A Performance Marketer’s Guide to TikTok

Our performance team regularly bring us the latest digital marketing trends and insights, in what we call the ‘School of Big Rock’.  This week, we bring a performance marketer’s guide to TikTok.    

What is TikTok?  

TikTok describes itself as a destination for short-form videos on mobile phones.   

“Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.” 

Key Features  

  • Full-screen vertical video – TikTok is built for mobile phones, making it very accessible  
  • AI content recommendations – TikTok’s unique algorithm, central to its success, uses AI to make personalized recommendations for viewers 
  • Global community engagement – TikTok makes content discovery central to its app with its iconic ‘For You’ page as well as making it super easy to like, share, duet and comment 
  • Built for music – TikTok’s extensive music library and integration with Apple Music is where the app excels in comparison to other social platforms 

Why TikTok 

There are many advantages to advertising on TikTok because the platform provides unique access to Gen Z, the next generation of consumers.  Our top TikTok advantages in terms of its users are listed below:    

Unique Audience:  

The audience is the next generation of trendsetters.  41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. 56% of TikTok users are male and 44% are female. Roughly 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24.   

These users spend an average of 46 minutes a day on the app, posing a great opportunity for brands to deliver content to a captive and engaged audience.   

By embracing TikTok and the joyful spirit it encourages, brands can be seen to be in tune with the open and inclusive attitudes of today’s consumers.    

Unique Behaviour:  

The audiences use the platform to discover, collaborate and remix/duet videos in the context of other videos they’ve discovered on the platform.  TikTok’s unique delivery algorithm makes it easier to get higher engagement on your videos with much less effort (compared with other social platforms like Instagram or Twitter) – your video could go viral even if you have zero followers.   

Organic Authenticity:  

The platform drives branded and inspired user-generated content at scale where everyone feels free to show their true selves.  The inherent virality of TikTok’s content makes it likely to be shared on other social networks – what happens on TikTok today will be driving global cultural conversation tomorrow. It is also easy to connect with the audience and increase interactions with your brand, finding new communities through branded hashtags.      

Who Uses TikTok? 

TikTok has a growing global footprint with monthly active users increasing above 68.5% over the last 6 months. 

Ad Products  

TikTok has a variety of ad products, designed to drive engagement and creativity.  In terms of ad platforms, TikTok’s is relatively new and so a smaller number of brands are using it.  There is less competition, allowing you to get more engagement ad reach on your ads.      

 1) Brand Takeover  

  • Increase your brand awareness and build a strong impact with a full-screen display  

2) Topview  

  • Increase your brand awareness and build a strong impact with a full-screen video format that enables you to tell a story and drive engagement  

3) In-feed Video  

  • A storytelling video ad embedded in the ‘For You’ feed with multiple clickable elements to increase conversion  

4) Hashtag Challenge  

  • The hashtag challenge leverages our user’s tendency to create and share content around unified themes.  Brands can build affinity by turning users into co-creators.   

5) Hashtag Challenge Plus  

  • Hashtag Plus is an upgraded engagement solution, that drives engagement and UGXC, as a well as sales potential  

6) Branded Effects  

  • Leverage user engagement with fun and interactive branded effects to boost your brand with a mobile-first audience.    

Platform Capabilities   

Auction Models  

Currently, TikTok offers 5 different bidding methods: 

  • Cost per Mille/Thousand Impressions (CPM) 
  • Optimized Cost Per Mille/Thousand Impressions (CPM) 
  • Cost per Thousand Views (CPV) 
  • Cost per Click (CPC) 
  • Optimized Cost per Click (oCPC) 


  • Your bid is the price you are willing to pay for one thousand impressions.  
  • Delivers your ads to get the most exposure and reach to as many customers as possible within your budget. 


  • The price you will pay to create one thousand impressions, targeting users that are likely to complete a conversion or app install event. 


  • Your bid is the price you are willing to pay for per one thousand 6-second or 2-second video views.  
  • Delivers your video to get as many views as possible within your budget. 


  • Your bid is the cost you are willing to pay per click.  
  • Delivers your ads to users who are most likely to click them at a cost that is as close to your bid as possible. 


  • Your bid is the cost you are willing to pay per result.  
  • Delivers your ads to users who are more likely to take the action you want at a cost that is as close to your bid as possible.  

Targeting Options   

TikTok allows advertisers to target a variety of demographics.  We have listed some below: 

Targeting Options TikTok

Conversion Tracking  

TikTok allows advertisers to track website events with a TikTok pixel.  You can download the pixel and connect it to Google Tag Manager.  By installing the pixel code on your website, you can: 

  • Build marketing audiences.  You can create custom audiences based on website events.  
  • Optimise ad delivery.  You can target audiences that are more likely to initiate a website event.  
  • Measure campaign performance.  You can measure ROAS based on a series of conversion events you define. 

Campaign Metrics  

For each TikTok ad product, there are several campaign metrics that advertisers can track.  TikTok Ads Manager has a reporting menu that helps you view, organise and analyse your data.  By tracking these events, you can spot meaningful patterns and trends to optimise your campaigns. We have listed them below: 

Campaign Metrics TikTok

Creative Best Practices 

Whilst it’s important to understand the platform’s ad capabilities, good creative is just as important when building high-performing ads.  TikTok is one of the most visual platforms that really values creativity.   It is also one of the most inclusive platforms, encouraging users to be their authentic selves.   

We’ve listed a few creative tips (as guided by TikTok) below: 


  • Resolution: High-resolution videos/images are recommended 
  • Colour: Use colour contrast. Spruce up your ads by adding different colours.  
  • Consistency: Creative should be consistent with your brand image and resonate with your target audience.  
  • People: Showcase your product with video of people using your product. 
  • Testing: Test a variety of images and videos.  


  • Less is More: Make sure your message is clearly stated.
  • Consistency: Make sure your ad copy is consistent with your brand message and your media. 

We’re currently offering free consultations to drive growth with high-impact paid media strategies (and yes, that includes TikTok!)

Image credits: TikTok