TikTok’s New Shopping Ads: A Breakdown

Virtually every digital marketer knows about the meteoric rise in TikTok engagement over the past couple of years. A bunch of recent releases, including a few from August 2022, are adding a layer of direct-response power to help B2C/eCommerce advertisers harness this engagement and make a real impact in time for the holiday shopping season.

In this post, we’ll break down the new features: functionality, potential impact, and recommendations for usage across the buying journey.

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The New Features, and How They Work

TikTok’s new shopping-focused ads are a collective step toward connecting brands with shoppers regardless of where they are in the purchase cycle. These releases come on the heels of several previously released features (Product Links, Collection Ads, Dynamic and Showcase Ads) meant to help brands monetize their presence on TikTok with a simple, seamless shopping experience for users. 

Each of the three new formats (Video Shopping Ads, Catalog Listing Ads, and LIVE Shopping Ads) fall under the campaign objective “Product sales” and are meant to reach audiences who are more likely to convert. 

 

Video Shopping Ads

Video Shopping Ads are a more traditional ad placement combining ad creative with one or more products. This type is expected to be a combination of the current Dynamic Showcase and Collection features.

Screenshot of a Video Shopping Ad on TikTok.

 

Catalog Listing Ads

Catalog Listing Ads allow advertisers to promote a selected product catalog outside of the traditional “For You” page.

Screenshot of a Catalog Listing Ad on TikTok.

 

LIVE Shopping Ads

LIVE Shopping Ads allow brands to put a spotlight on products during a live stream, driving traffic from the “For You” page. This allows users to comment, ask questions, and interact while the brand educates and engages users on its products.

Screenshot of a LIVE Shopping Ad on TikTok.

Beyond ad format, I’m excited to test the effectiveness of the back-end algorithmic updates that will put these new ad types in front of the right audiences. I’m particularly interested in testing Video Shopping Ads (compared with Catalog ads that can contain many different product types) because the single-product delivery will really test the algorithm’s targeting strength.

 

Creative to Consider in Testing New Ad Types

I recommend testing all types of creative within these ad types to see which resonate with target users. The most important element for creative, whether it’s UGC or studio-produced, is that it’s engaging to the user, whether verbally, visually, audibly, or all of the above. 

Make sure you’re frequently referencing the TikTok Creative Center, which will allow you to discover trending ads, hashtags, and songs that may be relevant to your products. 

 

Post-Engagement Funnel Considerations

There are many ways to leverage engagement on TikTok, but the one thing I’d recommend is always having something in place to re-engage the audiences that interact with your brand. Whether by filtering audiences by those who watched x% of a video, opened a lead form without completing, or abandoning a shopping cart, there is value in monitoring where engagement levels are at, and how you can move users down the funnel to eventually convert.

Note: retargeting doesn’t need to take place on the same platform as a user was first introduced. Advertisers should be able to use pixels to create audiences of website or landing page visitors as well as leverage key integrations to use CRM data for prospecting/retargeting audiences. 

 

Next Steps

If your brand is focused on product sales right now, start building your testing plan to launch these new ads (with a “product sales” campaign objective) ASAP. These new solutions are currently in a testing phase, so reach out to your account rep to see if permissions can be lifted. Testing and learning before Q4 will give you a leg up on the competition and potentially give you options to diversify your channel mix as engagement costs soar.

 


 

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