Ads on TikTok: Are They Worth It?

Image by motionstock from Pixabay

Initially released in 2016 by Chinese-owned company, ByteDance, TikTok’s popularity soared in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tools for the app have continued to roll out ever since. One of those has been the ability to run ads.

Every social media platform has its own ad system and TikTok is no different. However, it is becoming one of the most used platforms in the world. It currently has over 2 billion downloads worldwide with approximately 165 million downloads in the US alone. In 2020, TikTok was involved in a political debate regarding the use of user data and privacy. Even though it managed to avoid getting banned in the US, the experience gave owners of the platform a different perspective.

What Types of Ads are Available?

Like its competitors, TikTok offers a variety of ad types through its ‘TikTok for Business’ division. These include:

  • Hashtag Challenges: Using this ad tool has been proven to make an impact, particularly since the global involvement of challenges like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Mannequin Challenge.
  • In-Feed Ads: These appear as users are scrolling through their For You tab. While it forces ads to be seen, users can easily swipe past them. If utilizing this ad type, make sure the ad is bold and interesting to capture a user’s attention.
  • TopView Ads: When users first open the app, these ads come up first. They can be 60 seconds long and are allowed to be skipped after about five seconds. Ads under this type should contain something within those few seconds that make the user want to keep watching.
  • Brand Takeover Ads: Users see one of these ads a day, so they are the most expensive type of ad. They are between three to five seconds long and can’t be skipped. Generally containing links to things like a website, challenge, or user’s profile, brand takeover ads appear like TopView ads—immediately after the app loads up.
  • Branded Effects Ads: Noticeably more subtle than other ads, branded effects ads combine filters and special effects with videos or images. They are primarily used to make a statement, create a call to action, or encourage users to visit a certain profile or website.
  • Hashtag Plus: This is a combination of hashtag challenge ads and brand takeover ads but these ads are to promote online shopping. They include shop links alongside products or a video to gain attention for a certain brand.

Are TikTok Ads Worth the Money?

As with any social media ad system, there are some risks associated with paying for ads. For example, the bulk of an audience may not see an ad that is shown during a period of lower activity. Doing research into a target audience, which times more users are on the app, and particularly what kind of ads are being shown when are important aspects to consider before purchasing an ad. Ensure that the ads are visually striking and attention-provoking. The world has become time-dependent, meaning the first impression (or first few seconds) are always the most important, no matter what platform or ad is used.