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:
- A broad audience with no interest targeting, ages 18-26
- 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!
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)?
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!
Hey there! I’m McKenzie, a Growth Marketer at Tuff who lives in Nashville, TN. After years of experience working at agencies in paid media, I found my way to Tuff in 2021 to work with start-ups, scale-ups, and established brands on full-funnel growth strategies rooted in data. When I’m not working, you can find me taking my dog Burley to the park, traveling with friends and family, or winding down at the local yoga studio. Let’s connect!