E-Commerce Strategists: Stop Ignoring TikTok

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk

TikTok, a popular social media app, was released in September 2016. Since then, it has truly taken the world by storm, with over 730 million user downloads in 2019 alone. Given its increasing popularity, it’s important for e-commerce brands to consider the app when thinking about their social media presence.

An Introduction to TikTok

TikTok is a social media app with about 850 million active monthly users that allows people to record and share short videos overlaid with various effects, filters, texts, and sounds. Users can also livestream and interact with their followers through the comments. It’s a vibrant and ever-growing platform featuring anything from comedy sketches to political commentary to dance routines, and content creators are flocking to the app to share their productions and find other creators they’re interested in.

Welcome to TikTok for Business

TikTok for Business claims to drive website visits, app installs, and online sales, using smart targeting to make sure that your ads are seen by the right people. Touting over 150 markets worldwide and a flexible budget for businesses big and small, TikTok assures that its platform is easy and intuitive for an advertiser, no matter their expertise.

Another unique aspect of TikTok is its user base, which is overwhelmingly made up of Millennials and members of Generation Z. If your brand is looking to connect with the next generations, TikTok is undoubtedly the place to advertise.

Types of TikTok Advertising

Here are some of the main ways to show your image or video ad on TikTok.

TopView is a video first format, referred to by the app as “TikTok’s most premium real estate”. With this method, you get up to one minute of full-screen, long-form video advertising, audio included. With nothing but your ad on the screen, it’s distraction-free until the user swipes away.

Brand Takeover takes up the full length of the screen as well, the difference being a lack of audio and a shorter video time. You get 3-5 seconds to show off your brand, making it imperative that you hook your audience immediately with a strong visual message. Static and dynamic displays are available.

In-Feed Ads appear in the home “For You” feed as users swipe through content. Like TopView ads, you get 60 seconds of video with audio included. Unlike the other advertising methods, users can interact with your ad by liking, commenting, sharing, or using your audio to create their own content. Of all the advertising methods, this one feels the most organic, and when done correctly, you can encourage user-generated content that will expand the reach of your brand’s message far beyond the ad itself. 

Two other methods for advertising on TikTok involve using features of the app, specifically hashtags and effects. Encourage users to create content using a branded effect or a particular hashtag, and your challenge might just go viral. There’s also plenty of opportunities to collaborate with influential creators on the app. Plenty of influencers promote sponsored brand deals or participate in company contests and challenges; it’s worth seeing if there’s someone out there who would be a good representative for your brand.

How Does It Work?

“Launch an ad in minutes,” reads TikTok’s website. There are four simple steps.

First, you must select an objective. Which type of conversion are you trying to drive? Perhaps you’d like to increase traffic to your website, or encourage more installations of your mobile app. Select the objective that makes sense for your business, then continue.

Next, it’s time to set your budget and bidding method.  In addition, you can select your targeting method. Consider who you are trying to reach and define your target audience within the app. TikTok will take care of the rest.

Now it’s time for the ad itself. Upload your creative (photo or video) and then add the copy and call-to-action. As with any advertising campaign, make sure your imagery and copy are engaging, succinct, and relevant to the people you are trying to reach.

Finally, submit your ad for review! It’s really that easy.


TikTok continues to grow as one of the most popular social media apps out there, making it an incredibly important part of any e-commerce store’s paid social strategy. If you need help with your paid social presence on major social media platforms, reach out to Relevance Advisors today for a consultation. Our team would love to hear from you.


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