TikTok Search Ads Come With A Caveat

Advertisers will soon have an option to place ads alongside organic content that appears when searching in the TikTok app, but there's no guarantee that enabling the Search Ads Toggle will result in ads being served in the TikTok search results page.

Several factors could impact whether or not the ad is served, the company said.

Search Ads Toggle is a feature in TikTok Ads Manager that allows brands to serve ads in TikTok search results. The relies on an advertiser's existing In-Feed Ad creative to serve ads alongside organic search results from relevant user queries.



"Search on TikTok has a strong potential to become a meaningful ad product," said Andy Taylor, VP of research at Tinuiti, a performance agency. Basically because of all of the videos and images, which very visually stimulating and valuable to those who frequent the site.  

TikTok announced the move Tuesday on its blog. When users click on an ad they can scroll to view search results in a feed-like format.

The idea is to extend the reach of campaigns to high-intent users who search for relevant information, from business to pleasure, driving engagement and potential revenue.

The ads are automatically created using the advertiser's existing ad content and served against relevant user queries alongside organic search results.

The "Sponsored" ad content is labeled and will serve up in varying positions on the results page based on relevancy, user intent--based on the search query--and broader learnings from other user behavior.

Advertisers will have control of the ad placement on TikTok through options like "negative keywords," which can prevent the advertisements from serving up near posts that do not align with their brand’s message. Negative Keywords are commonly used to help manage performance and for brand safety and optimization.

TikTok is trying to build an ads business that appeals to all marketers. Yikai Li, Nativex GM of the Americas and former executive at ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, said in an email that TikToksearchads will need content, and the ecosystem will need to be fully established for the ad option to become successful. Nativex is a full-service performance agency and TikTok partner.

Internal data from TikTok shows that 70% of ad groups using Search Ads Toggle see more efficient performance when compared with others, as a result of more efficient conversions coming from search ads.

The factors that enable to ad to serve up in search results vary. Enabling the toggle allows the ad to be considered for search placement. The TikTok Search Ads delivery system takes into account many factors, such as ad relevancy to the search query, metadata, budgets, competition, and more before determining the ad to serve for a specific search query.

TikTok Ads Manager reporting will provide marketers with insights into search terms in addition to Search Ads specific metrics including cost, impressions, and more.

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