According to eMarketer, TikTok is currently the most popular social platform, no doubt, as its massive user base is expected to reach around 750 million by the end of the year (TikTok says its user base is close to 1 billion).
But if marketers (and the agencies that build and execute their campaigns) want to break through the hordes of TikTokers swallowed by their endless content algorithms, they’ll have to pay close attention to the do’s and don’ts .
Magna, the research and buying arm of IPG Mediabrands, seeks to dig deeper into resonant content, with a particular focus on native advertising on TikTok, as well as repurposing from broader marketing campaigns on other platforms or media advertisment. The study, “Understanding the Advantages of TikTok Advertising,” was shared with Digiday ahead of its public launch today. Kara Manatt, executive vice president and managing director of smart solutions at Magna, working with TikTok’s research team, said the first “hard rule” learned was that any retargeted ad needs to be converted to a vertical display, even if It required a creative redo. “There’s a huge difference in the performance of the same ad, depending on whether it’s vertical or horizontal,” noted Manatt. The vertical ad recall rate is 44%, while the horizontal recall rate is 35%. What’s more, research shows that vertical ads have 8% purchase intent, while horizontal ads have 3% purchase intent. “This has a very desirable effect on metrics like purchase intent,” she said. Manatt pointed out that in many cases, marketers need to incorporate verticality into broader campaigns because sometimes converting horizontal ads to vertical makes them look “weird,” as she puts it. Manatt added that, in general, native ads perform better because they flow more organically with TikTok’s user-created or creator-created content. She said she declined to identify her beauty and entertainment clients out of concern for client confidentiality, and survey respondents found native ads “feel more like content.” TikTok did not respond to a request for comment on the study. Considering its appeal to advertisers, how much is even native ads on TikTok? After all, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter get the attention of their user base for being too cluttered with ads. Sadi Miller, senior vice president of social media strategy and partnerships at Magna Brothers Reprise, admits: “There’s a lot of discussion about how users’ social experience feels really saturated or disrupted by ads.” “TikTok One thing that’s a step ahead is that many of the ads that appear on the platform don’t feel like a whim. [For example,] the virality of the hashtag challenge — asking users to engage with a brand message — has never been done before. From Essentially, every participant is part of an ad campaign, even if they don’t think so.” Miller said TikTok’s appeal isn’t limited to younger audiences, but also helps connect with new audiences. This was a major part of the consideration when launching a social campaign, graduating from testing the waters last year. “A lot of our brands are being tested in 2021,” Miller said. “Now that we’ve established a good rhythm with the brand, how to appear on the platform, that’s one of the bigger hurdles,” previously brands used a creative platform to support multiple social campaigns. Manatt further stated, “Anyone really focused on new user acquisition should lean towards native formats, especially…Native has the unique ability to reach a wider audience network because it looks and feels like content. That’s exactly what we found with video completions – potential new customers who have never purchased the brand before, are more likely to watch native videos than repurposed ones.” As Manatt sees, The final lesson from this research is that brands using TikTok in their native capacity must prioritize the organic feel of any creator they are working with, rather than focus on production quality. In other words, authenticity wins. “Brands tend to let creators do this kind of high-volume stuff that doesn’t even fit their norm,” she said.