Running TikTok ads without a strong organic strategy is not the same as lighting your ad dollars on fire, but it’s close.
TikTok measured a 173% increase in top of mind awareness after being exposed to both a brand’s paid and organic content.
Why not save yourself the time and headaches? (That’s rhetorical.)
TikTok Provides Greater Reach For Organic Content
Globally, more than 1 billion users spend an average of 52 minutes a day scrolling through TikTok’s For You page (i.e. FYP) exploring content that the TikTok algorithm deems relevant, not exclusively from creators they follow. This accounts for the majority of these users’ TikTok screen time.
In 2020, TikTok overtook Facebook in terms of average hours spent on the app per month by users.
The TikTok algorithm is generous these days. Per TikTok, the algorithm does not take previous high-performing videos or follower count into direct consideration when recommending content for a user’s FYP. Let that sink in.
Perception Is Reality On TikTok
OK, so now you see the value in an organic TikTok presence, and you’re licking your chops at the possibility of FYP placements.
Without even realizing it, you’ve set the table for better paid social performance. Here’s why:
- The best TikTok ads feel like TikTok posts
- Credibility matters on TikTok
- You’ve aligned yourself with TikTok’s goals
Let’s tackle these one-by-one.
- The top-performing TikTok ads feature content that users engage with. Sounds simple, but what kills engagement on TikTok? Content that feels inauthentic to the platform. Recognize that TikTok has its own culture, language, and expectations.
The best brands invest in TikTok-native content that rides popular trends so that their brand is woven seamlessly into the TikTok zeitgeist. It just so happens that their ads crush because of this.
- Imagine you’re scrolling through your FYP and you see a video so compelling that you don’t even realize it’s a kitchenware ad. You click on the account profile hoping to view more intriguing content, but you’re met with a profile that contains 0 videos, bringing your search to a halt. Not only does this create disappointment if the user does not want to make a purchase right then and there, but it feels transactional.
This bait-and-switch experience leaves money on the table. Since TikTok does not allow users to view an ad’s URL, users are prohibited from opening your website in another browser or revisiting it later. However, this can be easily avoided by linking your Instagram to your organic profile. Users then have the freedom to find and peruse your site when they see fit via Instagram where the URL is viewable.
- Consider TikTok’s perspective as a platform. They want users to remain on the app. If you run ads that feel spammy—or you run ads without an active TikTok profile—it leads to a bad user experience, which is misaligned with TikTok’s goals. The punishment is your ads will suffer with less delivery and higher CPMs.
The Ingredients To Organic TikTok Success
Another benefit of investing in TikTok content is that the ads that perform well on TikTok often crush on other paid social channels. But it’s not necessarily true the other way around.
Here’s what makes a strong TikTok brand profile:
- Understand the culture you’re tapping into and contribute to it. With > 1.4 million followers, The Washington Post realizes that TikTok users are curious and want to be entertained. As such, the media company presents current events through comedy skits and attention-grabbing trends. In the video below, The Washington Post addresses power outage forecasts in true TikTok fashion, using a combination of quick zooms, bold text, and a trending sound.
@washingtonpost Large portions of the Midwest are forecasted to have power shortages during a heat wave. Officials are preparing emergency energy conservation measures. #blackout #intheheights #intheheightschallenge ♬ BLACKOUT. Thekatiebradshaw – KATIE BRADSHAW
- Observe trending filters and use them. European airline Ryanair has struck gold building a hilarious collection of content almost entirely with the greenscreen filter. With 1.6 million followers and multiple videos exceeding 11 million views, Ryanair has made its mark on TikTok in a simple and effective way.
@ryanair I’ve been dropping so many hints, and you’re still not getting it 😫 #ryanair #bye #slayed ♬ original sound – prettyenergy
- It’s OK to post content that isn’t directly related to your product or industry. The beauty of TikTok is how much emphasis is placed on creativity and authenticity. Take Duolingo, for example. The language-learning app was not always a comedic, Gen-Z brand, but its lighthearted content (which is often unrelated to language learning) has made it beloved on TikTok.
@duolingo yee haw #DuaLipa #Duolingo #DulaPeep #ily #perfect ♬ I WANNA RIDE – ~
TikTok Lessons And Takeaways
Below is a summary of our advice:
- Lesson 1: Capitalize on TikTok’s algorithm (and the FYP).
- Lesson 2: The best TikTok ads don’t feel like ads.
- Lesson 3: TikTok credibility is earned via organic content.
- Lesson 4: Align yourself with TikTok’s interests (or suffer the consequences).
- Lesson 5: Understand TikTok culture and trends.
- Lesson 6: Your TikTok content can extend beyond your brand.
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