How Do You Drive Traffic for Your Dropshipping Shopify Store with TikTok Ads?

How Do You Drive Traffic for Your Dropshipping Shopify Store with TikTok Ads?

Are you struggling to grow your dropshipping Shopify store despite running multiple ad campaigns on different marketing channels? Low engagement, ineffective performance tracking, improper ad placement, and a poor retargeting strategy might be the problem. Tapping into TikTok's fast-growing and dynamic market might be the missing piece of the puzzle.      


Even though TikTok Ads was only recently launched, many brands have already tried it and seen great results. Even more exciting is that you can link your dropshipping Shopify store with your TikTok business account. This integration streamlines marketing, sales, and order fulfillment, making everything feel centralized.


This guide will explain how to leverage TikTok's seamless advertising solutions to drive traffic and conversions to your Shopify store. We'll also discuss whether TikTok Ads are suitable for your marketing plan and the various types of ad campaigns that are available.


Why should you run TikTok ads?


With over 1 billion active users monthly and a 3.4% conversion rate, TikTok attracts brands big and small. No matter your business model—whether you're a dropshipper, private label seller, wholesaler, or flipper—TikTok offers a sizeable and responsive audience for your ad campaigns. Here are four reasons advertising on TikTok is a smart choice.


  • Go viral fast: People visit TikTok to be entertained. Those who find your video entertaining are likely to share it, leave a reaction, or comment. Some might even watch it over and over. Traffic on TikTok snowballs faster than on other apps because user intent is more straightforward and content is more relatable. 


  • Diverse audience: Contrary to popular belief, TikTok users aren't all Gen Zers. In fact, Gen Zers only represent 36% of TikTokers. Millennials are not far behind, at 32%. Even the Generation X and Boomers are represented. 


  • Low Cost: TikTok ads aren't particularly cheap, but they aren't too expensive either—not yet. And that's why this is the perfect time to run TikTok ads for your dropshipping Shopify store. Like Facebook and Instagram, TikTok will eventually increase its cost per click (CPC) and cost per mile (CPM). Even now, its average CPM is already around $10, which is much higher than Instagram's. Why wait for that to happen before you hop on the bandwagon?


  • Better engagement: Recent studiesshow that TikTok's engagement rate is 2.65%. That's around four times more than Instagram's and forty times Facebook's. The higher the engagement, the greater the chance of conversion. 


When to consider advertising on TikTok?


Like any other advertising service, TikTok Ads isn't for everyone. Depending on your business model, products, budget, and content marketing plan, it may or may not work. Here are some clear indicators that running ads on TikTok is the way to go:


  1. When targeting a younger audience: While TikTok has users from virtually all living generations, it's undeniably dominated by Gen Zers. Also, its future population will only get younger. If you're dropshipping products that appeal to younger generations and cost no more than $30 per unit, then you should use TikTok Ads. 


  1. When you can meet the creative demand: Running paid ads on TikTok doesn't mean TikTok will do all the work. Some ad placements require original content from your account. You want these videos to be engaging, relatable, and compliant with TikTok's policy. Running multiple ads means uploading various videos. If you're confident you can meet the creative demand of advertising on TikTok, hop on.


  1. When you can demonstrate your product: Product demo and review videos are well-suited for TikTok's content format. This benefits dropshipping Shopify stores because their products can be demonstrated in a video. 


  1. When you're a startup: TikTok has a predilection for new and small brands, as proven by its excellent customer support. If you are new to the platform and need help with TikTok Ads, particularly syncing your dropshipping Shopify store with your TikTok business account, they'll assign someone to assist you. You won't get this level of support from any other platform.


  1. When you have limited video editing skills: TikTok prefers raw and authentic videos over well-produced ones. This means your videos have the same opportunity to go viral, even if they're not professionally filmed and edited, as long as they are not of potato quality. They even provide themes and templates to simplify video creation further.


  1. When you plan to partner with influencers: If you're wondering how brands promoted their products on TikTok before the launch of TikTok Ads, they relied on influencer marketing. It's one of the most powerful marketing options on this platform. TikTok was and still is home to the most prominent social media influencers.  


Linking Your TikTok Account with Your Shopify Store


Adding TikTok as a sales channel on your dropshipping Shopify store adds flexibility to your sales process and helps improve your marketing strategy. You can leverage TikTok's data tracking and analytics to fine-tune your ads and drive more traffic to your Shopify store. 


Here's how to integrate your dropshipping Shopify store with your TikTok Business account:


  1. Create a TikTok for Business account to publish and manage ads on TikTok Ads Manager. 
  2. Convert your personal TikTok account into a business account and prepare to furnish TikTok with your business information. 
  3. Log into your Shopify store and click 'Sales Channels' on your dashboard. It's on the left side, around the middle. 
  4. Search for TikTok on the Shopify App Store. Make sure it's a legitimate app developed by TikTok.
  5. Click 'Add sales channel' and 'Set up now.'
  6. Link the TikTok for Business that shows up on the prompt by clicking 'Connect.' 
  7. Under Data Sharing, select 'Enhanced' and click 'Confirm.' 
  8. Click 'Finish setup.'
  9. Select 'Marketing Catalog.' This will require you to link a TikTok Business Center, another TikTok account that serves as a hub for all your other accounts. 
  10. Then, click 'Finish setup.' The sync takes 3 to 5 days to complete.


What types of TikTok Ads can you run?


While it's true that TikTok ads can only be placed on one type of content—video—they come in different forms, each of which can effectively convey your brand message and capture your audience's attention. Here are the various types of TikTok Ads you can test for your campaigns.


  • In-Feed Ads: When you scroll through your 'For You' feed and come across a video that looks like a mix between an ad and organic content, that's most likely an in-feed ad. You can skip it or watch it all the way through like a typical user-generated video. You can even engage with it by liking, sharing, or commenting. This ad costs $10 per 1,000 impressions.


  • Brand Takeover Ads: TikTok also places ads at the beginning of a user's journey. When you log into the app, an ad that fills your device's screen may pop up before you can access your native feed. This ad may have buttons that you can click to open a landing page within TikTok or download an off-platform app. It also stays on your 'For You' page. This ad costs $50,000 per day.


  • TopView Ads: Like a brand takeover ad, a topview ad plays in full-screen, except it doesn't pop up as soon as you log in. Instead, you'll see it as the first in-feed post for about three seconds. Then, it automatically transforms into a video that takes over your screen. This ad costs from $50,000 to $150,000 per day.  


  • Branded Hashtag Challenges: Brands can capitalize on TikTok users' competitiveness by hosting a branded hashtag challenge. This ad involves encouraging users to post a video of themselves performing a task related to the brand or product and captioning it with a pre-defined hashtag. This ad costs $45,000 per 30 days.


  • Branded Effects: TikTok is well-known for its filters and effects, but for so long, it has only offered them as a creative feature. Now, brands can run ads with effects as well. Branded effects mean TikTok users can use your logo or products as effects for their photos and videos, effectively boosting brand engagement. This ad costs $45,000 per 30 days.


  • Collection Ads: If you want ads that directly lead viewers to your gallery or store, consider running collection ads. These in-feed video ads play in full-screen on a user's device and have a clickable call to action. Prices for this ad start at $10 per 1,000 impressions. TikTok also requires a minimum budget of $500.


  • Spark Ads: These ads appear on regular posts instead of promotional ones. This means your ads become visible to TikTok users who view and engage with your videos, which increases your chance of driving organic traffic to your dropshipping Shopify store. On average, this ad costs $1 per click or 1,000 You also have to spend a minimum of $50 or $20 per day, depending on your ad level.


How to Run TikTok Ads


TikTok's ad formats are often pricier than those on other social media platforms. Spark ads are the most lucrative option for dropshipping brands that expect a low profit margin. So, we're going to focus on that in this guide. We'll teach you the process of setting up a TikTok Ad account, launching ad campaigns, and testing ads with TikTok Pixel.


Step 1: Create a TikTok Ad account.


You need a TikTok ad account to run and manage ads on TikTok. Follow this step-by-step guide to setting up an ad account. 


  1. Click here to access the Ad account sign-up form.
  2. Sign up using your email, phone number, or TikTok account. Consider signing up with an email address to protect your personal account from potential restrictions when your ad account encounters issues.
  3. Click 'Continue' and provide your business name, industry, phone number, billing region/country, time zone, and currency. 
  4. Agree to TikTok Commercial, Advertising, and Payment terms of service. 
  5. Click 'Get Started.' 
  6. Provide your billing information (state/province and payment method). Set your account for automatic payment to prevent interruptions in your ad campaign runs.
  7. Link your ad account to your TikTok seller account. If you don't have a TikTok seller account yet, create one here
  8. Select 'Marketing' on your dashboard and click 'Ads.' This will take you to the page where you can link your two accounts. 
  9. Click 'Begin setup' and 'Create account.' 
  10. Fill out the form, and in the 'Ad account info' section, choose 'Connect account.' You'll be asked to provide your ad account ID, which you can find in the drop-down menu at the top right corner of your Ads Manager.
  11. Return to your seller account and paste the ID number into the required field.
  12. If approval takes too long, add a balance of at least $100 to your account to let TikTok know your account is active.
  13. Wait for TikTok's confirmation email. 
  14. If your ad account is approved, paste your ad account ID and click 'Confirm.'
  15. Returning to the previous page, you'll notice two separate accounts: a Business Center account and an ad account. TikTok automatically sets you up a Business Center account when you link your ad account to your seller account.
  16. Return to your Ads Manager, refresh the page, and click the notification on the top right corner to see the request for approval from your seller account. 
  17. Click the message and 'Approve.' 
  18. Go back to your seller account and refresh the page. You'll see that the link status has changed to 'Get permission.' Click it to complete the process.


Before signing up for a TikTok Ad account, make sure you've already converted your personal account into a business account and linked it to your Business Center account, seller account, and TikTok for Business account. 


Linking all your accounts together allows you to sync processes smoothly and avoid delays. This is also necessary when integrating your dropshipping Shopify account into your TikTok shop.


Step 2: Create an ad campaign.


Creating and publishing ads is a lengthy process that starts with content creation. After all, you can't complete the process without content to anchor your ads on. And this content shouldn't be anything you find in your TikTok gallery. It has to be eye-catching, relevant, and scroll-stopping.


First, prepare your videos. You need at least five videos about each product in your Shopify store, and each video must be unique, solve a problem, and have a viral factor. Check out my other blogs for detailed tips on creating videos that can go viral. 


After preparing your organic content, it's time to create ad groups. Here are the steps:


  1. Set up TikTok Pixel. Open your Ads Manager, select 'Assets' and click 'Events.' Select 'Web Events' and click 'Next.' 
  2. Choose 'Event Builder' to avoid complex coding tasks. 
  3. Copy the code TikTok generated and paste it into your dropshipping Shopify store's program through your website builder. 
  4. Return to the campaign page of your Ads Manager and customize your columns to maximize TikTok's data-tracking capabilities. Among the data you can track are reach, impressions, average watch time per video view, click-through rate, CPM, CPC, add to cart (cost and total), initiate checkout (cost and total), and conversion.
  5. Set up your creative campaigns. Return to Ads Manager, select 'Campaign,' and click 'Create.' 
  6. Choose 'Website conversion' and give your ad group a unique name. 
  7. For optimization location, select 'Website' and the Pixel you created earlier. 
  8. For the 'Optimization event,' choose what event you want to measure. If your goal is to know how many sales you make from your ads, pick 'complete payment.' 
  9. Under 'Demographics,' check the US and Canada. If you're using an agency account, you can also check the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. 
  10. Target the 18- to 55-year-old audience because these consumers have the financial capacity to buy your products. 
  11. Set a start date and a budget. Your budget should cover at least five ads because you'll need to create multiple ads to obtain and compare enough data.
  12. Set up your videos.
  13. Return to the Campaign page and copy the ad five times.
  14. Update each new ad by replacing the video with a new one. 
  15. Once your ad budget has been consumed, check the data on your columns. 
  16. Replicate the ads that have produced the highest ratings and activity. 
  17. Once you finish publishing the copies, create a retargeted ad group. Select 'Tools' and click 'Audience Manager.' 
  18. Choose the specific audience you want to target based on their response to your existing ads—those who viewed your product details page, added your products to their cart, or initiated checkout but didn't complete the purchase. 


Another approach to testing ads is to create broad and targeted ad groups. The broad ad group doesn't include targeting, which means you let the TikTok algorithm decide where to show your ads. The targeted ad group includes targeting (demographic, interests, behaviors, device types, etc).


Then, you can create a third ad group for retargeting. You will still need to set up TikTok Pixel because this is where TikTok will base its decision on who to retarget. Although effective, the results may not be as helpful as those from setting up creative campaigns since there's a huge difference between broad and targeted ads.


Can you use other people's videos for your spark ads?


Yes, you can. Sometimes, other users' videos are way more suitable pairs for your ads than your videos. If you want to use them for your ad campaigns, ask their creators for permission. TikTok takes copyright infringement seriously, so never grab other creators' works without their consent, especially if you already have ads running with large budgets on them. TikTok may terminate your account, and you might not be able to retrieve your balance.


Is promoting videos advisable?


Promotion is an effective method for boosting reach. However, unlike running ads, you are promoting the video, not your products. You may choose this option if your content centers on demonstrating or reviewing a specific product to maximize your ad budget. 


Also, the video won't have a button that viewers can click to go directly to the product page. If they decide to engage with you and check out your products, they have to click on your account, which leads to your store. Then, they still have to look for the product you're promoting on the video.


Only use TikTok Promote if you want to grow your following, although many creators advise against it because the targeting isn't as precise as in TikTok Ads. This means you might grow a following that will hardly convert. Organic marketing is still a better option for increasing following.


Optimize Your TikTok Ads to Drive Traffic to Your Dropshipping Shopify Store


The Shopify-TikTok combo is one of the best things that happened in retail. Leveraging Shopify's all-inclusive online business management solutions and TikTok Ads' cutting-edge marketing and tracking to channel high-quality leads to your dropshipping store is a great way to scale your business. 


No matter the size of your dropshipping Shopify store, you can implement this integration and start driving traffic to your website. Follow this guide to optimize your TikTok ad campaigns and make the most of your marketing budget.

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