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Advertising on TikTok: Pros & Cons

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By now, we’ve all heard of TikTok! This innovative social media platform has become extremely popular over the past two years, with 205 million unique downloads in the second quarter of 2021 alone. So, it’s no surprise that brands have started to pay attention to advertising on this platform. Wondering if you should add TikTok advertising to your marketing strategy? We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your brand.


  • Diversity of ad options - When it comes to TikTok advertising, there are plenty of ad formats to choose from. The advertisements your brand can develop on this platform range from in-feed videos to branded effects, or even branded hashtag challenges. This diversity of ad options gives brands the chance to create ads that feel more like native content than they do advertisements, and even add interactive or engaging elements. When looking for the right fit, make sure you have defined goals within your campaign, as well as a very specific target audience - we’ll talk more about that later! Need some inspiration when it comes to creating an effective TikTok marketing strategy? Check out our blog on How to Build a TikTok Marketing Strategy to Boost Your Q4 Sales.
  • Create a seamless experience - TikTok ads can create a seamless experience for users if used correctly. Following TikTok's mantra: “Don't make ads, make TikTok" has been proven to be effective for many brands promoting or advertising themselves on the platform. Let’s take a look at Madewell’s TikTok advertising strategy as an example. They ran In-Feed ads showing female creators dancing comfortably while wearing Madewell jeans. The videos captured the creators dancing and genuinely having fun - just like many others on the app do every day - while casually promoting a product. This campaign wrapped up with a cost per impression 12.4% lower than expected. Essentially, using In-Feed ads that are relatable and seamlessly blend in with TikTok’s endless content stream can go a long way! 
  • Expand your reach - What could be better than more people becoming aware of your products? Paid ads can be a great way to expand your reach and build brand awareness. Creating video ads that incorporate current TikTok trends and are, overall, relevant to your audience increases the chance of this content being featured on someone’s feed. Likewise, creating a Branded Hashtag Challenges that take off can get more eyes on your brand’s message too. This goes hand in hand with creating that seamless experience we mentioned before. The TikTok algorithm favors content that is relevant, trendy and shows constant engagement. The more people who view and engage with your ad, the more TikTokers will be exposed to your brand.


  • Ads can be intrusive and disruptive - On the flip side, TikTok advertising can disrupt user experience. Imagine you’re in a café, on a work call and then someone taps your shoulder to ask for directions! You’d find that pretty disruptive! And consumers do too – in fact, 74% of them go out of their way to avoid ads. It is a very difficult task to keep users engaged through your advertisements, especially on a platform like TikTok where people can swipe to a new piece of content the second they feel like it.
  • TikTok advertising can be expensive - Since TikTok’s ad program is a relatively new feature TikTok charges premium rates for their ads. Their prices start at $10 per CPM (cost per 1000 views) and require a minimum spend of $500, which is expensive compared to Facebook and Instagram advertising. And if you plan to run a Hashtag Challenge, those start at $150,000 per week. For many brands, this budgetary restraints can become a limiting factor on whether or not to add TikTok ads into the mix. Thankfully, even if you don’t have the budget to start a paid Hashtag Challenge ad, you can opt for the much more budget friendly option of creating your own TikTok challenge and partnering with creators to help you promote it to your target audience. 
  • And time-consuming! - Creating an ad that performs well on TikTok can take a lot of time and thought! With an endless stream of video content to get choose from, it’s easy for TikTok users to see an ad and swipe right past it. In order for your TikTok advertisements to lead to the results you want, you’ll need to allocate enough time to create quality, entertaining, engaging ad content. This also means knowing exactly the type of content your target audience enjoys. If you miss the mark on that, you’ll miss the opportunity to grab hold of their attention. One time-saving alternative is to partner up with other TikTokers to create ad content for you – but managing user-generated content collaborations solo can be time-consuming too. Looking to save time when partnering with creators? This platform will do all the work for you. Planning on creating your own TikTok ad? Check out TikTok’s suggestions for creative best practices first. 
  • Privacy setting complications - In the aftermath of the iOS 14.5 update’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework, apps have had to begin asking all iOS users for “permission to track” their unique device IDs’ activity across third party apps and websites. This change has thrown a wrench in activity tracking and campaign reporting for major apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok too. According to TikTok, advertisers can still target iOS users through a new, dedicated feature (which you can learn about here). But, because of these changes, advertisers hoping to target iOS users on TikTok (for app install campaigns, for instance) will have some complications to face if they plan to use paid ads. 

Free TikTok Webinar - Watch Now

Ads are not the only option to expand your brand’s reach on TikTok! This short-form video platform can be leveraged in a lot of different ways – here are 4 examples! Depending on where your brand is at and what its goals are, user-generated content from TikTok creators can be a better alternative to ads, as it’s often more engaging, affordable and effective. Thankfully, we can get content creators on TikTok posting about your brand and products! Contact our TikTok marketing experts to learn how.