What do you think if I say, “Every Facebook ads consultant out there is now suddenly a TikTok ads expert?” People usually watch for the flood of courses with the “secret” formula to massive viral success and $1 leads. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, reached out to me last year, asking for help in building a proper course on TikTok ads. We’ve been testing hundreds of campaigns and looking at the results shared by our friends in real estate, e-commerce, agency, legal, and so forth.
I’ll save you the $2,500 course and tell you the “secret” right here:
Short Video Recipe
- It’s in your simple, vertical 15-second video shot from your phone– that doesn’t look like an ad, has a “Hook” in the first second to capture attention, has big text, so people know what it’s about, and tells a “Story”.
Algo-Does the Job.
- No crazy targeting or sophisticated campaign set-up is necessary– the super smart algorithm uses your content’s performance. But you could target people in your city. If you’re a personal injury attorney in Dallas and don’t want to be famous worldwide, then just target Dallas and let the system do the rest of the targeting for you. It’s your content. You don’t have to target
- Same for spark ads, where you boost someone else’s post (called “creators” no longer “influencer”). You don’t have to be in the videos. They built TikTok from the beginning with this particular insight in mind. People trust what others say more than what you have to say about your own stuff. So you don’t have to make any videos. Instead, you use spark ads to boost what other people have said about you.
- Search for pictures on your topic wheel on Google photos that you can re-use on TikTok using its native AI tool, which will assemble these pictures. Give a voice-over for these assembled pictures. For example, if your picture is of Mexican Food, you could say, “Let me tell you what my favorite Mexican food is.”
What about hiring an agency for TikTok Ads?
- Hiring an agency makes ZERO sense unless they can actively coach you through making 15-second videos. The campaign set-up is relatively easy, as long as you already have your digital plumbing (pixels, tracking, data) in place.
TikTok is the Next Big Thing. Right?
- The frothy white waves of hype about TikTok being the next tsunami of traffic are true — just like we saw with Google and Facebook.
How much does it Cost?
- Traffic is about 1/4th the cost on Facebook on the paid side (because base CPMs are about $2.50, meaning CPC, CPL and CAC are correspondingly lower). Of course, you’re optimizing to the objective (the algorithm is so smart), using base traffic cost as one of many diagnostic measures.
Don’t Rush Because of FOMO
- But make sure you’re not jumping in just because of FOMO (fear of missing out)…..but because you’re shoring up the fundamentals of collecting your client stories in 15-second videos, have a process to process these within your operations, have your digital plumbing properly in place, and are putting money on the winners.
How smart is TikTok Algo?
- I was at Jake Paul’s house making 15-second videos for our social media marketing course for young adults. One of the videos leaked out and got half a million likes.
- It had nothing to do with our course and wasn’t even on his TikTok account– but one of the guys helping film. But the TikTok algorithm recognized it was Jake Paul’s house in the background of the video, showed it to fans of Jake Paul– and then it went viral.
- You’ll see more stuff like this blow up out of nowhere on TikTok, almost exclusively on the organic side. But these are unlikely to be the posts you will be boosting as an extension of the Dollar a Day strategy.
- Instead, you’ll find that the same themes that worked for you on Facebook will work on TikTok, adapted to their format of storytelling via 15-second videos.
- It’s the same algorithm as Facebook and Google (fight me on this), which seeks to optimize your chosen objective based on conversion data you allow it to see.
Do I really need a strategy for TikTok ads?
- TikTok didn’t want me to tell you that you can absolutely reuse Facebook strategies– since they want you to make TikToks only for their platform and know that most existing videos suck too badly to be repurposed.
- But if you’ve found success with the fundamentals of the Dollar a Day strategy, I’m pretty sure you’ll find success on TikTok– when repurposing videos, extending your conversion tracking/remarketing, and starting testing at $10/day.
- Follow the Goals – Content – Targeting (#GCT) strategy.
- What’s the goal? For example, I want to get more lawyers to learn about TikTok and collect their email addresses because I want to send them all my training. I want to send them a book. I want them to learn about TikTok ads and whether or not they work with us because they may or may not be qualified.
- Make 15-second videos direct-to-face vertical selfie style answering “People Also Ask” questions in Google Search related to your service where you’re saying, “Here are the three things to do when you get pulled over by the cops. One is this, two is this, and three is this. I’m Ethan Ostro. Contact me, and I’ll help you when you get in a car accident.”
- If you don’t want to show your face, interview other attorneys or your peers, interview the girl at the front desk, and interview your clients about what you know, not as a testimonial. Do stuff where you’re lifting them up. You’re sharing expertise and knowledge. And then, as long as that gets posted to TikTok – to their TikTok, to your TikTok – you don’t even have to be on TikTok.
- You can just create an ad account and run ads on TikTok without even having a TikTok account. But then everything has to go straight to the website because there’s no profile to click on. If they click on the little circle with your profile, it goes to the website, which it does and is not bad. But I believe in building up organic views and paid views.
- Subscribe to iCloud, Google Photos, Amazon, and Dropbox at around $10 per month for each. This will help you to automatically upload the pictures from the phone to these drives. By providing access to VAs to these drives, they can repurpose these contents.
- Measure everything correctly. You’re measuring the performance of the hook. It’s the first two seconds. It doesn’t matter if the rest of what you have to say is great because 99% of the videos that you guys make, people never get there.
What About Dollar-a-Day?
- There’s no better time to implement or refine your Dollar a Day process across Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all social networks.
- We are seeing a growing convergence on the data and ads side of social platforms– since they are all dependent upon the same optimization algorithm that balances user experience with ad monetization.
- Remember this each time you see a breathless pitch on how you need to jump on TikTok ASAP– to buy their secret before you forever miss the boat.
These Tips will help you make decisions for your TikTok journey. However, if you want a more detailed insight, check out my best-selling book, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Advertising.
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.