness; it’s about fulfilling specific consumer needs and driving transactions directly through the platform.

A Platform for All Types of Engagement

TikTok fosters a unique blend of entertainment and shopping, tapping into the way modern consumers like to engage with content. With TikTok, brands have an opportunity to meet consumers where they are, offering them not just products but an engaging and interactive shopping experience.

The platform’s robust system supports everything from casual browsing to direct purchases, making it a comprehensive tool for marketers.

TikTok is a vibrant marketplace buzzing with potential customers who are not just watching videos but are also ready and willing to spend. By not advertising on TikTok, brands are leaving revenue on the table. 

3. Advertising On TikTok Demands Content My Business Can’t Create

The common belief that creating content suitable for TikTok is out of most brands’ reach is increasingly being proven unfounded thanks to TikTok’s innovative support systems designed specifically for advertisers.

Subsidized Creative Programs

TikTok has rolled out creative programs like TTCC (TikTok Creative Challenge) and TTCX (TikTok Creative Exchange), which are fully subsidized by TikTok. These programs are designed to help businesses create engaging and native TikTok content without the heavy financial burden typically associated with high-quality video production. 

TTCC, for example, simplifies the content creation process by connecting businesses directly with a pool of over 10,000 creators who are ready and equipped to produce compelling content that resonates with the TikTok audience.

Businesses simply need to provide a brief, which could take as little as 20 minutes to prepare if you have a clear vision of what you need. This brief is then sent out to creators where it is picked up and brought to life. 

The platform does not require a hefty upfront cost—the only investment is towards the media spend to promote the content created, with a minimum spend requirement that ensures quality and commitment on both sides.

Solutions like the ‘remix’ feature in TTCX allow existing content from other campaigns (e.g., from Meta) to be adapted to fit TikTok’s unique style. 

This feature not only eases the content creation process but also ensures that your brand’s message remains cohesive across different platforms while being optimized for TikTok’s dynamic environment.

Empowering Smaller Businesses

The concern that TikTok content creation is too challenging or too expensive is particularly prevalent among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). TikTok’s subsidized programs directly address this concern by leveling the playing field, allowing smaller businesses to compete with larger ones. 

By democratizing access to high-quality content creation, TikTok is opening up avenues for all businesses to reach their desired audiences effectively.

With TikTok’s comprehensive support systems, any business can produce engaging, effective content tailored to its audience. 

4. It’s Too Hard To Track Attribution On TikTok

Many marketers express concerns that TikTok doesn’t provide the robust, precise metrics needed to gauge the success of their campaigns compared to other platforms. However, TikTok is continuously enhancing its attribution capabilities, aligning more closely with industry standards and offering innovative solutions to track user engagement and conversion more effectively.

Advancements in TikTok’s Attribution Methods

Initially, TikTok could only perform single-session attribution, which greatly limited its utility for marketers trying to understand the longer-term impact of their campaigns. 

Those days are long past. 

TikTok has significantly improved its attribution models to include options like seven-day click, one-day view, and even up to twenty-eight-day click, 7-day view metrics. This level of detail allows advertisers to get a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of how their content influences user behavior over an extended period.

Changing With the Marketing Landscape

Keep in mind that in the ever-changing world of digital marketing, challenges with attribution are not unique to TikTok. As platforms evolve and privacy regulations become stricter, marketers on all platforms must adjust their expectations and methods for tracking campaign performance.

To combat these challenges, many brands are turning to innovative methods like post-purchase surveys through platforms like KnoCommerce to gain insights into customer behaviors and campaign effectiveness. These surveys directly ask customers about their journey to a purchase, giving marketers concrete data on TikTok’s role in the conversion process and offering a reliable alternative to traditional tracking methods that may miss nuances in user paths.

Broadening the Scope of Attribution

Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that TikTok’s platform is designed to engage users in a way that may not lead directly from a single ad view to a purchase but rather builds brand awareness that contributes to later conversions. 

TikTok’s engaging format and vast reach mean that its impact might be seen across various points in the marketing funnel, from initial exposure to final purchasing decisions. By integrating omni channel attribution tools like Triple Whale, brands can gain deeper insights into the holistic path their customers took from awareness to purchase.

By embracing these tools and evolving with the platform, marketers can unlock significant revenue opportunities and gain a competitive edge.

5. TikTok Is A Passing Trend

Despite the platform’s youthful vibe and entertainment value, TikTok has solidified itself as a mainstay in the digital advertising world, offering unique opportunities for brands to engage with audiences in innovative ways. The idea that TikTok, with over a billion active users, is a fleeting trend that businesses can afford to ignore is wrong and could be costing your brand valuable opportunities. 

TikTok offers a vast network for brands to interact with potential customers. Remarkably, only 26% of marketers are currently utilizing TikTok for advertising, suggesting a significant gap in the market that savvy businesses can tap into.

Getting into TikTok advertising early can set you apart from competitors and allow you to establish a strong presence on the platform before it becomes oversaturated. 

Furthermore, the viral nature of TikTok content, combined with innovative features like TikTok Shop, facilitates direct sales that other platforms might struggle to match. 

Hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt are not just catchy phrases but real testaments to the platform’s power to drive sales. 

And since TikTok has a unique way of creating trends that other social media platforms follow, being part of this trend-setting environment can enhance your brand’s visibility all across the web. 

Rather than being a risk of investing in a passing trend, not engaging with TikTok is a missed opportunity to tap into a vibrant and growing channel that is reshaping how brands interact with their customers.

6. My Brand Doesn’t Have The Man-Power For TikTok Advertising

The concern that your brand lacks the manpower to effectively manage and execute campaigns on TikTok shouldn’t deter you from exploring the immense opportunities that TikTok advertising offers.

Leveraging Existing Resources and TikTok’s Programs

TikTok itself offers programs designed to assist businesses with limited creative resources. Programs like TTCC (TikTok Creative Challenge) and TTCX (TikTok Creative Exchange) allow brands to tap into a network of talented creators who can produce engaging content that resonates with TikTok users with little or no oversight. 

These programs are subsidized, reducing the financial burden on your business and providing a stream of fresh, platform-optimized content.

Broadening Your Reach with Minimal Effort

Built-in features like Spark Ads amplify organic content with minimal effort. 

This approach not only enhances your presence on TikTok but also integrates seamlessly with TikTok Shops, where you can directly monetize your audience. 

Outsourcing to Specialized Agencies

TikTok advertising does indeed require a specific set of skills and a creative approach that differs significantly from traditional platforms like Meta. However, this shouldn’t be a barrier. 

Agencies like adQuadrant that have been navigating the TikTok landscape for years can provide the expertise and support necessary to manage your TikTok campaigns efficiently. Agencies can help you avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your learning curve, ensuring that your budget is spent effectively and not wasted on ineffective strategies. 

While TikTok advertising presents new challenges, the notion that it requires an unmanageable level of manpower is outdated. With the right agency partnership and utilization of TikTok’s supportive programs, you can efficiently manage TikTok campaigns and capitalize on the platform’s vast marketing potential.

About the Author: As the Strategy Lead for Paid Social at adQuadrant, Daniel Shepherd brings ad buying experience across the multitude of social and search platforms with millions of ad dollars managed annually. He loves being a great teammate and learning new skills often. Outside of work, you’ll find Daniel doing the following: swimming, drinking Philz Coffee, lifting weights, reading the Bible with friends or neighbors, dancing, perfecting his fantasy football team, and most of all spending time with his wife and kiddos.

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