With more than two billion app downloads and over 800 million monthly active users, TikTok has seen a huge growth in 2020.
Since 69% of its users are ages between 13 – 24, and over 150 million users are from 1st tier countries, TikTok is a huge attraction for game advertisers. On top of that, TikTok is an entertainment app rather than a social media app, which makes it a natural fit for game advertising.
However, TikTok is a much different channel and game advertisers must be aware of the channel’s differences and potential challenges that lay ahead of them while running ads for casual games.
TikTok allows users to scroll away from an ad just like they could on an organic piece of content, which makes it imperative to make ads highly engaging. The best way to make a TikTok ad engaging is to make it look like a TikTok. TikTok confirms this strategy in their TikTok for Business launch slogan: “Don’t make ads, make TikToks”.
Another challenge for advertisers is the 9-second rule. TikTok ads display the copy and the call-to-action button at the 9th second mark of an ad. For this reason, TikTok advertisers must keep their audience engaged for at least 9 seconds.
TikTok ads must start with a bang! Most TikTok users determine whether or not they want to watch a TikTok in the first three seconds of the video, and the same goes with TikTok ads. Here are a few tips to make the intro of a TikTok ad successful:
Use bright colours. Visually appealing bright colors and scenery are more likely to capture a user’s attention.
Give a reason to watch: The intro must give the user a reason to watch the rest of the ad. This could be achieved by story-telling with different elements, such as tension or surprise.
Use the human face: As a general rule of thumb, humans are instinctively programmed to view another human’s face. The visual appearance of a face increases engagement, especially when the face is in line with the target audience and also the game’s emotion.
The success of any ad campaign depends on understanding who your target audience is. Define your target audience. Who is more likely to play your game? Young kids or older women (many casual games are played by women older than 30).
The cast, the scene and the story must be relevant to your target audience. Think of who would play your game and in what situation. Make a reference to common situations to be relevant to your audience. This is a great way of attracting sympathy from your target audience and getting them more engaged with your ad.
Another important component of an ad is the emotion or emotions. Each game has a set of emotions that it creates with the gamer, whether this is happiness, tension or even excitement. Your ad must convey the same emotion associated with the gameplay.
TikTok is mostly made up of meme culture. Take advantage of this while creating your ad. A TikTok ad that fits into the TikTok context is what’s called a native ad on TikTok. A native TikTok ad helps keep your audience engaged and increases the chance of the user to download your game. How to get your ad to be a TikTok ad:
Take up a meme and transform it into an ad for your game. The meme should be somehow connected to your game. If you push too hard for that connection, you may receive backlash from your audience.
Humour reigns supreme on TikTok. TikTok is an entertainment app. If your ad manages to entertain your audience and functions as an ad at the same time, that is golden. This also increases virality of your ad, as users will start forwarding an entertaining ad to each other.
Make use of TikTok’s huge music library. Music is the driving power behind much of TikTok content. Choose a music that fits well to your game and your ad.
A native TikTok ad has huge advantages over a regular gameplay video ad. It will get your audience more engaged and will perform better. On top of this, you will also benefit from a common user behaviour on the app – forwarding. Many users on the app forward to other users the content they like best. If your ad is a TikTok that people like, you will get free impressions from people sharing your ad.
Gameplay Video Tips
Last but not least, any game ad must showcase the gameplay. Here are some tips to make your gameplay footage shine and stand out from the rest:
Make sure your gameplay footage is exciting and fun, and that it demonstrates the best bits of your casual game.
Make sure it’s easy to understand, and that you start teaching your audience about the gameplay even while watching the ad.
Introduce the key and pain points in the gameplay. You can use on-screen text or narration.
Show the difference between a rookie player and a veteran.
TikTok users favor ads that look like TikTok content! Have fun with it. Make sure your ad starts with an attention-capturing intro. Add some elements in the ad that will make it relevant to your target audience. Entertain this audience while advertising your casual game, as users on TikTok are on the app for entertainment. Make use of TikTok’s trends, memes, and music while creating an ad for your casual game.
We’ve written a simple, step-by-step guide for creating a TikTok ad. You don’t need to have a lot of experience to advertise on TikTok. Follow the steps in our guide to start advertising on TikTok today!
1. Create a Campaign
1.a Choose Your Objective
Define what your business goals are. Think of what you want your audience to do when they see your ads. When you have a precise strategy in place, you can choose the correct campaign objective for a successful campaign.
You can choose from 5 different campaign objectives (as of June 2020):
Reach: The only option under awareness. Choose this option to reach the maximum number of people for the minimum budget. The app optimizes your campaign to show your ads to a maximum number of people.
Traffic: Choose this option to optimize for traffic. The app shows your ad to users who are more likely to click through the destination link you define in your ad.
App Installs: Use this objective to have the platform optimize for app installs.
Video views: Pick this objective to optimize for video views. This option shows your ads to users who are more likely to watch through your video content.
1.b Define Campaign Name and Budget
Choose an appropriate name for your campaign and set a budget for your campaign. The platform generates a random name for your campaign. Change this name to a name that makes sense and is easier for you and others to understand.
As for the budget, you can set a daily budget or a lifetime budget. The minimum setting for daily budget is £50 (or $50, depending on geographical location). Don’t worry, you can change these settings later.
2. Ad Group
This is the element where you choose where you’d like your ad to be published. There are two main options here: ‘Automatic Placement’ and ‘Select Placement’.
If you choose ‘Automatic Placement’, TikTok will publish your ad on TikTok and other apps owned by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. Some of these apps are only available in certain regions and countries.
If you choose ‘Select Placement’, you will be able choose manually from 5 different placements:
News Feed App Series (TopBuzz/BuzzVideo/News Republic/Babe)
Vigo (ads available in India only)
Helo (ads available in India only)
Pangle (Available in Japan, Korea and Taiwan)
2.2. Ad Details
Depending on your campaign objective selection, you will see several fields to fill in this part.
In the ‘Ad Details’ section, you will need to provide a ‘Display Name’, a profile image, and ad category and tags for your ads. The display name replaces the username in a regular TikTok and the profile image replaces the user’s profile image. You also need to choose a category for your ad, this will be the category of the business or the product or the app you’re promoting. Many categories also have subcategories, for instance, ‘App Install’ has two subcategories: ‘Mobile Game’ and Mobile App’. Both of these subcategories also have sub-subcategories and these are the genres of the apps. It’s important to choose the category that best represents your business and also fill out ‘Ad Tags’ too, since the information you put in both of these fields will help the algorithm to find the optimum audience for your ads.
Based on your choice of campaign objective, the ad details section will have additional settings.
If you chose ‘Traffic’ as your campaign objective, you will need to input the destination URL you’d like to draw traffic to. You can also activate a TikTok pixel associated with this URL.
If you chose ‘App Install’ as your campaign objective, you will need to choose the app which you would like to promote (you need to set up your ad in TikTok for Business beforehand).
2.3 Creative Type
In this section, you can turn on ‘Automated Creative Optimization’. This function will automatically generate combinations of your creative assets (images, videos and ad copy) and test these combinations within this ad group.
We recommend this option if you have several video assets and ad copies that are centered around the same concept and you would like to test random combinations of these.
In this section, you define the audience you would like your ad group to target. If your app or business has previous custom audience data, you can use it on TikTok. By clicking on the ‘Create New’ button next to the audience field, you can get to the ‘Audiences’ page. There you can create custom audiences or lookalike audiences. There are four options to choose from while creating a custom audience:
Customer file: Upload a file containing customer information (name, email, location, etc) and find matches with people on TikTok to create an audience.
Engagement: Create a list of people who saw, clicked, or engaged with your content.
App Activity: Create a list of people who took specific actions with your app (download or in-app actions)
Website Traffic: Use TikTok pixel to create a list of people who visited or took specific actions on your website.
You can also use the ‘Excluded’ field to exclude some people from your audience, for example people who already downloaded your app.
Under ‘Demographics’, you can narrow down your audience based on location, gender, age and language. Choose the appropriate options here to pin down on your target audience.
TikTok has a vast selection of categories when it comes to interest targeting. Here you can choose from many categories and subcategories. For app promoters, you can choose interests in many different genres of apps. For game promoters, you can choose from different game genres.
You can target based on device as well. TikTok lets you target based on the user’s devices’ operating system, connection type and carrier. You can even define a device price range, which means TikTok has the device brand and model information of users.
It’s important to be aware of your audience size. If your audience size is too narrow, TikTok may not be able to serve enough ads to spend your budget. If your audience is too broad, then your ads may be shown to people who are less likely to take the desired action. Depending on your campaign objectives and your budget, the audience size diagram on the right of the screen will show your audience size in a dial diagram. It’s recommended to keep the dial in the center.
2.5 Budget and Schedule
You can define a daily budget for your adgroup. You can also define a schedule for your ad group. You can either choose your ad group to run continuously or define a start date and an end date. Furthermore, you can also choose specific time periods of the day for your ad group to be running.
2.6 Bidding & Optimization
If you chose as your campaign objective ‘Reach’, you can select a frequency cap for your ads.
If you chose as your campaign objective ‘App install’, for ‘Optimization Goal’ you can choose between ‘Install’ and ‘Click’.
If your campaign objective is ‘Conversions’, for ‘Optimization Goal’ you can choose between ‘Conversion’ and ‘Click’.
If your campaign objective is ‘Traffic’, your ‘Optimization Goal’ will be ‘Click’ by default.
You can choose from two different bidding strategies: ‘Standard Bid’, ‘Max Conversion’. Depending on your business requirements, choose your bidding strategy and define a bid. The table below shows advantages and trade-offs of each strategy:
More control on cost per result.
Your target budget.
Your target cost per result.
1. Daily spend may fluctuate. 2. Stable cost per result and possibly lower than the bid.
Max Conversion(Without Bid)
More stability in daily spend.
Your target budget
No need to provide a bid.
1. Daily spend is stable.2. Daily cost per result may fluctuate.
Max Conversion (With Bid)
Willing to trade a higher cost per result for more spend.
Your target budget.
Your target cost per result.
1. Daily spend fluctuates within a certain range. 2. Daily cost per result fluctuates within a certain range.
Your ad can be in the form of an image or a video.
You can upload the file from your computer or from the library on TikTok for Business. There is also a video creator, which helps create ad videos from your existing assets. Additionally, you can use video templates, which will help turn your assets into more engaging TikTok videos.
There is also a Smart Video Generator. This software uses AI to cut your videos to match the music beat and add video transitions, according to the number of shots in your uploaded video. You can even choose video style: dynamic or peaceful.
‘Text’ is the ad copy you would like to use on your ad.
You have several different call-to-action prompts you can choose from: