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10 Ways TikTok is Winning the Paid Social Game
October 25, 2022 - By Hawke Media

10 Ways TikTok is Winning the Paid Social Game

In the last couple of years, TikTok has gone from a niche social media platform to one of the most influential advertising channels in the world. Despite its fast growth and outsized influence, a lot of marketers aren’t using the medium because they’re intimidated by it. 

Hawke Media expert Shannon Enos breaks down why TikTok is winning in the paid social media space, and why it’s essential for brands of all sizes to establish a presence there, both organic and paid. We also got some insights from Hawke partner KnoCommerce, who has found TikTok is responsible for more sales than most marketers realize. 

1. Fastest Growing Social Platform 

In the last four years, TikTok drew an average of 340 million new active members per year. In 2017, it had fewer monthly users than any of the major social media players, but it now exceeds Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn… Everyone except Facebook. If you’re not advertising there, you’re leaving a huge slice of the pie for everyone else. 

Chart of Fastest-Growing Social Media Platforms in the US

2. All Audiences 

There’s a misconception that TikTok is just for teenagers. Maybe that was true before the pandemic when we all got bored and found solace in short videos of people dancing. The truth is, 11% of TikTok’s users are 50 years or older. Only 25% of their users are teenagers. 

So where does the stereotype about youthful TikTok users come from? For one, the platform started as mostly Gen Z users. Although that’s no longer true, Gen Z certainly spends more time on the platform. The average active TikTok user spends 30 minutes a day on the app. That’s already a lot, but it’s even more for teens. The average teen and pre-teen user spends over 105 minutes a day on the app. 

TikTok User Age, Gender, & Demographics (2023)

3. Low Cost for Broad Appeal 

At Hawke Media, we are seeing anywhere from 25-50% lower CPMs compared to Meta platforms like Facebook or Instagram. This means you’re spending considerably less to reach thousands more eyeballs. If your brand is going for reach, which is a great strategy as customer behavior changes in a recession, TikTok ads are a great way to drive new traffic at low costs. 

Learn more about the low CPMs on TikTok and what other social platforms can rapidly increase your reach in our Annual Benchmarking Report.

Download the Hawke October Benchmarking Report

4. Niche Demographics 

If you’re on TikTok, you know that the algorithm learns what you like way faster than you’d expect. Because of this, people wind up in specific niches based on their interests and hobbies. 

So if you have a product or service that’s particularly relevant to a certain demographic, or if your best buyer personas are extremely well defined, you can reach your target market with a speed and accuracy that simply doesn’t exist on any other social media platform. 

At Hawke Media, we’ve seen success in particular with ecological brands, “mommy” brands, fashion, and beauty. It also helps to have products with a price of less than $50, as users are much more likely to make an impulse buy from the same visit in which they are first exposed to the product. 

5. UGC is Huge

67% of users say TikTok inspires them to shop— even when they weren’t planning to do so. Even when a person scrolls past sponsored ads (if they even notice the posts are sponsored), users posting about their experiences with various products and services builds organic trust and name recognition. 

6. Influential in Attribution 

Track your attribution. Even if you’re not advertising on TikTok, there’s a good chance TikTok still influenced your buyers somewhere along their journey. Since TikTok is such a good platform for user-generated content, an existing customer of yours may have highlighted your product and pointed new prospects in your direction. 

If you are marketing on TikTok, obviously the odds of TikTok influencing your customers is even greater. Even if the final sale didn’t come from the social media platform, it likely played a role. . When you poll your buyers about their experience, include TikTok as an option for attribution. 

7. Users Want the Ads

TikTok tells its advertisers, “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.” If your ad looks like a commercial, people will scroll past it. But if you create content that is interesting, people won’t just tolerate your ads – they’ll like and share them. 

Don’t make a commercial for the fashion accessory you sell, make a testimony of users sharing how practical it is, the attention it’s gotten them, and so on. Show children engaging with the toys and trinkets you sell in adorable short videos. Teach viewers something they didn’t know about a niche interest or hobby. Provide useful news and statistics. Partner with an influencer in the space. Users want to see your ads, they just don’t want it to feel like an ad. 

8. Now Is The Time

TikTok has a high ROI, but it takes work to get started. There are even still frustrations with the young platform where ads get frequent “false rejections.” These complications are still scaring off your competitors, but it won’t last long. Get out ahead of the competition and start building customer loyalty now. . 

9. People Spend Time on the Platform

Whether people spend hours at a time on TikTok or just check it briefly throughout the day, the data shows that all ages spend a lot of time on this app. You don’t have to worry about shooting your ad into the ether and bearing no results. When any engagement happens, there’s time to serve your ad again and again. Another way TikTok is a winning platform for paid media advertisers is that you don’t lose customers that engage with you in any capacity. 

10. It’s Becoming a Search Engine

The most fruitful social media platforms for advertisers are the ones that consumers come to with a problem, and brands can offer a solution. You see this on platforms like YouTube and Pinterest. The newest addition to that lineup is TikTok. People come to the platform for tips and tricks to make their everyday lives easier or more satisfying. They are literally consumers coming to you with a problem, and all they’re looking for is to see if you can offer a solution! 

Your Turn

TikTok is a winning platform for social media advertisers. Make your brand a winner on the platform by getting started today. If you’re still intimidated by the platform or frustrated by the way ads are setup, come to a Hawke Media expert. If you need help with the actual content creation, we have expert videographers and editors to make you an ad that flows well and looks organic.