Smartly.io brought together industry heavy-hitters Uber and TikTok for Advertising Week in New York to discuss emerging trends they’re seeing and dig into what's working and what's not in the world of advertising on TikTok.
Shopping behavior dramatically shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the world shifting back to post-pandemic life, there’s an assumption that online shopping would have dipped back down. This wasn’t the case. Sheraz Amin, Head of North American Product Strategy & Operations at TikTok revealed that the numbers actually are increasing.
“TikTok announced last week that there were five billion video views of TikTok last year and that number has actually gone up to 23 billion plus and counting this year. From our perspective, we look at how we can actually close that gap. How do we build solutions that help people take advantage of that behavior while seamlessly translating on online platforms? What’s it like to enter new social platforms and what does that mean to define success?”
Alyssa Wagner, Global Head of Paid Social at Uber shares her experience about what it’s like for a brand to get started on TikTok.
“It's a learning curve for sure. I think when we started, we learned really quickly that you can't just apply your best practices or your learned successes from any other channel to TikTok. You really have to come up with a TikTok-first strategy from creative to execution. With a TikTok-first mindset, we knew that creative was a really deep funnel of content. So we cast a super wide net and we said, where are we going to get this content? How often does it need to be refreshed? We're still learning, but I think the biggest learning I've had is to not just rely on one place to develop your content. Uber uses TikTok Creative Exchange and we use Smartly.io Creative Services. We work with agencies that do influencer and Creator content. We have direct partnerships with Creators. I have the pleasure of working across multiple lines of business that are so different in the types of users that we're trying to acquire and what they'll respond to in the platform. This means I get to test a lot of different Creator style content. For instance, what we use to acquire an Eater is going to be completely different from what we use to acquire an Earner. I think you just have to try and meet everybody where they are.”
Sheraz knows best how successful brands are utilizing measurement tools to gauge success on TikTok.
“Everything that we do, should be anchored in a learning agenda of sorts, anchored and measured outcomes. And when we say measurement, we don't just mean media measurement of your metrics like CPA. But also understanding how you measure this as an entire business? Once our teams at TikTok have a better understanding of those things, we can help guide you on that path and that journey is long. We all know measurement on TikTok has been a challenge, but this year we've launched a full suite of products that actually help you touch every point of the customer lifecycle from brand measurement to releasing Attribution Manager. Everything we do moving forward is going to be anchored in that measurement capability. What you're seeing coming up is more of that more improvement on the baseline stack that we've already established.”
Alyssa appreciates the help they’re getting from Uber and Smartly.io to help gauge success.
“As an advertiser, I can attest to that because we've been partnering for over the past year to test TikTok’s conversion lift studies. TikTok has been such a great partner in developing that learning agenda together. We have very robust internal data science and applied sciences teams and we work really closely with them to vet the methodology. And so, when it comes to conversion lift, testing and driving incrementality for the business, we actually rely really heavily on the partners' conversion tools because they have been fully vetted through our science teams. There could be multiple goals in any given campaign, so we make sure that data gets into the beginning of the next campaign. We’re always learning.”
Sarah Ripmaster, Chief Sales Officer of Smartly.io sings praises of the full funnel marketing approach.
“I think most people believe that TikTok is just a branding play and it's not. There are a lot of ad tools and commerce tools that Tiktok has rolled out that are really powerful for more direct response. For advertisers having the full funnel play is important. You're going to start to see TikTok solutions for shopping ads that Smartly.io just recently launched. It’s an example of our alpha testing that we've done with video shopping ads. On average we've seen a 46% increase in ROAS versus business as usual. This came from us participating in listening tours with partners. Where are the gaps? What are we missing? What's not working and what do we need to do to fix that gap? My team then goes back to the drawing board equipped with the feedback from our partners. We make sure we solve for those issues. And we also really value fast iteration and feedback loops from our customers. Our journey with Uber started here, and is now starting to accelerate. Because of that tight knit partnership, that goal is not just on our product side, but across our ecosystem partnerships with partners."
As marketers, we value automating repeatable tasks. We don't want to do the mundane. Smartly.io automates at scale for TikTok. Sarah recalls the early years of her advertising career and the shift from audience to creative.
“I think the pendulum sort of swung really far in the opposite direction and creative wasn't as an important of a signal. It was day-to-day to data and audience. With what's happening around privacy and what's happening in the creative realm. My hope is that everyone is as excited as Alyssa and her team at Uber brand are about creative itself. Because I think creative makes all the difference. Being able to really lean in and do different creative by platform and making sure that those signals are a part of the comprehensive strategy is really important in 2023. I get really excited because all of my customers are really leaning into that. So I think we're coming back to sort of the middle where there's no doubt the data and audience is important, but creative is having its day in the sun again and that's really exciting."