TikTok ads are not an option today. As a part of a good book marketing strategy it is mandatory, as important as buying book reviews
at launch. Even at a couple dollars a day. The CPMs are so low that it's not really comparable to anything else that is available today, except YouTube Ads
. Also if you haven't been working on marketing your book on TikTok organically
and building your personal brand
, you’ve got to get moving.
But this article is specifically about TikTok ads. At this point there are probably thousands of articles about running TikTok ads. All we can tell you is that this following strategy is made for authors to sell books.
Let's set expectations really quick. If you're trying to convert anything on TikTok you need to be prepared for it to take a while. This is because the TikTok only learns from in-platform activity. Unlike Facebook Ads
that learn from 3rd party data (means off Facebook). This means that in order for the TikTok pixel to learn you'll need to get enough "actions". We call this "seasoning" the pixel. When you start, TikTok has no idea who your customers are. You need to accumulate interactions with the right audience so the algorithm learns who it should be showing ads to. Think business book non-fiction readers vs sci-fi fiction readers.
Purchase conversions are the most costly action to buy TikTok ads on. To gather data faster, we will start with an Add-To-Cart action, not purchase conversion. An Add-To-Cart is when a prospect (potential buyer) adds the item to cart, this is not a purchase conversion. It is just tracking the first step in the process. Again, this action is less costly to optimize for so you'll gather data faster and jumpstart the pixel seasoning. Remember, more data = better accuracy for the algorithm's ad placement.
We recommend a daily budget at $200-$400. This Add-To-Cart advertising can be considered stage 1. You’ll start with 2 ad sets in a campaign and testing creatives constantly. You’re going to be making a large variety of creatives and optimizing out the losers. Make sure they run for no less than a week though. Two weeks is better. For optimization purposes at this stage, use clickthrough rate (CTR) as your stand in metric for success. We got the term “stand in” metric from the amazing book The Messy Middle
CTR you’ll want is between 1-2%. Less than that and you eliminate the ad and replace. Higher than 2% and let it run! If your CTR is consistently trash you’ll need a better promo or discount offer to drive action.
Once an ad set starts to accumulate 50 Add-To-Cart conversions in one week’s time, don’t touch anything until you hit 1,000 Add-To-Carts. It is at that point that we can move to phase 2.
The second phase involves moving from Add-To-Cart campaigns and moving to Initiate checkout conversions. This is still not a purchase conversion. Initiate checkout is the step after a prospect adds something to their cart, but before they enter their credit card information and purchase. They are “initiating” the checkout process, but have not yet completed the purchase.
Since this is further down the purchase conversion funnel, the action is more rare and valuable. Optimizing for initiate checkout helps the pixel understand who the right people to show ads to are a bit better. The key to this step in the process is to keep the Add-To-Cart campaigns running alongside the Initiate Checkout. They should be in the same ad set. 25% of the total budget gets directed towards the Add-To-Cart campaign and 75% of the budget should get pushed to the Initiate Checkout.
They both need to run at the same time for 10 days or so. At the point where the Initiate Checkout ad set is getting 50 conversion actions per week and 1,000 total you can eliminate the Add-To-Cart ad set and push all the budget to the Initiate Checkout.
The third and final phase of TikTok ads is finally for optimizing purchases. Seasoning the pixel in three phases will pay off through faster purchase conversion optimization.
To launch phase 3 create a copy of the Initiate Checkout ad set and change the optimization to Purchase rather than Initiate Checkout. Keep both the Initiate Checkout and Purchase conversion ad sets running until the Purchase conversion gets 50 conversions per week, then you can eliminate the Initiate Checkout ad set and push all the budget.
In all the phases you’ll want to have 5-7 ads per ad set and almost constantly rotating underperforming creative out and new creatives in.
When setting up these campaigns you’ll need to test either Broad, Interest, & Lookalike. Once choice per ad set. Never layer these in the same ad set. Ideally you have enough budget to run all three at the same time separately in one campaign, but if not, pick one to start with.
A quick note for Interest Targeting. Be sure to use broad interests with large audience sizes and opt for expanded interest targeting.