Paid Social Pros Share 14 TikTok Ad Tips to Boost Engagement

July 18th, 2023

In the last couple of years, TikTok has become one of the major players in the world of social media, rapidly increasing in popularity, users, and engagement rates.

A study by Statista investigated how long TikTok users spend on the platform and found:

  • 30% of users watch for less than an hour each week
  • 19% for 1 hour
  • 19% for 1-2 hours
  • 15% for 2-5 hours
  • 11% for 5-10 hours
  • 6% for 10+ hours

Given stats like these, paid media managers and marketers around the world have increasingly focused their efforts into building communities around their brands on TikTok.

But creating an ad that performs well on TikTok is its own art form. And it requires you to think outside what tends to perform well on other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook. TikTok’s audience is young, casual, and won’t hesitate to swipe away if your content doesn’t immediately catch their interest.

So to help you understand how to keep them watching, we reached out to 14 paid social experts to find out the strategies and ad formats that tend to work best for them on the platform.

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TikTok Ads Tips

Use the TikTok ads tips below to capitalise on unique advantages of of the platform, expand your reach, and ultimately maximise your return on ad spend.

There are five overarching rules to create great TikTok ads: Leverage the power of sound. Use real people. Lo-Production. Easy-to-read captions. Within those rules is another guideline to help your TikTok ads excel – know what trends resonate for the audience/industry your product/service falls under. For example, for e-commerce ads, unboxing videos work well; for the education industry, problem-solution style videos work well; Feel free to jump on popular TikTok trends but ensure it works for your audience.

Gráinne Hart

Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Adhere Digital

For Brand Awareness campaigns without huge budgets – going high frequency to a more defined audience performs better than going after a broad audience. Yes, adding targeting (age, gender, location) will increase CPMs. Performance looks worse in-platform. The key is to look outside of ad platforms. Filter other data sources by your target demographic (e.g. brand search uplift, total purchases, CRM) to see if social ads are helping those users perform better than the rest of the population.

Amy Stamper

Head of Paid Social, Impression

Start by setting clear goals and defining your audience. Research your user demographics to understand your audience better. Create captivating ad content that aligns with your brand’s message and captures attention. Utilise precise targeting options to reach the right audience segments. Continuously monitor campaign metrics and optimise accordingly. Test different ad variations to identify top performers. Leverage retargeting to engage users who have shown interest. Implement conversion tracking to measure success and refine future strategies.

Andrés Bohórquez

Marketing Strategist, Green Mo.

If you want highly engaging and converting content, you need to be collaborating with influencers and affiliate creators. TikTok has a special ability to build trust in the first few seconds of a short video, and that trust drives more sales and higher performing campaigns. If you aren’t already incorporating influencer/affiliate content into your media strategy, you should start today.

Hans Hartwick

Digital Media Manager, Integra Beauty

Many B2B marketers still disregard TikTok as a serious opportunity and think it’s for dancing teenagers. I have implemented several tools into our tech stack that I first heard about on TikTok. The common themes of the B2B accounts I follow and ads I watch are that they are either funny or provide tremendous value, they are always very relevant and you can tell that the creator knows their buyers incredibly well. And they never ask for the sale! And I might not buy straight away, or convert through a tracked buyer journey, but eventually, if the product is relevant, I will buy it. And won’t shut up about the brand. It’s rare that B2B brands do TikTok well, so when they do, it’s newsworthy.

Anna Kocsis

Head of Digital Marketing, Sign In Scheduling

Don’t repurpose ads on TikTok from other channels. Success on TikTok relies heavily on thinking and creating content like a creator rather than a brand. Make TikToks, not ads.

Jonathan Nyst

Head of Growth & Acquisition, StoreHub

Be Authentic. Authentic to your brand and most importantly authentic to the users! If you are you will reap the rewards through enhanced engagement. Greater engagement generates much more data, fueling and supercharging your performance. The best way to achieve this is by leveraging creators to produce authentic content, then amplify it through combining 1st party data and your own targeting strategies.

Tom Ruff

Head of Social, Journey Further

Build out your custom audiences early, this will allow you to create effective lookalike audiences in a short period of time.

Callum Clark

Paid Media Lead,

“Make TikToks, not ads” rings true more than ever. When you’re deciding on creative for TikTok, ensure that you do your research. Can you jump on any trends? What is your audience engaging with? Highly polished ads work for premium brands but native-creator-led ads are better suited for emerging brands. Researching relevant hashtags and creators in Creative Centre is a great place to start. Test your creative and remember relevancy and story-telling is key on TikTok to create impact.

Nicholas Handley

Head of PPC Performance, Impression

Using Spark Ads in your performance campaigns is a great way of growing your TikTok account at no extra cost, and the increased engagement on your profile can have a positive impact on your performance metrics.

Keith Tincknell

Performance Marketing Manager, Luno

TikTok isn’t a passing trend, it’s now become embedded in customers lives, so you have to learn to use it to deliver on your objectives. The trick to getting it working for your business is to make the content engaging for your audience. Go broad with targeting, and make sure you deliver A+ content that appeals to the segment you want it to appeal to. The algorithm will take care of the rest.

Paul Oates

Head of Performance Media, Sykes Holiday Cottages

My tip is a simple one – regularly rotate in high-performing influencer content into your posting schedule.

Ebony Haley

Director, Influencer Marketing and Partnerships, Trailer Park Group

People quickly ignore typical ads. Use different channels for promotional content and get creative on TikTok. The best advertising comes from authentic content that fits naturally with the channel.

Aino Haarala

Digital Marketing Specialist, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

User-generated content is king on TikTok. We A/B Tested two product videos one user generated and one by a production company. The UGC video got 10 sales while our high end production video got none! On TikTok people convert through the most organic looking content.

Eric Flynn

Digital Marketing Executive, Adhere Digital

Maximise Your Paid Social Efficiency

We previously interviewed paid social expert Fiona Bradley, Founder of FB Comms, to include her insights in our Performance Marketing Efficiency Playbook.

Fiona was named Social Media Business Woman of The Year 2023, and has worked on campaigns for Coca-Cola, the NHS, Rolex and many more. A committee member for the After Work Club and Guest Lecturer at Durham University, she has a proven track record of delivering outstanding campaign results. 

In her chapter, Fiona outlines the key key things she does to maximise her return on ad spend across all major social channels. You can download the 115-page playbook for free – no form fill required. Expect to learn: 

  • How to calculate your Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER)  
  • How to obey the 10 ad copy commandments 
  • The 1-1-3-1 rule for landing pages 
  • Ideal B2B & B2C PMax campaign structures 
  • “Outside the box” targeting strategies for paid social 
  • And lots more

Get Lunio’s Performance Marketing Efficiency Playbook

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Ads are for humans, not bots. Get a demo and save up to 25% of your advertising budget by automatically eliminating fake ad engagements across all paid channels.

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