Global Markets

TikTok introduces search ads for advertisers and brands

TikTok just unveiled Search Ads, which will allow marketers to have adverts displayed alongside organic content in the app’s search results.

TikTok has officially made the Search Ads Toggle available to all advertisers, following earlier limited testing. TikTok has made ad placements available to target individuals who are actively searching for topics related to a brand’s business for the first time.

When a user enters a search query, the advertising appear alongside the results. When a user clicks on a search ad, the ad replicates the TikTok in-feed experience, with users able to scroll through the search results in the order they appear on the website.

TikTok’s global head of Monetization Product Solution & Operation, Ray (Jiayi) Cao, says, “The Search Ads Toggle gives advertisers a new ad placement where qualified, high-intent users are searching for content relevant to their business, allowing advertisers to further connect with the TikTok community in authentic and engaging ways.”

The new search advertising are not a separate product, but rather an extension of a TikTok video ad purchase. This new feature, according to TikTok, “leverages advertisers’ existing In-Feed Ad creative to serve ads alongside organic video search results from relevant user queries.”

The search advertising are automated, and companies can opt out of showing in search results by turning off a toggle in TikTok advertising Manager (which is set to be enabled by default). Brands can also use ‘negative keywords’ to avoid their campaigns from appearing in searches that aren’t relevant to their brand’s message.

TikTok search advertisements will carry a ‘Sponsored’ label, and the TikTok Search advertisements delivery system takes into account a variety of criteria, including ad relevancy to the search query, metadata, budgets, competition, and more, before deciding which ad to serve for a specific search query. TikTok Ads Manager reports will include search phrase insights as well as Search Ads data such as cost and impressions.

According to TikTok, based on internal tests done in July, about 70% of ad groups with the Search Ads Toggle enabled had lower cost per action (CPA) due to more effective conversions from this ad placement. Clinique and DIBS Beauty were among the early adopters, and according to TikTok, Clinique experienced a 441% increase in conversation rates, a 51% increase in click-through rates, and a 7.4% boost in ad recall. When compared to non-search ads, DIBS reported an 8% increase in conversion volume, a 6x higher conversion rate, and a 22% decrease in CPA.

Instead of using search engines like Google, Gen Z consumers are increasingly using TikTok to find product recommendations, restaurants, shows to watch, and other information. TikTok is monetizing this behavior by introducing the Search Ads Toggle. A test and learn strategy is essential for any new ad features.

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