How to Sell and Advertise on TikTok

14 min read

Ah, TikTok. A popular app that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Actually, it’s getting so much attention that it recently hit one billion worldwide users! People are flocking to TikTok for music, dance videos, funny pet videos, and basically anything else you can think of. That’s the power of a highly personalized video feed.

Besides being the world’s fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok is an excellent way to engage with your audience and reach out to new potential customers in an organic way that feels easy-going. From effectively targeted ads to built-in shopping, TikTok can do so much for your business. Read on to learn all about the most beneficial TikTok tools for small business owners.

Why Should You Use TikTok for Your Business?

Let’s start with the most obvious question: should you use TikTok for your business? Or, actually, why is TikTok even a thing for businesses?

To answer those questions, let’s point out the main differentiating features of the platform from the other social media channels out there:

TikTok Has a Huge Audience and Is Growing Fast

Besides the one billion users mentioned above, TikTok shows explosive growth across the board:

  • TikTok went from 55 million global users in 2018 to 689 million in 2020.
  • As of the first half of 2021, TikTok is the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app in the world. It reached three billion downloads, becoming the first non-Facebook app to hit that milestone.

Not only is the TikTok audience huge, but it’s also very diverse. It boasts users from a variety of age groups (from 10 to 50+ years) and with truly diverse interests. There are tons of communities on TikTok: #baketok, #synthtok, #parenttok, and so on. That makes the platform a great spot for advertising, no matter what you sell.

TikTok’s Recommendation System Is Off the Charts

TikTok’s recommendation system determines which videos will appear on a user’s For You page (the steady stream of videos they see when they open the app).

As TikTok puts it, the For You page “is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

To curate this unputdownable feed, TikTok considers every little thing about your interactions with videos or accounts. For example, it considers clips you like or share, creators you follow, comments you post, as well as content you make.

Recommendations are also based on video information (captions, sounds, hashtags) and your device type and account settings (language and country).

The magic of the recommendation system allows TikTok to constantly present users with content they like. People open the app and literally get an endless stream of videos they are interested in. Which brings us to our next point:

People Spend a Lot of Time on TikTok

When we say “a lot,” we mean A LOT. On average, people spend 24.5 hours on TikTok per month. In the UK and the US, that’s more time than users spend on YouTube!

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile report, TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, surpassing Facebook (I know, we can’t believe it either).

As a business owner, you want to reach your potential customers where they already spend time. Not only does TikTok have a super big and engaged audience, but it continues to grow, thanks to the recommendation system that users love. So, when it comes to promoting your brand on social media, TikTok should be at the top of your list of platforms to test out.

Products Can Go Viral on TikTok

Check out #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag—it has 5.6 billion views in the app. You see, on TikTok, products can go viral—just like songs, trends, or filters.

For example, when a feta pasta recipe blew up on TikTok, some social media users complained that cheese aisles in their local stores were running low on feta because of the recipe’s popularity.

There are lots of other products that have become difficult to buy after going viral on TikTok. For example, some CeraVe skincare products, roller skates, the Pink Stuff cleaning paste, Zara jeans, Peter Thomas Roth firming eye cream, Prepdeck kitchen organizer, Cat Crack catnip. The list goes on and on!

TikTok users can duet, stitch, and react to each other’s videos which, besides promoting co-creation, works as social proof when it comes to product testing. When you see dozens of videos on your For You page with different people (not brands) testing the same product, you’ll start to believe that it’s truly worth the hype.

Now let’s explore how exactly you can use the app for growing your brand visibility and sales. There are both free and paid ways to make it work for you:

  • Set up TikTok Shopping to sell products in the app (you don’t have to pay for your TikTok Shopping, just for the ecommerce platform you use)
  • Run paid ads (you get to set the ad budget).

How to Sell Products on TikTok

Sellers in the US and the UK can benefit from TikTok Shopping, a new integration that allows customers to buy your products right on TikTok–without even leaving the app.

Just imagine: you’re browsing your For You page and some cool video catches your eye. And wait, now you need the product you see in the clip! So you tap the bag icon in the video and buy that awesome item. All it takes is a couple of clicks. How cool is that? TikTok Shopping offers your potential customer that exact shopping experience.

You can also add a Shop tab to your TikTok profile that will display products from your catalog. Customers will be able to browse your products in the app, just as easily as they can browse your videos.

After customers tap a bag icon in your video or click on a product in your Shop tab, they can view the product’s name, description, photos, price, and *drum roll, please* a link to buy the product in your store.

TikTok Shopping is available for online sellers that connect their product catalogs to TikTok for Business via their ecommerce platform, including Ecwid.

If you want to integrate your online store with TikTok seamlessly, you need to set up an online store with a platform that supports syncing a store with the app. Then you’ll be able to connect it to TikTok for Business.

Ecwid is one of the few ecommerce platforms that allows you to connect your online store to TikTok to advertise and sell your products on the app. You can also connect your Ecwid store to other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay. With Ecwid, you can sell your products everywhere–on your website, social media, marketplaces, and even in person. All your products and sales will be synced, and you'll be able to manage them from a single dashboard.

Have you heard of TikTok for Business? No, it’s not a business profile where you share your videos like any other app user. TikTok for Business is a set of extra special tools that allows you to promote and sell your products on TikTok.

Connecting a store to TikTok for Business and accessing its tools is available for sellers in 20+ countries. However, one of the tools, TikTok Shopping, is only available for sellers in the US and the UK (for now). Learn all about Ecwid’s TikTok integration in our Help Center.

TikTok Shopping is in Beta and eligible for select merchants. See if you’re eligible.

If you’re ready to sell your products on TikTok, click the button below and check out step-by-step instructions for getting started with selling products on the app.

Sell on TikTok

How to Advertise on TikTok

TikTok is ranked number one globally for ad equity. Or to say it another way, users find ads on the app valuable, thanks to platform-specific ad formats that allow you to promote your products and services on TikTok in a native way. Let’s explore how you can advertise your business on TikTok with ads.

To start running effective ad campaigns, you need to connect your online store to TikTok for Business through your ecommerce platform, aka Ecwid.

Connecting your online store to TikTok for Business allows you to run effective ad campaigns. For example, display ads that show a specific product to people that were checking out that item on your website. Or, promote your products to people that have a lot in common with your customers and are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

After you connect your online store to TikTok for Business with Ecwid, you’ll be able to:

Feature Products in Your Ads

Having your product catalog and your TikTok for Business account synced, you can create and manage ads that display your products–Spark Ads, Collection Ads or Catalog Sales Objective Ads.

Spark Ads are your organic in-feed videos that you can turn into ads and add a call-to-action button to them. With your product catalog and your TikTok for Business account synced, you’ll be able to link to your product page in your Spark Ads.

You can also use organic videos of other creators that feature your product and turn them into Spark Ads to promote them in the feed.

Collection Ads allow customers to browse a collection of products right in the app. You can either pick the items to show yourself, or let TikTok Ads Manager display the most relevant products for each potential customer.

Catalog Sales Objective Ads display specific products to people who have expressed interest in them on your website (this feature is available only in the US and Indonesia for now).

Run More Effective Ad Campaigns

When you connect your store to TikTok for Business, you automatically gain access to a smart analytics tool called TikTok Pixel. It comes pre-installed in your store right away, so it can start working immediately to help you better understand potential customers’ behavior on your website.

But what does TikTok Pixel do exactly? We’re happy you asked! It tracks actions customers take on your website. For example, how many people viewed a specific product page, searched for an item, added something to a cart, or made a purchase.

TikTok Pixel allows you to find the right audience for your ads. For instance, you can use Pixel’s data to reach out to people with common behavior to your current customers, or those who previously engaged with your store.

The key to running ads that actually bring you sales is to advertise to the right audience–people who might actually be interested in your products. With Ecwid, you can get data from TikTok Pixel to analyze your ad performance and adjust your ads to ensure your products are displayed to the right people.

Advertising on TikTok is available for sellers in all countries supported by TikTok. So what are you waiting for?

Advertise on TikTok

If you need help connecting your store to TikTok or want to learn more about advertising on the app, our detailed Help Center instructions will definitely come in handy.

Start Selling and Advertising on TikTok

In addition to being the world’s fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok is a fantastic way to reach out to potential customers in a fun and organic way. With carefully targeted ads and built-in shopping, you can reach new and existing customers where they already spend lots of time (because let’s be honest, once you get started, it’s hard to put the app down).

Sign up for Ecwid to create an online store and connect it to TikTok to showcase your products to a large and diverse audience.

Want to learn more about using TikTok for promoting your business? The Ecwid Blog has got you covered:

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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