Running a TikTok Ad Campaign: 5 Tips for a Successful Launch

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (…but I mean, after all that 2020 brought with it, can I live under a rock with you?), you’ve seen how TikTok has changed the social media game. What once started as a quirky music platform for preteens quickly – and I mean QUICKLY – climbed the ladder to become one of the most popular social media apps.

Here are the TikTok facts:

  • In less than 18 months, the number of adult TikTok users in the U.S. grew 550%
  • TikTok is the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store with 33 million downloads
  • TikTok has more than 800 million active users worldwide, but only about 10% are in the U.S.
  • 90% of TikTok users visit the app more than once per day.

Aside from the sheer growth in monthly active users, TikTok has fundamentally changed how we consume video content online, and other social media giants are emulating that same style – we see you Instagram Reels. We want it vertical, we want the cleverly-edited music to add umph, and we want it short and sweet.

Pair TikTok’s insane growth with the buzzword for 2021 social media advertising – diversifying your paid channels in the wake of iOS14 and updates to Facebook advertising – and you get one big question.

How do I grow my business with TikTok ads?

Well, we’re here to help answer that! At Tuff, we’ve found that clients who are successful with Facebook and Instagram ads can also see success on TikTok – particularly the clients with strong video creative and the ability to produce new videos often.

Check out these 5 tips for successfully launching your first TikTok campaign!

1. Set Up Your TikTok Pixel and Events

Just like every other social channel, TikTok also has an events manager tool that allows you to track app events and activity on your website with a piece of code. The TikTok pixel integrates well with both Shopify and Google Tag Manager for easy setup, or provides the option to manually install the pixel in the header of your website.

Once the pixel’s base code is installed on your site, you’ll be prompted to set the event rules using either Standard Mode or Developer Mode. The method you choose is based on your business and conversion path – we’ve set up events both ways successfully. TikTok’s Standard Mode is most similar to Facebook’s Event Setup Tool (if you’re familiar with that!), but more accurate in our experience.

2. Build Custom Audiences and Create Lookalikes From Them

Once you have your pixel installed, take a second to create custom audiences based on website/app activity and your customer lists. Then, create lookalikes off of those custom audiences.

The lookalikes will come in handy when you’re creating target audiences for prospecting campaigns, and you’ll be able to exclude some of your custom audiences from ad groups to prevent waste.

3. Create Target Audiences that Aren’t Too Small

There are 80 million TikTok users in the U.S. That’s a LOT of people, don’t get me wrong. But we’re used to Facebook’s even larger audience pool.

Comparatively, Facebook has 223 million U.S. users. With a user base that large, a prospecting audience narrowed by demographics, interests, and layered on top of a lookalike audience can still be 3+ million users.

On TikTok, those same targeting parameters would yield an audience size of 35K monthly active users.

Inherently, TikTok audiences are going to be smaller than what we’re used to on Facebook, but the same rule of thumb applies: larger audiences (caveat: with relevant targeting) typically yield lower costs per results.

Here are a few tips on audience targeting that we’ve learned the hard way on TikTok:

  • Ditch the age targeting. We know that most TikTok users are under the age of 35. If your target audience’s age range is above that, TikTok might not be the right channel for you anyway. Targeting by age can narrow your audience size without improving results.
  • Watch for ad fatigue. Smaller audiences mean that your frequency gets higher, faster. You’ll want to keep an eye on your results – if you see costs start to increase, try rotating in new creative first.
  • If you’re optimizing for lower-funnel conversion events and having a hard time seeing success, try removing your targeting completely. This is what we did for our app client Felt (For this next sentence to make sense, you’ll need to understand how we measure success for Felt. I’ll be referencing one of our main metrics – cost per app install, also known as CPI). After struggling to see success with targeted audiences based on demographics and interests, we removed much of our targeting and saw CPIs as low as $1.67 – when our historical average has been closer to $3. By optimizing for low funnel conversion events and removing our targeting, we let the TikTok algorithm do much of our targeting work for us, and it worked successfully.
  • If your audience is in the U.S., narrow your placements to TikTok only. TikTok also owns TopBuzz, BuzzVideo, News Republic, Babe, Helo and Pangle, which primarily have a global audience.

4. Develop Video Ads Made With TikTok Trends in Mind

To grow your business with TikTok ads, relevant 👏 creative 👏 is 👏 key👏 to 👏 success.

One more time for the people in the back (and because this is so, so important). You’re interrupting someone’s feed with a brand ad that the user didn’t ask for, but got anyway. Your content should be captivating, designed with TikTok consumption in mind, and concise.

Based on the campaign results we’ve seen so far for our clients, here are a few TikTok ad creative tips to help get you started:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Our best ads have been 15-20 seconds long.
  • Be thoughtful about your background music. While it’s not as important for other social channels, trendy music and TikTok go together like everything bagels and cream cheese. Try to edit your video to the music and capitalize on trending video styles when you can.
  • Launch campaigns with at least three very different video ads (no more than 5 videos max per ad group!). You want to make sure your videos differ so that you can draw meaningful insights as to what’s performing best. If they’re all similar, it’s hard to understand what type of content will yield the best results.
  • Make sure that you use lots of color contrast and show people when you can! Our best ads that we’ve ran so far have pops of bright colors and show faces – and have a 27% higher conversion rate compared to our other ads.
  • TikTok has a pretty strict ad approval process. Make sure you’re buttoned up and familiar with their advertising policies before you put your ads in review.

Peep this document for a full list of creative best practices and specs.

5. Use UTMs to Track Attribution in Google Analytics

Like any social media platform, native attribution in TikTok’s ad manager using data from the pixel is often inflated compared to Google Analytics (hello again, last-click attribution and the biggest mistake most businesses make when it comes to PPC campaigns).

To know what worked and what didn’t on TikTok, we recommend using an organized naming convention for your UTM parameters that will give you insight into how both the audience you’re targeting and the creative you’re running performed in Google Analytics.

Common TikTok Ads Questions

Q: How much does it cost to advertise on TikTok?
A: Currently, the minimum spend requirement on TikTok is $50/day. The campaigns we’ve run here at Tuff have had CPMs in the $4-$7 range.

Q: Do I need an organic presence on TikTok to run ads on the channel?
A: Unlike other social channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., where you’re required to have a business page or profile built to run ads, you can run ads on TikTok without creating an organic channel. In fact, you access TikTok’s ads manager through a completely different login portal than where you’d login to an organic account.

Q: Is my audience on TikTok?
A: While the channel has grown exponentially over the last year or so, the demographic still skews younger compared to other social channels. 41% of TikTok users are between 16-24, and 56% are male.

Q: How does TikTok attribution work?
A: Attribution can be a struggle on any social channel, and TikTok is no different. Currently, the TikTok pixel records single-session conversions, meaning that a user must click on the ad and convert within the same session for TikTok to attribute that conversion to your ad. TikTok also integrates well with third-party tracking tools like AppsFlyer, Kochava, Tune and Adjust to better understand attribution.

tuff-six-signs-its-time-to-update-your-facebook-ads

Six Signs It’s Time to Update Your Facebook Ads

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and examples for you to use! 

Has your Facebook ads performance dipped? Maybe your ads never achieved your desired outcome like increased eCommerce sales or lead generation. Facebook ads performance can drop off — or never take off at all –– for a variety of factors, but one of the most crucial is your ad creative (copy, images, and video). 

Across our clients, Tuff manages anywhere from $1,500 – $100,000 / month in Facebook ad spend. This article pulls from this experience and outlines six factors we’ve identified that can indicate it’s time to update your Facebook ads creative. 

If you don’t have the time to read these detailed explanations, here’s the tl;dr on when to know it’s time to replace your Facebook ads creative: 

  • Campaigns costs are going up / objective completion
  • Ad frequency is getting high causing dreaded ‘ad fatigue’ 
  • Facebook ‘Ad Diagnostic’ scores are ‘below average’
  • Google Analytics is telling you performance has declined 
  • Facebook makes an update to any part of the user experience
  • You’re not selling more or generating more leads despite an initial bump in performance after the campaign launch 

If your ads just didn’t perform in the first place, check your targeting. Even the best ad creative will tank if you aren’t targeting the right audience.

Before jumping into this read, please note, much of what we discuss is irrelevant if your tracking is out of whack. This article assumes that the Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, and/or other tracking mechanisms are in place to measure your Facebook Ad performance. Unless otherwise stated, all mentions about measurement and metrics are in reference to data available in the Facebook Ads manager and Google Analytics. 

Campaign costs are going up. Is the cost for your campaign objective going up?

We typically focus on Facebook campaign objectives of traffic, leads (website conversions), or eCommerce website purchases. If you’re seeing the average costs for these objectives go up, it may be time to update your ads. For instance, if your campaign used to average $4 per website conversion, but now averages $6, it may be time for an ad refresh.  

Before you get an update underway, verify that the ad set level learning phase is complete (it takes at least 50 events to exit the learning phase, so depending on your budget and campaign objective, it could take a few weeks to exit the learning phase!), no major edits have been done to the campaign, and that there aren’t external factors at play. For instance, an eCommerce apparel brand might see spikes around the holiday shopping season but then dip at the start of the new year. Or a boot camp designed to help med students study might see huge growth at the beginning of the semester, but then taper off after a few months.

Your ad frequency is getting high (AKA ad fatigue)

Ad frequency is an average of how many times people in your target audience have seen your ads. It’s calculated by dividing the total impressions by the total reach. 

Ad frequency report from Facebook Ads

Although there’s no hard and fast rule to abide by, our team likes to evaluate ads for declines in performance at around a frequency of 2. Ad frequency is more of an art form to evaluate though, because frequencies that trigger declines in performance may vary by industry and audience. We have seen frequencies of over 10 lead to conversions in niche B2B verticals. 

High frequencies often lead to a phenomenon called ‘ad fatigue’ wherein your audience is simply tired of seeing your ad. Unlike paid search where intent is high, social ads are intrusive, and interrupt a user’s feed. High frequency and decreasing performance may mean your audience is tired of your ad, and that you should fire up new copy and creative. 

Facebook Relevance Scores are Average or Below Average

Facebook has assigned a ‘relevancy’ score on ads for years. In summer 2019, they broke out relevancy into three categories outlined below. The relevancy scores are now out of three possible ratings, above average, average, and below average. If your ads are scoring ‘below average’ especially in the ‘conversion rate ranking’ or ‘quality ranking’ category, consider a media and copy update. 

Facebook Ad Relevance Diagnostic Categories 

  • Quality Ranking – does your ad ‘fit’ within your audience’s newsfeed? Your ad will receive the worst rating of ‘below average’ if your audience feels like the ad is salesy, trashy, or spam. 
  • Engagement Rate Ranking – similar to organic post’s engagement metrics, are users liking, commenting, and sharing your ad? If your ad can make these things happen you’ll land best marks of ‘above average’ in this category.  
  • Conversion Rate Ranking – will users take the conversion action you’ve optimized your campaign for? Scoring an ‘above average’ here, means users are more likely to ‘convert’ from your ad than average Facebook ads. 

These Facebook Ad Relevance Diagnostics are scored comparatively across ads on Facebook. The ‘below average’ rating in any category will also tell you if you’re in the bottom 35%, 20%, or 10% of ads overall. Poor marks in ad diagnostics are one of the best indications your ad creative should be updated. 

What does Google Analytics reporting tell you?

Google Analytics can be a great arbiter of truth by offering an unbiased look at your Facebook Ads performance. At Tuff, we’ve made it a practice to gut check Facebook campaign reporting with Google Analytics reporting (don’t be surprised when you see that the analytics differ between the two platforms – we often find our Facebook metrics to be slightly inflated compared to Google Analytics). 

Reviewing Facebook Ads with Google Analytics data.

Using UTM parameters on all Facebook ads allows us to see how the campaign objective, audience and creative perform. In Google Analytics, take a look at your Facebook campaign and individual ad set’s cost per session over time. Look at goal completions. If costs are going up or conversions are going down as reported by Google Analytics, it’s a good indicator that it is time to refresh your ads. 

Facebook makes (another) update

Facebook and Instagram are constantly evolving to improve the user experience, and some of those changes call for updates to your ad creative to stay timely and relevant. For example, TikTok and Instagram Reels have changed the way people watch video. Short, vertical videos edited in a style that matches a particular sound are killing it right now. 

When an update like this happens, it might be time to update your antiquated video creative to stay relevant. Remember, social ads interrupt a user’s feed – make sure you’re interrupting it with content that makes sense. 

How’s your bottom line looking?

Facebook and Google Analytics tracking isn’t perfect for a variety of reasons, so at the end of the day, it’s important to evaluate your own balance sheet. Are more or fewer customers becoming leads or making purchases online? Have increases to Facebook campaigns correlated with upticks in business? 

Because of differences in attribution between the two platforms, we often see goal increases in organic and direct site traffic that correlate with an increase in Facebook spend, even though Facebook has a seemingly negative ROAS. 

Is that uptick starting to wane? Use common sense, if you launched a $10,000/month Facebook campaign and saw an uptick in business, the campaign is likely playing a role. When performance declines, it’s time to reset.

Conclusion

Facebook thrives on novelty. People are on Facebook for a number of reasons, but when they’re in the app or on Facebook.com, it’s rare they’re looking for an advertiser’s product or service specifically. Ads should be optimized to stop someone’s scroll and get them to take action. 

As a rule, it’s often good to start planning your next round of Facebook ads before performance ever dips. This way, you’re not caught on your heels when one of the above factors causes a dip in performance. Though great ads paired with ideal audiences can have a tenure of several months, we like to plan for new Facebook Ads creative every 4-6 weeks.

Own Your Assets: How to Set Up Your Facebook Account for Success

You’re ready to start running Facebook and Instagram ads, but not sure where to start? Or you’re not sure how to keep all of your assets organized?

Here at Tuff, we work with businesses who’ve just begun to run Facebook ads, those who spend thousands of dollars each month on the channel, and many in between. We’ve learned a thing or two about how to (…and how not to) set your Facebook accounts up for success. 

This blog has plenty of Facebook jargon. Here’s a handful of definitions to help you keep things straight:

  • Facebook Asset: One of the many Facebook properties that have to be created in order to run ads on the channel (page, ad account, pixel, and product catalog are the main ones).
  • Business Manager: Facebook’s central hub for organizing all of your assets.
  • Personal Profile: Your personal Facebook account, where you go to connect with friends and groups you’re part of. This is granted access to your Facebook page via Business Manager (if set up correctly), but is separate from your business’s Facebook assets. 

Common Mistakes

When we onboard new clients, we often run into two common setup mistakes:

  1. Previous agency partners own the brand’s Facebook ad account, pixels, pages, and product catalogs because they created them.
  2. Their ad account and page is owned by a personal profile rather than a Business Manager account. 

One of the biggest hiccups we run into is when a previous agency or marketing partner creates the ad account and pixel for the brand. This often means that the user who created the asset also owns the asset. And when that partnership ended, the previous agency still owned all those assets they created. 

This is why Tuff coaches our clients on how to create their own ad accounts, then grant our team proper access to it. 

Why It’s Important to Own Your Own Assets

Fundamentally, we believe in transparency with our clients, and that starts with how we set our channels up before we launch campaigns. When you own your Facebook assets, you also own the data you need to make marketing decisions. 

What is Business Manager? 

Facebook Business Manager helps advertisers integrate Facebook marketing efforts across their business with external partners (like Tuff!). It acts as a central place to manage your business, separate from your personal Facebook profile. 

This free platform allows you to run and track ads, manage your pages and ad accounts, and add agency partners. 

As Facebook advances the measures it takes to prevent spam accounts, it’s becoming more essential for brands to set up a Business Manager account rather than own all assets through a personal profile. 

It’s essential that someone on your team—usually the business owner or marketing manager—creates the Business Manager account. The personal profile that creates the Business Manager will also own the Business Manager. If necessary in the future, you can change ownership, but you have to go through Facebook support to do so. 

Giving Your Agency Partners the Correct Access

Once you’ve created your Business Manager account, you’ll want to assign your agency’s Business Manager as a partner. Then, you’ll click “Share Assets” to give them the access they need to your ad account, pixel, page, etc.

Here at Tuff, a Growth Marketer will provide you with detailed instructions during the onboarding phase to help make sure you’re set up properly! 

Interested in learning more about our social advertising service? Give us a shout! 

 

iOS 14 is Coming: How Improved User Privacy Will Affect Targeting, Tracking, and Optimizing Facebook Ads

Apple’s latest iOS update will restrict data usage in an effort to hold apps to a higher standard when it comes to user privacy. At the heart of it, this will affect how your Facebook pixel receives data, which could negatively impact your targeting, tracking, and optimizations. Have you thought about what this means for your Facebook ads strategy? We have! And we’re here to help. 

What exactly is the iOS 14 update? 

As part of Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparency framework, there are two big changes coming with iOS 14 that impacts how apps use your data. 

  1. Apps will be required to describe how they’ll use your data in the App Store.
  2. You’ll begin to receive a notification from each app asking permission to use your data to track you across apps and websites.

Facebook anticipates that many people will opt out of app tracking on iOS devices, which could negatively impact targeting that allows for a more personal advertising experience for users and performance reporting. 

Changes Facebook’s Making To Prepare for iOS 14

In preparation for iOS 14 and Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework, Facebook’s making a few notable changes to Ads Manager that will impact how we build out campaigns. (Some of this gets technical, so bear with us!) 

Check out this list of changes that Facebook’s making and how you can prepare your ad accounts for them!

#1 Conversion Events

Starting in early 2021, advertisers will be limited to using only eight conversion events per domain set up on your Facebook pixel. Once this goes into effect, ad sets optimized beyond the eight prioritized conversion events will be paused. 

How You Can Prepare:

 

#2 Value Optimization

This update will really only affect e-commerce brands with large product catalogs that rely on dynamic ads. If that’s not you, skip ahead to number three!

Value Optimization is a delivery setting you can currently enable at the ad set level in Facebook Ads Manager. It tells the algorithm to bid on audience members who are most likely to spend more money. In theory, this helps improve your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). 

Value sets will be moved from the ad set level to Events Manager, and will count as part of the eight conversion events that are allowed per domain. 

How You Can Prepare:

  • Start moving away from Value Optimization delivery (if you currently use it!)

 

#3 Tracking and Measurement

Facebook will be eliminating its 28-day attribution windows and instead, all ad accounts will default to the 7-day click attribution window. Attribution window settings will also be controlled at the ad set level instead of the ad account level. This will help ensure that conversions being measured are the same ones used to inform campaign optimizations. 

For app and web conversion events, the ability to use breakdowns is going away. You’ll no longer be able to break down your results for these events by age, gender, region, placement, etc. 

We won’t know definitively until the iOS 14 updates fully roll out in early 2021, but we’re expecting this change in attribution window to cause cost per results to increase. 

How You Can Prepare:

  • Update any automated rules using a 28-day attribution window.
  • Begin using the comparing windows feature in ads manager to see how conversions attributed to ads compare across different attribution windows. You can access this by creating custom columns in Ads Manager, then click “Comparing Windows” in the bottom right corner.

ios14-facebook-ads

#4 Dynamic Ads

No major changes will be happening to Dynamic Ads, but if you use them for Retargeting, you could start to see audiences sizes decrease and lower performance. For now, Facebook’s expecting minimal impact to broader prospecting audiences being served Dynamic Ads. 

How You Can Prepare

  • Verify your product URL domains in the catalog feed and avoid the use of URLs redirecting users to a different domain (no bit.ly!)
  • Prepare to use one pixel per catalog to optimize for prioritized conversion events across all catalog items.

 

There’s still so much to learn about how iOS 14 will impact Facebook advertising. 

At the end of the day, we won’t truly know the impact iOS 14 will have on Facebook advertising until these changes roll out. 

We don’t know how many Apple device users will opt-out of app tracking (although my gut says it’ll be the majority). We don’t know exactly how targeting and tracking will suffer. 

Each brand’s volume of iOS users will differ. Some brands will have higher percentages of iOS users compared to Android and desktop users than others. Start researching this in your ad account now by analyzing your device impressions breakdown.

While Facebook will be going through massive changes this year, several other social advertising channels have made huge strides in their paid acquisition offerings. Platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter are upping their game, and now might be the time to diversify your social advertising channels if you’ve been reliant on Facebook up until now. 

If you’re interested in talking more about how to prep your ad account for iOS 14 or broaden your social advertising to other channels, let’s talk!