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TikTok ads vs Facebook ads – which is best for your brand?

Strap in folks, because it’s time for a heavyweight clash in the world of paid social advertising. 

TikTok and Facebook. These two social behemoths are used by e-commerce brands across the globe, offering advertisers a plethora of opportunities for marketing success and increased revenue. 

But what are the key differences between these competitors?

What unique advantages can they offer for your campaigns?

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Which platform is best placed to nail your business goals? 

Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of Facebook and TikTok advertising, and look at how these social media giants stack up against one another. 

TikTok & Facebook – a clash of two titans 

Before we start looking at direct comparisons between TikTok and Facebook, let’s take a step back and summarise their offerings. 

Although there are some similarities between the platforms in terms of advertising opportunities, there are also distinct differences in terms of their core audiences and functions.

Contender #1 – an intro to TikTok

TikTok is a newcomer in the world of social media, having only launched in 2016. 

The app is a smash hit with younger generations. It’s estimated that 60% of global users are under the age of 30. Advertising on the platform provides brands with a unique opportunity to engage with a younger demographic, using formats that resonate strongly with them. 

TikTok content is short and snappy and revolves primarily around video. Although ads can run for up to 60 seconds, TikTok recommends a maximum of 15 seconds, because the platform is built around consuming bitesize pieces of content.

At the moment, TikTok advertising is also relatively cheap. 

Because the platform is still growing and developing, TikTok offers brands a great opportunity to get involved with exciting new formats at a lower cost

Established brands like Disney and Nike are also regularly active on TikTok, and more and more advertisers are now recognising the opportunities available to them. 

TikTok vs Facebook users

Contender #2 – an intro to Facebook 

Facebook is an established name in the social media landscape, having opened its virtual doors in 2006. 

The platform attracts a slightly broader audience than TikTok, with 49% of global users falling between the ages of 25-44. The size and scale of Facebook mean that advertisers can effectively reach many different demographics and audience types.

When it comes to platform content, the Facebook feed is slightly more diverse than TikTok. Users can explore a combination of written posts, static images, and long and short-form videos.

Facebook advertising is generally more expensive than TikTok, but it’s supported by mountains of analytics and historical data. 

Although brands may find themselves paying more for ads, they can be confident in the proven history of Facebook performance and benefit from these insights. 

We can already identify some key differences between the TikTok and Facebook offerings. Now let’s take a look at the scale of these platforms and their audiences. 

Reach and scale – which is the bigger platform? 

If you’re an advertiser weighing up the opportunities between Facebook ads and TikTok ads, audience scale is probably one of your biggest questions. 

Time for a closer look at the numbers.

Facebook boasts an enormous amount of monthly active users, with an estimated 2.89 billion individuals logging in every month. That’s a big number. 

On the other hand, TikTok recently reported an estimated 1 billion monthly users currently active on the app. Not bad for a newcomer! 

Facebook has the edge in terms of sheer audience size. But it’s important to consider the rapid growth of TikTok as a platform. 

The app is relatively young and still growing. TikTok reports a 45% increase year-on-year in terms of monthly users, so this user base is still expanding. 

With that said, if you’re interested purely in audience size, Facebook’s numbers are tough to beat. However, if you’re focusing specifically on reaching younger consumers in a new environment, then TikTok does offer some unique advantages. 

A closer look at audience targeting 

Now that we’ve reviewed the size of their audiences, let’s dig into the ad targeting opportunities available on Facebook and TikTok. 

On the surface, both platforms provide advertisers with similar targeting options:

  • Demographic (based on gender, age, location, language)
  • Interest (based on content engagement, page follows, etc)
  • Device (based on the operating system, device model, etc)
Facebook age targeting
Facebook age targeting

All of the standard targeting tactics are there for both platforms. But if we look closer, there are some important differences to note. 

Facebook ads targeting is currently more sophisticated than TikTok targeting. 

This is due to the wealth of audience data that Facebook has collected and refined over the years, which makes sense considering the age of both platforms. However, it’s still a big factor to consider when planning a campaign. 

A primary example is Interest targeting. When it comes to Interest segments on both platforms, there are similar options available – Travel, Fashion, etc. 

But if you’re looking to dig deeper and target a more niche Interest audience, this is where the differences become apparent. 

Let’s take Technology as an example.

Facebook provides advertisers with several sub-categories within this broader Technology audience. For example, you can target users based on their interest in specific types of tech, from computer processors to network storage. 

Facebook Audience targeting

With TikTok ads, you can target a ‘Tech & Electronics’ category, but advertisers are unable to drill down further into more specific segments.

Now, this may not concern advertisers who are focused on reaching more generic audiences and broader categories. However, if you’re keen to reach a niche segment based on very particular behaviours, the granularity of Facebook targeting may prove useful. 

…But wait, what about Custom Audiences? 

A good question!

Fortunately, both Facebook ads and TikTok ads provide several options for building Custom Audiences, based on first-party data and pixel tracking. 

This means that even if standard audience segments aren’t quite specific enough, you can refine your campaigns with custom audiences to enhance your targeting. 

Since Custom Audiences are fuelled by powerful user data, they can prove to be extremely effective and should be considered for activity on both platforms. 

Check out these pages for more information on Facebook Custom Audiences and TikTok Custom Audiences.

Battle of the ad formats 

When it comes to ad formats, Facebook ads and TikTok ads both offer standard placements alongside more innovative executions.

Facebook enables advertisers to run ads with a wide range of different formats. Brands can utilise Static Ads, Video Ads, Collection Ads, Messenger Ads, and more. 

This variety of placements is a major strength of the platform and allows advertisers to experiment with new formats to achieve a range of objectives. 

In terms of standard placements, TikTok currently only allows video assets to run in-feed, so there are no static ads available. 

However, for ambitious brands looking to make an impact, the platform does offer some particularly creative formats, such as Branded Lenses and Branded Hashtags. These can achieve some impressive levels of engagement and even generate viral fame. 

Once you have a clear campaign goal and target audience in mind, it’s worth looking at both the Facebook and TikTok ad guides to determine which formats are best suited.

Hopefully you have found this Tiktok ads vs Facebook ads comparison useful.

You can enquire about our Facebook ads service here and our TikTok ads service here.

Ultimately, the right platform for your paid social campaigns all depends on your target audience, business objectives and creative messaging. 

Facebook can deliver some seriously impressive audience reach, and campaign optimisations benefit from years of data collection and analysis. 

TikTok, on the other hand, is an exciting new platform that connects with a unique demographic and enables innovative creative executions. It may also have the edge for targeting younger audiences.

Both platforms can deliver exceptionally good results for your campaigns, so you just need to assess which is more suitable based on your goals. Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can always run a test campaign with both partners and compare performance. 

Let the results speak for themselves!



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