How to advertise on TikTok in South Africa – exploring the different ad options

In this article series Lerato Monareng takes you through the process of setting up TikTok ads before you can fall into the trap of running ineffective ads and wasting your marketing budget and the first step requires that you align TikTok’s offerings with the objectives of your brand.  

How to advertise on TikTok in South Africa – exploring the different ad options

A year ago, TikTok was set to be banned in the United States after it was stated to be a security threat by the Trump administration due to its parent company. Besides the United States, other countries such as India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and more others banned the Chinese app over concerns about pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy.

On the other hand, the South African government hasn’t really considered banning the app, well according to my knowledge. This, according to me is good news for South African digital marketing strategists like me and brands wishing to advertise to the active South African TikTok users.

However, the South African Police Service issued a warning about the dangers of TikTok, since its growth has come with several vulnerabilities that expose young users to cybercriminals. In a Facebook post, SAPS said: “TikTok can be a safe place for kids 13 or older, but parents are encouraged to discuss online safety and best practices.”

In addition to being the fastest growing social media platform among consumers worldwide, with over 800 million active users, TikTok is set for explosive growth among marketers.

In 2021, almost a third of major brands have become active on TikTok. According to Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx MD “Fewer than 20% of brands have used it in the past year, but none believe they are doing so very effectively.”

Regardless of brands doubting the effectiveness of their TikTok ads, the list of brands advertising on TikTok ads is constantly growing, both in the numbers and in the breadth of the products they sell. 

The purpose of this article series is to take you through the process of setting up TikTok ads before you can fall into the trap of running ineffective ads and wasting your marketing budget and the first step requires that you align TikTok’s offerings with the objectives of your brand.  

AdEspresso suggests that if your brand is looking for a large, engaged audience, selling to well-funded generation Z and Y, and has an international audience - then you should consider TikTok.

Now that your brand aligns with what TikTok offers, let’s get to the step-by-step guide to help you start advertising on TikTok today and reach the right people, with the right message at the right time.

Step 01: Ad types

First things first, let me take you through the different TikTok ad options/types, this is quite vital because even though what TikTok offers aligns with your marketing objectives, you still need to use the correct medium with TikTok to get the ultimate results. Below are the several paid advertising options that TikTok offers.

In-feed video ads: the name of this ad type is pretty self-explanatory, but for summary’s sake, these are short-form videos that appear in users’ news feed (hence the name, in-feed) on the For You page. The best thing is that this ad type looks like the native TikToks videos, and they easily blend into the feed.

Branded hashtag challenge: This ad option offers a unique co-creation opportunity that turns TikTok users into unofficial brand ambassadors, where a brand asks TikTok users to record a video of themselves and then post it with a specific hashtag. According to the official TikTok for business website A Hashtag Challenge is discoverable through any means within the app: official videos, the Discover page, other formats, music and existing UGC responses, all of which combine to drive huge reach.

Brand takeover: if you have the TikTok app, I am quite sure you have seen this ad option. Which is a full-screen advertisement that is three- to five-second long, it shows up as soon as you open the app. Furthermore, the app also shows up in the For You feed. 

To drive conversions, you can include a clickable hashtag or website link as well – depending on what your objectives are.

TopView ads: Like the brand takeovers ad option mention previously, TopView ads also display on the full screen. The main difference is that these ads can run for 60 seconds long, and they are on a delayed play, so they don’t start with app startup.

Branded effects: Branded effects are custom stickers, AR filters, and lenses users can add to their own video. This new branded effect is available for 10 days and each new branded effect is available for 10 days.

In my next article, I will walk you through the process of creating an in-feed video ad, since it’s the only one that can be done completely through self-service.