Tag Archive for: tiktok

two women scrolling on TikTok

TikTok Ads for Startups: How Multiverse Drives Quality Conversions at Scale (with a CPA lower than any other channel)

two women scrolling on TikTok

When it comes to driving more traffic and applications online with growth marketing, the big challenge is how to scale and which marketing channels will help you grow fastest. With limited time, money, and people, you can’t afford to waste it on strategies and tactics that are sub-optimal. 

When we first partnered with Multiverse (a start-up company that provides an outstanding alternative to college through corporate training and professional apprenticeships) as their startup marketing agency, we wanted to test different campaigns with clear metrics to figure out which ones work and then focus on scaling those channels.

In this post, I’m going to focus in our our paid social strategy, with a focus on a deep dive on TikTok ads. We’ll look at why we selected TiKTok ads, the campaign structure, the best performing creative assets, and the results compared to other channels in our mix. (Spoiler: TikTok generated 3x times more applications than Instagram with a 52% lower CPA.) 

Diversified Channel Mix 

In our growth marketing strategy for Multiverse, we prioritized testing campaigns with social ads and PPC. 

For social ads, we focused on Instagram as the primary channel where we allocated 67% of our total budget and then we dedicated a portion of the total budget (33%) to testing other social ad channels. With the Multiverse target audience being between the ages of 18-26, we were super eager to test TikTok to see if this channel would be effective in driving applications and if effective, if it would be scalable. 

Clearly Defined CPA Targets and Goals 

Our goal for Multiverse was to prioritize high-impact growth campaigns to quickly drive key learnings, then invest in additional campaigns to scale up on what works. Since Multiverse didn’t have a ton of historical data in the US for us to learn from, we did some research on competitors and the average costs for TikTok ads and Instagram ads to come up with our KPI goals. 

Instagram KPI goals (for the first month): 

  • Cost-per-click: $3.00
  • Cost-per-application (CPA): $65

TikTok KPI goals (for the first month): 

  • Cost-per-click: $2.00 
  • Cost-per-application (CPA): $80 

Identifying the Target Audience & Funnel Stage 

When launching campaigns for a new partner, our social ads team at Tuff will put together an audience targeting strategy for each stage of the audience funnel. However, since we were starting from scratch and building campaigns on new platforms for Multiverse, we knew we needed to focus on the top of funnel audiences since we haven’t built up the brand recognition or audience size to retarget users based on previous ad interactions through bottom-funnel audiences. 

For TikTok, our primary focus was targeting a large, top of funnel audience that we could then educate and convert to applicants through our video creative. 

A Campaign Structure for Scale 

For Multiverse’s US paid acquisition, we were focused on six markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Phoenix and Boston. We knew we needed to drive as many applicants on TikTok as possible in each market, so we set up a prospecting campaign for each location, that way we could control the budget at the campaign level based on demand needs per market. 

Within each campaign, we wanted to test two different audiences on TikTok: 

  1. A broad audience with no interest targeting, ages 18-26 
  2. Education or motivation interest targeting, ages 18-26

After a few weeks of testing, we saw that the broad targeting was outperforming our interest-based targeting with a lower cost per application. Compared to other social ad platforms,  the TikTok algorithm is extremely accurate in serving your ads to your target audience (just think about how it perfectly curates a For You Page that’s specific to each TikTok users’ interest). So removing the interest targeting allowed us to widen our audience pool and let TikTok do the work of finding the users who were likely to apply for a Multiverse application based on the algorithm data.  

High-Peforming TiKTok Ad Creative 

When it comes to TikTok creative, videos that feature trending and relevant content are the key to success (check out our tips for creating trending video content). For Multiverse, we wanted to move QUICK, which meant that we needed to develop 3-5 TikTok videos fast to be able to launch on TikTok. 

For the creative, we wanted to lean into the Multiverse value props to educate our top-of-funnel audiences about Multiverse in a fun, trending and captivating way. 

Check ‘em out!

  1. Job without degree
  2. College vs. Apprenticeship 
  3. Student Loan Stress

Results

So how did these TikTok campaigns perform? The short answer: we far surpassed our goals for applications and cost-per-application which allowed us to scale the monthly budget on this channel by 5x. 

  • Average cost-per-click (CPC): $0.47
  • Applications: 357
  • Average cost-per-application (CPA): $16.77

But how does this compare to the other paid channels (like Instagram)?

Channel CPC Applications CPA
TikTok $0.47 357 $16.77
Instagram $2.24 164 $34.71

TikTok generated 3x times more applications than Instagram with a 52% lower CPA. 

For Multiverse, we measure apprenticeship applications based on last-click attribution in Google Analytics, so while these results far exceeded our expectations, we also wanted to see how our campaigns have helped increase non-last click conversions. 

Since launching TikTok ads, we’ve seen a 110% increase in Multiverse Google Search branded conversions in the US. 🚀

Based on these learnings, we’ve continued to scale our TikTok campaigns and have found it to be the most cost-efficient paid channel driving the lowest CPA for Multiverse in both the US and UK. 

Are you interested in launching TikTok ads to help grow your business? Let’s chat! 

tiktok on mobile

How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost?

tiktok on mobile

Are you ready to explore advertising on a social ads platform outside of Facebook and Instagram? Now is the time for your company to test out TikTok, one of the fastest-growing social channels in the game. Two months ago, TikTok hit a major milestone in which the platform reported that it now has 1 billion active users on the app making it the 7th most used social ads platform.

However, there are a few things to consider when thinking about advertising on TikTok. First and foremost, it’s important to know if your target audience is even on the platform and if they are, if you’ll be able to successfully target them. Another important component of TikTok ads is creative. For this platform, having engaging video content is imperative for a successful campaign. 

As a TikTok Ads Agency, we start by asking yourself the following questions: 

  1. Does your target audience skew toward younger adults? 
  2. Do you have a robust library of short-form, great, and effective videos?
  3. Do you have a large, broad audience that you can reach with broad targeting? 

If you’ve checked all of the boxes to the questions above then you’re ready to start building your first TikTok campaign. In this article, we’re breaking down what it takes to run a successful ad campaign on TikTok and how TikTok ads compare in costs to other social ad platforms. 

TikTok Ads: Is It Worth It? 

Before you start thinking about an advertising budget for TikTok, you might wonder if TikTok is even worth testing. While TikTok might be known for its virality and trends from organic videos, its advertising opportunities have been proven extremely beneficial for companies in almost every industry, especially eCommerce. 

At Tuff, we’ve tested TikTok campaigns with a wide range of our partners, some in the eCommerce space and even some in the higher educations space. (Check out How we achieved a 12x ROAS on TikTok with $7K in ad spend for our client Sabio––an online coding bootcamp!) If you’re able to find pockets of success on TikTok, it’s a very scalable channel that can help bring in more revenue for your business.

How Do TikTok Ads Work? 

TikTok ads are less obvious to spot to the average user since they come off in a more organic nature compared to other channels like Facebook and Instagram. As typical with online advertising, TikTok Ads cost different amounts and exist in different forms. A user can view your ad in different places, which impacts the costs of your ad. If you decide to advertise on this platform, you can choose between a variety of different ways to run your self-serve newsfeed ads including Image ads, Video ads, Spark Ads, or Collection Ads which will determine where your ad is placed. 

Image Ads

Image ads run through TikTok’s newsfeed umbrella apps (BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, and Babe) and will include an image, brand or app name, and ad text.

Video Ads

Video ads will run through the platform’s newsfeed and/or the newsfeed of apps that fall under TikTok’s umbrella (again BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, and Babe). These are the most common type of format for self-serve ads as they will show up in your target audiences’ FYP (for you page). Video ads can be 5-60 seconds and can include a video, display image, brand name and ad text. 

Spark Ads

Spark ads is a newer feature that allows you to use a code and run the ad directly from your TikTok page or a partner/content creators’ page. This type of format is very similar to boosting a Facebook/Instagram post.

At Tuff, we’ve seen a lot of success with spark ads. For a few of our partners, we’ve run spark ads through a content creator or influencers page using the spark ad code and we’ve seen a significantly higher CTR, engagement rate and lower CPA. For example, in the table below, you can see a much better performance on TikTok once we started running spark ads in August vs when we were running regular video ads in April. 

Collection Ads

When using collection ads, someone taps an interactive element of your ad and it will lead to an Instant Gallery Page, where visitors can browse a curated gallery of product cards. You can either handpick the products to feature in your Instant Gallery Page or let TikTok Ads Manager dynamically display the most relevant products for each visitor. From the Instant Gallery Page, people can browse your catalog of products and then head to your website to complete their purchase journey.

How much do TikTok ads cost? 

Similar to other social ad platforms, you can customize the amount you spend and bid on ads. This means that TikTok ads cost different amounts from campaign to campaign. Typically, advertisers on TikTok pay a median price of $1.00 for every click and a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) of $6.06. Keep in mind that this number is generated through a blended analysis of all advertisers, so this cost is not the case for every business. TikTok requires a minimum budget of $50/day at the campaign level and $20/day at the ad group level. However, there are four components that heavily impact the costs of your TikTok ads including your campaign objective, audience segmentation, budget & bid amount and CTR.

Campaign Objective 

Choosing the right objective is really important when setting up ad campaigns on TikTok. TikTok recommends starting by choosing an objective that will get at least 50 events during the first 7 days, which will allow TikTok to have enough data to get your ad out of the learning phase. Similar to other platforms, you will see lower CPCs and CPMs when optimizing for an objective that’s higher in the funnel (traffic, page view) vs. optimizing for a lower-funnel event (Checkout, complete payment), but the CVR will be higher when optimizing for the lower-funnel events.

Audience Segmentation 

TikTok’s algorithm is one of the best out there, so most of the time you’ll see lower costs when your audience is large and broad. In fact, TikTok recommends consolidating your audiences as much as possible and either putting all of your interests into one audience or running the ad group with no interest targeting and letting the TikTok algorithm do its thing and serve the ad to the user who will likely take the action you’re optimizing for. 

However, for some companies, audience segmentation is important and they need to focus in on a specific niche (EX: age or location parameters). If this is the case, you can expect to see a little bit higher of CPCs and CPMs than campaigns targeting large, broad audiences.

Budget & Bid Amount 

TikTok allows you to set a daily or lifetime budget at both the campaign level and the ad group level. When setting the budget at the ad group level, you can either use a cost cap or the lowest-cost bid. The cost cap will ensure that you will never pay higher than your bid amount for the particular action you’re optimizing for. However, if the cost cap is too low for the conversion cost, you might not spend your daily or lifetime ad budget. 

CTR & Creative

Last but not least, the most important factor to achieving low costs on TikTok is the ad creative. While TikTok users are typically more engaged in the video ad than users of any other social ad platform, the average CTR on TikTok is typically a little lower than the CTR on other social ad platforms. In order to maintain a healthy CPA, you’ll want the video CTR to be higher than 1% on your ad. Once the CTR starts to drop lower than 1%, your costs will increase, which is how you know it’s time to rotate in new creative.

How Do TikTok Ads Compare to Other Platforms? 

It’s always hard to get an apples-to-apples comparison on social ad platform costs since there are a lot of factors that go into the average, but when looking at CPCs and CPMS, TikTok is pretty comparable to Facebook and Instagram. 

Platform CPC CPM
TikTok $1.00 $6.06
Facebook $0.97 $12.57
Instagram $3.56 $7.91
LinkedIn $5.00 $6.59
Twitter $0.38 $6.46
Pinterest $0.70 $5.00

However, throughout all of the campaigns that we’ve run on TikTok at Tuff for a variety of our partners, we typically see a lower CVR from TikTok ads compared to Facebook and Instagram. So what does this mean you? If your target audience is on TikTok and you have the budget and creative needed to test on this channel, then it’s 100% worth the test and could be a very successful channel for your business. Looking for more tips on how to set up a successful TikTok campaign? Check out this article!

tiktok ads on a phone

TikTok Ad Examples: 7 Video Ideas That Work

tiktok ads on a phone

In just a couple of years, TikTok has risen from a niche social network to become one of the leading players in the industry, racking up weeks at the top of app download charts and passing 1 billion global users. That’s more than Snap, Reddit, Pinterest, and Twitter, and TikTok is even gaining fast on Instagram, which launched Reels, a similar product, just a few months ago. 

Understandably, growth marketers are desperate to incorporate TikTok to their brand’s strategy. But it can be difficult to know where to start. Not every TikTok ad agency has a team of in-house experts (Tuff does though, and Jack, McKenzie, David, and Kate are great!), and it’s hard to navigate an entirely new platform without support.

We covered the basics of running a successful TikTok ad campaign previously, but today, we’re going to focus on how to create high-performing TikTok creative. We’ll look at six successful campaigns, explore what made the creatives work, and share how you can apply these lessons to your own TikTok campaigns. 

We’ll share creative from huge brands like Chipotle and Burger King, as well as creative from a campaign we ran for Sabio, which delivered a huuuge 12x ROAS. Ready to learn how to make outstanding TikTok creative? Let’s dive in!

Chipotle & Roblox: Boorito Campaign

Every Halloween, Chipotle hosts their Boorito event, a long-running fan favorite promotion that offers discounted burritos to customers who come into Chipotle stores dressed in costumes. This year, Chipotle decided to do things a little differently, and partnered with Roblox to open the first virtual Chipotle location and launch the first ever metaverse burrito giveaway.

> Watch the Chipotle and Roblox Boorito TikTok

The campaign was anchored by TikTok creative that shared how fans could claim a free burrito from Chipotle. There was also a virtual maze, Chipotle themed Halloween costumes, special unlockable rewards and more. In a 30 second TikTok video, Chipotle and Roblox seamlessly explained how fans could claim a free burrito and experience the Roblox universe. 

Using TikTok creative to drive in-person visits to stores proved a huge success, with $1 million in burrito giveaways, huge exposure for Roblox and Chiptotle to high-interest audiences, and increased traffic to both the Roblox ecosystem and Chipotle stores nationwide. 

Sabio Coding Bootcamp with Tuff

You might think that TikTok ads are best suited to glossy consumer products in the cosmetics and fashion categories, but we’ve had success with all kinds of brands, including Sabio, an online coding bootcamp.

> Watch our Sabio TikTok Creative

Your creatives should mimic the style of other TikTok videos. Get this right, and your target audience shouldn’t even realize they’re watching an ad. Here’s a few best practices to keep in mind from this Sabio creative:

  • Add text overlays that highlight your brand’s core value proposition, but keep them brief.
  • Make it short and sweet – 10-15 seconds is the perfect length. 
  • Use background music that adds to the video – bonus points if the song’s currently popular on TikTok!
  • Feature real people, and add lots of color contrast to make text pop.

The results when we applied these principles to Sabio’s TikTok creatives? A 12x ROAS, with TikTok CPA’s coming in 62% lower than other paid acquisition channels. 

HP – #HPRadicalReuse

When you think of a brand with huge TikTok reach, HP – makers of computers, printers, and IT accessories – probably isn’t the first brand that comes to mind. But with their #HPRadicalReuse campaign, HP redefined what legacy brands could do on TikTok, inspiring millions of viewers to think about reusing everyday plastic items. 

HP partnered with Avery Cyrus, a TikTok influencer with more than 7 million followers, to produce a short ad showing Avery recycling plastic soda bottles to create planters. At the end of the video, Avery challenges her followers to share their creations, helping the campaign to spread far beyond the initial ad creative. 

The campaign reached millions of TikTok users, with the most popular creative pulling in more than 36 million views. Sometimes, it’s best to let influencers who know their audience drive the direction of your creative.

> Watch the #HPRadicalReuse TikTok with Avery Cyrus

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star CX by Obviously

Shoes don’t come much more recognizable than the iconic Converse Chuck Taylors. But when it came time to launch an exciting new shoe, Converse turned to TikTok. 

By working with influencer marketing agency Obviously, Converse was able to partner with 24 different influencers to launch their new shoe. The campaign used a variety of personalities, from skaters to artists, helping promote the shoe to diverse audiences. All creative told the Converse brand story and prominently featured the shoes in all kinds of hero shots. 

> Check out the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star CX Creative

When all was said and done, the campaign generated over 2.3 million impressions, delivering a 1,554% ROI and winning an award for the Most Effective TikTok Campaign at the 2021 Effective Digital Marketing Awards.

Fanbytes x Burger King

When it comes to fast food, there’s a lot of misconceptions out there, and with this campaign Burger King was keen to dispel them. But simply publishing an ad saying their burgers used 100% real meat wasn’t enough – the message needed to be delivered in a way that would resonate with their target audiences. 

Enter the Burger King Conspiracy Challenge, which featured amazing creative from eight popular TikTokers. Each influencer was tasked with dreaming up the most unimaginable conspiracies about the contents of Burger King’s burgers, and then refuting them by championing Burger King’s talking points to their audiences.

> Watch the Fanbytes x Burger King Campaign

The campaign delivered success, with an innovative format and support from multiple different TikTok personalities, each with their own audiences. This creative leveraged the trust between influencers and their audiences, underscoring the importance of harnessing influencers in TikTok campaigns. 

With 575,000 views in just a week, and a 16.8% engagement rate, the creative helped Burger King cut through the misinformation and highlight the best attributes of their food to important audiences.

NeoReach and DraftKings

As sports betting becomes legalized in an ever-increasing number of U.S. states, DraftKings, a leading operator in the space, is experiencing huge growth. That’s especially true at the start of a new NFL season, and with their #MakeItReign campaign, DraftKings were keen to take advantage.

The campaign leveraged 50 different influencers, and challenged each of them to create their own touchdown dance. Football fans loved it, with more than 34 million views, 400+ fan created videos, and tens of thousands of new followers on DraftKings’ TikTok account. 

The key to success? Letting influencers unleash their creativity to create winning creative that connects with each individual audience, while challenging their fans to create their own TikTok videos. DraftKings achieved a 1.83x ROI, underscoring the fact that not all creative has to be professionally produced – sometimes it’s best to let your influencers get creative. 

> Check out the Draft Kings #MakeItReign TikTok Campaign

Key Takeaways: How to Produce Great TokTok Creative

There’s plenty you can learn from the TikTok creatives we’ve shared here, but it’s also worth sharing some fundamental principles that you should keep in mind when developing TikTok creative for your brand.

Here’s some of our key takeaways:

  • Use the TikTok Creative Center: TikTok’s Creative Center helps you discover what’s popular on TikTok right now. There’s templates to help you create your ad, tools to help you add the perfect captions, and detailed breakdowns of high-converting ad creatives.
  • Lighting is Key: all great creatives have one thing in common: the lighting is perfect. Make sure your video is clear and well-lit – shooting at golden hour is your friend.
  • Leverage UGC and Testimonials: the more natural your creative seems, the better it converts. Recruit customers to talk about their journey with your product.
  • Use Native TikTok Text: this helps your ad look less like, well, an ad. Be sure to add color contrast to make your text stand out – we like to use a red background on our text.
  • Lean Into Trends: there’s always new trends popping off on TikTok. Share your brand’s take on them, but be quick! These trends are often fleeting, but catching them at the right time can be a major boost.

These principles will take you a long way, but as with all digital advertising, the key to success really lies in continuous testing. Start with at least three very different ads, and run experimental campaigns with smaller budgets to learn what works best. And have fun with it – TikTok is a great platform, and nailing your strategy will see huge returns for your brand!

Got some awesome TikTok ideas for your brand? Reach out and let us know – we’d love to help you make them a reality!

How We Achieved a 12x ROAS on TikTok with $7K in Ad Spend

phone using tiktok

Diversifying your paid social channels is the name of the game when it comes to social advertising in 2021, especially since iOS 14 rolled out. And any growth marketing agency like Tuff is testing TikTok, trying to find ways to make the viral video platform profitable for our partners.

We’ve managed thousands of dollars in TikTok spend for our clients, and we’ve seen a ton of success and growth opportunities on the channel, particularly for our client Sabio – an online coding bootcamp based in Los Angeles. (So much so that we had to pause campaigns for a bit because there were too many leads for their sales team to work. 🤓)

Like any new channel that a TikTok ad agency tests, we started small to make sure TikTok was going to be effective, and gradually increased our spend over a three month period. Numbers speak louder than words in most marketing conversations, so this blog post includes data from Sabio campaigns.

A little bit of background so these numbers have context: 

  • Sabio is an online coding bootcamp — our primary goal is to grow the number of qualified applications submitted on their site. 
  • Our primary KPI is Cost Per Application (CPA). 
  • We’ve ran ads on 8 different channels for Sabio – Reddit, Google, Bing, Quora, YouTube, Facebook & Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat! So we have a ton of data to compare channel performance.

The CPA on TikTok was 62% lower than the CPA on other paid acquisition channels.

When we first launched TikTok, we saw immediate success, with CPAs consistently in the $11-$16 range over the first few months. But I think we were all a bit skeptical over the quality of the applicants. 

To help keep a pulse on lead quality, we worked closely with the Sabio team to keep a pulse on how many TikTok applications were attending info sessions and enrolling in bootcamp programs. 

We did see that TikTok’s applications were slightly less qualified compared to Facebook, but the CPA was 62% lower, so it still made sense to continue to run ads on TikTok.

In fact, TikTok campaigns generated 448 total applications, and 7 enrolled students. With a bootcamp tuition of $12K, that’s $84K in total revenue, and a 12X ROAS.

Here are some of our biggest takeaways so far from TikTok:

High-Impact Creative is Necessary

If you want to see success on TikTok, you have to make sure you’re using creative that mimics the TikTok style that users expect to see when they scroll on the platform.

tiktok ad example

For Sabio, this was easy. They’ve already gone all-in organically on TikTok. They post several videos a week, and some of them have half a million organic view. 

Our top-performing ads played off of some of TikTok’s most viral video trends, with text overlays that speak to Sabio’s value props.

BUT if posting to TikTok everyday isn’t right for you, don’t let it deter you! TikTok ads could still work for you if your audience is on the channel. You can still create strong video ads without necessarily repurposing organic posts. Check out this article where we talk about some of our best creative tips for TikTok!

But is your audience on TikTok?

TikTok’s ad platform is still in its infancy, and like all other social ads platforms when they first got started, the audience target capabilities leaves us wanting more (much, much more). 

Before you add TikTok to your mix of social advertising channels, take a beat and ask yourself if your audience is ACTUALLY an active TikTok user, or if this is a shiny new toy and you’re jumping in without a real strategy. 

Not all audiences are on TikTok, and it doesn’t make sense for every single brand. But if we’re working with a B2C brand targeting users between 17 and 35 years old, TikTok’s probably going to be on our list of channels to test.

Sabio’s target audience is perfect for TikTok: 18-30 year olds who tend to be early adopters. Specifically, we targeted:

  • Users interested in Gaming (top performer!)
  • Users interested in Music
  • Users interested in Culture/Education
  • Users interested in Tech (top performer!)

At the time that we launched these campaigns, TikTok didn’t have a lookalike audience feature, and the number of applications on our TikTok pixel wasn’t quite big enough. But this is on our radar to test in the coming weeks!

Campaign Setup

Whenever we test new social channels, one of the first things we test is campaign optimizations. For Sabio’s TikTok campaigns, we tested conversion vs. traffic. 

While our traffic campaigns had insanely low CPCs (like $0.08), the quality wasn’t there. The conversion rates were abysmal, and we quickly decided that conversion campaigns were the clear winner. 

Note: That seems super intuitive, but you’d be surprised how many times we see traffic campaigns crush it on some of these secondary social channels like TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Day Parting

Within the first month, we noticed that our TikTok campaigns were spending the daily budget before 2 p.m., and we knew that our audience was likely active on TikTok at night. 

We tested running ads from 12 p.m. to midnight, and saw 33% lower CPAs compared to the original campaigns.

While TikTok was wildly successful for Sabio, it definitely hasn’t worked for all of our partners. No matter what campaign optimization tricks you have up your sleeve, TikTok will only work if you have the perfect audience + creative combo. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for spending a few minutes reading through my TikTok endeavors! I hope you picked up a thing or two to test. 

I’d love to hear how TikTok has performed for you! HMU with any questions.