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Learn How TikTok Advertising Works With This Free Guide

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Learn How TikTok Advertising Works With This Free Guide


TikTok explains how its advertising campaigns and tools work in a free course for businesses, which comes with multiple videos and a downloadable guide.

The new course, called TikTok Tactics, is broken down into four core components:

  1. Attribution (web + app)
  2. Targeting, Bidding, & Optimization
  3. Product Catalogs
  4. Advertising Creative

TikTok’s easy-to-follow guide is a universal set of best practices to help all businesses achieve success regardless of what their advertising goals are.

Before going over the tactics included in the course, let’s go over what makes the TikTok audience unique compared to users on other social media platforms.

TikTok Audience By The Numbers

TikTok provides the following statistics to help businesses learn who the TikTok audience is and what they want to get out of using the platform.

  • 75% of TikTok users want to be entertained
  • 42% of TikTok users discover new things on the platform
  • 68% of TikTok users are inspired by the content they see
  • 91% of TikTok users take some action following the content they see
  • 25% of TikTok users have researched/purchased a product they saw advertised
  • 61% of TikTok users feel its advertising is unique compared to other top social platforms
  • 45% of “heavy” TikTok users feel that the advertising blends in with other content

TikTok Advertising Tactics

TikTok Ads Manager

TikTok advertising begins with the TikTok Ads Manager, which is a self-serve platform that can drive results across the funnel for your business.

Within TikTok Ads Manager, businesses can utilize four tactics to achieve their marketing goals.

Each tactic has three levels that unlock additional advertising features.

Here’s more about each tactic and the different levels within them.

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1. Attribution (Web + App)

Attribution means knowing where your conversions are coming from so you can make informed decisions about your campaigns.

Setting your business up on a solid attribution foundation is the first requirement to building a successful advertising strategy on TikTok.

TikTok offers multiple ways to attribute events from your website to your TikTok advertising.

First, you need to implement a web attribution tool — either the TikTok pixel or the events API.

When utilizing this tactic you begin at level one and unlock additional features as you move up the ladder.

  • Level One: Pixel standard mode for basic conversion tracking (best suited for businesses that don’t have a dedicated web development team).
  • Level Two: Pixel developer mode (a more advanced solution for businesses that have a dedicated development team).
  • Level Three: Events API — a server-to-server integration that lets you share website’s events directly with TikTok.

2. Targeting, Bidding, and Optimization

This tactic is all about analyzing and adjusting campaign parameters to hit your goals.

Targeting, bidding, and optimization are three levels in one, which all work together in harmony. Unlike the other advertising tactics that work in a hierarchy,

TikTok emphasizes the importance of having resources dedicated to the day-to-day running of advertising campaigns.

That’s because the TikTok advertising platform evolves quickly and is always introducing new tools to enhance campaign performance.

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Having a dedicated resource in house, or via an agency, can help you stay up to date.

3. Product Catalogs

This tactic is exclusively for businesses that sell products, as it focuses on a suite of tools that will help get those products in front of the right audience.

The catalogs tactic helps your business create ads at scale.

Let’s say you have three products and three audiences. It would be easy to go into TikTok Ads Manager and create nine ads, one for each combination of products and audiences.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so easy to create ads manually if you have upwards of 100 or 1000 products.

Instead, you can let TikTok’s platform create ads for you dynamically using your product catalog.

All you have to do is upload your product catalog and choose the level in the three-step system that’s right for your business.

  • Level One: Upload products manually
  • Level Two: Upload product catalogue from a CSV template
  • Level Three: Upload a catalog feed

Again, this is a hierarchy. As you level up you will unlock additional ad formats.

So uploading a catalog feed will grant you access to the maximum amount of ad formats available.

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4. Advertising Creative

Every TikTok video is a full screen, immersive, sound-on experience. This includes TikTok ads as well.

Greater immersion translates into higher engagement levels and richer interactions.

But it also means constantly having to keep your brand message fresh in order to maintain a high level of performance.

It’s recommended that businesses have a steady supply of new advertising creative fed into their account, ideally on a weekly basis.

Here are the three levels to TikTok creative, with each one unlocking more advertising capabilities.

  • Level 1 – Repurpose Creatives: Creative tools available in Ads Manager will allow you to repurpose existing ad assets.
  • Level 2 – Dedicated TikTok Ads: At this level you engage with creators, either directly or through the TikTok marketplace, to create a steady flow of spark ads (TikTok’s native ad display format).
  •  Level 3 – Creative Partner Ecosystem: At this level you will have a TikTok creative API partner on retainer feeding you five to ten new creatives per week.

TikTok Advertising Best Practices

Now that you’re familiar with the four TikTok advertising tactics, which you can learn more about in the company’s full guide, let’s quickly go over some best practices.

Screenshot from tiktok-tactics.com, January 2022.
  • High resolution: Aim for a video resolution of 720p or higher.
  • Use audio: Experiment with sound and jump on emerging music trends.
  • Fit to screen: Make your video a perfect fit for the screen with a 9:16 aspect ratio.
  • Keep creative in focus: Ensure important information isn’t covered by in-app overlays.
  • Mobile-first: – Create ads in a vertical video format, ensuring key visuals are in frame.
  • CTA: Inspire action with a clear CTA at the end of each ad.
  • Keep it short: The ideal length for a TikTok video ad is 21 to 34 seconds

Source: TikTok Tactics


Featured Image: Miguel Lagoa/Shutterstock

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Is RankBrain A Ranking Factor In Google Search?

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Is RankBrain A Ranking Factor In Google Search?

Google’s understanding of human language is made possible by several breakthrough technologies in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Launched in 2015, RankBrain was the first of said breakthroughs. It allowed Google to return results for queries with no previous record of searches.

RankBrain’s functionality has evolved since its initial introduction. It now allows Google’s algorithms to do something that humans do instinctively: relate words to real-world concepts.

In the days before RankBrain, Google interpreted words literally. It didn’t understand synonyms or figurative meanings.

That limited both the quality and quantity of search results Google could provide.

The ability to interpret what humans mean when they write queries in natural language marked a significant milestone for Google Search.

RankBrain does more than understand language; if you need a hint at its other function, it’s in the name: Rank.

In this article, we’ll investigate the claims around RankBrain as a ranking factor, providing clarity on what RankBrain is and how it impacts search results.

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The Claim: RankBrain As A Ranking Factor

RankBrain is a technology that seems to impact how Google returns search results.

Due to its association with search, many people consider RankBrain a ranking factor.

Without knowing what “RankBrain” means, people new to SEO may assume it refers to a technology Google uses to rank search results.

That assumption isn’t far off, but not every component of Google’s search algorithm is a ranking factor in and of itself.

The following section goes over what Google designed RankBrain to do and how it assists with answering queries.

The Evidence: Is RankBrain A Ranking Factor?

RankBrain is an artificial intelligence (AI) system introduced in 2015 to help Google return results for queries without previous search data.

That changed sometime between the spring of 2015 and 2016. Google announced an update to RankBrain, which integrated AI into all queries.

Wired revealed this information in an article that notes Google isn’t clear on how RankBrain improves all queries, but it does affect rankings.

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From Wired:

“Google is characteristically fuzzy on exactly how it improves search (something to do with the long tail? Better interpretation of ambiguous requests?) but [Google engineer Jeff Dean] says that RankBrain is ‘involved in every query,’ and affects the actual rankings ‘probably not in every query but in a lot of queries.’”

What differentiates RankBrain from other Google algorithms is its ability to learn how to answer more ambiguous queries.

As Google’s Gary Illyes explains, the algorithm makes educated guesses at what a user would likely click on for a never-before-seen query.

“RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click on for a previously unseen query.”

RankBrain allows Google to solve problems it used to run into with traditional algorithms.

Contrary to popular theories about how RankBrain works, it does not use data gathered from users’ interactions with a webpage.

RankBrain relies more on data gathered from users’ interactions with search results.

Illyes provides further clarity:

“It is a really cool piece of engineering that saved our butts countless times whenever traditional algos were like, e.g. “oh look a “not” in the query string! let’s ignore the hell out of it!”, but it’s generally just relying on (sometimes) months old data about what happened on the results page itself, not on the landing page.”

In short – RankBrain is a machine learning system that allows Google’s search algorithm to deliver more relevant results.

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RankBrain accomplishes this through an improved understanding of ambiguous queries and long-tail keywords.

RankBrain uses data gathered from users’ interactions with search results to predict which pages will likely get clicked on for a brand new search query.

Practical Example From Google’s Vice President of Search

In addition to returning results for ambiguous and never-before-seen queries, RankBrain is capable of connecting words to concepts.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s Vice President of Search, explains how this works with an example of a query that contains the phrase “food chain.”

“Food chain” can refer to organisms in an ecosystem (literal meaning), or it can refer to a hierarchy of people (figurative meaning).

As Nayak states, RankBrain helps Google determine the intended meaning of words based on how a searcher uses them in a query:

“For example, if you search for ‘what’s the title of the consumer at the highest level of a food chain,’ our systems learn from seeing those words on various pages that the concept of a food chain may have to do with animals, and not human consumers.

By understanding and matching these words to their related concepts, RankBrain understands that you’re looking for what’s commonly referred to as an “apex predator.”

Thanks to this understanding, Nayak confirms, RankBrain can decide the best order for top search results by ranking them according to relevance.

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Our Verdict: RankBrain Is A Confirmed Ranking Factor

Google has confirmed that RankBrain is used to rank search results and is involved in all queries.

In 2016, Andrey Lipattsev, a Google Search Quality Senior Strategist, said RankBrain was one of the three most important ranking signals (along with content and links).

RankBrain continues to play an essential role in search results today.

RankBrain differs from traditional ranking factors in that there’s not an obvious way to actively optimize for it.

How do you optimize for ambiguous keywords or queries that no one’s ever entered into Google?

The only option is to provide Google with as much information about a page as possible, which site owners should do anyway if they create holistic content for users.

Illyes was asked this question once and replied with a similar sentiment:

“you optimize your content for users and thus for RankBrain. that hasn’t changed”

Search Engine Journal VIP Contributor Dave Davies provides more advanced tips for communicating information to Google regarding different entities on a page in A Complete Guide To The Google RankBrain Algorithm.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]

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