“Think like creators, not advertisers”: what makes performance marketing on TikTok different?

From zombie survival games to delivery apps, TikTok is growing ROAS across industries and taking a bigger slice of brand budgets. Stephen Carroll, Growth Brand Partnerships Lead, UK, TikTok, highlights four key marketing lessons from those already winning on the platform.

In a world with increasing competition, businesses of all sizes need to understand how to get the most of their marketing spend. Ads need to be highly efficient, targeting the highest amount of those right people for the lowest price. This is why performance marketing is such a crucial part of any marketing mix.

This is where TikTok comes in - the unique home of creativity and authenticity where adverts resonate and cut through. For us there are four factors driving successful performance marketing campaigns on our platform.

Reach and audience: a platform for discovery

We are proud to have built a community of over 1 billion people, with more than 100 million in Europe alone. These people can't be found elsewhere either. That's why we're well placed to help brands reach new and diverse audiences, and even discover communities that they didn't know existed.

On TikTok, mindset sets our community apart, not age. Our community is independently minded, open to new ideas, exploring new trends and discovering new products. In fact, 42% use TikTok to discover new things*.

Key ad themes: positivity, creativity and self-expression

TikTok is a home for positive, creative expression - and from business hacks, beauty, comedy and education, to magic, music and sport we offer entertainment that's authentic, relatable and diverse.

This content has an impact on our community too. Close to three quarters (73%) feel more positive after watching authentic TikTok content** and 75% of those on TikTok come to us to be entertained***.

This means that on TikTok, brands shouldn't think like advertisers but instead like creators. Creating authentic content drives emotional uplift associated with brands. Brands that advertise on TikTok benefit from this uplift; consumers transfer meaning from the platform to their advertising.

Keep it 'short-form and sound-on' for a hyper-engaged community

We have a diverse community who are constantly discovering new things and this means our community is hyper-engaged with the content they see on TikTok. That's why advertising on TikTok is often one of the most effective ways brands can spend their advertising budget.

Brands on TikTok see higher levels of receptiveness to brand messaging, calls-to-action and ad breakthrough, according to an independent study conducted by neuroanalytics and neuromarketing firm Neuro-Insight. For marketers, the standout lesson here that they need to factor into their performance campaigns is that short-form, sound-on video can get an audience to fully lean in, versus other formats where they can more easily tune out

Tools to help brands perform their best at all times

We offer brands a range of tools and levers across Targeting, Bidding and Optimisation, to make sure they are spending their budgets wisely. These include Interest, Behaviour and Hashtag Targeting to Automated Creative Optimization (ACO), an important component of the smart optimization products on the TikTok ads platform which will automatically create high-quality combinations of the creative assets brands upload and continuously work to discover optimal combinations through ad deliveries.

Learning from brands already succeeding

Brands of all sizes are already reaping the benefits of performance marketing on TikTok. We helped Flaregames, a mobile games publisher based in Berlin, boost the profile of its latest title – Zombie Gunship Survival – through an enticing ad campaign on TikTok.

Using In-Feed Auction Ads to reach the right audiences for the most efficient spend, and App Event Optimisation to encourage in-app purchases, in the US the game acquired 32k users in a two-month period between July and September. RPI (revenue per install) was 22% higher, and the player conversion rate increased by 17%, leading to an uplift in ROAS on the first day of 15% and higher overall profitability.

In the Netherlands, we helped drive leads for Zapp, one of the leading delivery service apps in Europe. To help them attract the next generation of delivery riders, we helped with a lead-gen campaign that would engage a brand new audience in the Netherlands using one of our top ad solutions.

Using our Lead Generation function, Zapp's campaign delivered 171% more leads than the other channels used to advertise the job openings, but these leads came at a 47% reduction in Cost Per Lead.

What's most exciting for me and the brands our team is working with to deliver successful performance marketing campaigns on TikTok is that we're just at the start of this journey. Here, discovery, community, and culture – the three key entry points for our community on TikTok – are coming together to create opportunities for brands in reach, relevance and engagement that drive business outcomes. We want every brand to experience a real world impact from their presence on TikTok.

By Stephen Carroll

Growth Brand Partnerships Lead, UK



* TikTok Marketing Science EU Holiday Shopping Behaviour Research 2020, conducted by Walnut Unlimited

**Marketing Science EU Understanding Authenticity, Happiness and Joy research 2021 conducted by Flamingo Group

***Marketing Science Holiday Shopping Behaviour Research 2020 conducted by Walnut Unlimited

To learn more about social media, from TikTok and influencers to in-feed videos and Sponsored Stories, sign up to PMW’s Paid Social Media Seminar, live in London (and via a virtual video link) on 26th April 2022.