Everything hotels need to know about TikTok ads

Writing this, I am very excited about TikTok. Why? Because it is the next evolution of social media and still, almost no hotels have touched it, despite almost 10% of the UK actively using the app. This presents an enormous opportunity for those brave enough to be early adopters of the platform, for paid and organic marketing.

Before we dive in, I’d like to mention that this has happened before. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme, in this case, TikTok is quite similar to the Facebook of 2010 – 2015. In Facebook’s case, large businesses were built from nothing in thanks to the attention and now this can happen again with TikTok as the fertile ground.


What is TikTok?

TikTok is actually really simple – it’s a video sharing app where users are provided an endless vertical video feed to scroll through. From a creation standpoint, users have many creative tools for posting and editing engaging, fun content. Pretty simple eh?

From an advertising standpoint, TikTok doesn’t yet have a self-serving product like Google Ads or Facebook Business Manager. You will need to sign up for a business account and then you can access the ads dashboard. In this next sections we’ll dive into the nitty gritty of how this works.


Why should hotels use it?

TikTok’s primary audience is the 16 – 30 age groups, which for almost all hotels will either be booking some of your rooms or, strongly influencing your bookings (if not now, certainly in 10 years time). On one end of the scale, you have party locations that almost solely rely on this age group whilst on the other end, you have families with 16 – 21 year old children using the app. In both cases, a well placed ad can increase your hotels awareness, leading to bookings.


How hotels can use it

I won’t go too detailed here but to summarise, for hotels, there are 4 different ways you could advertise on TikTok:

1. In-feed video ads
These are short-form videos that appear in users’ news feed on the ‘For You’ page. They appear similar to native TikToks, so blend organically into the feed. These are the only ad option available to self-service advertising customers and are the mosot likely entry point for hotels.


2. Branded hashtag challenge
In branded hashtag challenges, a brand asks TikTok users to record themselves performing something, like a choreographed dance, and then post it with a specific hashtag.

These are placed at or near the top of a Discovery page, and a click on the hashtag leads visitors to a collection of TikToks from the same challenge.


3. Brand takeover
Brand takeovers are full-screen, three- to five-second video ads that show up as soon as someone opens the app. The ad will also show up in the ‘For You’ feed. You can include a clickable hashtag or website link as well.


4. TopView ads
TopView ads, like brand takeovers display on the full screen. The difference is that these ads can be 60 seconds long, and they are on a delayed play, so they don’t start with app startup.


5. Branded effects
Branded effects are custom stickers, AR filters, and lenses users can add to their own video. They’re similar to Instagram’s AR Filters. Each new branded effect is available for 10 days.


Creating brilliant in-feed video ads

In-feed ads are the only ad format you can produce self-serving, all others have a more lengthy and involved process, usually with high budgets (£100k+):

1. The simple way: You can upload ad creative such as video or images and then TikTok can turn any still images into a video (just make sure to follow TikTok’s ad guideline).

2. The professional way: You can build creative professionally following TikTok ad specifications.


Wrapping up

We’re very early in TikToks lifespan and there is still a great opportunity for hotel brands to reach new guests at low cost per acquisitions. The least we would recommend is running a meaningful test to see the potential for your hotel. And if you need a hand, we’re happy to help.