Unlocking Social Virality | TikTok Ads For Ecommerce in 2023

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TikTok Marketing - Using TikTok Ads For Ecommerce

TikTok marketing seems to be all the rage right now. Is it as good as they say, and is it right for your business? Keep reading to find out. 

How are the ad platforms treating you? Most of them follow the same pattern. They are pretty good for a while, and then the platform gets a little greedy and prices them out of effectiveness. Does that sound familiar? 

Facebook isn't winning any popularity contests. They are losing users to other platforms, and their restrictive rules plus the IOS privacy updates have all but gutted the effectiveness of their ad platform. Then there are Amazon fees increasing faster than some sellers' sales. 

So what is a seller to do? This is why you should pay close attention to emerging trends and platforms. TikTok isn't new and is making waves while producing great results. Their short video format and user-generated content make it the perfect platform for product marketing. Their algorithm is unlike any other currently. 

Just look at some of their stats:

  • TikTok generated over $4.6bil in revenue in 2021, a 142% increase year-on-year
  • TikTok had 1.2bil active monthly users in Q4 2021 and will reach 1.5bil in 2022
  • TikTok has been downloaded over three billion times

What is TikTok Marketing?  Should You Care?

TikTok is a social network app where users like to create humorous content and can share their creativity with friends and followers. It focuses on user-generated content. It is known for authentic and entertaining content, setting it apart from other social media platforms.

User-generated content is key to your success. It is more genuine. Consumers state that user-generated content is 2.4x more authentic than branded content.  Ads featuring user-generated content convert 7 times more often than ads that don't.  Over 79% of consumers say user-generated content impacts their purchasing decisions. Plus, from a business owner's standpoint, user-generated content has a much lower acquisition cost than PPC.

The best part of TikTok is its' unique discovery algorithm that gives every video an equal chance to go viral. The algorithm allows for rapid scaling and virtually unlimited marketing experimentation. This makes it an excellent platform for brands seeking exposure to their products or services. A strong TikTok marketing strategy can propel a business fast and create a steady sales flow.

Who Uses TikTok?

TikTok Age Demographics

tiktok for business marketing

TikTok Gender Demographics


Percentage Of Users







Tiktok is used by far more women than men. The ages range from 10 to well over 50. Over 74% of the site's users are over the age of 19, making it a great platform to target your ideal buyers.

Why Use TikTok Marketing for Ecommerce?

  1. 1
    The platform is designed to keep users engaged longer than other platforms. The link in the bio feature makes it a good choice for marketing, selling products, and SEO.
  2. 2
    The user interface is specifically designed to encourage interaction. 
  3. 3
    The link in the bio feature makes it a good choice for marketing, selling products, and SEO.
  4. 4
    TikTok has a large growing user base, giving you access to new markets. 
  5. 5
    It is now the most popular app globally and particularly popular with younger audiences. TikTok works best with the under-30 crowd.
  6. 6
    TikTok has a shallow bar of entry to use the ad platform. You can begin running ads with a minimum spend of $50 at the campaign level and $20 at the ad set level.

There are various ways to use TikTok for marketing purposes. You can create short videos promoting your products or run contests, challenges, and giveaways. You can also take advantage of influencers to help spread the word about your store. There are many benefits of using TikTok for marketing purposes, from boosting eCommerce sales to reaching a new demographic.


Click to play

This one piece of content is a great example of significant results using TikTok Marketing. They increased avg sales by 70%, increased followers from 2k to 20k, it was viewed by 28mil users and the hashtag have been viewed by 73mil users.  

The best way for an Ecommerce business to use TikTok is to build a group of passionate users about your product and create user-generated content that you own. Run low-cost ads with this content using an affiliate link or Amazon attribution link to recover the Amazon fees and use that money to pay the creators. I'll explain this more in-depth further down in the article.

Going into 2022, TikTok had over 1 billion monthly active users. In contrast, Amazon has 215 million monthly active users, Walmart has 138 million monthly active users, and Facebook has a whopping 2.91 billion monthly active users. 

More than six out of ten social network users said they were likelier to buy from a smaller brand on social sites than when browsing regular online stores. Almost half of the respondents said they would trust a brand they'd never heard of before based solely on its presence on a social shopping channel. This gives TikTok's algorithm a distinct advantage.

Every Video Has a Chance for Virality

TikTok is user-based, not product or creator-based, which levels the playing field. The unique discovery algorithm means any video has a chance of going viral regardless of how popular the creator is.

The 'For You Feed' algorithm is based on individual users' preferences and activity history. A user's feed is populated by their engagement on the feed, by new accounts they follow, hashtags, sounds, effects, and trending topics they explore. TikTok prioritizes videos from creators that a user has never seen before. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and others prioritize the profiles a user follows first.

There's a good chance that at least some of your target audience is using the app. TikTok is about short videos, with most only 1 to 2 minutes maximum length. Shorter is better because it increases the chance of the user watching the entire video. It's a great way to create a quick, fun commercial and get your message across.

Pro Tip: TikTok has two primary goals. Focus on them to get the most out of the platform. The goals are simple, increase the number of active daily users and increase the time spent on the app. TikTok will elevate the visibility of content that contributes to its goals. A video goes "viral" when its algorithm shows a high likelihood of getting shares (more users on the app) and increased watch time (creating more time spent on the app).

People Buy What They See

Human nature makes us predictable creatures. Our desire to use things we are comfortable with and recognize often drives our purchasing preferences. It is simple psychology. The more times we see others using something, a procedure, product, brand, or service, the more comfortable we become and the more apt we are to use it.

Be creative with your strategies and think about your long-game and current needs. Seeing others using your products on video makes it easier to get buy-in from someone. All of my friends are using it so it must be good. Or, if a celebrity that I follow uses it and says it is great, then it must be something I want to try.

Look at how many people participate in some of the challenges people publish; it proves how easily people follow the recommendations of others.

TikTok Marketing Using Influencers is Huge and Growing

Influencer marketing on TikTok has become more popular than on other platforms. Many businesses are using influencers on TikTok to promote their products and services. TikTok can be an excellent tool for marketing your business, but it's essential to ensure you're using it correctly!

The videos shared on TikTok are typically relatively short (in many cases, less than 15 seconds long), so they're perfect for capturing people's attention quickly. Additionally, the app is geared towards users who tend to be more engaged and responsive to advertising messages. Due to its growing popularity, there are now plenty of well-known influencers on TikTok who can help promote your brand or product.

Pro Tip: Keep videos short to encourage more views. The #ForYou feed algorithm optimizes for watch time, so the longer viewers stay engaged, the better. This makes shorter video content your preferred content because more of it is watched. Longer videos mean watch time ratios will be lower. Are you beginning to see how this can benefit you?

Cross-post Your Message to Other Platforms

Its' quick growth in popularity makes it a great platform to use for marketing products to Millennials and Generation Z. You can publish a short video teaser of your product on TikTok, including a link to the full video on Instagram, YouTube, your website, etc..… This will help you reach more people who may not have yet heard of your products or brand. Look at the number of views different categories are receiving monthly.

A consumer sees someone they respect on TikTok enjoying your products. The entertaining qualities of TikTok leave a memory. Then they see a different person they follow talking about it on Instagram. Now it registers in their mind that they have seen it before. This is followed by seeing a YouTube ad at the beginning of a channel they watch on YouTube.

Creator's Marketplace

Are you looking to get started in influencer marketing? TikTok's Creator Marketplace is an excellent place to begin. The marketplace helps brands connect with popular TikTok influencers to promote products or storefronts on the app.

tiktok marketing strategy

It's a solid resource for finding popular TikTok creators to partner with for store links and product promotions. It is separated into three categories: Musers (users who primarily publish original music), Viners (creators who make short videos filmed in one take), and Dabbers (TikTok users who do creative challenges and stunts). Brands can search for specific creators or browse by topic, hashtag, or demographic. Once you've found a creator you're interested in working with, you can contact them directly from the marketplace.

Before committing to a TikTok influencer, you should:

  • Make sure their viewers/followers line up with your target audience
  • Review content to ensure it lines up with relevant niche topics
  • Put more weight behind engagement than follower numbers – it’s better to go with a smaller follower list if that TikTok influencer’s followers are more engaged

Pro Tip: Avoid big influencers with large followings and large price tags unless you have proof of their ability beforehand.  Focus on using former buyers, and followers that love your brand.  Find advocates, ambassadors, and nano-influencers and make agreements to work together.   These people know their followers personally in most cases.  They can be more effective too.   These types cost you much less which enables you to spend more on distributing the content to create more results.  Building a brand advocate program is not as hard as you think. 

How Does eCommerce Work on TikTok?

TikTok is a powerful social media platform that can be used for marketing your eCommerce business. It's welcoming of creative storytelling, and its' monetization model offers many opportunities for brands and users alike to use the platform.  Make sure that you add the TikTok pixel to your website to be able to create customer lists on TikTok.

Can I Sell Direct TikTok?

TikTok is great for social commerce because it allows users to purchase products in the TikTok app.   These features allow small businesses to use TikTok's platform to directly manage sales, upload products, and more.  In order to sell products or services on the platform, creators must first create a product or service listing. They can then share their listing with their followers on TikTok or other social media platforms. 

Once a customer purchases a product or service from a creator's listing, the creator will receive payment through the TikTok app.  There's a 2% charge for every order made via TikTok Shop, but this small fee can result in big sales for businesses!

Additionally, TikTok has partnered with Shopify and other platforms, including Square, Ecwid, and PrestaShop to integrate directly with the app. Connect Shopify to TikTok and use Shoppable TikTok videos to allow for easier consumer checkout.

TikTok offers features designed for brands to easily share branded and sponsored content with their audience.   These features include product links that lead a user right to your product pages. They also feature live shopping where you can highlight features and showcase product links also. 

Don't miss out on this growing social media giant -Start using TikTok today to market your eCommerce business!

TikTok, The Social Commerce Ad Platform

In September 2021, TikTok announced a social commerce ad platform, a tool meant to help eCommerce businesses market their products to shoppers on social media.   They offer a variety of ad formats serving different objectives and placements running from affordable to a bit more of an investment.  

They even offer a free gifting system that can help you drive traffic.

TikTok ads are outperforming other platforms.  The CPC on TikTok averages 30%+ cheaper than with Facebook Ads.  FB ads average less than 5% engagement while TikTok is averaging 18%+ engagement rates.    Supercharge your potential on TikTok by using user-generated content.  Ads with user-generated content convert on average 7 times better than ads without it.

What are the Different Ad Types on TikTok?

TikTok In-Feed Ads

In-Feed Ads can help you reach a new audience and grow your TikTok followers by showing ad content that can be up to 60 seconds long and are like personalized Instagram stories.  Remember though, shorter video gets better engagement.

TikTok In-Feed Ads: 

  • Can be liked, shared, followed, and commented on by users. 
  • Add music to your video ads 
  • Multiple CTAs. allowed
  • Appear on TikTok users’ For You pages.

Best Practice: Ensure that your ads stand out. Ads have to be attention-grabbing with the sound off first, then once you are satisfied that it will captivate the user's attention, add the music. You only have a split second to make a stunning first impression, don't waste it. Create for the audience, and optimize for the platform.

Collection Ads

Collection Ads from TikTok’s Shopping suite promote products in an interactive yet informative way, combining swipeable product cards and In-Feed video ads into an Instant Gallery Page.

These are not like In-Feed ads, TikTok Shopping Ads lead a customer away from TikTok to your own site and require the creation of

  • Integration of your TikTok product catalog
  • Set up your campaign
  • Build a gallery page for your campaign
tiktok collections ads

Click to play

TikTok Dynamic Showcase Ads (New In Beta)

TikTok has started testing a new type of eCommerce ad called Dynamic Showcase Ads. These ads are designed to show personalized, dynamic ads to potential shoppers based on their interests, in a similar fashion to Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads.

To be ready to use these ads, brands will need to:

  • Set up their TikTok Pixel
  • Ensure they have set up their TikTok product catalogs
  • Create product videos for TikTok catalogs

Despite limited roll-out, this ad type is already having a lot of success. Sellers can use TikTok Dynamic ads to automatically promote many products and deliver a curated ad experience to their most relevant custom target audiences. 

TikTok Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Takeovers are promoted posts that appear on the launch screen of the app. When a TikTok user opens the app, they are immediately greeted with a Takeover Ad, which appears for a few seconds before changing into an In-Feed Video ad.  A Brand Takeover can last up to five seconds and typically includes a video or static graphic.  They also appear on users’ For You pages and include either a clickable link or a branded Hashtag Challenge.  

TikTok Brand Takeover Ads will:

  • Show a full-screen video when targeted TikTok users (your audience) open the app and appear on the For You feed page.
  • Be exclusive to a specific category. In other words, TikTok will only show one Brand Takeover to each user per day.

Great for awareness, Brand Takeovers can be a bit pricey. For this reason, they might be more suitable for established eCommerce brands with bigger budgets.

Storeya.com recently evaluated 5 million branded videos and brand takeover videos and found:

  • Product videos have the highest completion rate (75%)
  • Video ads generate the most engagement (1,000 engagements per video)
  • Branded content has a high organic reach (54%)

TopView TikTok Ads

Taking the brand takeover strategy even further, TopView TikTok ads are full-screen video ads that can be up to a minute long and auto-play in your feed after three seconds.   Advertisement campaigns that appear as soon as users open the app and in their newsfeeds are intended to grab attention, build brand awareness, and drive product sales.

Pepsi created a TikTok campaign that leveraged TopView to create immersive, sound-on experiences. This resulted in 5 million+ views, 22.71% engagement rate, and 21% CTRs.

Branded Hashtag Campaigns

TikTok's branded hashtag challenges are a great way for brands to boost brand awareness and increase engagement with their audience.   Create challenges that align with your brand.   You can reach a new audience of users who might not have been exposed to your product or service otherwise.

Involve users in the Challenge itself by having them create content around your theme. This can create a sense of community around your brand and encourage loyalty among followers.  TikTok says these ads offer an average engagement rate of 8.5% through likes, comments, and shares over six days.


Click to play

Over 2 months, this ad increased conversions by 5%, lowered the ad costs by 62% and was viewed by 33m users.

Branded Effect TikTok Ads

Branded Effects are a way to build product awareness. By placing branded filters, stickers, effects, or lenses on your users' photos, videos, and other content to improve the visual appeal of your ads or content. Using these creative filters, you can develop a more immersive brand experience and have fun with shoppers at the awareness stage.

Like Instagram AR filters, Branded Effects can be used on their own or integrated into other formats and campaign types. For example, Halls Liftactiv chewing gum launched a Branded Effect campaign to lift new product awareness by 60.93% and get 17 million video views.

Bonus: Small Gestures Feature

The Small Gestures feature is a new way for you to send your friends and family "thinking of you" reminders while they are away. 

TikTok has been working with brands to launch these new features for its users for free. Users can send gifts to any three people per gift, according to a recent article on the TikTok newsroom.

These tokens can be redeemed for goods or experiences from participating brands and businesses. For example, a user might send a token to another user in order to redeem a discount on a product from a participating retailer.

Additionally, because Small Gestures allows users to exchange tokens for goods or experiences, it provides an incentive for users to engage with branded content. Ecommerce marketers can create and share content that encourages users to send tokens as gifts in order to receive discounts or other rewards.

Spark Ads - The Best TikTok Ad Option for Ecommerce

We've mentioned the importance and benefit of user-generated content.  The following method is how to use it to drive the best value at the lowest cost and the highest potential,  Who are your most passionate users?  Are they on TikTok?  If so, reach out to them.  You want more than just a couple of them.  You want a good handful, 10 to 20 preferably, of users that create user-generated content for you.  You can find them using the TikTok methods mentioned above or use this article to find more brand ambassadors and advocates.

Once they have created content, get their creator's code and run Spark Ads on TikTok.   Spark Ads are in-feed native ads with excellent results for small businesses. With Spark ads, you license their content and can run it as often as you want during the licensing period.  Add your Amazon attribution link to the ads and receive your sales fees back from Amazon.  You can use that money to pay the creators.  

Focus on creators with smaller followings so you can spend the money on ad placement and not give it all to them without knowing if it will produce results.   Scale the ads that work and quickly kill the ads that do not work.   Negotiate with the creators to be able to use the content on other platforms also.   Cross-post the user-generated content to the other platforms where you know your target audience congregates.   Build brand awareness as well as drive sales.  

Per TikTok: Spark Ads have a 30% higher completion rate and 142% higher engagement rate than standard In-Feed Ads. They also enjoy a 43% higher conversion rate and 4.2% lower CPM than standard In-Feed Ads.  Follow this easy walkthrough from TikTok

HINT: Social Media sites are recognizing the value and importance of this type of ad.  Pinterest just announced multiple partnership ad tools that offer a very similar service for sellers to use with creators on Pinterest.

Examples of Successful Businesses that use TikTok for Marketing

There are many businesses that have found success in using TikTok for marketing. Some notable examples include:

  • Red Bull: This company is known for its extreme sports videos, which are often shared on TikTok.  Red Bull maintains multiple different TikTok accounts and they are a great example of a brand that knows how to solicit entertaining great videos for users.
  • Nike: Nike uses a mix of user-generated and professional content to promote its products on TikTok.
  • Shopify:  Shopify uses TikTok to drive brand awareness and engagement with videos that show sellers how to use the platform with Shopify to benefit sales.
  • Sud Scrub: An all-natural body scrub manufacturer uses TikTok to expand brand awareness through interacting with its target audience.
  • Gucci: Gucci uses humor and creativity in its videos to engage with its audience.
  • Apple: Apple's videos often feature people using its products in creative ways.

Best Practices

Utilize challenge features for marketing campaigns - 

Use relevant hashtags and links for product promotion - For example, if you're selling a new pair of shoes, include the hashtag #shoes in your post, as well as a link to where users can buy them. This will help potential buyers see your post and easily purchase what you're selling.  Use no more than 3 hashtags per post.  Always use your branded hashtag on business-related posts on any platform.  Trending hashtags are great except on their peak days.  Consider the hashtags that your competition is using as well because it can be a way to get your products in front of people that would be interested in you if they knew you existed.

Leverage content marketing strategies - Create interesting, relevant content that encourages viewers to engage with your brand.    Use TikTok as an effective tool for promoting your eCommerce store.  Use influencers on the platform to reach a wider audience.  

Ensure That Your Content Stands Out - Create for your custom audience targeting (buyer personas), and optimize for the platform. Make sure that you use bright colors.  Research your top keyword phrases and the top competition to understand what is working for them and resonates with the audience.

Conclusion - TikTok Marketing Ads Drive Traffic in 2022

In 2022, TikTok is a viable option for brands to sell their products. The platform is changing rapidly and adding new features with changes being introduced constantly. TikTok has changed us as we shift to a more visual, conversational style of communication. The rise of video and influencer marketing on TikTok is changing how brands communicate with their audience.

Take advantage of the unique algorithm. Since it does not value the most popular creators and instead shows users content based on their interests and what they liked in the past, smaller sellers have the same chance of a post going viral as the big players.

TikTok users are highly engaged and receptive to video advertising, making it the perfect platform for promoting your products and services. Keep your videos short and sweet, focus on your product or service offering, and make sure to use relevant hashtags so that your content is easily discoverable.

Hopefully, you have a pretty clear idea and understanding of the value behind using TikTok marketing for your Ecommerce brand.

About the author 

Joe Reichsfeld

Joe Reichsfeld is an E-commerce Coach and Consultant who has been helping entrepreneurs succeed online since 1999. Before E-commerce, Joe spent almost 20 years managing and consulting in the food and beverage industry. His background, plus years of experience working with thousands of sellers, gives him a unique perspective and approach that has helped many clients.

Joe currently works with solopreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. He helps his clients create strong brands—using organic and paid methods—that have proven to deliver sustainable sales, traffic, and long-term growth. His strategies help clients dominate their niches and reach a larger target audience while diversifying across markets and borders. Book a 1 on 1 coaching call with Joe today and find out how he can help your business grow!


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Hashtags are a FREE, simple way to get your message and content in front of your audience and potential followers who are interested in your specific topics. They work extremely well for targeting influencers audiences, competitors, and borrowing the efforts of other creators to help distribute your message.

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