EP105 – TikTok Advertising For Dummies

Author Halli Biggs 24 min read time

Hi all and welcome to episode 105 of the Marketing Freaks podcast! In this week’s episode, Jon is joined by our very own TikTok genius and Senior PPC Executive Rosie Toone to discuss TikTok advertising, what it is and the power of the platform within digital marketing.

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of TikTok, let us enlighten you! TikTok is like a wild party where everyone is showing off their best dance moves, lip syncing to their favourite music, and sharing their life hacks with the world. It’s a platform where you can find everything from hilarious pranks to cooking tutorials to adorable pet videos. And the best part? It’s all wrapped up in videos of a variety of short lengths that are addictive and easy to consume.

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So, why is TikTok such a hit? Well, for starters, it’s designed to be highly personalised. The app’s algorithm learns about your preferences and surfaces content that is tailored to your interests. This means you’re constantly discovering new creators and content that you’ll love.

And let’s be honest, TikTok is a great place to escape reality and have a laugh. People spend hours scrolling through videos of people doing the latest dance trends, trying out crazy makeup looks, and showing off their hilarious pets. It’s a place where creativity and self-expression are celebrated, and there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

But here’s where it gets interesting in the digital marketing industry… With its highly engaged and rapidly growing user base, TikTok has become a hotbed for brand building and digital marketing. Businesses of all sizes are leveraging the app to connect with younger audiences, build brand awareness, and even drive sales.

By creating short and snappy videos that showcase their products or services, marketers can capture the attention of a highly engaged audience. And because the app is designed to surface content that is relevant and engaging to each user, there’s a higher likelihood that the content will be shared and go viral, increasing the brand’s reach even further.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about how to showcase your brand to millions of potential customers, take a listen to this week’s episode! 





Jon (00:10):

Hello everybody and welcome back to the Marketing Freaks Podcast. In this week’s episode, I’m joined by Rosie, and we’re going to be talking about the ins and outs of TikTok. 

So we’re going to be talking about some of the brands that are doing well on the platform, what creative you need, and some of the other factors you should consider for maximum performance and exposure this year. So really hope you enjoy this episode and find it useful. If you do come and join us in all the favorite podcast places. 

Let’s get started with the episode. Rosie, this is TikTok for Dummies, me being the dummy.

Rosie (00:43):

Bless you, <laugh>.

Jon (00:45):

So hopefully, yeah, 20 ish minutes of great advice and probably, taking the mickey out out of me a little bit as well.

Rosie (00:51):

Just a smidge,

Jon (00:52):

Which is fine. <laugh>. So what’s interesting about this chat with you in particular mm-hmm. I think is obviously you’re in a marketing role. Yeah. You work in marketing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, which is interesting when you’re talking about TikTok, but you’re also from a consumer perspective, you love it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you spend a lot of time on it, so you sit through the eyes of a consumer and a fan of the platform Yes. As well. So you’ve got most definitely a blend of perspectives. Yes. So, first question from me is, as a take your marketing cap or hat off Yeah. For a minute. As a consumer and fan of the platform, what is it about TikTok that is special? Why is it different and why do you think it resonates with so many people?

Rosie (01:33):

I think the main thing for me on TikTok is it’s just so free. Okay. And you can do absolutely anything on it. Um, obviously it got big in lockdown. Um, that was pretty much when it first started mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and it was just so, so mindless. Like, you didn’t need to concentrate. It wasn’t filtered. There was no like, um, schedule for it, if you like. It was just so random and people were posting absolutely mental things and it was just doing so well because it was like, it’s funny, it’s easy. You don’t have to think about anything. And yeah. It’s just, it’s just one of those things where you’re just like, every night I’m like scrolling through TikTok. I can watch, I can be watching a film that I’m really engaged in, but I’ll still be scrolling through TikTok. It’s, it’s kind of gross

Jon (02:18):

<laugh>, but the, the addictive nature of it is massive, isn’t it? Yeah.

Rosie (02:21):

Big time.

Jon (02:22):

Do you think it’s that, um, the element of escapism?

Rosie (02:26):

Definitely. I think that’s, like I said, just done that so well for Yeah. For in lockdown specifically. Like, it just makes you like, not think of anything else. Like you’re literally just staring at your phone and scrolling. It’s so easy to scroll, like on Instagram. Yeah. It’s not as, in my opinion, you can scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll, but it gets a bit samey or it’s all pictures, it’s all unfit, like all filtered stuff. Yeah. Um, and like it’s all been like checked and scheduled and it’s all pretty formulaic. Yeah. Whereas TikTok is so random and off the cuff and out of the blue sometimes I’m like, what the hell was that <laugh>? But I’ll still watch it.

Jon (03:00):

Yeah. I guess they’ve done, uh, that thing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, short form video content they’ve done, they’ve done that and they’ve done it really well. Yeah. Whereas Instagram, it was never really that to begin with, was it? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then obviously Reels came out and Yeah. Tried to emulate what TikTok were doing. Yeah. Which is probably why the, well, the experience isn’t as fluent.

Rosie (03:21):

Yeah, for sure. I, on TikTok now, I’m pretty sure you can upload up to 10 minutes worth of video as well. So like tutorials and stuff like that are now moving on to TikTok as opposed to like YouTube Yeah. And stuff like that.

Jon (03:32):

It’s quite long, isn’t it? It’s massive. What’s um, what’s interesting about a platform that takes off is then everyone starts to copy it and replicate it. Yeah, for sure. So, uh, yeah. Reels,

Rosie (03:40):


Jon (03:40):

Shorts. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, it’s like when stories did really well Yeah. And Twitter did moments. Yeah. It was just, I think even LinkedIn <laugh> so

Rosie (03:49):


Jon (03:50):

Uh, you know, uh,

Rosie (03:51):

Like there’s a time and a place guys,

Jon (03:53):

There’s a time and a place. So what, I guess from a, looking back at this, from a marketing perspective mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like what would you say are some good examples of brands that are doing well mm-hmm. <affirmative> or examples of people or brands that are doing really well that people can go and look at and go, okay, let’s, let’s see what they’re doing and why.

Rosie (04:11):

So I think, um, obviously where I, I’m a female and I have a female sort of based for you page. Um, I have like a lot of makeup brands, a lot of fashion brands, um, like gym stuff. So like Gym Shark, they do a lot of user generator content. They do a lot of like, um, fitness facts and all of that kind of stuff, which I think is really helpful to a lot of people. Yeah. Asos also do a lot of user generated content. Um, there’s a makeup artist who started out on YouTube, um, called Mitchell <laugh>. Um, and he has a makeup brand called Made by Mitchell. And it is all over my for you page, like, because he does bundle deals and he sells ’em on TikTok shop. And he posted the other day, I think he’d, he’d made like 500,000 sales through TikTok shop alone. Wow. And I think that was in a year.

Jon (05:02):


Rosie (05:02):

Great. I’m pretty sure. Yeah. Which is mental, like when you think, oh, before TikTok he would’ve just been selling on the website, would it? Which it probably would’ve done well, but like, can, like can you imagine

Jon (05:12):

Immediately there’s this new revenue source? Yeah. Yeah. It’s, that’s it’s

Rosie (05:15):


Jon (05:15):

That’s cool. I like that. Yeah. Um, we were talking before this about mm-hmm. <affirmative>, some brands manage to crack it and do, uh, quite well. It’d be interesting to see what your, um, your under, like, not understanding that’s a stupid way of saying it. Mm-hmm. Like what, what would you define as a successful brand on TikTok?

Rosie (05:33):

So I think if it depends on if you’re looking at it from like an e-commerce side or whether you’re looking at it from like just a brand likeability.

Jon (05:42):

Yeah. What would, should you even look at it from a revenue perspective or like what’s, what’s, what’s good look like in your mind? I

Rosie (05:50):

Think Coast

Jon (05:52):

<laugh>. Sorry, my, uh, my dog said the revenue likes, uh, your name <laugh>. That was a big one. Sorry. Bless him. Um, yeah, what does good look like?

Rosie (06:02):

I think like, so once you have liked a certain thing in the algorithm, you can then get four videos in a row. Okay. Which are tailored to that. So at the moment, I have a brand called, I don’t even know how you say it, I think it’s Moose Lover, and it’s like body suits, um, jumpsuits and every other video at the moment on my for you page is about that. Okay. And I think I’m gonna buy one because I’m so sucked in. I’m like, that looks incredible on everyone. Yep. So I think that’s like pretty good. But also at the same time, you’ve gotta be careful with how much you like show it to people. Because sometimes I’m like, okay, stop showing me the same thing. Yeah. I’m not going to buy it <laugh>. Um, but then, yeah, there’s other stuff like the Made by Mitchell stuff. I, I bought that <laugh>.

Jon (06:50):


Rosie (06:50):

Um, and I think like, and then you’ve got brands, um, a bit like Ryanair. Yeah. Um, where it was like they had the filter on where it was just the eyes and the mouth and for ages it was like, oh my God, who is it? Is it like one of the influences that are already on TikTok? Um, so there was like a big mystery about it. And there are like other brands like that, that are doing like really well in terms of like user likability, like I said to you earlier.

Jon (07:13):

Like, yes, likability is a great phrase for sure.

Rosie (07:15):

Yeah. And like I said to you earlier on, um, Twitter with Aldi or Lid, I can’t remember. I think it’s Aldi. You

Jon (07:20):

Say Aldi. I say Aldi. <laugh>. Is it Aldi? Or Aldi?

Rosie (07:23):

I don’t know. I’ve, I I Aldi is the car, right?

Jon (07:27):

We should have a, um, we should have a phone in.

Rosie (07:30):

Yeah. <laugh> find a friend.

Jon (07:33):

Yeah. Write in and give us your answer. Um, we all know what you’re talking about. Yeah.

Rosie (07:38):

Yeah. Because they’re on Twitter, they, they, they walk the fine line, especially with

Jon (07:43):

Yeah. They’re good though. Aren’t they

Rosie (07:44):

Really good? Like sometimes I see their um, like tweets and I cackle because they are so funny, but good. Yeah. And like, um, especially when it comes to stuff that’s really controversial.

Jon (07:55):

That’s so difficult though, isn’t it? Because um,

Rosie (07:58):

Finding the balance.

Jon (07:59):

Yeah. And to be funny mm-hmm. <affirmative> without either offending lots of people Yeah. Or just not being funny at all. Yeah. Is tough.

Rosie (08:07):

I think their like almost rise on Twitter specifically came from the whole Marks and Spencer’s debacle.

Jon (08:15):

That’s true.

Rosie (08:16):

Because I think a lot of people, obviously everyone has views on every brand, but like, I think Allian Marks and Spencer’s are so polar opposite. Yeah. Ends of the spectrum. Yeah,

Jon (08:26):

They are.

Rosie (08:26):

Yeah. Um, so when, like, I think it was it, I think the Aldi one is cut, but the Caterpillar and obviously you’ve got caught in the Caterpillar at Mark.

Jon (08:32):

It was the Caterpillar gate, wasn’t

Rosie (08:34):

It? Yeah. And that was like when they, they’re like the first round kind of thing. And, and since then there’s been quite a few other brands where Aldi have like quote tweeted it and put, oh, be careful. Or like something like that. Like it’s really funny,

Jon (08:46):

Which I think is, yeah, it is really good. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they clearly know their audience and definitely, um, everyone knows you walk into Aldi or Aldi Yeah. <laugh>. Um, and you’re gonna get walk down the island, there’s gonna be lots of

Rosie (08:58):

Random knockoffs that Yeah,

Jon (09:00):

Yeah, yeah. You know, they

Rosie (09:02):

Like look alike.

Jon (09:03):

Yeah, exactly. I’m trying to think of examples and I can’t, there’s like, you know, the penguin chocolate bars, the kids have like seals, is it Silver

Rosie (09:10):

Bar? I think so, yeah. I get them <laugh>

Jon (09:13):

Or like the Mars Bar equivalent. It’s like a Jupiter bar. Yeah. Or whatever. It’s, yeah. It’s, um, but everyone knows what you get with Aldi. Yeah, for sure. And I think they really dial into that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But the likability point’s interesting cuz you look at a brand like Ryanair and lots of people talk about their content on TikTok. Yeah. And they’ll, they’ll quote it or even see stuff on LinkedIn mm-hmm. <affirmative> about it. And I think you look at that and you go, well, have they, have they sold loads of extra seats by being on TikTok? Probably, yeah. But also they’ve, um, the really getting the personality out as a brand. Yeah. They like for awareness. It’s great. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>

Rosie (09:51):


Jon (09:53):

Actually as a brand, they’ve always been about, um, getting as much free exposure as possible. For sure. For, so it sure really ties into that kind of DNA of who they definitely what they’re doing and they like kind of poking and rustling if you fell.

Rosie (10:06):

Yeah. Or like replying to comments being like, oh, like I got the window. There was like a whole thing on, I think that was on Twitter as well as TikTok where it was like I got a window seat and um, or extra leg room and like there was like this much extra leg room and that was, yeah. That was the whole thing about it. But yeah, it was, um, it is definitely like going up in the, the likability factor. Yeah.

Jon (10:26):

Which I think is a, so many people look at, um, social or performance marketing and uh, all you can, and obviously you’re investing money in it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So your first thought is, where’s my immediate return on this? Yeah. Um, likability is actually quite a good kpi.

Rosie (10:43):

Yeah, definitely. Especially for a big, big brand like that.

Jon (10:46):

I like it. <laugh>. It’s a very likable kpi. Um, okay, cool. So let’s say you are a brand and you, you know, there’s an opportunity for you mm-hmm. <affirmative> on TikTok. You kind of think it fits with your audience and your market mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, but you’ve got no idea where to start. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, where do you start? What do you start doing? What should the creative be like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, what’s the first step?

Rosie (11:12):

I would be on TikTok for like a week beforehand, looking at the trending videos, looking at what is making people laugh, what’s making it to the for you page, what’s getting the views, um, as well as the sounds. Um, cuz a lot of times, um, you can do a really funny video, but where it’s just gets lost in the algorithm, it, it doesn’t almost appear on the for you page and nobody really cares. And

Jon (11:36):

The sounds bit is interesting isn’t it? Or like massively important. Yeah. To,

Rosie (11:40):

Yeah. So I think obviously we’ve had issues where we had the, um, can I say city scooter? Yeah. You can. Um, with, with the city scooter TikTok where the sounds that we wanted weren’t one cuz it was a business account. Yeah. They, they didn’t have them on there because it was swearing or it was rude or it was just like something that a business probably shouldn’t use. Yeah. Um, so then you find, you almost have to find like the underground version. Right. Um, like the off brand one. Um, and obviously that doesn’t get you quite as much traction cuz it’s not in the trending list. It’s

Jon (12:17):

Okay. That’s really you found. So you’ve, you’re already at a bit of a disadvantage as a brand just from a logistical, practical point of

Rosie (12:24):

View. Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Interesting. Okay. Especially in that respect. Obviously you’ve, you’ve got everything else available to, you’ve got the filters and all of that kind of stuff on like actual, like when you’re filming, but the Yeah. The sounds did did cause a couple of

Jon (12:38):

Issues. Interesting. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. And then from a creative point of view, yeah. Um, it’s obviously completely different to any other platform. Yeah. Really. Yeah. Uh, so if you just try and repeat what’s worked for you in other places it’s 99% likely to not work. Yeah. Uh, so where’d you start from a creative, um, production point of view or you know, from that aspect, what should you be considering?

Rosie (13:06):

I think the key with TikTok is to be consistently inconsistent. <laugh>

Jon (13:11):

Interesting. What do you mean by that? So

Rosie (13:15):

I think a lot of things on TikTok are very, you can tell it’s been filmed on a phone. Sometimes it looks like it’s been filmed on a potato, but it still does Well because of the content that’s in it. Like in the actual video? Yes. Okay. Like on Instagram obviously everything has to be the highest quality, the highest hate, it’s bit more polished isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah. Whereas TikTok, I think you can be like really authentic. Okay. And you can just film something with your front camera, which isn’t that great of a quality mm-hmm <affirmative> and upload it then and there. Yep. And people will be like, that’s really funny. Yep. Give it a like give, give you a follow. All of that kind of stuff. But I think, yeah, I think that’s probably like the main thing with it in terms of like actual content. It depends on what side of TikTok you want to be on. Like there’s lots of different, like you have book talk, you have witch talk, you have like all of like that kind of stuff, which sounds absolutely ridiculous saying out loud but

Jon (14:09):

No, but yeah, it’s all true though, isn’t it?

Rosie (14:12):

Yeah. Yeah. So like you wanna make sure that you are using the hashtags mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, to reflect what it is that you are and actually the hashtags don’t have to be reflecting what you’re doing because the hashtags on the like most popular videos are so random. It could be like a trending film. It could be like xyz. Yeah. Hashtag xyb hashtag xyz hashtag abc. Yeah. Like it’s, it is crazy. Like crazy. Crazy.

Jon (14:39):

By being inconsistent do you mean experimenting and trying lots of different stuff? Yeah. And different content, different themes

Rosie (14:46):

And Yeah. And also your upload times don’t have to be consistent. Yeah. You don’t have to upload it like every Monday at 4:00 PM you could upload it on a Wednesday at 2:00 AM and it would probably still get the same traction if it’s got you good content. Cuz TikTok is so worldwide. Yeah.

Jon (15:00):

But I’m assuming to start getting traction you need to get a certain amount of content in and going.

Rosie (15:05):

Yes, for sure. And like I think we were saying before where we had a video, our first one went kind of crazy

Jon (15:12):

For the scooter site. Yeah.

Rosie (15:13):

Yeah. We, the first one kind of generally always as a rule of thumb does well because it, like I said, it wants to give you like a full sense of hope almost that you’re gonna go viral with every video. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I think we had quite a few videos. I think we had like six videos filmed after that that were already uploaded. So they also in turn did really well. They don’t, obviously if you’re gonna look at a video and then you sort of, you can, all you have to do is swipe right and go onto their profile

Jon (15:39):

And then you’re there And then

Rosie (15:40):

You’re there. Yeah. Yeah. And you confuse with the other videos that they’ve got.

Jon (15:43):

Yeah. I mean that was massive wasn’t it? I think like totaled 7 million views or something. Yeah. Which is crazy. You know, it’s so mad, you know, uh, it shows the, and that built up, it was weird wasn’t it? Cause it was like day one it was 20,000. You’re like, okay, this is amazing <laugh>. And then it kind of plateaued for a bit and then suddenly got back in the mix. We

Rosie (16:02):

Were like, oh my god it’s a 3 million. Oh my god it’s a 4 million. Oh my god it’s a 5 million. And then we, I think we left it for a couple of days and we were like, oh my god, it’s a seven <laugh>.

Jon (16:08):

Yeah. It it was crazy. Which was like really cool. Yeah. Um, but like yeah, GE obviously that got got into the, the system into the algorithm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> it got kind of and shown a lot as a result. But like how much of it is a bit of luck in terms of the right combination of um, hashtags trending sounds the right story. Yeah. You know, the right edit and the, I think, you know, and you make your own luck for sure. Don’t get me wrong, you make your own luck cuz you know, you’ve gotta include these things. Yeah. But there must be sometimes you just hit on this magic combination and it definitely bang you in and off a ghost.

Rosie (16:49):

Definitely. And I think like a lot of small businesses were on TikTok, um Yeah. And they’ve obviously like grown, grown from, um, from TikTok because they had one viral video that did really, really well. Yeah. Yeah. Um,

Jon (17:04):

There’s quite a few examples of brands

Rosie (17:06):

Like that. Yeah. There’s videos. I mean I only know like makeup brands or like Crystal Brands, <laugh>, but yeah, I think there’s lots of, lots of different brands that just sort of like took off because they had one video that was like, whoa, this is a really cool brand. Yep. And then obviously the more you have interactions, the more people comment, the more people like the more people share it.

Jon (17:27):


Rosie (17:28):

It makes the algorithm be like, oh, people like this so much push push.

Jon (17:30):

Yeah. Like a momentum thing, isn’t it? Yeah. Um, that’s really interesting. And the, in terms of advice mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, to kind of wrap up mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what would your guess as was a blend of consumer and marketer? What would your one biggest piece of advice be for a brand or someone who’s looking to go onto TikTok? Do more, get a bit of momentum behind them.

Rosie (17:54):

I think if you’re e-commerce definitely looking to TikTok shop.

Jon (17:58):

We haven’t even talked about that have we? No, that’s a whole episode and of itself

Rosie (18:02):

It’s crazy. Okay. Absolutely. Mental. Um, yeah, if you’re e-commerce, I think definitely TikTok shop is a way to go down because it’s, it’s wild mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it is so easy for me to be like, oh, I’ll just buy it. You can literally buy now and it, it’s done. Okay. Like crazy. Yeah. Awesome. Um, hashtags and sounds which obviously like form trends. Yep. Um, because sometimes it’ll be the same sound over and over on my for you page and, but like every video’s got like 280 K likes. Yeah. Um, I think from a brand perspective, maybe looking to micro influences obviously depending on the size of your brand and Yeah. And how much budget you have to play with, um, because they’re the ones that get me to buy things. Yeah. Like, because on TikTok you already have the review, you have the unboxing and the review in one Yeah. And it’s three minutes long. Yeah. And I don’t have to hold my attention for a 15, 20 minute YouTube

Jon (18:58):

Video and then video know. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I

Rosie (18:59):

Love that. And then also where it’s linked on TikTok shop in that video, I’m like, oh, it’s a done deal. <laugh>

Jon (19:05):

Done. Literally. No, that’s amazing. There’s actually, do you know what? There’s so many, we’re gonna have to come back and do something else on this mm-hmm. <affirmative> because there’s so many other things that we haven’t even touched on like TikTok shop. Yeah. Um, all the video edits you’ve been doing mm-hmm. <affirmative> where we’ve been applying this type of starter content, but to other ad platforms. Yeah. And it’s been working really well. Yeah. We need to talk about that. Definitely. Um, and then, and we’ve also got this potential other brand that we’re doing some product testing on earlier Right. <laugh>, which um, will be absolutely key to this. So a bit of a, some ideas around that. So there’s so many other things that we can talk about here. So yeah. Um, thank you.

Rosie (19:44):

You just opened up a big old can of worms.

Jon (19:46):

We have literally Yeah. We’re going down a rabbit hole, but it’ll be an interesting one. Definitely. So, um, thank you. No

Rosie (19:52):

Worries. Thanks for

Jon (19:53):

Having me. Thanks. Yeah, no, absolutely pleasure and thanks to everyone for listening. See you next time.

Rosie (19:57):


Jon (20:00):

Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed that episode, please do come and subscribe. Join us for future episodes where we talk about the ins and outs of running paid media and driving improved conversions of revenue for your business. See you next time.