Digital Advertising: What’s the best thing to do with TikTok ads? With Ben Muir from Unsociable (episode 163)

by April Buencamino-dy

Ben Muir is the Head of Marketing at sister agencies Grow Digital who helps brands enter the UK market, and Unsociable where they’re all about harnessing the power of TikTok and other social channels to drive brand growth.

Ben Muir Unsociable Digital Advertising

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Getting Into Advertising and TikTok

Ben has always had a passion for storytelling and cinema. Realizing the practical limitations of pursuing a film career, he studied marketing at university instead and eventually specialized in social media.

Though he was intimidated by TikTok at first, Ben recognized its potential and experimented with it at his own agency. They started with organic content, even doing it with their clients for free, and quickly saw results.

TikTok Shop

The most significant aspect of TikTok for e-commerce brands is TikTok Shop. Unlike traditional marketplaces, TikTok Shop focuses on showcasing products through creative content. Shoppers can engage with the brand and make purchases directly from TikTok through shoppable links.

Ben explains that TikTok handles the payment process and deducts their commission fee before allocating the remaining funds to the merchant’s account. TikTok takes a commission fee, but the rates are relatively low compared to other platforms.

Running Ads to Drive Sales

A key strategy for TikTok Shop is to run ads to drive product sales. But Ben advises against running TikTok ads without prior familiarity with the platform.

Learn the platform and its nuances first by starting with organic content creation. Collaborate with creators and allow them to produce content for your brand, as they have a better understanding of their audience. Observing what resonates organically and through creators, you can gain valuable insights for your own ad strategy.

The goal is to make ads that resemble organic TikTok content that fits seamlessly into the platform’s feed because ads that blend in as native TikToks have a better chance of delivering favorable results.

Where to Drive Your Customers

Ben says your ads can either drive sales to your TikTok Shop or to your own website. Testing both strategies is important. While TikTok Shop may yield better results, running direct-to-website ads can still be effective for retaining customer data and lifetime value.

A practical tip for starting TikTok advertising is to use a “spark ad”. This approach allows brands to add a call-to-action to organic content while retaining social proof such as likes and comments, making the ad more engaging and appealing to potential customers.

Working with Content Creators

Ben says that the best result they’ve seen on TikTok is collaborating with creators on commission. This approach allows brands to scale their products on TikTok Shop and gain mass awareness through viral creator videos.

A successful example is Nature Spell, which started with their Rosemary hair growth oil and scaled into a multi-million brand by leveraging TikTok creators to promote their products on TikTok Shop.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with digital advertising – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Spend some time on TikTok, analyzing competitors to see which ones are successful. Use this insight to inspire creative ideas for your own brand. Once you’ve gathered inspiration, consider collaborating with content creators to produce organic content for your brand. If you have an in-house team capable of doing so, you can also explore that option.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve digital advertising performance?

When collaborating with a content creator for your ad creative, always request multiple hooks and CTAs. Having these options will allow you to experiment and determine which ones work best.

Additionally, negative hooks have been discovered as a game changer, so consider exploring this approach in your ad strategy.

If someone listening wants to learn more about digital advertising is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Head over to Google and search for “TikTok for advertisers,” where you’ll find a wealth of valuable information to explore for a few hours. 

You can also find exceptional content creators like Savannah Sanchez on LinkedIn. She runs a US agency and is one of the best sources for reliable advertising information and valuable insights.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in digital advertising?

In the next 6 to 12 months, brands should keep an eye on live selling, particularly on platforms like TikTok. It has proven to be highly effective, capturing consumer attention and driving purchases.

Interview Links

*Thank you to Judith Van Dijk from Shopline for the introduction to Ben!

**To find out more about TikTok, you’ll find all our TikTok episodes here

Ben on Social media:

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