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How to maximize ROI on TikTok

The size of the opportunity for influencer marketers on TikTok is undeniable. But it means nothing if marketers don’t take the right approach and squeeze as much value out of the campaigns they run on the platform. In short, maximizing ROI on TikTok has to be every marketer's goal in 2023.

coins stacked on black slabs before a hand holding one of them
coins stacked on black slabs before a hand holding one of them

Key Takeaways

Why is it important to track the ROI of your influencer marketing campaigns?

“But I just want to have fun and make viral videos” I hear you say. That will come, of course.

But first, marketers need to get their ROI framework right, as they would with any other platform, for three important reasons:

Tracking performance

Firstly, a properly calculated ROI is a clear marker of performance. A better ROI means the campaign was more effective. It’s that simple. The ability to be able to say you spent X figure and received Y in return is incredibly useful during campaign wash-ups and reviews for marketers to A) prove they’re delivering value to their company by running a successful campaign and B) prove that influencer marketing is a viable approach for future campaigns. That means more opportunities to make more fun and viral videos further down the line.

Proving worth

A considered ROI approach is especially crucial if your marketing campaign is aimed at delivering on more intangible goals. Sales or conversions are easily trackable, easily-understandable business goals. More abstract concepts like brand awareness can be harder to communicate to clients and those who are less engaged with the marketing world. Being able to put a $ on the number of likes and shares a campaign makes communicating success a lot easier.

Generate insights

ROI is useful well before the end of a campaign too. Tracking just how much value is being created throughout a campaign will create the insights needed to modify—and improve—your approach. If ROI KPIs are being missed and you know about it, changes in creative, influencer, or message can be implemented as you go to keep your campaign on track.

What is a ‘good’ ROI?

Like a lot of marketing concepts, there’s no exact science for ROI or figuring out what success looks like. Generally, marketers should aim for a 5:1 ratio—i.e. every $1 spent on a campaign should generate $5 in return. Above and beyond that is considered exceptional.

Why are marketers turning to TikTok for strong ROI?

While successful ROI depends on the business, industry, and campaign goals, marketers looking to use influencers on TikTok should consider the 5:1 ratio a good starting point. Current stats suggest that should be achievable for marketers running influencer campaigns—especially if product sales are their aim.

  • TikTok is developing into a driver of eCommerce among social platforms. The popular hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt—where influencers and brands demonstrate new products and audiences show off purchases—has more than 12bn views.
  • The hype this is generating around showing off new products is prompting users to spend. According to TikTok, 67% of users say the platform inspires them to shop even when they’re not planning to.
  • Influencer-led marketing is the clear leader when it comes to ways brands can capitalize on this. Content produced by creators secures double the conversation rate vs. brand accounts.
  • That’s not to discount ads altogether. According to TikTok, 68% of users think ads on the platform are unique vs. ads on rival social networks—giving TikTok and the marketers who use it the edge over other platforms.

What objectives are useful for ROI with TikTok influencer campaigns?

So far, we’ve been talking about ROI in general terms. But before you begin your campaign, you need to know what successful ROI looks like for your company. ROI can be pinned to several marketing goals, including:

Awareness: At the top of the marketing funnel, we have brand awareness—essentially,the level to which consumers recognise who you are or what your brand does. A strong brand awareness is crucial because, on average, buyers need to come across a brand seven times before they realize purchase intent—so a strong brand increases the likelihood of sales further down the line.

Engagement: Linked to Awareness we have engagement—the likes, shares, and all other interactions your influencer marketing content generates. Engagement strengthens brand awareness horizontally, as content reaches a wider audience through likes and shares, and vertically, as it reveals the depth to which followers genuinely like a brand or their product.

Sales: The goal with the most tangible ROI is sales—how many purchases are made off the back of a user coming across your influencer content. This is perhaps the most applicable for TikTok, given the willingness for audiences to buy products they’ve seen on the platform.

Once your goals are set, the final piece of the ROI framework is to decide how to track them. Think of this like working out the formula the reveals your campaign’s success. Attach a performance metric—like views, hashtag use, link clicks—to your ROI objective, set a realistic number you want to achieve, and follow the figures as your campaign progresses. These metrics are the evidence you can use to highlight ROI—e.g. Hashtag use can qualify engagement levels.

What costs are involved in running influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok?

When we talk about ROI, we often focus on the return part of the equation. However, how much you invest in your campaign will skew the value extracted.

Marketers should be aware there are a number of costs to consider in running this type of campaign—the cost of the time spent organizing the campaign or additional asset creation for example.

The biggest potential outlay is the cost of the influencer. Not all influencers charge for brand collaboration—some will endorse brands they like in exchange for products—but many will expect to be paid for the work they do. Rates will vary based on the influencer’s audience and the scope of the campaign.

Marketers should put terms and conditions in writing, supply everything the influencer needs to fulfill their role, and stay in contact throughout the campaign.

Which TikTok influencers should you work with and how?

With your strategy figured out, the final piece of the puzzle is deciding on which influencers to work with and how to get the most out of your collaboration. Consider what type of video content will help you achieve your goals, and work back from there, researching influencers that match the content type that will enable your campaign to reach its goals.

When you’ve built up a list of prospective influencers, follow these five guiding principles in making a final selection and working with them:

1. Work with influencers that match your brand and values

Authenticity has been a marketing buzzword for some time, with good reason. According to Stackla research, 88% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding on their favorite brands. If a brand appears authentic, then users can trust the time they spend engaging with that brand will be well used. No user wants to feel they’re being lied to, or aren’t worthy of receiving their favorite brand’s ‘true’ self—especially on TikTok, where 64% of users say they can be their true selves.

What does this mean for marketers? It means they have to stringently vet who they work with, analyzing the output, tone, and style of influencers to ensure they match up to their brand values and the perception they have in the mind of audiences.

2. Grant your influencers artistic freedom

Marketers have to give the influencers they select creative freedom, too. TikTok influencers are known for their distinct styles, and audiences will smell a rat as soon as a brand tries to pressure them into creating boring, branded, transactional content. Leave the creative to the experts—save transactional messaging for repurposed ads or accompanying copy. Viewers will be more open to this if they’ve engaged with more entertaining content.

3. Work with a variety of influencers—depending on the campaign you’re running.

Part of TikTok’s success is that it’s a diverse and dynamic platform—no one type of content or creator reigns supreme. Marketers should take this into account and mix up the type of influencers they work with—a portfolio of up to 12 is a good number to aim for.

Within this, marketers should prioritize working with nano influencers—those with under 10k followers, whose content centers on more niche topics—and mega influencers with 1m+ followings. These categories of influencers tend to see higher engagement rates and are therefore better suited to support healthy ROI.

4. Capitalize on viral trends

It’s worth remembering that TikTok runs an algorithm-based feed, which bumps content up in its “For You” discovery section based on views and buzz—rather than promoting content solely based on the follower count of the creator.

So it’s incredibly important your influencers are adept at spotting and capitalizing on viral trends. Ignore those who produce insular content focused on them and opt for those who have a relationship with their community, and know what great content is when they come across it. What’s more, viral trends move quickly, so enable your influencers to jump on a movement asap by reducing any lengthy approval processes.

5. Test, learn, and spend

Influencers should be the star of any influencer campaign, but that doesn’t mean marketers don’t have a role to play. It’s important to keep track of content that works—anything that’s captured an audience’s attention can be repurposed for brand channels and amplified with paid media spend. According to TikTok, brands that reused popular TikTok trends as paid content were rewarded with a 14% increase in watch time—a huge boost to metrics like awareness and engagement.

Paid versions of popular content can be optimized to help meet ROI metrics like downloads and purchases too, with the option to add links and CTAs to various paid ad formats.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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