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6 Ways to Step Up Your TikTok Advertising

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TikTok a few years ago was what the virtual reality metaverse is now; something that businesses were aware of but unsure how, or even if, they should incorporate it into their marketing strategy. According to TikTok, in 2021, the app enjoyed one billion active users every month. As part of that same year, a Forbes report claimed that TikTok had more downloads than any other app worldwide, and Statista’s report of first-time downloads claimed it received almost 205 million downloads in Q2 alone. So basically, your business should have had a TikTok account yesterday.

It makes sense that this is something your business would take notice of. As the platform has evolved, many companies and brands leverage influencers with targeted audiences to market their products and services. The app is available in over 150 countries in 75 different languages, so with this much accessibility, it makes sense to include it as part of your marketing strategy.

So, where do you start with TikTok advertising and marketing? We’ve listed six essential tips to consider to ensure your TikTok advertising reaches the next level.

Tip #1: Leverage catalog ads to drive sales

Leveraging catalog ads is a great way to drive sales. You can boost organic content and use Spark ads in TikTok’s ads management tool kit to add links and see a wider reach.

Think of this like A/B testing on Facebook. If you understand your Facebook metrics already, you’ll know that you can see which of your ads are performing well and adjust your advertising as needed based on data like clicks per ad and ROI. These measurements help you make sure your content is actually working for you.

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Along with your other strategies, like getting leads from Google ads, TikTok advertising is a great way for you to grow your customer base and following.

Tip #2: Have an emotional message

An official guide from TikTok discusses the elements of the most successful ads on the platform. The winner? Ads that aim for an emotional response from the viewer. As a result, over 50% of the ads on the platform adopt this strategy. The official guide suggests being real and relatable if you want your ad to be successful.

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Important note: You are targeting a range of ages with this messaging. Statista’s TikTok statistics state 32.5% of users in the US are between ages 10 and 19. Pew research data shows 48% are between 18 and 29, and 22% are aged 30-49.

Tip #3: Understand the TikTok trends

A follow-on from that last point is that authenticity on TikTok is vital. Your brand’s content should be congruent with your messaging and audience. This not only builds trust but also helps to create a devoted audience. Keeping up with TikTok trends can be a determining factor for how much reach your posts will get. Everyone wants a viral video, and these are more often than not under the latest trending videos category. 

TikTok, unlike other social media channels, is driven by the trends in the community. Therefore, understanding the layers of a meme or trending dance is very important. Like Instagram, hashtags are a relevant marketing tool on TikTok. For example, the #dance category has over 340 billion views and is often the source of the various challenges and unique dances that are linked to the app.

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Companies like Red Bull have successfully used hashtags (#danceyourstyle) to create their own challenges, which have significantly worked to their advantage. 

Tip #4: Join the community

To make sure you understand the elements of the last point, it’s a good idea to have at least one skilled and dedicated person in your team for TikTok, so recruitment and branding are crucial. Their job is to watch videos to get an understanding of the platform, its functions, and trending topics. Find the right person for this role, which can be done remotely, giving you plenty of options when hiring.

With this information, you can center your business TikTok account around the popular user-generated content on the platform. Further to this, having your business as part of the community on TikTok – commenting on videos, adding value to other brands and influencers in your target demographic – helps to improve your current reach. 

Commenting on popular posts, responding to comments via the DUET and Stitch features, and other actions can help to increase your community and sub-community reach. If you want longevity on TikTok, you’ll need to build deep connections with the audience. 

This is a key strategy for growing your community or driving new followers that do not require regular posting. Couple this low-posting frequency with a quality TikTok scheduler, and adding this extra social platform to your strategy shouldn’t mean adding significant time to your task list.

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Tip #5: Create lookalike audiences

Target highly relevant audiences by creating Custom and Lookalike audiences. This is very similar to Facebook and Instagram ads and will ensure that you see the best possible ROI for your ad spend. 

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The TikTok algorithm has a good understanding of each user’s interests, and in turn, collates highly curated content for them. The algorithm targets users with videos from accounts they have liked, commented, and followed. On top of this, other videos that the algorithm thinks the user would find interesting are added into the mix.

Tip #6: Pay attention to micro-influencers

Finally, when you dive into the world of advertising on TikTok, you’ll need to somewhat forget the things you’ve previously learned about other social media. For example, TikTok isn’t just about the number of followers; users with small numbers of active followers still reach millions of people.

This is great news for you because smaller and arguably less expensive creators can still generate a higher response rate for your content. TikTok may well be the best tool for leveraging micro-influencers available right now. 

Make no mistake: TikTok can boost your customer base and following

TikTok advertising is a key pillar of modern social media and can boost your following as well as your customer base. The above tips will help, but interacting with the TikTok app is vital to ensure you keep up-to-date with current trends and understand the best way to talk to your target market. 





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Retail Search is the New PPC

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Retail Search is the New PPC

“Amazon Ads, why?”. It all started for me back in 2018 when I interviewed some of the world’s leading PPC experts and surveyed award-winning paid search agencies. They were all doing Google Shopping campaigns but what about Amazon Ads? Very few of them invested there. 

Since then, Amazon Ads has caught up on both Meta and Google. The advertising revenue of Amazon represents 7% of its business. But those 7% already correspond to almost 20% of Google Ads. It’s on fire.

But it is not all about Amazon. When you dive deeper into the online retail marketing space, you quickly find out that retail search is not the only advertising lever there, and that Amazon is not the only player. Beneath the surface, you will find a a whole new world of what we call “Retail Media”: advertising during the consumer journey in retail sites, marketplaces and even beyond. It is both the digital version of trade marketing, it is the “paid search” of product search, and it is a challenger to programmatic advertising. And whereas Amazon is popularising it, there are plenty of other players in the market. Especially in Europe.

(Source: “State of Retail Media in 2022: Europe”, Innovell 2022)

State of retail media in Europe

We researched the retail media market for the newest Innovell report: “State of Retail Media in 2022: Europe” and uncovered an extremely dynamic business sector with phenomenal growth rates and new entrants every few months. There were 6 main reasons for the massive growth of retail media as we shall see below.

Obviously, the hypergrowth that ecommerce is experiencing makes the “media” itself grow, because that media is ecommerce activity. The more time consumers spend on retail platforms and marketplaces, the larger the ad inventory of retail media becomes. And as marketers, we know it quite well: users are spending a heck of an amount of time before they purchase something online, aren’t they? These online window shoppers are being monetized via retail media.

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And ecommerce platforms are pushing for it. Many retail sites are expanding from brand-centered ecommerce platforms to category-focused marketplaces. This has given unicorn start-ups such as Mirakl an amazing playground to develop in, as it provides the technical platform for that endeavour.

Along with marketplace investments come a desire to monetize, and retailers are looking to Amazon’s 5% of GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) revenue from advertising for inspiration. Another 5% of margin could make a huge difference in the retail business, where low margins and high volumes have long been the norm.

But brands are pushing retail media too. They were used to investing in trade marketing to stimulate retail sales, and the new digital version of digital advertising during the consumer journey has proven to be a sales activator too.

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From an organisational perspective, it is much easier to justify retail media investments with measurable impact than trade marketing budgets that are being poured into periodical retail negotiation to theoretically boost sales.

And finally, users are changing their behaviour too. We frequently hear of new surveys showing how users no longer start their product search journeys on Google but have shifted to Amazon. Users, of course, have erratic behavior and will start their journey in all sorts of places and even search simultaneously in several channels. One thing is certain though, product search is convenient and easy on Amazon and if you are a Prime member, your purchases will be delivered tomorrow. Retail search is on the rise for sure.

Show me the money

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Easy, you take budget from your Google Ads and Facebook campaigns and put them into Amazon, right? Well, not really. We found hardly any evidence of that happening. Those budget streams are rarely connected directly.

The quarterly reports of the other ad platforms are not showing signs of budget transfer either. During the past few years of Amazon Ads booming, Google Ads has been increasing its own growth too. And the recent difficulties for Meta were caused by something entirely different, namely Apple’s cookie gate. A recent study from McKinsey confirms this. It estimates that 80% of retail media budgets are likely to be “net new” rather than transfers from existing advertising budgets. (Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/busted-five-myths-about-retail-media)

Retail media is trade marketing digitally transformed

One of the sources for retail media funding is the shift from trade marketing. Trade marketing has existed almost since the outset of retail itself.

But where trade marketing is something that is often discussed in quarterly or annual distribution negotiations as a compensation form, retail media can be invested and optimized in real-time. And more importantly, its impact is measurable and can be put in relation to incremental value it generates.

(Purchase) data is the new oil 

Retail media has product search as its engine and purchase data as its fuel. We hear often enough that “data is the new oil”, but perhaps it is in reality purchase data, a refined form of data, which could show the real value of data, as it allows advertisers to perform high quality targeting.

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Most of the experts we interviewed for our report insisted on the quality and actionability of the data issued from retail. Both data from online ad platforms on marketplaces and offline from retail outlets capable of understanding the purchasing patterns via behavioural data.

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Retail media is a challenger to programmatic advertising

Retail search is already a new PPC contender growing faster than most of its competitors. But on top of that, the promise of audience targeting on the basis of purchasing data from the same retail media platforms is a potential contender to win the programmatic space. Remains to be seen whether the data really is that good. If indeed it is, the epicenter of programmatic advertising could well shift towards retail-data-driven platforms in the future.

On 19 July on Hero Conf London, we will dive deeper into retail media and explore the many local pureplayers, vertical marketplaces and hybrid on- and offline grocery chains occupying the retail media space together with Amazon in Europe.

We will also propose a five-step approach to winning on retail media for brands. It applies both to those who have not started their journey and those who are already active in retail media on one or more marketplaces.

In this session you will learn:

– What the drivers of “retail media” are

– What Amazon and other marketplaces have in stock for marketers in 2022

– If and how you should position retail media in your PPC strategy

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