I know a lot of people are very interested in TikTok Ads and since its technically still considered a new platform, we understand that there is a lot of confusion about it and how to be successful in this new platform and that is why we invited Elliot Padfield who is a genius with TikTok ads and has been very successful in running TikTok ads for e-comm agencies and below are his best tips:
1. The right time to start with Paid Advertising and leave the organic side depends on where you are
It’s very much a two-pronged strategy. There are so many people that say, “You know, I’m just starting a brand or we’re just looking to get into TikTok. Should it be organic or should it be paid? It’s very much a two-pronged strategy. There are so many people that say, “You know, I’m just starting a brand or we’re just looking to get into TikTok. Should it be organic or should it be paid?
So they’re very different channels, to begin with.
Paid is naturally scalable and much more reliable but at the same time, organic, when you do it correctly, especially for an early brand, with a low marketing budget, you can easily push $40,000-$50,000 of sales and a couple of videos without much of an input. You just need to be looking at what you’re low-hanging fruit is and looking at whether for you it’s about building sustainable revenue or about having a big sort of infusion of cash flow that allows you to play around and work on new projects.
2. Tiktok is both for direct-to-consumer brands as much as for professionals– real estate agents, chiropractors, doctors, and home service folks.
So you might be thinking that TikTok will only be applicable for direct-to-consumer brands but that is not true as Tiktok can also be leveraged by professionals such as real estate agents, chiropractors, doctors, and home service folks— people who are selling more services than products.
The beauty of TikTok is it’s far more than just entertainment. TikTok is really pushing into a space where people are going for recommendations on restaurants, and for information to learn. Anything that would work on YouTube works on TikTok. So as people who are working towards professional accounts, you have the ability to educate, you have the ability to build trust, and build authority just as you would on any other social media platform with the added benefit of huge organic reach.
So whatever it is that you do– produce content, which educates while entertaining and being in a native format for TikTok.
3. If you think Tiktok will not work for you or the client you are servicing, find the best angle.
How do you know if Tiktok will work for you or your client?
With the state of TikTok right now, there are very, very few brands that can’t get incredible results and at the end of the day, it’s just about finding the right angle that works. I honestly believe that there are very few brands, products, or services that are unmarketable on TikTok but it’s just about finding an angle that’s both shareable enough and fun enough for the platform.
And I think this is the real thing with social media. It’s about producing content and marketing angles that are native to the platform. It’s more about figuring out how you can adapt what you’re doing to work with the audience and fit in on the platform.
4. Produce Content
But if you’re looking to try organic content or you’re not ready to start working with an agency, it’s primarily just about looking less at how you can sell, how you can educate, and how you can inform.
So rather than trying to dance, think about how your recent sale or promotion is going.
Figure out how you can assimilate within the community that you’re trying to target even if it’s not a direct ad for your product or service and naturally the traffic will flow through. You don’t need those harsh CTAs that you’re gonna find on other platforms.
If you are an agency, how do you coach a client on a video strategy? What if they don’t know how to do video? For Agencies, what do you do when dealing with a business owner that’s twice your age and got a great product? Maybe they have some influencers, but they just don’t understand what to do about making videos?
That was one of the biggest issues we were finding prospective clients were having, even if they could find an ad agency that was willing to run great ads, they were being forced to provide the creative, but at a huge cost. And it just wasn’t a great fit. So we have a team of influencers all across the country, as well as an in-house studio that can produce content.
What percent would you say your effort is or focuses on the creative versus the mechanics of actually running ads?
Creative is pretty much 90% of the process and there’s that initial element where we need to find the angle that works for the brand. But after that, it’s nearly entirely creative. The TikTok platform right now is super easy to run ads on. It’s just about being able to iterate, produce content that feels native and be able to produce it on a huge scale.
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5. Running Ads
Overcoming ad fatigue, how is that perhaps different than the fatigue that you see on Instagram or Facebook?
So one of the big things is ads really need to fit in on the platform. You ideally want a paid piece of content on TikTok to be identical to a successful organic video. The only difference is you’re basically paying for that call to action button. There’s not really a different playbook. And so often what we’re trying to do is produce content that fits in with trends and thoughts at that moment in time. With Facebook, in theory, you can have pieces of content. You can run for many, many months. With TikTok, it just isn’t the same. And at the same time with TikTok, it is a platform because the CPMs are so low, that often hit those same audiences with multiple ads.
And it often takes far more touch points on TikTok to convert than it would on Facebook, but with the cost that still makes sense.
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6. Stats that you should look for when launching Tiktok Ads
Naturally being in the eCommerce space, usually what is considered as North Star Metrics are ROAS. So CAC is quite significant but so is looking at qualitative data such as:
*Looking at the comments that have been left on the ads
*How people are reacting
And with the environment right now where media buying is seen as purely data and revenue driven, being able to mix the two can be incredibly valuable because we can actually foresee trends and consumer sentiment and understand why that affects our data
Media buyers in 2022 are very quick to draw assumptions from the data where we look, really sit down and understand what customers are thinking, and then match that to the changes in the data.
7. Kind of Content
Tiktok still needs you to have top and mid-funnel content because it takes more touches instead of just bye-bye sales kind of content.
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8. Allocating Budgets
How do you allocate budgets between those different objectives given that it is a bigger goal?
So it depends obviously on the vertical– but what’s often seen most on TikTok is customers buy based on trust. So it’s just about building that brand awareness prior to purchase for other verticals. It is Objection handling and going for aggressive retargeting.
TikTok doesn’t require a super complex funnel strategy. It can often be just yes, hitting that audience with a few different types of ads until they find something that really resonates for them as an individual.
TikTok is an incredibly individual platform, but your page should always be about delivering perfect content for the perfect people. It’s not about what’s going viral for everyone. And so an ad, even if it’s perfect in the eyes of an advertiser, it’s never gonna be perfect for every single one of their target customers. So it’s just about finding something that really resonates and strikes that nerve.
9. Winning Ad
One thing that works very well is user-generated content, especially with data C brands (consumers are what make up the brand, and consumers love hearing from other consumers).
So this isn’t even just about paying influencers to produce content, which we then use for ads. It’s actually about going through the customer list of customers that your brand is working with and saying, who are the loyal customers that love what we’re doing and then rewarding them and partnering with them to produce unboxing content or real case studies. Authenticity is what consumers want.
It’s a little more work for marketers and a little more work for clients, but it pays dividends.
So when you’re repurposing content that comes directly from operations– from your customers, turn them into talks that you then put money against.
10. CPM benchmark
Is there a number or a certain set of numbers you’re looking to try to reach?
A lot of the brands have very high LTV but what we’re finding is most brands we work with see Facebook as a loss leader.
So the big aim is usually making a profit on the first purchase, which is always near enough always can. And we often see for higher AOV brands a $10 to $15 customer acquisition cost, which is our sort of go-to.
11. Tracking Tool
Even with TikTok tracking being broken and has always been appalling, the tool that we use with all of our clients is Triple While. The guys over there are absolutely incredible. And to be honest, I think pretty much every direct consumer brand is using them right now. Incredible attribution, multichannel attribution, and incredibly powerful for both of us– the agency to understand what’s working and also for our clients to see on a wider level, how ads not only drive direct conversions at that touch point but then add value to their entire funnel.
So we use a combination of multiple different data sources, both our own custom attribution, TikTok attribution, and then Triple While to understand and just make sure that there are no blind spots but what we tend to find with TikTok is it’s less about tweaking. It’s not like Facebook where we’re adjusting demographics or adjusting interest. We tend to find that piece of content either hits and the results are instantly visible or it doesn’t. So the lack of data isn’t so much of a problem for us.
Facebook has been tuning and tuning so that the ads will last a long time. We have had ads last for 10 years, which is great. They keep going because of the remarketing.
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11. Tiktok Remarketing
Do you find that TikTok remarketing is working or how is that on email or web working?
So I think the potential is definitely there and you can make it work. I think the beauty though is TikTok actually provides a beautiful way to season your Facebook pixel or other platforms. We’re also seeing brands go with very aggressive email marketing, offering incredible discounts and special offers for email signs-up.
Facebook at the end of the day is a sort of deeper touch point and even though those CPMs are higher but using it on a prior engaged audience, you can do a lot of work. One additional retargeting area that we’re finding very powerful is brands that are also producing high, performing organic content. Often that have videos go viral on the For You page, where people are interested, people are commenting, but the attention span gets to them and they just keep scrolling. So what we can do is we can retarget people who have engaged with the organic account and then provide them with an ad, which can be a direct follow.
Put the beauty–- blue call to action and that really helps squeeze every little bit of value out of organic content.
12. Repurposing Content
How about repurposing? Cause you mentioned YouTube a little bit earlier, like repurposing YouTube or repurposing Facebook in TikTok?
There’s definitely potential to repurpose content and for brands which are either that or nothing, that’s the best approach.
The TikTok platform is audience-driven. It is not about the creators, it’s about the consumers and so for a lot of marketers that takes a very big shift to change their workflow.
Want to know how repurposing works? Here is an episode of Office Hours that talks about Breaking Down Content Into Smaller Pieces Through Repurposing and how this should play in your overall business strategy.
13. TikTok Vs Other Platforms
From your point of view, working with these bigger brands, how do you see things differently or what is it that the older folks don’t understand?
The biggest thing about TikTok is that it’s not just a content distribution platform, like many social media platforms. Brands need to have personalities. And so a lot of fortune 500 brands are on the platform producing content as they would on any other social media platform and getting a reasonable amount of reach but we should approach it in two prongs:
- Produce content that is incredibly platform-native. That isn’t just about branded content but about creating content for the community.
So let’s say you are a major player in the cryptocurrency space, and you’re a cryptocurrency exchange rather than producing content about exchanging crypto or about the company, what you do is engage with the wider crypto community, and naturally, you’re going to receive an increase in brand uplift– additional traffic.
- Engagement rather than just having a branded page, which is sort of the four walls of your strategy.
Instead, go out and interact with other brands. Have a clear brand personality, personify and have the community interact with you in the same way that they’d interact with an influencer.
And when you get those two things right, and really get the minds of your target audience, that’s where the real value is.
14. TikTok Features
Because they’re innovating way faster than Facebook. It’s incredible.
- Instant pages-We hasn’t been as much just because we are finding what we’re doing right now is working very well.
- New Ad Format- We’re seeing a new ad format that allows for a little image banner to be placed at the bottom next to the call to action.
- The rise in live streams as being a new, organic way of getting reach.
What are you most excited about coming up with TikTok?
The thing I’m most excited about is how the platform is going to continue to evolve from just being about entertainment and broadening out.
I think TikTok will continue to eat into YouTube’s market share more and more. I think we’re gonna start seeing more cooking tutorials and short-form financial advice. A lot of the content that we’re gonna see on YouTube is gonna migrate into short-form documentaries especially with TikTok now, allowing 10-minute uploads.
One thing that TikTok often likes to do is just throw out features to an audience without much guidance and let creators figure out what to do with them.
So on the paid side, the growth in TikTok, do you think that’s mainly coming from Facebook or YouTube or somewhere else?
I think it’s from almost every source imaginable. Paid is going to become more competitive and more challenging. We’ve seen the phase where paid ads have been very easy purely just because there is so much traffic to the site and so few advertisers, things are starting to become more competitive.
In Summary, TikTok is much more than just a new social media platform. It’s an entirely new medium for consuming content. And with that, we’ll come an entirely new way of producing advertising content.
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About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.