Let’s talk TikTok Ads. If you don’t know by now, I am super bullish on TikTok ads. I’m actually super bullish on TikTok in general as a platform, and I think it’s going to be the next big thing. But, I didn’t always think so. I thought it was a stupid platform for dancing kids in general, and specifically I didn’t think our customers were on it. So what changed? Time for a little story.
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I’ve told this story before, and I’ll tell it again. We launched TikTok ads in November of 2021, with decent success. I honestly thought we’d get to $1k/day in spend sometime in Q1 of this year and tap out. I just didn’t think our customers were on it. I thought they were all too old to be on TikTok, and I also thought all the beauty stuff on TikTok was drag makeup and not our no-makeup makeup approach. So what changed?
I was lucky enough to have 20 minutes with Gary Vee, which I’m forever grateful for. He’s a “family friend” and Bobbi and I got to “pick his brain” on our content strategies for Jones Road. It was pretty amazing to watch his mind work, and if you’re wondering if he’s the same privately as he is on TikTok, the answer is yes. Once we gave him the backstory of what we were trying to do and struggling with, his eyes lit up and he said “TikTok.” After a brief pause, he then said “You have to go all in on TikTok. You need to hire a team of 4 people and just crank out TikTok. You need to be posting 4 times a day on TikTok. You can build a $100m on TikTok alone.” If you want a near identical replay, watch this.
So, I mean, of course we had to get serious about TikTok after that. I won’t bore you with all the details, which you can read here. If you search “Bobbi Brown TikTok Viral” you can probably find 30+ articles about it.
To keep things brief here so I can get to ads, here’s what Gary’s Advice did to our business: 📈. Thank you Gary.
The first reason is because I’m bullish on TikTok as a platform. Their growth trajectory and mainstream acceptance has been nothing short of amazing. The content there is just so good. Honestly FB sucks if you don’t care about local drama in FB groups and Instagram makes me feel inferior. Both platforms keep people using them via negative mechanisms.
On the other hand, I feel better every time I log onto TikTok. Just while writing this, I opened the app and I got funny videos of dogs, some very cool video editing tips, an All in Podcast clip, an Athletic Greens ad (Ok, everyone gets those), and some start up/ tech videos. If you know me, you know that’s spot on and the only thing missing would be a golf video and crypto.
Not only is the algorithm incredible, but the content is uplifting. In 2 minutes on the platform, I learned something and I laughed. Not only is it just good for them, but wouldn’t you want your potential customers in a positive, happy place before you ask them to make a purchase? I would.
In addition to the content, the for you page contains nearly all the value of TikTok. The biggest challenge for most brands today is reaching new people now that FB ads are more difficult and more expensive. The organic distribution you can get on TikTok almost makes it a free ad channel, seriously.
I think TikTok is doing nearly everything correctly, which is in stark contract to how Facebook Meta operates. They get that part of their growth is going to be by making their platform super creator and brand friendly. Just look at how easy they’ve made it to run Spark ads with an authorization code. Anyone who has tried to teach an influencer how to give whitelisting access on FB knows the struggle. They even have this new Creative Exchange program, which sounds amazing. My only complaint is that the minimum budget to get started is $25k, which is very steep to spend on creative in 30 days, even for us.
One final thing. Not only is the content on TikTok incredible, but the ads are too. It’s the platform with. the least difference between organic and ads. Why does this matter? When a user sees an ad that looks like an ad, they’ll skip right on past. A good ad on TikTok is just a good TikTok with some sales elements thrown in. If you can make your ads engaging and “trick” users into watching them, they’ll perform way better.
As of today, we’re spending about $7k daily, and growing every week. That’s about half of what we’re spending on FB right now. So which one is performing better? It depends how you look at it…
CPA is lower on TikTok. ROAS is better on FB, but we’re comparing apples to oranges with different attribution windows. AOV is a bit lower on TikTok. I don’t have any data on LTV yet, but should soon. Now here’s where it gets interesting…
We use Triple Whale as our first-party attribution tool. I highly recommend it to anyone running TikTok ads, or ads in general. (Use code Cody15 for 15% off.)
In the Triple Whale pixel dashboard, there are columns for Triple reported ROAS and CPA, as well as net new customer ROAS (NCROAS) and CPA (NCPA).
So if you look at just in platform metrics, FB is winning by far. If you look at Triple Whale ROAS, FB and TikTok are performing similarly. But if you look at what NCPA and NCROAS, TikTok is winning out. Even with much tighter exclusions on FB than TikTok, it looks like FB is giving more spend to existing customers. There’s a 38% delta between CPA and NCPA on FB, and only a 10% delta for TikTok. My guess is that FB is showing ads to existing customers via targeting expansion to “pad the stats” and make it look like it’s performing better than it is but that’s just a guess.
What am I going to do with this data? Idk. But it has me seriously considering keeping FB spend where it’s at and scaling TikTok until we get close to similar daily spends.
I’m not going to lie and say TikTok ads are a walk in the park. There are a few challenges that need to be figured out.
First, you have to test and find whats working for your brand on TikTok, because it not the same as FB. The account structure is similar, but you have to find what type of creative, landing pages, and offers work on TikTok specifically.
Right now our efficiency has dropped a bit because our creative is getting stale, and we haven’t had the bandwidth to produce more. I would ideally love to do something like the TikTok Creative Exchange to partner with amazing creators, but I just wish the investment was more reasonable for brands.
Brands will need to figure out systems and processes for creating or acquiring creative for their ads, and it’s going to be much different than FB creative. It’s a work in progress for us. I’ll share what’s working as we go.
I think right now the biggest challenge on TikTok is attribution, or a lack thereof.
Right now there is only a 1-day attribution window. I am told 7dc/1dv is in beta, which I am excited about. But for now attribution is one of the bigger challenges on the platform. I think a first-party pixel is a must for buying media anywhere now, but especially on TikTok. We use Triple Whale Pixel, which I highly recommend.
I think they have a waitlist, but you can skip the line and save 15% if you use code Cody15. Every day I compare Triple stats to in platform, and I’ve built a correlation between what TikTok is telling me and what Triple Whale is. I also use Kno Post Purchase Surveys, which are a must as well. There is no one single source of truth; instead, use multiple tools to help you triangulate. It can be hard to scale spend when in platform ROAS looks so low, but it works.
It’s no secret that I love TikTok and TikTok ads. I’m very seriously considering scaling it in excess of FB. The one thing holding us back is creative, so if anyone reading can get us a nice discount on The TikTok Creative Exchange Program, you know where to find me. I am going to be working really hard on building out our processes and systems for finding and creating quality TikTok creative coming up, so stay tuned.
Because I can’t stop talking about how much I love TikTok ads, people keep asking me for consulting and to be honest I don’t have the time at the moment. But I really want to help, because I love helping people and I love TikTok ads. So I’m considering building a course, and it seems there’s a lot of demand for it.
To help me, can you please take this 2 min survey so I can learn what would make it valuable for you?
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