Why Your Charity Should Consider TikTok Paid Ads

When many people think of TikTok, they think of teenagers dancing around & videos with high-pitched voiceovers. Although there is some truth to this, TikTok is not a channel that advertisers should ignore.

In 2021, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the world, with 656 million downloads. The channel has a billion active monthly users worldwide, making it the 6th most used social media platform in the world. Finally, TikTok users are highly engaged. A 2021 study found that 92% of TikTok users took action after watching a TikTok. So whether you’re after pushing clicks to your website, driving sign-ups for fundraising events or collecting donations, TikTok could be a valuable part of your cross-channel marketing strategy.

Unlike the example below, TikTok isn’t just about teenagers showing off their latest dance moves. Alright, that might count for a fair chunk of content but there’s lots more to it than that!!

@phoebe.mulyana love this audio😂❤️ #dance #tutorial #stopdropandroll ♬ Originalton – Jona

Firstly, unlike Meta’s family of platforms, you don’t even need to have an organic presence on TikTok to get started with paid ads. This is good because:

  • Easier setup – You don’t need to make a specific ongoing content plan to dip your toes in the TikTok water.
  • Save time – When you establish a new social media channel, you need to make sure you resource it with people to manage replies/enquiries. Nod to all those direct messages and wall posts your team respond to on Facebook.

This means that getting started with TikTok is way easier, you just create an ads account and run some ads. Well, we’d like to make sure you put a bit more thought into it than this, but that’s really all there is to it.

The first thing you’ll be hit by is the range of people using TikTok, to make sure you reach your ideal audience you’ll need to understand TikTok’s range of targeting options.

Targeting Options

If you’ve ever run a Facebook, YouTube or display campaign, you will see a lot of similarities between channels.

As you might expect, in TikTok Ad Manager there is the option to select from either custom or automatic targeting. If you’re after more control, custom targeting is the option you should look for!

With custom targeting, you can reach audiences based on demographics, interests & behaviours (and even devices). A breakdown of the options is below:

  • Demographics – location, gender, language and age
  • Interest & Behaviours – general interests, video interactions, creator interactions and trending hashtag interactions
  • Device – operating system, operating version, device, connection type, mobile carrier and device price

You can create custom audiences to reach people who have interacted with your brand. These custom target audiences can be uploaded as a customer file or created using your pixel. There is also an option to create lookalike audiences – reaching people with similar characteristics to users of a particular group. This group of users is up to you!

Some of the more powerful lookalike audiences that we’ve come across are based on people: who donated, visited your website or even engaged with your ad. With TikTok, you have the option to have a ‘broad’, ‘specific’ or ‘narrow’ lookalike, with the narrow lookalike most resembling your original group. 

With automatic targeting you can take a more hands-off approach, using this setting TikTok uses the performance data collected by its pixel to optimise the performance of your ad campaigns. When you select automatic targeting TikTok won’t target anybody aged under 18.

So now that you’re familiar with the targeting options on TikTok let’s dive into creative best practices.

Need help with TikTok?

Wondering where to start with your TikTok journey, get in touch with a Ninja today, we’d be happy to help.

    Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
    Jonathan will get back to you soon

    “Don’t Make Ads. Make TikTok Videos”

    Although it may seem like repurposing videos from a YouTube campaign or still images from a Facebook ad campaign is the fastest way to get started on TikTok, we’d recommend tailoring your videos for TikTok. That’s because several unique aspects of TikTok mean content from other platforms will not work.

    Firstly, TikTok is a vertical platform – that is users hold their phone upright (and not on its side) when flicking through the content. If you’re reusing videos from YouTube, which are typically landscape, they will stand out for all the wrong reasons. As a result, videos in a 9:16 aspect ratio will allow you to make the most of the space available. This being said, even if you do have videos readily available in a 9:16 aspect ratio, it is crucial that they are customised to suit TikTok. If you’ve ever been on TikTok, you may have seen some videos where critical elements of the video, such as text overlay, are covered by buttons. 

    Although ‘raw’ videos (more on that later!) do typically perform well on TikTok, messaging always needs to be clear for users. That is why we always recommend using the ‘safe zone’ when creating TikTok videos.

    Equally important is the need to create attention-grabbing content. Despite users of TikTok being highly engaged, people are speedy to flick between videos. That is why videos should be kept between 9 and 15 seconds. So if you’re looking to reuse that 30-second television advert on TikTok, think again! Not only should you keep your videos short, you should also use elements like audio, video & text to grab the viewer’s attention and get your message across.

    I know you’re probably thinking, “this sounds like a lot of time, effort & money” to run some ads on TikTok. Wrong! The beauty of TikTok is that you can create simple yet engaging advertisements that do not require the polished look that you may need on other channels.

    Videos can be raw and filmed on a phone, we recommend testing user-generated content alongside the content that you produce in-house. There is also a Video Editor on TikTok, so you can easily edit content and add in text, music and audio. It can be worth investing in a lapel microphone if your content involves voice to camera to make sure people can decipher what you’re saying.


    Before you start filming videos, there is one critical step in ensuring that your campaign is a success – tracking. 

    As with any digital marketing activity, tracking is essential to understand how a campaign performs accurately. TikTok is no different. Using TikTok Events manager, you can set up a TikTok pixel & track events. As always, you must be tracking conversions central to your campaign so that you can optimise your campaigns & so that TikTok’s algorithm can learn the best users to reach. 

    Whilst we’re talking tracking, we also recommend using UTM parameters to capture performance in Google Analytics and can easily be compared with other channels.

    Not Sure Where To Get Started?

    Whether you are looking for assistance with an existing TikTok campaign or are keen to diversify your marketing strategy, we can help. Get in touch with us today.

    Don't know your Tic Tac from your TikTok?

    We’ve got a team of TikTok Tokkers waiting to help. Get in touch and tell us more about what you’re looking to achieve.

      Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
      Jonathan will get back to you soon