Starting with TikTok ads for a Shopify store: 2022 Update

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TikTok is becoming a major advertising platform for eCommerce companies. Every Shopify store owner should ask himself the following questions:

  1. Is TikTok the right channel for my Shopify store? 
  2. When should I start advertising on TikTok and what can I expect?
  3. What percentage of my budget should be spent on TikTok, which on Facebook ads, and which on Google ads?
  4. What are TikTok ads specifications and a minimum starting budget?
  5. Do iOS 14 changes impact TikTok ads?
  6. How to set up the TikTok pixel?

In this blog post, we’ll give a general overview of TikTok ads. For more in-depth information on how to set up TikTok pixel and  TikTok advertising benchmarks visit our related blog posts. 

Is TikTok Ads the right channel for my Shopify store?

There are plenty of good articles about market-product fit, and a big part of this process is figuring out if your product is reaching the ideal customers on a certain marketing channel. In the case of TikTok, 80% of their audience is aged between 16 and 34. For Shopify business owner, that means two things:

  • If your audience is between 16 and 34: You should market on TikTok.
  • If your audience is over 34 years old: You should market TikTok if your competitors are not on TikTok.

Lebesgue: Smarter Marketing can help you determine whether your competitor is running TikTok ads or not. It is extremely important to know your competitors activity. Since you’re bidding in online ads against them, the more crowded the platform is with your competitors, the more expensive your advertising will be. It is extremely likely that your competitor is not running TikTok ads – either because they think there is no audience for their brand, or because they don’t know how to run them. However, your goal in online advertising should be acquiring customers with as little ad spending as possible, and you can achieve it by investing in a new platform like TikTok rather than overspending on Google ads or Instagram ad placement.

The most important part is that you have TikTok Pixel implemented and your content ready – and you’ll definitely see some conversions on TikTok ads, even if your target audience is older. 

When should I start advertising on TikTok and what can I expect?

TikTok is a new advertising platform, and in most cases, it should not be your #1 marketing channel. TikTok will work as an extension of Facebook ads and Instagram ads. If you feel like you’re overpaying on these channels, and your Shopify store is not growing as much as it should, that is the right moment to start with TikTok ads. Our general rule of thumb to starting with TikTok is to have at least one of these parameters fulfilled:

  • You’re spending over $2,000/day on Facebook ads
  • CPM on Facebook ads is over $23
  • Your audience is majorly under 30 years old
 

In general, the idea of online advertising optimization is to reach relevant audience for the lowest possible ad price. That is the reason why broad targeting is the best strategy for Facebook ads, why long-tail keywords work well on Google ads, and it’s also a reason why a new marketing channel could be a good strategy for your store. If 10 of your competitors are bidding on Facebook ads, 8 on Google ads, and only 1 is on TikTok, it is the best strategy for you to reach your customers on TikTok too – you can expect around a 50% lower CPM compared to the Facebook ads.

Competitors on TikTok, Google and Facebook ads

However, there is also the question of when not to run TikTok ads?

Based on our experience working with 3,000 Shopify stores, if your customer acquisition process is currently based ongoing more through Google ads and SEO, and you’re having a hard time acquiring customers through Facebook ads, there’s a high chance that TikTok will yield even worse results than Facebook does. You might be having problems with landing pages (good read on how to improve them), or your go-to-market strategy relies more on long-tail keywords and a very specific, niche audience.

Our initial studies have shown that TikTok is good at finding customers who’ll convert, but the algorithm is still not as precise as Facebook’s – so the same problems you have on Facebook will happen on TikTok too. Rather focus on improving landing pages and increasing the add-to-cart rate – a good place to check your add-to-cart rate and comparison with industry averages is Lebesgue: Smarter Marketing.

What percentage of my budget should be spent on TikTok ads, which on Facebook ads, and which on Google ads?

What we’ve seen within the Shopify ecosystem is that the most natural structure is around 50% of the budget allocated to Facebook ads, 30% to Google ads, and remaining 20% should be used on testing TikTok. We often see still higher CPA’s on TikTok ads (compared to Facebook ads), but similar results are achievable.

What we’d definitely suggest avoiding is to put all eggs in one basket – whether it’s Facebook, Google, or TikTok, relying solely on one channel is not good in the long run. 

budget optimization for TikTok ads

What are TikTok ads specifications and a minimum starting budget?

There are some TikTok hacks and best practices you shouldn’t miss when starting on TikTok ads. 

TikTok Tips & tricks

 
  • Visit Creative Center to find popular content and inspiration for your own ads
  • Try using Instant Page – a fast loading page within the TikTok platform – this will minimize users’ disruption and potentially increase conversion rates once they land on your page
  • Using videos is a must – although TikTok ads support single images too, if you want to place your ads on TikTok app, instead of their partner network, you need to have video content
  • Lebesgue: Smarter Marketing will automatically detect any setup mistake with TikTok ads, and strategy that differs from the ideal one – and that feature is a part of our free plan

TikTok video specifications (for a conversion-optimized campaign)

 
  • Aspect ratio 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9
  • Minimum resolution: 540 x 960 px or 640 x 640 px
  • Duration: 5-60 seconds. Our recommendation is to focus on 10-26 second videos
  • Brand name: 2-20 characters (brand)
  • Ad description: 1-100 characters

TikTok minimum starting budget

Although TikTok suggests a minimum budget of 20 * target CPA, we’d say that you can start with $500. It should be enough to get relevant CTR and CPMs to see if the channel is comparable to Facebook ads or Google ads. In addition, you should expect between 10 and 30 add-to-carts on this budget, and a couple of purchases. If that has been achieved, you can start optimizing and getting CPAs down.

In addition, make sure to have the TikTok pixel implemented and set up a conversion-optimized campaign when starting. Everything else is going to be a waste of budget.

Do iOS 14 changes impact Shopify conversion tracking too?

Yes, iOS 14 changes that limit user tracking on your website, and that limit Facebook’s conversion tracking, also limit TikTok. You have to set up server-to-server communication via cAPI, very similar to Facebook’s implementation

Luckily, the implementation is not complicated and TikTok made it very simple to install the pixel in less than 10 minutes.

How should I set up TikTok pixel Conversions tracking for my Shopify store?

  1. Navigate to the Shopify App store:
  2. Search for the official TikTok app
  3. Install the TikTok app and connect your TikTok Business account and your TikTok ad account page
  4. Create a new pixel with the events: View Content, Add to Cart, Initiate Checkout, Complete Payment
  5. Turn on the advanced matching mechanism to enrich your audience and improve measurements
  6. Turn on TikTok data sharing
Once you’ve set up the TikTok pixel, you’re ready for your first campaign. If you’ve come to this part, we’ll share one more hack with you for an easier start on TikTok ads.

How to easily start with TikTok ads for my Shopify store?

We believe that there are three main issues when starting with a new marketing channel, such as TikTok:

  1. Making major mistakes such as brand awareness optimization (80% lower ROAS)
  2. Not knowing industry benchmarks for TikTok
  3. Neglecting the effect of combined TikTok, Facebook, and Google ads and focusing solely on one channel
All of these mistakes are covered with Lebesgue: Smarter Marketing. With our “Automated Advertising Audit” (available in the free plan), we’ll detect any mistake with TikTok ads setup, or TikTok pixel issues on your Shopify store.
 

Our “Market Intelligence” feature lets you find out, in real time, the latest TikTok CPM, CTR, and CR benchmarks. In addition, it analyzes your whole checkout funnel to detect issues with Add to Cart, Initiate Checkout, and Complete Payment rates. Using this knowledge, in combination with equally strong Facebook ads and Google ads features, will maximize your Shopify store performance and boost your ROAS.

Check out why Shopify store owners using Lebesgue: Smarter Marketing have a. 40% higher ROAS.

Take your Facebook, Google & TikTok ads to the next level with Lebesgue

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