Holiday Guide Part 8: TikTok Hacks

Lola Behrens, Content Marketing Manager


Kelsie Pilkington, Senior Manager of Media Services

Cate Fraser, Manager of Media Services

November 22nd, 2023

TikTok is Fueling Brand Discovery

Remember Part 5 of our Holiday 2023 Guide? Well, we dove into brand discovery and the increasingly large role that TikTok continues to play at this stage of the user journey. According to TikTok, 15% of all product discoveries begin on the platform, and 1 in 2 users turn to the For You Page (FYP) for holiday and shopping events content. It’s no secret that the app is a powerful driver of consideration, and users are 1.4x more likely to buy a product if they first discovered it on TikTok.

TikTok recently launched a Search Ads Toggle feature that allows brands to advertise on the search results page. We know that TikTok is a pivotal part of the discovery journey that can prime users to make a purchase down the line - so don’t forget to factor search into your Holiday 2023 strategy on TikTok and take advantage of Search Ads.

How to Hack It: Don’t Let the Holiday Rush Stop You From Unlocking TikTok

The high cost and high demand that come with the holidays make many brands hesitant to test into new channels and lead them to invest in Q1 instead. But TikTok is the exception to the rule - it stands out among other channels for how easy it is to get started on the platform, so long as you’re willing to dive in and get a little scrappy. Below, we break down everything you need to know about hacking a winning strategy on TikTok, and explain why this holiday season is exactly the right time to invest your marketing dollars on the platform.

Kickstart Your Brand with Spark Ads

Good for: ⚖️ Resource Constrained, 🔐 Unlocking Creative, 🚀 Performance Boost

Kelsie Pilkington, Senior Manager of Media Services at New Engen, says that Spark Ads are the secret weapon for any brand with limited creative resources. This is a native ad format that enables brands to white-list posts from users who are already creating organic content about their products. The upside to advertisers is huge - TikTok reports that Spark Ads can drive +43% in CVR and +142% Engagement Rate compared to Non-Spark Ads, and at -4% in CPMs.

For brands that are resource-strapped to produce strong ad creative at scale, or are constrained by limited creative learnings, Spark Ads are a game changer. In fact, this tool was an integral component part of our launch strategy for Threadbeast. Spark Ads enabled Threadbeast to leverage user content and mine creative insights that ultimately became the foundation of the brand’s strategy on TikTok going forward.

Whether you’re struggling to break through on TikTok or simply want to fortify your existing content strategy, a handful of Spark Ads are the key to finding which creative unlocks are out there waiting for your brand.

Run an Inexpensive Awareness Campaign

Good for: 💸 Price-Conscious, ⚖️ Resource Constrained, 💪 Pixel Learnings

Deploying a low-budget awareness campaign is an excellent way to understand who your potential audience is and what kind of content will resonate with them. Kelsie Pilkington explains, “We’ll run an inexpensive awareness campaign for a client and throw in spark ads or other creative we want to test into. Then we’ll launch a retargeting campaign to anyone who engaged in any way with our awareness efforts, and use this opportunity to leverage better creative if we have it. This allows us to close the loop on the audience, and to do so with better creative and promotions.”

And it’s not too late - Kelsie argues that launching right now is actually to an advertiser’s advantage. With a low-investment awareness campaign (during a period of otherwise high ad costs) that targets a broad audience, you can get into the game, gather a ton of learnings during this high-traffic season, and build up pixel signals for post-holiday retargeting.

Prioritize Customer Experience

Good for: ⚖️ Resource Constrained, 👩‍💻 Customer Experience

Customers expect a seamless buying experience and TikTok makes that possible, no matter what your website looks like. With Instant Pages, brands can easily build beautiful pages where customers can shop gift guides and make purchases rather than navigating away from the app and onto the brand’s site. Instant Pages have faster load times, are less glitchy, and have proven to deliver higher CVRs. This feature is particularly beneficial to brands with limited site functionality or developer resources.

Check What’s Trending

Good for: 🔐 Unlocking Creative, 🚀 Performance Boost, 💡 Channel Insights

TikTok Trends is a powerful database that empowers advertisers with “snackable insights on everything from how a TikTok community behaves or connects with brands to how ads on TikTok are driving real business impact,” says Kelsie. Use this tool to uncover which trends have had the highest CVR, engagement rates, and other key metrics for specific industries. Then use this information to build creative or identify Spark Ads that fit these criteria.

TikTok is a platform fueled by trends, and knowing when and how to capitalize on the right trend for your brand can be a game-changer.

Have Fun With It

Good for: 👩‍💻 Customer Experience, 🔐 Unlocking Creative, 🎁 Holiday Cheer

There are countless tools & resources to bring your brand to life this holiday season and beyond. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of features you can use to breathe life (and Holiday cheer) into your brand:

  1. Reinforce your Holiday ads with add-ons like Gift Code and Countdown Stickers to create urgency and encourage engagement. According to TikTok, Countdown Stickers drive +72% CTR, +55% share rate, and +8% watch time, while Gift Code Stickers can yield +133% lift in conversion rate.
  2. Use trending sounds and holiday backgrounds to keep your content relevant.
  3. Tap into what’s trending and build it into your messaging to connect with new communities of shoppers. What pop culture phenomenon is sweeping For You Pages right now? Find out and join the conversation.
  4. In a pinch, use in-platform tools like Script Generator to help refresh copy and test new messaging.
  5. Don’t forget about hashtags. #Hosting and #GiftIdeas generated 149M and 4.8B views respectively last year - users planning a holiday party or searching for the perfect gift are going to rely on TikTok (and hashtags) for recommendations and inspiration.
  6. Leverage the Creative Center and other in-platform tools to inform creative optimizations.

Find the top-performing ads on TikTok in the Creative Center.

Dive into demographics, engagement metrics, keywords, and more.

Finally, Here's Our Advice for a Strong BFCM

In 2022, Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) was the number 1 shopping occasion among TikTok users - 80% of TikTok users who made a purchase on Black Friday said that the app played a role in their decision.

Here are three tips to help you make the most out of BFCM this year:

  1. Your awareness campaigns can handle more frequent budget adjustments than your conversion efforts. So start ramping here to increase ad awareness and beef up your retargeting pools.
    1. Hot tip 🔥 Begin scaling spend in the week leading up to BFCM, at an increment of 20% - 30% per day.
  2. Bottom-of-funnel efforts are going to be slower to ramp, so plan ahead. Increase budgets the night before and expect some early volatility as things get going. Wait for at least one day before making new adjustments.
    1. *When adjusting your budget, try to control each adjustment within 30% of the current daily budget.
  3. For ABO campaigns - if you know you’re going to be making more frequent budget optimizations and have a more flexible budget, we recommend setting your campaign level budgets higher (up to 5x) than your ad level budgets. This will allow the campaigns to scale quicker than only adjusting budgets at the ad set level.

Check out more Holiday 2023 resources below, and stay informed on all things digital marketing by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on LinkedIn.

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