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TikTok Ads: Should TikTok Be Part of Your Paid Media Strategy?

TikTok Ads: Should TikTok Be Part of Your Paid Media Strategy?

TikTok exploded during lockdown, quickly gaining momentum with its authentic, informative, and funny user-generated content, connecting users at a time when we needed it most. Since then, many brands have adopted TikTok Ads as a part of their paid media strategy.

Although it was only launched under its current guise in 2017, TikTok’s history goes back to an app called Music.ly launched in 2014 and was later bought by the Chinese tech firm, ByteDance. In 2020, TikTok was the second most downloaded app in Apple’s app store (Zoom was #1, in case you were wondering).

Apple App Store's Most Downloaded Apps in 2020
Apple App Store’s Most Downloaded Apps in 2020

Today, TikTok has nearly 1 billion users in over 150 countries, with an estimated 17 million users in the UK alone. To give you some context, it took Facebook 10 years and took Instagram seven years to reach these volumes. 

It’s predicted that within the next three years, TikTok penetration will be on par with social media giants Snapchat and Instagram

TikTok audience demographics

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know enough about TikTok to realise it’s most popular among Generation Z. That is users currently aged between six and twenty-four – if you think six sounds young, 90% of children own a smartphone by their eleventh birthday.

Although the 16-24 age group makes up 33% of TikTok’s users, this still leaves plenty of room for more mature audiences on the platform. A further 32% of TikTok users are Millennials, those aged 25-34. 

Age demographics of TikTok users
Age of TikTok users

And if you think Generation Z & Millennials don’t have purchasing power, think again. The Office for National Statistics estimates that the average 16-24-year-old (Gen Z) has £26,607 of annual disposable income, while 25-34-year-olds (Millennials) have £34,131 annually

Should your brand be advertising on TikTok?

TikTok users spend an average of 850 minutes per month on the app (nearly half an hour every single day). With the highest average engagement rate per post of all social media platforms, it’s clear advertisers should be considering TikTok Ads when allocating their marketing budget. 

But as with organic social content, it’s not just about your brand being on every platform. It’s about being on the platforms where your target audiences spend their time online, giving your brand a platform to inform, educate and entertain. 

If you’re a B2B service hoping to generate contracts worth thousands of pounds, TikTok probably isn’t where business directors will discover new products. However, if you’re looking to gain brand awareness among TikTok’s user demographic and encourage consideration for your products, TikTok should be a part of a wider paid social strategy.

TikTok ads for eCommerce businesses

When it comes to eCommerce brands, tracking purchases directly attributed to TikTok can be difficult due to TikTok’s same-session attribution model. However, our experience dictates lower value products (those in the £15-£30 price range) generate more direct purchases from the app. If your brand is pushing higher value products that may have a longer sales funnel or those that require a longer-term commitment (e.g. a subscription service), TikTok can be a valuable platform for driving brand awareness, and product consideration, combined with other action-driving paid social channels to generate sales. 

83% of users say TikTok played a role in their purchase decision

Although TikTok is not a native shopping platform and hasn’t yet got the ‘social shopping’ capabilities of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, TikTok is already making waves in the eCommerce world. TikTok’s research demonstrates that 1 in 2 users discover new products while on the platform, and 67% of users say TikTok made them consider brands and products they hadn’t thought of before

In October 2020, TikTok announced its Shopify integration allowing merchants to connect their shops and sell products directly through the platform using in-feed shoppable content, moving them closer to the more seamless social shopping experience users can experience on other social platforms. 


In the second part of our TikTok Ads for Brands blog series, we’ll share a guide for targeting audiences and creating ads in the TikTok Business Manager. 

If you’d like to know more about how TikTok ads could work for your business, get in touch.

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Jeremy McDonald

Jeremy McDonald is the CEO at Kaizen.


Following 5 years at the agency, Jeremy took the reins as CEO at the end of 2023. A digitally focused marketing leader with in-depth experience across SEO, analytics, digital PR & content, he is passionate about using digital marketing to grow brands online. His main priority is to bring Kaizen’s organic marketing products to a broader client base whilst developing his specialist in-house team of 50+ digital experts.

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