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Utilizing A New Digital Marketing Channel- TikTok

A header image of a computer background and the TikTok logo overlaid

From trending songs and dances to everyday cooking recipes, TikTok has video content for each one of its one billion users worldwide.

For digital marketers, this vast amount of users provides new opportunities to leverage content and marketing campaigns to bring in a younger demographic to your business or university. Our Paciolan Digital Marketing team has begun utilizing this new platform and has come up with some tips and insights to make your TikTok ads as successful as possible.

An image of the TikTok logo

The Rise of Tik Tok

Facebook and Instagram have been two of the best advertising platforms for digital campaigns over the last couple of years. However, for the first time in the company's 18-year history, the platform has seen a decline of two million active users in the second quarter of 2022 (Richter). Meanwhile, TikTok was the most downloaded app in Apple's App Store, with over 60 million downloads in Q2 alone (Mohsin).

Looking deeper into the age makeup of TikTok's users, the majority of users fall into the 19-29 age demographic, which makes up 35% of the platform's overall user base, which we can target and funnel in new customers to your fan base. Users aged 30 and above make up 37% of the user base, and the remaining 28% of users are those under 18 years of age (Ruby).

An image of the percentage age of TikTok users

Letting The Platform Find Your Correct Audience

Using the demographic information above and conversations between Paciolan and our TikTok representatives, the best practice when running paid advertising on TikTok is to use open targeting and let the platform's advanced interface serve your ads to the users it believes are most likely to convert.

The National Hot Rod Association has been an avid user of paid TikTok campaigns. Our first campaign was run in 2021 using open targeting, and as initially expected, 81.52% of the impressions served were to those within the 18-24 age demographic. The Click-Thru Rate for this age group was strong at 1.06% CTR, but unfortunately, no conversions were made. Fast forward to one of our most recent campaigns for the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, TikTok identified that the 25-34 age range was the most likely to convert, and sure enough, we began to see conversions for our TikTok campaign and serve more impressions to this age range.

The average age of tiktok users in two major cities

Content Matters

As with any other marketing platform, the ad content used in digital campaigns is the single most important factor in the success of a campaign. For TikTok, a best practice is to have your main messaging be shown within the first 3-5 seconds of your ad, as this is a sweet spot for a viewer to determine whether to continue watching or swipe to the next video.

Another best practice is having your TikTok ad have an "organic" feel and less of a commercial presence. You want the ad to blend into a viewers' for you page and not be overwhelmed with text and/or messaging to buy your product throughout the ad.

The University of Pittsburgh experimented with this theory when we A/B tested an organic video with a commercial ad within the same campaign. The organic video outperformed the commercial ad for the Panthers, and the results were one-sided. The organic video had a CTR (Click-Thru Rate) of 2.37%, and the commercial ad only produced a CTR of 0.54%. Even though the commercial-style ad was outperformed, it provided a nice variation and helped reduce creative fatigue. If your creative department can create two different versions of an ad, utilize them both and let TikTok determine which ad will perform best.

Two tiktok example posts from the PITT volleyball team

Student Focused Ads

Promoting student tickets for an upcoming season or event? Look no further, as TikTok is the channel to place your digital ads. With so many users falling between the 18-24 age demographic, it makes sense to run student ticketing campaigns on TikTok instead of an older demo-based platform such as Facebook or YouTube.

Fresno State and Kansas State ran TikTok campaigns advertising student season tickets for their upcoming football season. Kansas State's campaign had 71,420 impressions with a 1.33% CTR, and Fresno State had 197,180 impressions with an incredible CTR of 5.02%. With our ability to target specific age demos, 100% of the impressions for both campaigns were delivered to the intended audience in the Fresno and Manhattan DMA's.

Two example tiktok posts from Kansas State

The Professional Bull Riders ran a unique campaign for their Team Series event in Fort Worth, Texas. With the Red River Rivalry between the Oklahoma and Texas football teams falling on the same weekend as their PBR event, we decided to run a TikTok campaign in the Fort Worth DMA using three versions of the same ad targeting students from each school while changing the ad copy to feature the team specific promotional code.

Three example tiktok posts from a PBR weekend event for $10 student tickets

As TikTok's popularity and user base grows, the digital marketing landscape will also need to adapt and take advantage of this new platform. With TikTok being a content-heavy platform, don't be afraid to try out new video content ideas that you wouldn't use elsewhere. Organic videos may be the best-performing content now, but you won't know if your new content ideas will work unless you test them out, and there's no better platform to do so right now than TikTok.

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