TikTok Gets Hip to SMBs With Self-Serve Platform

Especially as the July Facebook boycott heats up, I’ve been obsessed with the fact the duopoly make most of their revenue off of small and medium-size businesses ad spend. SMBs don’t have real alternatives when it comes to audience scale and ease of campaign creation on social self-serve platforms.

Well, what an interesting time for fast-rising TikTok to introduce a self-serve advertising platform aimed at meeting the demands of SMBs. In addition to the platform’s now-famous creative capabilities, SMBs will get advanced targeting and flexible budgeting allowing for campaign pausing.

I caught up with the TikTok collective to learn more about the unique features of the platform including targeting; understand the purpose of its new Business Accounts; and get the low-down on TikTok’s bold offer of $100 million in advertising credits to help SMBs in their pandemic rebuilding efforts.

Sadly, I’m an out-of-touch fuddy-duddy, so we conducted the interview by email and I’m presenting it as an article rather than a mind-blowing, effects-laden short video with a hoppin’ soundtrack. Also, this is what happened when I tried to use TikTok:

@gavinjdunawayTikTok has self-serve platform♬ Cars – Gary Numan

TikTok is like SnapChat and those things disappear, right? Asking for a friend.

GAVIN DUNAWAY: Why does TikTok think this a good moment to cater to the small- and medium-sized business market?

TIKTOK: Over the past year, we’ve seen larger brands see great success engaging with the TikTok community. With the right tools in place to make advertising easier and more efficient on TikTok, we’re excited to open these opportunities to small business

SMBs are the lifeblood of our communities, and where we’re placing our support. This is an important time in our communities and with small businesses coming out of COVID, we want to be there to help them rebuild.

GD: TikTok doesn’t seem as oriented toward direct-response/costumer-acquisition messaging as other social networks; what’s the appeal then for SMB advertisers?

TT: The introduction of new tools and features designed for small businesses will make it easier to get started, such as fast setup, flexible business, and creative tools to easily design engaging creatives. SMBs require a different approach. Our new self-serve platform will help them get started and manage their entire campaigns from start to finish—creative to execution

An added benefit is they manage their campaigns on their own time and we’ve designed these new tools to make it as easy as possible to get up and running on the TikTok platform.

GD: What targeting aspects do you think will be most valuable to SMBs?

TT: We are providing a series of optimized and intelligent targeting methods that enables businesses to get discovered by new, engaged audiences. Advertisers can customize their preferred target audiences with demographic, device and other options.

GD: TikTok is also introducing “Business Accounts” that will provide additional insight into ad performance and user engagement—Could you give us an idea (maybe an example) of what that might entail?

TT: Business Accounts will have access to an overview and insights on analytics like weekly and monthly views, follower growth, and trending videos. Additionally, Business Accounts can display on their profile pages a website link and a one-click “contact via email” button, enhancing direct connections with audience. We will continue exploring ways to enhance product experience and bring new features and value to our partners.

GD: The $100 million ad-credit giveaway in your “Back to Business” program is pretty bold—can you give us a better idea of how it works? Is there a minimum amount of spend or matching?

TT: Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community, and we want to be there with them and to provide support as they weather these challenging times. TikTok’s Back-to-Business is available globally, and small businesses can apply for the credit and get started by visiting https://www.tiktok.com/business/en.

We are offering this program to small and medium-sized businesses around the world. This includes both new advertisers to TikTok for Business and those who already have an active account.

We are supporting eligible SMB advertisers in two ways:

  • Eligible advertisers can claim a one-time free ad credit worth $300 USD to be used by December 31, 2020;
  • Any additional spending will be matched 1-to-1 with free ad credit, up to 2,000 USD per business.