• TikTok Marketing: The Best and Worst of Paid Media on TikTok

    Even in the world of social media, where virality is king, paid media remains a crucial component of any promotional campaign. Leveraging display ads beyond just search engines and websites to social media platforms is critical for strategically reaching audiences, raising awareness, and generating leads in the most targeted and cost-effective way possible. Even though it’s the newest player in the field, paid media on TikTok is an increasingly important channel to advertise through, with the platform expected to reach 2.25 billion users by 2027.

    TikTok marketing is still a new field, but there’s already a right way — and a (very) wrong way — to do it. Here are the best examples of each, and what we can learn from them.

    The Best Examples of Paid Media TikTok Marketing

    Kung Fu Tea = Leveraging User-Generated Content

    In 2020, the marketing team at Kung Fu Tea launched the #bobachallenge, tasking their followers with putting their lid popping skills to the test. One of the biggest draws of boba tea — aside from the delicious taste — is the satisfaction of stabbing the straw into the plastic-sealed lid.

    By transforming this ritual into a social media challenge, the company inspired thousands of user-generated videos that have garnered over 1.6 million views to date. And by promoting some of these videos as sponsored, paid media on TikTok, Kung Fu Tea amplified the natural virality of the challenge even more.

    Crumble Cookies = Jumping on a Trend

    Social media users love two things:

    1. Underdogs
    2. Inspiring and/or shocking transformations

    This is at the heart of the #glowup trend on TikTok, where users often show off their journey into style, confidence, and general fabulousness. Crumbl Cookies showcased their own transformation in a viral post on TikTok — highlighting their early days and how they eventually became a brand with supremely sleek advertising and video content with impressive production value.

    Touting their humble beginnings in contrast to where they are now was a way for Crumbl Cookies to use paid media on TikTok to thank their loyal fans while low-key bragging about how delicious their cookies are.

    CoverGirl = Getting Grassroots Right

    Makeup tutorials are ubiquitous on social media platforms, and many brands try to jump on that train in a way that rings inauthentic. CoverGirl, on the other hand, hit the mark in this example of paid media on TikTok because the video barely mentions the brand, shows the product in action, and avoids out-of-place logo shots. The influencer even swears in the video as if she’s releasing it on her own channel, rather than the official CoverGirl TikTok account.

    The Worst Examples of TikTok Marketing

    Top War = Cringe Commentary

    There are two common tropes many mobile game ads seem to incorporate:

    1. Gameplay videos where the player makes unusually bad choices — as if to incense viewers to want to do better themselves
    2. An influencer providing “real-time” commentary as if they’re playing the game

    This unsuccessful example of paid media on TikTok features both, and although the ad has generated a significant amount of likes and shares, clicks remain low, peaking at 100 exactly one second into the video, and tapering off to one or two clicks for every remaining second of the video after that.

    Cosy House Collections = No Product Visibility

    On the surface, this ad from Cosy House Collections capitalizes on TikTok’s ability to add audio templates to videos and be part of a trend. But while the video is funny, it’s missing everything an ad actually needs to be effective. There’s no indication of what the product looks like, why it’s valuable, or what it actually is: a set of bed sheets. In fact, viewers don’t even see that there are sheets involved until the end of the video — and only for a brief moment as a sort of punchline to the joke.

    The best paid media on TikTok takes part in the zeitgeist of the platform, but not at the expense of showcasing a product or brand.

    Jackpot WorldSlots Casino = Misleading Premise

    Games are supposed to be fun, but this ad for a gambling mobile game called Jackpot World opens like a video for an online get-rich-quick course (that doesn’t even show the supposedly $200,000 car). Viewers don’t even know they’re watching an ad for a game until five seconds into the video (calling to mind an increasing mobile game ad trend of showcasing fake or misleading gameplay). What’s more, 15 seconds into the ad, it’s still touting the game as a way to make money rather than enjoy yourself.

    It’s worth noting that while the ad generated a small amount of engagement, TikTok did not record even a single conversion.

    Master Paid Media on TikTok With Power Marketing

    TikTok marketing is a great way to get creative with advertising — but it still requires a firm grasp of how to manage paid media campaigns. Power Marketing has a track record of excellence at all things digital marketing and can help maximize ROI on any paid media on TikTok. Get in touch to learn more about our services.