#92 What I Learned with TikTok Ads
For the past few months, I've been putting a lot of effort into growing my apparel brand with TikTok ads. There was a lot of failing in the beginning, but now I'm seeing why so many others are adding this platform to both organic and paid efforts.
In this episode, I'll share what you should do now no matter if you plan to run ads on TikTok, how I set up my campaigns, and how I approached creative.
Alright, time to get down to business. And as I mentioned, we're going to be talking about TikTok ads. So new, new area, right new area to think about in all your marketing and advertising avenues. Facebook has its own beast, it still is its own beast, although it's a little bit more complicated these days. But TikTok is starting to get some traction. And I wanted to talk about this today to start giving you if you haven't touched it yet, or maybe you've kind of dabbled and you just kind of don't know what you're doing.
I wanted to kind of give you a little bit, of not really a case study, But, some practice that I did myself with one of my brands. And this is an apparel brand. And I know for sure that people are having success there. So what makes TikTok ads so hard is that you can't just film a normal video, you can't just make graphics, those things are out the window. When you make creative for TikTok, it has to be almost entertainment, not really, and I'll give you an example in a little bit. But it's not as simple as what we're used to. In our standard Google, Facebook, Instagram planet in our world, they're in advertising.
So, it's a lot of really short videos, usually kind of in that seven seconds seven to 10. second mark, you can go longer if you want to. But, the success that I've seen happen are on these shorter videos. And they usually have some kind of hook right in the beginning within the first three seconds, something that kind of just catches somebody's eye, and keeps them from, you know, scrolling up to the next video. And, a lot of people are having good success with things like user generated content, you're gonna start seeing this a lot, you're gonna start seeing these initials, UGC, a ton all over the place.
And that stands for user generated content. But what people are doing is they're getting their products into, maybe influencers, that they can work with micro influencers, they can work with that, and understand how to make videos for the platform. And it's just on their phone, nobody's using professional cameras for this. This is all on the phone, which is another amazing thing. If you try to use a professional camera for TikTok, you're probably not going to have good results. Stick to the phone. And what they're doing. They're kind of showing, you know, their order they got why they like it, showing the features off and recommending it. That's kind of what the user generated content is.
I've had success with simply just showing the product, believe it or not, and it kind of baffles my mind. Because in my mind, it's not really that creative, just doing some little jump stops, little transition stuff, adding some music to it, and I do this all on the phone all on the TikTok app itself and add some text to it. Maybe do a voiceover and it works. Not all of them work amazingly. But on some of them that I've had. It's worked incredibly well. And I've had sales, I'm tracking them. I use the pixel for TikTok. If you're on Shopify, it integrates perfectly. But I also use Triple Whale, which is a platform that allows you to track things a little bit better. Using ad IDs and all that kind of stuff gives you a better picture of the order because it goes all the way through, through the transaction.
And I'm seeing returns, I've had some returns where it's like 6x sum, you know, one and a half x. But again, I don't like to use rows as the only way to decide whether or not something is good because ROI kind of includes product price, right? So if you have a bigger product price, you're going to end up with a higher ROI. That's just common sense. But I look at cost per acquisition, things like that. And just overall, is the campaign profitable?
That's the thing to look at. So, after all that, that I just said, let's kind of take you through some of the things that you should do when it comes to getting started on TikTok, or if you've kind of dabbled it in a little bit. Try to give you some some guidance here for what I've seen personally work I've, I've spent, you know, maybe five to $10,000 in TikTok ads so far. So, I haven't gone too crazy. But I think I've learned a little bit. And I would like to share that with you guys.
So, number one., If you do not have a TikTok ad account yet, what are you waiting for? Get one, it doesn't cost anything. Get on there, get the pixel, install the pixel on your site. Do that now, think about if you didn't have your Facebook pixel in your site for the last several years, you'd be missing out on a lot of data, right? So you might as well get it on there. Now, even if you're not running ads, even if you're not a, a business that does direct to consumer product goods of any sort. Even if you're a lead based lead based business, you might as well get the TikTok pixel now, because later on, you're going to wish you did you want to get that pixel starting to get seasoned with data. Because you can do the same thing as with a Facebook pixel, you can do leads, you can do Add to Cart, purchases, initiate checkouts, view content, whatever, you can do all that same stuff with TikTok pixel.
If you are direct to consumer goods, you're selling and you're on Shopify, this becomes even easier because then you can just go to Shopify, add TikTok as a channel, add your ad account, the pixel there, it all integrates nicely with your catalog, all that kind of stuff. And then boom, you're already tracking, you're already all set, everything's everything is easy. So if your lead base, things are going to be a little bit more code, you're going to need to put on your site for that stuff to happen. But you should definitely start seasoning that pixel because what's going to happen is as those high value events start accumulating in that TikTok pixel, Tiktok is going to be able to start recommending audiences. And I'm going to talk a little bit more about that here in just a second.
So, you got the pixel all in there, you're good to go pixel on your site, or you're integrated with the Shopify, boom. Okay, now what? Well, you get into the platform, and it's not as cool as Facebook's, it's not as easy to use. I mean, Facebook can sometimes not be easy to use, but TikTok is a little different. It's a little bit, It's not, it's not the same. So it makes it a little more difficult because you kind of have to learn something new. So, let's start campaign level. Should you do traffic? Should you do conversions? If you are a direct consumer good and you're selling, start with Add to Cart. That's what I did. That's what I started to see if I can get some some events. Because if you're not getting a lot of purchases, first off those campaigns, you're likely not going to have good results in optimization.
So bring it back a little bit and just start with Add to Cart, you're still likely still to get sales. When I started. My first Tik Tok campaigns here, I really gave it a shot really puts money behind it and really gave like the creative a decent thought. I started with Add to carts, and I started getting a lot of add to carts from those ads. And then I even got some purchases. And the campaign was actually actually breakeven, plus a little bit profitable. And so I let that go for about two weeks, two to three weeks or so. And I thought, okay, got some good data here. Maybe, it's time for me to try purchases.
After that happened, I made a new campaign with purchases and boom, I was right. Purchases started coming, started optimizing, I don't think it would have been as good if I just started with purchases. So start with the Add to cart first, and then, once you're seeing some good results, maybe at least breaking even, maybe making a little bit of money on those campaigns, then you can kind of say, okay, maybe I got something on this campaign. And I can move it to that next level of purchases.
Now, just like in Facebook, just like in Facebook, if you have a campaign, guess what else you have under that? You have an ad set. And it's kind of the same thing. Ad Sets are where you figure out your targeting. So how do you do targeting in Tik Tok? Well, typically, what I do now, is I set up a CBO campaign. So the campaign is campaign budget optimization. If you're going to start with an add to cart, you do that, if you're got purchases, you start with purchases, you do purchases if you're already at that point. And then in that campaign, I typically, myself, start with three different ad sets.
They're all going to have the same creative, but I start with three different ad sets and the targeting is different. If you don't have a seasoned pixel, you don't have any data on the pixel at all yet, you're probably going to only be able to do two ad sets. If you had some seasoning, and you have some data, remember what I talked about just a little bit earlier, about TikTok being able to recommend an audience? That's what I'm talking about. So, on one of these ad sets, the targeting is straight up, just what TikTok recommends. I don't touch it, I just let it do its thing. So I let it go completely. When you start building the campaign, it'll say TikTok recommend, recommended, recommended targeting, I click the button. That's it. That's it there.
The other set is going to be hashtags. So you're going to search on TikTok, and you can search in the ads manager as well, when you're doing this, and find relevant hashtags to target. So, if you start looking you'll in you, you hover over them, you'll see the different audience sizes of those different hashtags. So you know, get creative there, think about what you're, what you're selling, and have an audience of hashtags. And then I also like to also kind of get into if you know if your targets more men or women, if you have a certain age area you want to get to I go ahead and do that there too, on this ad set. And just straight up target hashtags. That is it.
The third ad set is broad. Remember, the last episode, we talked about this broad and Facebook, how I'm not sure? Well, that's out the window for TikTok, because it's a whole other thing to deal with. So, I go broad on my third ad set. And I'll share these results with you. So, you have these three ad sets, you have the recommended if you can do it, you have the hashtags ad set.
And then you have the completely broad where you don't do anything, maybe the ages, obviously, depending on what you're selling. Other than that, and then obviously gender, if if you're selling men's clothing, you only want to target men, right? If you can, women's clothing, you only want to target women, those things are the only things you change otherwise, completely wide open. Broad, broad, broad. Cool.
So, now we get creative. The first thing you want to do. And this is kind of a funny thing, you can actually have a TikTok ad account without having a TikTok profile. You can run ads, kind of like, I don't even know what word I would use, but it's a fake profile. I don't know if I really liked that term, but we'll go with it for this discussion. And you'll just upload your logo on the ads and you'll, you know, put your business name on that and then it'll run but there will be no real account associated with it. I don't like that. Personally, I did start like that, but I don't like that now.
Make sure you have a brand account. Again, it costs you nothing. You have the pixel you should have a brand account Tiktok start one. Set it up as your logo and add your information there, have that. And then what you'll do in your ad, ad sets and ads is you'll designate to be able to use that account posts from that account as ads. So what I do, is anything I'm going to run as an ad, why not run it as organic content to because remember what I said in the beginning, the content is not really that ad like, it's more kind of like almost entertainment, or kind of just fun, really relaxed video that's showing you stuff.
So I use that as organic content at the same time. So, I'm building the profile of Tik of my brand TikTok account. But at the same time, I can use an ad. So if I'm going to make an ad, I make the ad, I post it as organic content on the brand TikTok account. And then I designate that specific post in the ad, it's because it's already made. And you can do that whenever you make the ad. And you get the benefits of people seeing these videos on that brand page. And seeing those view counts go up, I have one that has over a half million views on it. It's amazing. And to tell the truth, I think it's such a terrible video, but it works. Um, and it's doing well.
So, that's what I kind of recommend you doing on that front, if you're not ready to make a brand account. Okay, you can try the ads out and with the ghost profile, whatever. But I really do recommend going the route of making a brand account on TikTok, and doing all those things. Because when you do that, especially if you have Shopify, it integrates with your catalog, too. And you can actually do product links on your, on your Tiktoks. So that's another cool benefit there.
Now, whenever you make your ads, you're going to have the option of allowing comments, allowing different options. And you might be like, Well, if you're a little nervous, if you're a little insecure in what you're selling, you might be tempted to turn off the comments. Don't do that. Whatever you do, you want engagement, you're going to get a lot of comments, you're going to get a lot of likes, get that engagement, the more comments you can generate on that video, it's going to only make it better, it's only going to make things better for both your ads and your organic account, you're going to get more follows. And it's going to be really, really cool.
Now, now's also a time to build that organic account. So off of the ads, build the organic account. Actually, let me go back one step back, I'm getting ahead of myself. With the ads, you might also ask, Well, how long should I let these run? The answer is, I don't know. There's no real guidance there. But I have noticed that on the weekends, you tend to get better results. You'll see things kind of, you know, I've seen some decent stuff during the week. But on the weekends, is when I really see things happen.
So for me personally, you know, if I have a brand, especially that doesn't have you know, multi millions of dollars in ad spend to use, I'll kind of start my ads like on Wednesday, I'll start a new creative on Wednesday, started at a lower budget and then I'll let it kind of ramp up and then right before the weekend, maybe like on Thursday night or Friday, I'll almost double triple my spin to go through the weekend. For some reason, the weekend just does better. I think people just have more time when they're not at work. They're really ready to engage, more ready to click through more, all those kinds of things. So that's why I think that works better.
You can see things like click through rates and all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, you really just need to pay attention to how things are attributed and if you're actually getting sales. The dashboard and the pixel kind of have some of the same attributes, it kind of has some of the same problems as Facebook would. But you know, you can get a good sense there. I highly recommend getting something like triple whale and having that connection that can help give you another view into how these campaigns are performing. I don't think it's like Facebook, where you just leave on a campaign and then just let that go for weeks and weeks at a time.
Because one of the things about TikTok is that the creative fatigues out very, very quickly. That's what makes this so much more difficult than Facebook. I'm going to caveat this saying that I still see for the counts that I run, way better results on Facebook and Instagram than I do on TikTok at this point. However, I'm talking in terms of volume, in terms of quality customers, in terms of CART value, and cost per acquisition, things are pretty dang good on TikTok.
In a lot of senses, depending on what you sell, obviously, is going to be a big thing. But I'm seeing good things. But like I said, the huge problem, creative fatigue, I maybe can run the same ad, what I'm seeing right now at the budgets that I have maybe a week or two, three, if I really, really, really push it. But you can see the decline happen quickly, because I mean, this is an entertainment platform, it's way different from Facebook, and Instagram. And it's kind of like I already saw this show, like I don't need to see it again. Right, so they just move past it. So that's the challenge, test that content, and see what it does for you.
Now, I will mention that, again, I want to harness the part of really trying to start building your organic brand, on TikTok. Start making videos, we have maybe one to two years where I think you can get a lot of free engagement that you don't have to work too hard for. You just have to make cool videos. And I guess yes, that is a tough thing to do. But you can do it. Just Just get out your phone, get creative. Look at other great things that other companies are doing. Look how people are making really cool content, and it's a lot of transition fun, stuff like that. And don't, don't really overthink it, you know, just just get into it and start doing and you'll learn how to use the platform. And you'll start getting a bunch of views and engagement very, very easily. I have lots of videos on my brand account that already have like I mentioned half a million views 300,000 200,000 That's insane.
Imagine getting that on Instagram. It's not that possible on organic. And yes, I'm doing ads on those videos, but it's helping feed all the other stuff. So you know, people come to the account, and they look at other stuff. And it just grows that way. So when it comes all to it, just get started. Get the pixel in your site. If you haven't yet already. Get the campaigns going, try something.
See if it works for you to mess around with creative, you're gonna fail a lot before you find success. But when you do, it's going to be a lot worse. Oh, very, very much worth it. And think about if you have your Facebook and Instagram ad game on point. You have your TikTok ad game on point. You're unstoppable. And guess what? A lot of your competitors are probably not even on TikTok yet are not doing anything. I know some of my brands that I work on, with the competitors already having way more followers than them and they're supposed to be the industry leader. That's insane. So, get on that and hopefully it works out for you.