Gen Z and the TikTok Ad Experience

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The evolution of online buying made its way to social media platforms long ago. With Generation Z users, it’s become more difficult for some businesses to convince users to buy their products via ads. But, on TikTok, the algorithm and approach may be very different from what companies are used to. Nonetheless, TikTok is perhaps the most popular social media platform currently.

Trials & Tribulations of Ads on TikTok

Availability of anything due to technological advancements has somewhat spoiled the younger generations. Generation Z in particular experiences a time where everything is at their fingertips. As long as it is accessible to them, they’re likely to be at least drawn into an ad. On the other hand, attracting users and keeping them entertained don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Studies on the average times users spend on TikTok have concluded that users spend about 3 seconds on an ad before deciding whether to stick around or scroll away. If an ad doesn’t pique the user’s interest, that is potential sales lost. The good thing is, if the ad leads to a purchase, it’s not only a successful venture but it may end up in a user’s video using #tiktokmademebuyit. Exceeding 3 billion views, this hashtag is a free tool companies should take advantage of.

But let’s back up and start with the ad itself.

Brands & Shopify on TikTok

The app partnered with the company, Shopify, to give brands a way to promote and sell products through TikTok. This is possible via links under the brand’s bio but most notably through shoppable ads. These in-feed ads are the key to bringing awareness to a brand first and foremost.

Another feature of TikTok is the TikTok Pixel tool that generates analytics for the ads. It collects information on how many people clicked on the ad somewhere, how many purchases were made through the ad, and more.

For You Page

Of course, the For You page is the most popular way of seeing shoppable ads. It’s the tab users spend the most time on. Ads that are placed on a user’s For You page should blend in with the content rather than stick out. Users have become subconsciously trained to ignore ads that clearly look like ads.

Tips to Create Ads That Lead to Sales

  1. Introduce the product or service in 3 seconds.
  2. Address the audience.
  3. Join in on the latest trends.
  4. Establish a collaboration with influencers.


Utilizing the popularity of TikTok when it comes to ads is an excellent strategy to bring in sales, engage with an audience, and bring awareness to a brand. Ads themselves, however, have had to evolve significantly. The short attention span of Generation Z above all else has proven to be more than the average business can handle. Being able to create ads that blend into the For You page, stay relevant to Gen Z’s trends, and generate a good rate of conversions (or purchases from ads) is a difficult thing to keep up within a world that’s constantly changing.