Facebook’s Clock is Ticking – It’s Time for Your Brand to Explore TikTok Ads Instead
by Jeff Pearlman
Facebook’s trajectory from essentially a digitized, socially-enabled yearbook to media behemoth has been quite the wild ride.
From its humble beginning as a true networking tool for students to being the most-used platform globally, Facebook and Instagram (also known collectively as Meta) have served e-commerce brands well. From just selling ad space, advertising capabilities have morphed into a network allowing savvy marketers to reach audiences pretty much 24/7.
But social advertising never stays the same for long. Meta’s long run of success is certainly not over, but there’s a new act in town.
Enter TikTok ads. Rapid growth, highly engaged audiences, and new advertising capabilities are just a few reasons you should be diverting some of your ad spend to this short-form video hosting platform.
Why Meta is So Appealing
It can be hard to walk away from a good thing. If you’ve been advertising on Facebook and Instagram for a long time, you’ve probably rolled with a few punches, adapted to some major changes, and likely seen quite a bit of return on your ad spend. The opportunity on Facebook is high; we aren’t going to downplay that. But the opportunity cost is higher. Testing new channels and diversifying your ad spend will be vital as social media evolves.
And depending on how long you’ve been advertising on the meta-verse, you probably have access to a load of historical first-party data — which is helpful in making educated decisions (especially as privacy updates darken the view into users’ online activity).
Social Advertising Pain Points
Privacy has been a hot topic in the social media advertising world, specifically the impact on Facebook and Instagram directly. The iOs-14 update reduced visibility into ad spend, decreased the effectiveness of retargeting and lookalike campaigns, and prevented marketers from easily understanding where a user is in the buyer journey.
As cookies fade out of relevancy, you’ll be playing on hard mode if you’ve heavily relied on one single platform. Kind of like when you get hit by the mini mushroom in Mario Kart. Your opponents all stay the same size, but you shrink. By failing to diversify, you’ll make your opportunities for growth smaller while your competitors get ahead.
Privacy aside, leaning too heavily on one platform can hamstring your brand awareness efforts. We aren’t saying you’ve saturated your entire market on meta. But it takes a lot of repetition (and reaching users where they are most engaged) before they recall a brand. Recall is just the first step to awareness. The more people see your ads, tailored to how they engage with each platform, the more memorable your brand will become.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of New Platforms
The reality of the situation is this: not all users on Facebook and Instagram are active. And even active users on those two platforms may be more engaged on others.
Social media users gravitate to different platforms for different reasons. You’ll be missing the opportunity to reach them at various stages of the journey if you focus too heavily on one social media realm.
How users engage on each platform varies from individual to individual, but some trends are identifiable. For example, you’ve likely seen the “Instagram vs. reality” posts. That trend didn’t happen without reason. For many, Instagram represents a platform that’s not relatable to real life and is instead a place to follow aspirational accounts and post the highlights of your life.
On the flip side, 77% of TikTok users say they feel TikTok is an app where they can express themselves. Understanding how users feel about each platform and why they gravitate to each will help you strategically map out goals for ad spend.
A user not engaged on Instagram because they feel it represents something unattainable may feel at home on TikTok and be more likely to engage with your ads there.
Why TikTok is an Awesome Opportunity
Trends Start on TikTok
There’s a reason TikTik’s slogan is “trends start here.” Trends do start there. Skincare regimens, cleaning products, tech gadgets — an entire #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag is devoted to products that users love.
An excellent example of this is CeraVe. A simple, drugstore skincare brand with nondescript marketing exploded in popularity after TikTokkers discovered it. It flew off the shelves, and the brand took notice. After launching a campaign with TikTok, CeraVe’s brand awareness nearly doubled.
Not every brand will have the same clear path to TikTok success, but that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on the opportunity. There’s a myriad of reasons to try new social platforms, but a few compelling ones for e-commerce brands are fast growth and easy advertising features.
Harness TikTok’s rapid audience growth
TikTok more than doubled its user base in 2020, and its growth trajectory has been strong ever since. Not only has daily app usage increased notably, but the time spent on the app each day has surpassed Facebook.
This presents an opportunity for the e-commerce market, as the largely millennial and Gen z user base integrates TikTok into their lives.
No one can predict the future of social media, but you can make an educated guess where it’s heading, as TikTok’s rapid growth has inspired copycat updates to the metaverse in the form of Instagram reels.
Leverage TikTok’s shoppable features before the competition
As the user base grows and trends that affect retail emerge, TikTok has enhanced its shoppable features for users…which translates to better advertising capabilities for e-commerce brands.
Any platform with shoppable features is worth exploring — with the important caveat that you’ve done your homework and know you have an audience there. Though the number of consumers who purchase directly through social media is smaller than the percentage of users who prefer to purchase from the e-commerce site directly, that low number presents an opportunity as shop pages become second nature. On TikTok, the recency of its shopping page is your avenue to be an early entrant to the new space.
Best Practices for TikTok Ads
Adding another channel to your social advertising strategy isn’t as simple as logging into the ad manager platform and setting your campaign up. To really see success on TikTok ads, consider your audience, their values, and the creative that will resonate most with them before you get yourself into a guess-test-revise situation.
How to find your audience
Consider both demographics and psychographics when you start doing audience research. Who is your target market? At a minimum, make sure the demographics like age and gender align. Then, consider psychographics like interests and values. Are you targeting a very sustainably-minded group of 18-24 years olds? Make sure the data on the platform reflects the audience you want to reach.
For TikTok, a great way to do this is to work with a partner that has a direct line to the platform. TikTok will put out data, and you can do independent research to guide you in the right direction. But many platforms, Tik Tok included, host town halls and exclusive informational sessions with agencies. Getting the information firsthand can help you craft a more substantial strategy.
How to align your values with your buyers
Let’s revisit the sustainability example. If you are targeting a young and ethically-minded group of consumers, you need that to be reflected in your positioning on the platform. Growing up in a digital environment has made the generations with the most buying power very savvy. They demand transparency from brands and make purchases with their values in mind.
Promote your brand accordingly. Offer a shipping option that may increase the cost by 30 cents but offsets carbon emissions. Lead with messaging about your organic and fair trade coffee suppliers.
The bottom line? Incorporate your audience’s values into your brand, promotion, and purchase process for the best results.
How to make the right creative
An ad’s effectiveness is determined by the creative assets, so it’s important as you explore a new platform like TikTok that you understand how your audience engages with other users and brands.
Creative assets must be generated to fit the persona, platform, placement and user’s position in their buyer journey. A complete understanding of your target audience is vital in order to generate creative assets that will achieve an e-commerce brand’s goals.
Can you use trending audio to make a video? What about a relatable campaign featuring user-generated content?
The Cool Brands Are Hanging Out on TikTok
Facebook’s days as the “it” platform are in the past.
Your social ad strategy might be successful as it currently is. But there are opportunities to test trending platforms and diversify your strategy to get even better results.
There isn’t one social media platform that can solve all your problems, achieve all your goals, and stand alone as your only channel. So add TikTok to your social advertising strategy, and see how it compares to those Facebook ads you’ve been running. If you are looking at TikTok ads, get in touch with us and we’ll ensure that you’ve properly identified your audience, aligned your promotions with their values, and mastered the art of creative assets, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
About the author: Jeff is an analytical and creative Digital Strategist with 9+ years of Social Media, Influencer and Content Marketing experience with various brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Lenovo, Motorola, Ulta Beauty, Malin & Goetz, Teleflora, b New York and Raaka Chocolate – to name a few. He started his career as a copywriter, penning copy for an online sports company where he found his work featured on the back covers of national publications and featured on ESPN Radio. He currently resides in Seattle where he likes to spend as much time outside as possible with his wife and three kids, one of which is a dog.