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How You Can Become One of the Top Brands Advertising on TikTok

By collegemktgrp | March 25, 2022 | Brands/Advertisers

The power of TikTok can’t be overstated. Besides being a creative outlet for many, brands advertising on TikTok are having a field day with the exposure and engagement gleaned from the platform’s millions of users.

Advertising on TikTok helps your brand reach younger, content-hungry audiences like Gen Z. Of the over one billion people who are on the app today, 60% are a part of this demographic. 

The difference between getting your brand in front of millions of college students or sitting on the sidelines could come down to a single TikTok video. That’s where a smart advertising strategy comes in.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of TikTok advertising to capture the attention and dollars of more college students this year.

Do’s and Don’ts of Advertising on TikTok

There’s no single way to hit it big on TikTok. It’s all about striking the right balance between building your brand’s presence organically on the app and paying for ad space. 

Whether you’re aiming to build brand awareness or turn more engagement into conversions, TikTok offers plenty of opportunities to do this through both organic and paid content. 

Take the time to identify your targeted audience, engage them meaningfully, and keep your brand relevant to college students. 

Do Select the Right Audience

  • Gen Z is projected to reach almost 50 million users in the U.S. by 2025. By targeting them now, you can build lifelong customers.
  • Visit your “Followers” tab to learn more about your current followers. Pay attention to patterns you notice in demographics and check out what their other interests are. 
  • Explore hashtags that are relevant to your brand or your niche and see who’s engaging with the related content. 

Don’t Be Too Promotional

  • Gen Z doesn’t want to be bombarded with ads. Don’t constantly promote your products or services.
  • Use the platform to tell your brand’s story — share how you came to be, who the people are behind your brand, your vision, and your values.
  • Show your audience how valuable your products are in their daily lives with how-to videos.

Do Follow Current TikTok Trends

  • Trends move quickly on TikTok — keep a regular eye on what’s trending so you can keep up with the latest craze.
  • Hashtags and hashtag challenges are a major part of going viral. Use the Discover page to find popular videos, the best hashtags for TikTok, trending influencers, and sponsored content.
  • If you’re sharing a video that is a version of a trend, make it your own!

Don’t Forget About User-Generated Content

  • Sprinkle in content created by users who have already engaged with your brand.
  • Participate in hashtag challenges to encourage your followers to create content for you. 
  • Ask your audience to share their moments and thoughts with you.
  • Make sure you’re staying consistent with your brand and image no matter which type of content you’re posting.

Do Comment Regularly and Encourage Comments 

  • TikTok ranks comments by the number of likes they receive. Avoid making bland comments like, “Cool Video!” so other users will want to engage with your thoughts.
  • Invite users to leave comments on your videos by prompting them with questions in your posts. 

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

  • Every brand and organization is multi-faceted. TikTok lets you take a more playful angle with your brand voice to connect with college students.
  • The Washington Post — who you’d assume posts only serious news content — uses the app to post comedic and satirical videos related to current events. 
  • Younger audiences are hungry for entertainment and content that’ll tug at their heartstrings or their funny bone, so show students the lighter side of your brand. 

Do Use Different Types of TikTok Ads

Creating ads on TikTok is straightforward — once you create your account and get logged into your TikTok’s Ads Manager, they lay out the steps for you along the way. 

Each type of ad offers its own perks, whether it’s immediate reach or opportunity for engagement. The trick is finding the right balance for your brand. 

1. In-Feed Ads

  • These are self-service ads you can create using TikTok’s standard ad format.
  • These appear on your audience’s “For You page, but may not necessarily be the first video users see (and can easily blend in with the rest of their feed). 
  • You can feature a clickable CTA button to drive TikTok users to your website. 
  • These can also be liked, commented on, and shared by users.

2. Top-View Ads

  • Think of these as prime real estate — these pop up on users’ “For You” page when they first open the app.
  • Users can view your videos for up to 60 seconds without interruption or auto-playing the next video, though shorter videos are still best. 
  • This style of TikTok ad can be liked, commented on, and shared.

3. Brand Takeover Ads

  • Similar to “Top-View” ads but these take over users’ full screens when they open the app.
  • Users can’t like or comment on these TikTok videos, but they can direct users to your website.
  • These types of ads are typically short and snappy, usually around 3-5 seconds long.
  • Use this format in conjunction with other types of ads to better build brand awareness. 
  • These have 100% “Share of Voice for the day they are featured, meaning users won’t see any other “Brand Takeover” ad on that day.

4. Branded Hashtag Ads

  1. “In-Feed,” which encourages users to participate in your challenge,
  2. “Discover Page,” which directs users to your hashtag challenge, and 
  3. The hashtag challenge, where all video submissions for your challenge are collected.
  • These ads go well beyond clicks and shares and give you the opportunity to engage with the online community.

5. Branded Effects

  • Brands advertising on TikTok get to have some fun with these ads by creating shareable branded stickers, filters, and effects users can add to their own content.
  • Just like hashtag challenges, “Branded Effects” go beyond the click or like — users are sharing your “Effects” with others and becoming more immersed in your brand.
  • These can be standalone or integrated into a hashtag challenge campaign.

TikTok offers ample opportunity to effectively communicate and connect with your audience. By utilizing these different formats of ads, you can seamlessly integrate both organic and paid content into your TikTok strategy.

Don’t Miss Out — Boost Your Engagement With College Students 

Take the time to consider what that side of your brand looks and sounds like. 

And before you launch your TikTok marketing plan, learn about the strategies you can use to keep college students and Gen Z engaged with your brand on the app.

Tap into TikTok’s wellspring of marketing opportunity >

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