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TikTok Search Ads: Preparation for the Upcoming Feature

TikTok search ads

TikTok introduced its search ads beta for selected partners last year, marking its entry into the competitive realm of search advertising alongside giants like Google and Microsoft. With TikTok search ads, marketers will have the opportunity to bid on specific keywords.

In this blog, we will delve into the workings of TikTok search ads, their potential benefits, and the considerations marketers need to keep in mind. While the official launch of this feature is yet to happen, understanding and preparing for this feature will provide marketers with a competitive edge once it becomes available.

What are TikTok search ads? 

Introduction to TikTok search ads

With search ads on TikTok, marketers can bid on specific keywords, mirroring the function of Google. These ads were clearly identified with a “sponsored” label and were prominently displayed above the “others searched for” on the results page. As a result, ads appeared among the initial search results. This move by TikTok demonstrates their serious commitment to exploring a new way of generating revenue.

How does TikTok search ads work? 

TikTok’s search ads will be displayed on the search results page and sold on a cost-per-click basis. With this feature, brands can choose phrases and keywords that are valuable for them. Also, they could place a bid to have their ad appear for those phrases and terms. Like Google and Microsoft ads, advertisers will be able to target their ads based on location, device, demographics,

When will TikTok search ads be launched? 

It is important to note that the rollout of this product is not ready yet. TikTok is currently in the initial phases of testing this feature in limited regions. For clarification, at this stage, advertisers do not have the option to bid on specific keywords for advertising purposes. TikTok is conducting this testing phase internally, selecting keywords that are highly relevant and effective for advertisers.

TikTok search ads: Pros and Cons

Benefits of TikTok search ads

In recent years, TikTok has evolved beyond being just a social media platform. Besides, it also has gained popularity as a search engine, particularly among young individuals. Approximately 40% of 18-24-year-olds utilize TikTok as a means to access information, alongside Instagram. For example, when searching for the top lunch, a huge number of Gen Z and Millennials are skipping Google and turning to TikTok.

Engage with younger audiences better 

Understanding and capturing the attention of Gen Z and millennial audiences can be quite challenging for advertisers. These demographics crave dynamic and engaging content that resonates with their interests. This is precisely why TikTok for business is an exceptional platform for reaching out to these audiences.

With this search function, TikTok has the potential to become an even more effective method of connecting with younger audiences.

Optimizing ad expense and maximizing Return on Investment (ROI)

Although TikTok continues to refine its search ads algorithm, its intention is clear. TikTok is trying to leverage its unique TikTok marketing strengths, such as green screen effects and video filters. While the full workings of this approach are still being unraveled, there is anticipation that these features will enhance targeting precision, resulting in a higher return on ad spend. This heightened level of personalization presents a significant opportunity for advertisers to establish more effective engagement with their target audience.

Getting involved with the TikTok ecosystem

Leveraging TikTok’s paid ads allows you to tap into a network of successful content creators and influencers on the platform. This can significantly enhance your brand’s reputation. By leveraging their extensive reach, you can use search ads to drive relevant traffic to your website or app. This helps increase engagement and raise your brand awareness.

Drawbacks of TikTok search ads 

TikTok faces a crucial challenge in determining the appearance of ads within the search feed. Unlike traditional search ads that rely on text-based content, TikTok’s video-centric platform requires a creative approach to deliver the same impact while accommodating its unique format. As a result, advertisers will need to adapt and learn how to create compelling and captivating search ad content that is different from traditional platforms like Google Ads. This transition represents a learning curve in understanding the most effective strategies for engaging audiences on TikTok.

What should brands prepare for making the most of TikTok’s search ads?

TikTok search ads preparation

While TikTok is currently in the testing phase for search ads, this development holds immense potential. TikTok might have a competitive advantage that would be difficult for others to replicate. Notably, competitors such as Instagram have already taken notice and announced their plans to experiment with ads in search results.

Given the emergence of TikTok’s search ads, how can marketers capitalize on this opportunity to maximize their effectiveness? Here is some advice for brands to make the most of this feature once it is officially rolled out: 

Authenticity and organic 

TikTok offers a unique appeal that captivates users: authenticity and the thrill of discovering content organically. A significant 64% of TikTok users worldwide express that they can genuinely express themselves on the platform.

When creating content for TikTok search ads, it is crucial to ensure that it seamlessly integrates with the platform. Avoid hastily assembling reused or excessively polished videos, as they appear out of sync and may have a detrimental effect on your brand. Remember, your search ad should address the questions and interests of the audience. Conduct thorough research to identify what is valuable and relevant to your target audience, and your ad will surely make a strong impact.

Combine paid and organic contents 

To optimize your advertising budget on TikTok, it is beneficial to integrate your paid strategy with organic content. Establishing an organic TikTok profile allows brands to obtain valuable insights into their audience’s preferences, enabling them to shape their messaging and marketing approach accordingly. Moreover, this approach serves as a cost-efficient method for experimenting with various content types before committing to paid advertising.

TikTok is a dynamic and rapidly evolving platform, constantly introducing new trends and challenges. By actively monitoring these trending topics, brands can gain valuable insights into their audience’s interests and search behavior. This knowledge can be leveraged to create more impactful TikTok search ads, resulting in improved outcomes and engagement.

Don’t rely solely on this feature

TikTok search ads should be a component of a complete marketing strategy is essential for building brand awareness and reconnecting with potential customers who have expressed interest but haven’t made a purchase yet.

To enhance the effectiveness of your ads, consider collaborating with influencers who can serve as a powerful awareness-building tool, utilizing their large and engaged audience to expand your reach and increase brand awareness even more.

Want to discover more about this new amazing feature from TikTok? We got you covered! We recently launched a new video about TikTok Search Ads with all the information that really matters to e-commerce business.

TikTok search ads vs Google: What is the difference? 

TikTok search ads vs Google

TikTok’s search ads platform operates similarly to Google, enabling businesses to bid on specific keywords related to their products or services. However, TikTok offers distinct features that set it apart from Google.

Rather than relying on the title, tags, and description of a video, TikTok’s paid ads in search leverage the platform’s green screen effect to determine which ads to display on its search engine. For example, if a video incorporates voice-to-text or captions as an effect, TikTok advertising seeks to utilize these elements as indicators for their search ads. Similarly, images, scenery, and keywords that appear within the video are taken into consideration.

If TikTok for Business successfully implements this approach, it would enable advertisers to employ search ads in a more personalized manner, enhancing their effectiveness and relevance.


1. Is TikTok getting ready to introduce search ads?

According to reports, TikTok is in the process of developing its own search ads platform, enabling advertisers to bid on particular keywords related to their offerings, much like Google and Microsoft Ads.

2. Were TikTok search ads tested during a beta testing phase?

In the previous year’s beta test rollout, testers verified that the activation of search ads allowed advertisers to collect the search terms that led to conversions. They could then utilize these high click-through rate search terms as headlines for their most successful TikTok videos, leading to additional benefits.

3. Why is TikTok becoming a search engine?

TikTok’s evolution into a search engine brings numerous advantages, such as the ability to access real-time information swiftly and concisely, all presented in an engaging and enjoyable format. This is why Gen-Z perceives TikTok as a source of personalized, authentic, and highly valuable information, surpassing the traditional search ads platform like Google.

What to do next? 

TikTok’s venture into search ads brings a fresh opportunity for businesses and advertisers to expand their advertising strategies. With its extensive and constantly expanding user base, especially among younger demographics, TikTok offers a valuable platform for businesses to connect with new and active audiences.

While TikTok’s search ads platform is still in the early testing phase and not yet ready for launch, it holds great potential as a powerful advertising tool. While waiting for TikTok to roll out this feature, let’s first see various TikTok ad formats and start running TikTok ads for your business! 



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