TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform, is entering the search ads market.
This move marks a major shift for TikTok as it looks to capitalize on its growing user base and compete with Google and Microsoft in the space.
With this new TikTok paid ads feature, businesses can now reach younger audiences more effectively through targeted keywords and phrases related to their products or services.
The ability to drive conversions from these searches will provide an invaluable tool for successful advertising strategies targeting Gen Z and millennial users.
What are the things to look out for when using TikTok search ads? Here’s everything you need to know about the new kid in the TikTok business marketing and search ads block:
What Is TikTok Promotion?
By now, you’ve seen a lot of TikTok ads examples, and you’re probably wondering how these ads work.
So, what is TikTok promotion?
When considering how to advertise on TikTok, there are many ways to go about it. Still, businesses can choose from various ad formats, including In-Feed Ads and Brand Takeovers, to promote their products or services.
These ads are powered by machine learning algorithms that analyze user behavior to provide targeted and relevant messages to users most likely to engage with the content.
Many of these TikTok ads examples can also be tailored based on demographics for even more precise targeting, such as:
These ads elevate business marketing on TikTok to the next level and will be essential for those looking to make their mark on the platform.
Who Should Be Using TikTok Search Ads?
TikTok is not a social media platform for everyone, which also rings true with how to advertise on TikTok, including their upcoming search ad feature.
Businesses looking to target younger audiences, specifically Gen Z and millennials, should take the lead to advertise on TikTok once they become available. This demographic is harder to reach with traditional marketing methods and even with pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
However, you can reach them easily when you advertise on TikTok.
“This platform caters for the younger demographic, the audience who no longer uses Google to search for businesses, but who see more value in social proof.” said Wesley Wessels, Paid Media Engineer at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, when identifying TikTok’s biggest advantage.
Furthermore, Wesley said that “Tiktok’s niche would be new brands, restaurants, events” and businesses that are “either breaking into the digital sphere or a brand trying to find new audiences using TikTok search ads.”
Social media platforms focusing on visual content are the best fit for this age group, so it makes sense to get ahead of the curve and start investing in TikTok search ads as soon as possible.
If you’re already on the platform and finding success in your TikTok paid ads, it’ll be easier to transition into search ads once they become available.
On the other hand, if you’re not yet using TikTok ads but have a primarily young audience, now is the time to start building your brand and learning how to advertise on TikTok.
So, What Can I Do With It?
It’s important to note that this new TikTok business marketing platform is not yet ready for launch.
This means that, aside from their beta testers, advertisers will not be able to leverage high-converting keywords yet.
However, two things stood out based on what we could gather online.
Bid on Specific Keywords
First is the ability to bid on specific keywords and phrases for promotion on TikTok.
The more relevant these keywords are, the better chances you have of catching your audience’s attention and enhancing your business marketing on TikTok.
This TikTok business marketing feature is highly similar to what you can do with other search ad platforms, like Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.
You might ask, “why would I even bid keywords for TikTok advertising?”
Well, Google’s own study found that 40% of young people turn to apps like TikTok (and Instagram) when looking for a place for lunch.
Theoretically, you can use search ads to reinforce other TikTok marketing campaigns you may be running, capitalizing on the platform’s growing user base.
Here’s what a TikTok promotion on search looks like during its beta testing:
Successfully bidding for keywords will give you search results page real estate on top of the “Others Searched For” section.
Your search ad will then have a “Sponsored” label to differentiate TikTok ads on search from organic results.
However, keyword targeting is not yet available, and TikTok search ads are still limited to keyword placements. You can then use high-converting placements as video titles to add more value to your TikTok videos.
Unique Targeting Options for TikTok Advertisers
While this is still speculation, search promotion on TikTok may also offer more robust targeting options for their search ads.
For example, your TikTok ads may target your audience based on other factors aside from just keywords, such as:
Notice how these targeting options are already available on other paid ads on TikTok?
Perhaps we’ll get to see the same TikTok promotion options in its search ads.
If so, this will surely be a game-changer for marketers looking for a more specific promotion on TikTok to target their audience. This TikTok marketing strategy is actually a step up from other search ad platforms, which still rely heavily on keywords for targeting.
A Different Approach?
TikTok is also experimenting with search ad features that will hopefully set them apart from the likes of Google, Microsoft and even Amazon.
Instead of looking at a video’s title, tags and description, paid ads on TikTok search look toward its green screen effect to choose which ads to show on its search engine.
For instance, maybe you’re using voice-to-text or captions as an effect. TikTok advertising aims to use these elements as signals for their search ads.
The same is true with images, sceneries and, of course, keywords that appear on the video itself.
If TikTok for business could pull this off, they would allow their advertisers a more personalized way of using their search ads.
When Will Search Ads Become Available?
According to Business Insider, TikTok search ads will become more widely available by the third quarter (Q3) of 2023.
That’s because of TikTok’s recent activities, such as their job posts for search ad engineers for a large-scale ads system and more aggressive pitching to marketing agencies and businesses for their search ad platform.
This timeframe is still subject to change, of course. However, this is highly likely since Q3 of 2023 will give them enough time to gather the data they need before heavy-spending Q4 comes around.
Eating the Giant’s Share
The elephant in the room is whether TikTok could actually compete with Google in terms of search ads.
Google currently has a chokehold of the market, holding 84.69% of the market share (Statista). Bing and Yahoo are far behind, with a combined 11.44% market share.
Therefore, TikTok has a tall mountain to climb in terms of competing with other search ad platforms. They have to offer a more competitive pricing model and compelling business proposition if they want to snag advertisers away from already-established players.
Another challenge is integrating this new ad system without breaking TikTok’s user experience. Any slight disruption to the flow of TikTok could cause users to jump ship.
A huge user experience issue is ensuring the search ads are relevant and do not become overly ubiquitous on the platform.
Wesley said that TikTok “thrives on good creative, in this case great video,” so you must ensure that your TikTok videos offer high-quality, captivating content when people click on them on your TikTok search ads.
Why This Is Great for Advertisers
TikTok’s entry into the search ad market presents another opportunity for advertisers, especially if they’re looking for a more diverse approach to reach their target audience. Here’s why TikTok search ads can help better manage your account’s success on the platform.
1. Reach Younger Audience Better
Gen Z and millennial audiences are such a puzzle to crack for advertisers. They demand new and fresh content that speaks to their interests. That’s what makes TikTok for business such an excellent platform for these audiences, as it features content that Gen Zers are more likely to consume.
With the introduction of its search ads, TikTok advertising could be an even better way to reach younger audiences in a more natural way.
2. More Cost-Effective Ad Spend and Return on Investment (ROI)
While TikTok advertising is still developing their search ads algorithm, it’s clear that they want this system to use their TikTok marketing strengths, namely their green screen effects and video filters.
How this works is still unclear, but we can expect these features to be used to target more accurately, resulting in a higher return on ad spend when you advertise on TikTok.
This increased personalization opens up a massive opportunity for advertisers to engage with their target audience more effectively.
3. Tapping Into the TikTok Ecosystem
TikTok paid ads are the perfect way to tap into the vast ecosystem of content creators and influencers that have found success on the platform to improve your reputation.
By piggybacking off their reach, you can use narrow-targeted search ads to drive relevant traffic to a business’s website or app, further increasing engagement and brand awareness.
Craft a Compelling TikTok Presence With Thrive
Whether or not you should invest in TikTok search ads is still a question. However, one thing is clear – TikTok advertising will be a significant player in the digital marketing field.
A higher degree of targeting and a unique search ad algorithm will set paid ads on TikTok apart from other platforms.
That’s not to say that you should jump into it without preparing. Google and other established search ad platforms have been refining their algorithms for years, and TikTok for business will require some fine-tuning of its own.
That’s why you should partner with Thrive to craft a compelling presence on the platform.
With our expertise in digital marketing and understanding of the intricate workings of social media platforms, Thrive can help you get the most out of your search ad investments.
Start boosting your TikTok strategy today and call us at 866.908.4748 to know how we can help.