TikTok testing search ads

Many brands already know TikTok drives sales. TikTok search ads could help attract qualified traffic (and get valuable keyword data).

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TikTok is starting to roll out ads within its search results. The video ads have a “Sponsored” label, are located above the “Others search for” section, within the top four results.

What it looks like. Here’s a screenshot of a TikTok search ad on the results page for [skincare routine], via a tweet from David Herrmann, president of Herrmann Digital, a paid social advertising company. 

Tiktok Search Ads Skincare Routine

More details on TikTok search ads. The beta test was spotted and tweeted by Herrmann. He noted that once you can run ads in search results, you can pull the search terms for ads that converted and use those search terms with high click-through rates from search results as titles for your top-performing TikToks to drive additional value.

Keyword targeting is not yet available to TikTok advertisers, just placements, according to Herrmann. He added that the smart play for brands is making “how-tos” of their products that solve specific problems. For example: 

  • How to use tea to fix your ____.
  • How to make ___ with tea.

“Make your ads solve problems, don’t just sell. Drive them to advertorial pages,” Hermann said. “This is Pinterest 2.0, but better cause people buy.”

What’s unclear. If TikTok search ads are only for managed accounts. According to Andrea Taylor, outreach and account manager at Clix Marketing, that’s what her rep told her. 

We’ve reached out to TikTok with some follow-up questions on search ads.

Why we care. TikTok search ads provide a new opportunity to get in front of your target audience with high purchase intent. TikTok has been an influential platform for turning views into sales for many brands and products. Look no further than the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which got billions of views. Tapped out on Google and other ad platforms? If TikTok search ads become available to you, consider testing out this platform. TikTok could also become a keyword goldmine, especially considering how many other platforms have taken away this data from marketers.

About the author

Danny Goodwin
Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo - SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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