How to Use TikTok for Marketing + TikTok Ads Best Practices

Balint Gergely

March 6, 2024

TikTok’s popularity has been on the rise since its inception, but its breakthrough moment came in 2020. 

We were all stuck in our homes, craving for human connection. The platform was a breath of fresh air. It connected us with the outside world through bite-sized, relatable vertical videos. 

TikTok has been on an unwavering quest to take over the social media landscape ever since, and it did so with surprising effectiveness:

According to Apple’s report, TikTok became the 5th most downloaded app in the App Store in 2023.

Whether you have tried TikTok marketing before, or you’re completely new to the platform, you might be wondering:

How can you use TikTok for marketing?

In this article, we’ll cover 6 of the most effective ways to nail your TikTok marketing, and how to optimize your TikTok ads for more impact.

But first:

Who’s the audience for your TikTok marketing?

TikTok is famously known for pioneering short-format vertical videos and quirky dances. Many also associate it with its young audiences. This makes most people believe that TikTok's only audience is Gen Z. 

But this is a misconception.

Although 57% of TikTok creators are Gen Z, the audience is now primarily older. According to Exploding Topics, over 52% of TikTok users are above the age of 30.

This has major implications for TikTok advertising.

Marketing on TikTok is no longer reserved for Gen Z audiences. Brands can now reach all demographics on the platform, and by neglecting this, you may be leaving opportunities on the table:

According to TikTok, millennials are 2.3x more likely to tag and engage with a brand than any other demographic on the platform. You can clearly drive business results by targeting demographics other than Gen Z with your TikTok marketing.

In this article, we’ll go through 6 of the most influential tips to help you build your TikTok marketing strategy:

1. Match the platform’s aesthetics
2. Take advantage of native features
3. Combine TikTok advertising with other platforms
4. Optimize videos with attention analysis tools
5. Tap into influencer marketing
6. Leverage user-generated content with hashtags

Let’s dive in:

1. Match the platform’s aesthetics with your TikTok ads

Social media ads receive 3.4 seconds of attention on average. Combined with the fact that 64% of all content drives negative emotions you see why cutting through the noise on social media is so difficult.

The solution?

Make videos specifically for TikTok. Take inspiration from native, user-generated TikTok videos:

Find similar insights in the Mobile Advertising Mistakes to Avoid eBook

TikTok videos with expensive studio lights, ultra-high resolution cameras, and professional angles won’t fit into the native feed of your TikTok audience.

Is that a bad thing? 

Not necessarily. But your videos will look like ads. Unless your audience works in advertising, chances are they don’t watch ads recreationally.

Try to match TikTok’s aesthetics so your videos can seamlessly fit into the users’ content flow. Use handheld cameras, low-fidelity lighting, and narration. Use selfies and build storylines. The best TikTok ads are built for TikTok.

This will make your content feel less intrusive. 

Use TikTok’s native open captions for your subtitles to enhance accessibility. This will not only help you create better engagement, and reach wider audiences but may even yield SEO benefits. 

TikTok has many great features to help you. Make good use of them. 

This brings us to our next point:

2. Take advantage of native features in your TikTok marketing strategy

Every platform has its unique features for creators. 

TikTok is no exception.

TikTok’s most recent (and potentially most disruptive) feature allows you to take customers through the entire marketing funnel without ever leaving the platform.

The feature is called TikTok Shop.

The company introduced its shopping functionality to US audiences in September of 2023. 

Although the concept is fairly new in the Western Hemisphere, TikTok’s Chinese equivalent, Douyin is already one of the biggest online retailers in its respective region. 

TikTok hopes to replicate its predecessor’s success:

The company aims to generate a staggering 17.5 billion dollars in total sales in its TikTok Shop in 2024 alone. 

This is certainly ambitious, but it highlights the importance of utilizing native features. Integrating the shopping function into your TikTok marketing could open up new revenue streams for your brand.

Doing it all on one platform may be game-changing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from spreading out your content to multiple platforms:

3. Combine TikTok advertising with other platforms to prime audience attention

TikTok doesn’t exist in isolation. 

Most users are likely interacting with other forms of media, such as television, streaming platforms, and OOH ads. You can use these dimensions of your advertising to enhance the effectiveness of your TikTok marketing game.

Our studies with TikTok found that priming audiences on TikTok had a significant positive impact on the audience’s interactions with branded content on other platforms. 

Those primed on TikTok paid more attention to brand cues like product shots or branding when they saw them later on TV or streaming services.

Read more in our State of Advertising eBook

If you’re using an omnichannel marketing strategy, these findings may influence your storytelling.

Not only did TikTok’s priming result in higher engagement, it also elevated the audience's perception of the brand.

Both by itself and when coupled with other platforms, ad performance on TikTok is bolstered by preceding content. We found a 27% increase in aided brand recall when users saw brands' organic TikTok content before paid ads.

You can read more about this in our State of Advertising 2023 eBook.

Do you know what else can boost your brand recall among TikTok viewers?

4. Optimize TikTok marketing with attention analysis

Imagine going viral with a piece of organic content, just to fail at leaving a lasting brand impression. Happens more often than you think. 

We can get so caught up in hunting TikTok likes, that we often take our eyes off the real prize: driving business results.

That’s the risk you take every time you don’t consider what captures attention in your TikTok videos.

How can you make outstanding TikTok ads?

Use attention visualization tools like Predict to optimize your TikTok content.

Predict is built on a robust database of high-quality eye-tracking and behavioral data. It can accurately predict where your audience is looking while watching your ads.

From optimizing video engagement to leaving a strong memory trace, the possibilities are endless for visual content optimization. To get a headstart you can read our blog on maximizing video effectiveness.

Attention optimization can be especially useful for driving brand awareness.

But not all content is branded content. At least, not explicitly:

5. Tap into influencer marketing on TikTok

According to the original theory of the two-step flow of communication, mass media rarely influences the opinions of the many. Most of us don’t have the time and resources to evaluate every option. 

Which is why we rely heavily on the opinions of others. 

Our opinions about products, politics, or ideas are often mediated by a trusted source. This trusted source is what we call an opinion leader. They can be our neighbors, family members, or online influencers. 

In short, consumers often adopt the beliefs of a trusted opinion leader. 

The emphasis is on trust. 

TikTok is often praised by its users as the “most relatable” social media platform. Being original, honest, and authentic is actively encouraged by the community. This relatability makes creators seem more trustworthy. This makes for an excellent opportunity for brands to tap into influencer marketing.

According to Sprout Social, 61% of marketers already use TikTok for influencer marketing.

Celebrity endorsements are the predecessors of influencer marketing. 

We know that using beloved celebrities in advertising can result in higher levels of positive emotions towards the ads. This is why seemingly every Super Bowl commercial involves celebrities. Celebrity endorsements help brands to boost trust and engagement. 

Paid influencers aren’t the only ones wielding the power to persuade your target audience to try your products and services. We haven’t talked about the best influencers of them all:

Our friends and family.

This is what this next tip takes advantage of:

6. Use hashtags to engage TikTok viewers & encourage user-generated content

Why make all the content yourself, when you can outsource content creation to your following?

You can do just that with the strategic use of hashtags in your TikTok marketing. 

Hashtags are extraordinarily powerful on TikTok. They allow brands to jump on or create new trends, and encourage users to build native content around the brand, product, and community. 

You may jump on existing trends to enhance your visibility or build your own hashtag trend.

A prime example of this is encouraging your audience to share their unboxing experiences.

Unique unboxing experiences can elevate the perceived value of your product. They bring prime opportunities to build organic buzz around your brand and product.

(Learn what makes unboxing experiences memorable in this blog post.)

A well-built TikTok marketing strategy cannot be complete without taking advantage of hashtags. 

Not only do hashtags create brand awareness, but they also create massive amounts of organic exposure.


We hope this article helped you get a better understanding of how to use TikTok for marketing.

As a bonus tip, you may want to explore how the subconscious of your audience plays into the relationship you have with your ads.

Incorporate these best practices into your TikTok marketing and your ads will make the impact you're looking for.

To achieve your goals with your TikTok ads, you can:

1. Match the platform’s aesthetics with your TikTok ads
2. Take advantage of native features in your TikTok marketing strategy
3. Combine TikTok advertising with other platforms to prime audience attention
4. Optimizing TikTok marketing with attention analysis
5. Tap into influencer marketing on TikTok
6. Use hashtags to engage TikTok viewers & encourage user-generated content

Do you want to enhance your marketing performance even more?

Check out our attention analysis tool Predict.

How to Use TikTok for Marketing + TikTok Ads Best Practices

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