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How retailers are getting more out of TikTok advertising

TikTok’s rise as the world’s leading short-form entertainment platform has not gone unnoticed by retailers. As with anything that holds the public’s attention, there’s always a great motivation for industry players to get themselves noticed by riding emerging trends and taking part in the action, and Australian retailers from diverse industries have already signed on to the movement – from small vendors such as scented candle vendor Royal Essence to more well-established brands such as footwear retailer The Athlete’s Foot.

The opportunity the platform presents to retail has become even more apparent with the launch of TikTok For Business and its suite of analysis tools providing insights into TikTok’s currents and activity, along with the trending hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt – a global phenomenon with more than five billion views – driving awareness on the platform translating to off-platform sales.

To those who are only just getting up to speed with the advent of TikTok, the prospect of advertising and brand-building on the platform represents an as-yet-untapped opportunity. TikTok’s clearly in a class of its own when it comes to the way its audiences engage with the platform and the sheer pace of its creative dynamic, and this is something that retailers used to more conventional advertising channels are learning to pivot towards.

Haircare brand Schwarzkopf campaigned on the platform in partnership with TikTok, driving awareness in the Australian market and boosting purchase consideration amongst target consumer demographics. The partnership not only helped Schwarzkopf to learn more about using TikTok for retail but also far exceeded expected benchmarks with more than 20 million impressions and 18 million video views on its content.

TikTok’s energy and constantly evolving content can feel challenging to keep up with at the outset – no brand wants to stick out for misreading the trends, or posting content that comes across as inauthentic and awkward. Fortunately, getting the most out of TikTok advertising is just a matter of experimenting to see what works for each retail brand – using its “Discover” feature to check out what’s trending on the platform is a good place to start.

Understanding how to approach new platforms is an issue that’s been part of the advertising industry since its earliest days. Just as businesses in the emerging TV era had to figure out how to create commercials that were not simply radio ads with a picture, TikTok advertisers are best advised not to simply take their existing TVCs and drop them straight on the platform. TV advertisements are generally designed for a wide scope viewed on big screens – while TikToks are designed for a mobile-first aesthetic, shot close-up without lingering on pre-designed sets. The trends show that content created in this format scores much higher levels of engagement than video footage shot for more traditional platforms.

Successful TikTok advertising isn’t pitched in a top-down fashion. It’s a platform where advertisers and consumers can hold an engaging and fun one-to-one conversation. This means that retailers can’t approach the community with the mindset of broadcasting their message to the masses or attempting to achieve social-network-style virality from a distance. The ethos of TikTok is to co-create, and its cue to retailers is to join the conversation.

TikTok ads are delivered in a casual tone, encouraging creators and communities interested in your product to be vocal and share their own opinions while celebrating their responses. The best-performing campaigns lean into what’s happening on the platform, using creators and showing up authentically – while their enthusiasm is what drives the message and delivers brands more broadly across the platform.

In traditional advertising, there can be significant barriers to getting a piece of creative out to consumers, which means that reactive speed to the market is limited and timely messaging can be difficult for brands to gauge. TikTok’s in-app creativity tools make it easy for brands to make content that works on the platform, as all creators and brands have the same tools – and its Creator Marketplace is available for retailers to explore right now, enabling advertisers to reach out to the creator community, whose endorsements have a proven impact on sales.

Retail on TikTok is an exciting journey that challenges the existing status quos of what businesses are doing when advertising a product, why they’re doing it and whom they’re serving. In the Australian market, TikTok has taken steps to make that journey easier on the platform itself through the hashtag #AdTok, which leads retailers to educational videos covering marketing tips and inspiration created by TikTok For Business as well as partnering brands and other content creators.

Ultimately, retailers seeking to harness the reach and vivacity of TikTok’s platform are best off starting their journey with its Ads Manager, where businesses can sign up and start getting familiar with the range of tools designed to help them share their message with TikTok’s enthusiastic and creative community at large.

Check out TikTok For Business online to sign up for the newsletter and start advertising on the platform via the Ads Manager – or connect with to talk with a representative.

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