With the rise of social media, it has never been easier to start your own dropshipping business.
Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products you don't have in stock and buy them as needed from other suppliers. This way, you can sell many different products online and make a profit on each one without carrying any inventory.
The reason why social media is vital for a dropshipping store is that it offers you a way to get products in front of your audience.
A relatively new social media platform you can use to advertise products on is TikTok.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about dropshipping with TikTok as a beginner!
We will discuss several ways in which you can advertise on TikTok and give you the pros and cons of each one of them. In short, you will find everything you need to know so you can start dropshipping with TikTok confidently!
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short videos.
On TikTok, you will find videos for all kinds of topics. Many videos are related to music, as TikTok offers creators a vast catalog of sound effects, filters, and music snippets. However, you will also find videos regarding topics like comedy, DIY, or fun facts.
After opening TikTok, you will find a tall video that appears vertically on your screen.
You will start on the "for you" page, where videos are shown that TikTok thinks will interest you. After opening the app, you can endlessly browse through the videos simply by swiping up on your screen!
Once in a while, you will swipe to a TikTok ad, which is when someone is paying TikTok to display their video. It's just like browsing the Facebook news feed and seeing a Facebook ad.
We will tell you more about TikTok Ads in a moment, but first, let's take a look at some interesting TikTok statistics!
Interesting TikTok statistics for dropshippers
TikTok started as an app called Musical.ly in 2014. The app was acquired by Bytedance in 2017, who folded the service's core functionality and userbase into its own TikTok app.
Soon after, TikTok became more and more popular. In 2018, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube in monthly downloads.
Currently, TikTok has over one billion global monthly active users and has been downloaded more than 200 million times in the US.
Some people believe that TikTok is dominated by people younger than 18, but that's not completely true. While teens consist of a significant portion of TikTok users, 75% of US TikTok users are aged 20 or older.
Therefore, the age distribution of US TikTok users isn't as bad as some people make it sound.
The image above shows that TikTok is definitely a viable platform for online marketing if your target audience consists of people aged 20 and older!
A recent news article shows how much TikTok users love the app. According to the report, users on TikTok watch the app for an average of 89 minutes per day!
How can you advertise dropshipping products on TikTok?
If you would like to advertise your dropshipping products on TikTok, but don't know how to start, then you have arrived at the right place.
There are three main ways of advertising products on TikTok. Each of them is fairly similar to another marketing method you may be familiar with, such as Facebook Ads, Instagram influencers, and starting a theme page.
In this section, I will give you an introduction to each of the advertising strategies you can apply to start dropshipping with TikTok.
For each of the methods, I will also give you the pros and cons so that it will be easier to decide which one will be the best choice for your business!
Advertising using TikTok Ads
TikTok Ads is a marketing method that resembles Facebook Ads. The main difference is that you will be advertising on TikTok!
Just like Facebook, TikTok offers an easy-to-use platform where you can spend your time on everything regarding targeting, ad creation, insight reports, and ad management tools.
TikTok offers five main ad types for online businesses:
- In-Feed Ads. These type of ads appear in between user videos as users are scrolling through the "for you" page. TikTok's In-Feed Ads look a lot like the ads you see when tapping through Instagram stories.
- Brand Takeover. If you ever open TikTok and see an ad right away, then you are seeing a Brand Takeover ad. With these ads, you will be able to present a full-screen video to your targeted audience as soon as they open the app. TikTok makes sure that users only see one Brand Takeover ad per day, so these are very expensive.
- TopView. TikTok TopView ads are kind off an upgraded version of In-Feed Ads. TopView ads at the top of TikTok's "for you" page and can be up to 60-seconds of full-screen video with auto-play and sound.
- Branded Hashtag Challenge. The Branded Hashtag Challenge is a type of ad where brands create their own hashtag and pay TikTok to display it to their target audience. This ad won't be used often by dropshipping stores since a Branded Hashtag Challenge campaign usually costs thousands of dollars.
- Branded Effects. Lastly, TikTok offers brands the opportunity to design their own filters within the app. These can then be shared by users, which allows users to directly interact with your brand in a fun way.
Now, considering TikTok is a platform that favors 'amateur-style' videos, advertising your brand using user-generated content (UGC) videos generally works really well.
One of the most accessible and affordable ways to get UGC videos for your ecommerce business is by using a service like Billo:
They work with thousands of vetted video creators working from their home studios all over the United States!
Once you have a video to advertise, setting up a TikTok ad campaign is relatively easy, especially if you have prior experience with Facebook Ads.
The first step is to login into the TikTok Ad Manager. Then, click on the "Create" button to start working on your first campaign!
Next up, you will have to choose an advertising objective. If you are creating a campaign for your dropshipping store, "Conversions" is likely the right one for you.
The final step of creating a TikTok ad campaign is setting up the campaign name and budget. The budget can be set either at the campaign level or at the ad group level.
Once you finished setting up the campaign, you can continue creating the ad group and the ads!
So, should you use TikTok Ads for your dropshipping store?
Let's get into the pros and cons!
Pros of using TikTok Ads
One of the most significant pros of using TikTok Ads is that they are relatively cheap compared to a marketing method like Facebook Ads.
A study by JungleTopp found this as well after spending roughly $20k on TikTok Ads and over $31k on Facebook Ads.
The results are summarized in the image below. Even though JungleTopp spent significantly more money on Facebook Ads, they got more than double the impressions on TikTok and almost twice the clicks!
In short, the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) on TikTok was more than two times as high!
Another advantage of TikTok Ads is that you will be able to use Lookalike Audiences, just like on Facebook.
Lookalike Audiences is a feature where you generate new audiences that are likely to behave similarly to a sample audience.
In simple terms, if you give TikTok an audience of people that have bought something from your store, TikTok will generate a new audience with people that ‘look like’ your customers.
Therefore, the people in this audience will have a high chance of making a purchase as well!
It works similarly to Facebook's Lookalike Audiences:
Cons of using TikTok Ads
A con of using TikTok Ads is that you won't be able to target desktop users.
TikTok is a mobile-only platform, so in the targeting settings, you will have the choice between iOS and Android.
If you are also looking to target desktop users, we recommend going to Facebook Ads.
The next drawback of TikTok Ads is that it's common to see ads getting disapproved. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, and it has been known to censor videos or disapprove ads relatively quickly.
The platform will often disapprove of your ads without much explanation. And since TikTok isn't known for having the world's best customer service, you may be struggling with what to do when your ads are declined.
Lastly, TikTok's audience can be seen as a con for all advertising methods on TikTok, but this depends on your business and product. Since TikTok Ads give you the most control of who you are targeting, we won't call it a con here.
Advertising using TikTok influencers
Advertising your products using TikTok influencers is a strategy that is almost the same as using Instagram influencers, only the platform is different!
TikTok influencers are people on TikTok with a large following. Because of the influencers' authority and reach, they are able to show your products to their followers and partly "influence" them to make a purchase.
Here is how it works in three simple steps:
- Search and approach influencer: The first step is to find a good TikTok influencer. This step is crucial, as the influencer you choose must have a good following and fit your business/product. To learn more, you can check out this article. It is written with Instagram influencers in mind, but most tips apply to TikTok influencers too.
- Influencer posts your shoutout: After negotiating a price and sending the influencer your product, they will make a video about it, reviewing it or showing how it works. The goal is to get as many of their followers to click on the link and check out your website!
- Get sales: If everything goes to plan, the influencer's followers loved your product, some even to the point where they placed an order for it. In the end, you will be able to add all revenues and subtract all costs to see if working with that influencer was profitable.
You will find TikTok influencers of various sizes, ranging from smaller ones, the “micro-influencers” with 5k to 30k followers, to the biggest ones with over 100m followers.
Are you thinking right now whether or not to use TikTok influencers? Let's get into the pros and cons!
Pros of using TikTok influencers
TikTok Ads are already likely to be cheap, but TikTok influencers can be even cheaper!
This is also caused because it's generally easier to create a large following on TikTok compared to Instagram.
Due to the nature of TikTok, people who self-create unique, quality content can become an influencer practically overnight!
Due to the low costs of TikTok influencers, it's a great strategy for low budgets.
With Facebook Ads, for example, you often need at least a few hundred dollars before you move past the testing phase and start becoming profitable. Some people that just started dropshipping simply don’t have that financial room.
Marketing using TikTok influencers allows you to expose your product to thousands of people for just $10 or less.
Cons of using TikTok influencers
TikTok influencers have cons too. One of them is that you have relatively little control over the audience you are targeting.
TikTok Ads allow you to target audiences based on their age, gender, interests, and more, but with TikTok influencers, you will automatically target every single follower. It's likely that there will still be some people in that audience who you wouldn't want to target normally.
The second con has to do with the audience on TikTok.
Since the platform offers an endless stream of content, users aren't usually motivated to click on links that will let them exit the platform. If they do click through, the engagement is typically low.
Related article: Did you know that Shopify has a free link in bio tool designed for commerce called Linkpop? Check out these 12 Linkpop landing page examples here!
Advertising using organic content
The final method of advertising your products on TikTok involves creating your business's own TikTok account and posting content on it.
That way, you will sort off become an influencer on TikTok yourself!
By consistently posting content around your niches and products, you will get more and more followers. As time goes on, you can keep them engaged by organizing things like giveaways and contests!
Pros of using organic content
The main benefit of advertising your business on TikTok using organic content is that it is free.
The two alternative methods involved spending money, either by giving it to TikTok or giving it to other influencers.
The other benefit has to do with an announcement made due to a cooperation between TikTok and Shopify.
In August 2021, TikTok announced a new shop tab expansion for Shopify merchant profiles. This allows Shopify businesses to display their products in the TikTok app!
This makes having your own TikTok business page become even more valuable, as your followers can browse through all your products from the TikTok app.
And if they are interested in a product, TikTok will link them directly to your dropshipping store for the checkout process!
Cons of using organic content
The main drawback of advertising on TikTok using organic content is that it takes a lot of time to build up a following.
You will constantly have to think about which videos you can create for your page, create them, and manage comments/questions from your followers.
Not only that, but followers take time to build up, especially in the first few weeks.
Overview: which TikTok advertisement method suits your business?
There you have it! Going over all methods of advertising on TikTok involved quite a lot of information, didn't it?
If you are a bit confused now and still can't decide on which method is best for you, then don't worry.
Below, you will find a table that you can use as a rule of thumb for which marketing method to pick on TikTok. I hope it will help you to make a choice:
|TikTok advertising method
|Cheap compared to Facebook Ads and offers features like Lookalike Audiences.
|You won't be able to target desktop users, and it's common to see ads getting rejected.
|Great for low budgets, can reach many people for a small price.
|You don't have as much control over the audience, and TikTok users aren't always motivated to click on links.
|It's free, and Shopify businesses can add a shop tab to their page.
|It takes a lot of time and effort to build up many followers.
Should you do dropshipping with TikTok?
Now, you might be wondering if you should start dropshipping with TikTok or if you should stick to Facebook and Instagram.
To be honest, this question is tough to answer. I hate to give "it depends" as an answer, but it really depends on your personal situation here.
Some businesses will have more success with Facebook and Instagram, while others will be able to run successful marketing campaigns on TikTok.
All of it depends on the product you are selling, the kind of business you are, and how well you can adapt to the platform you will be advertising on.
When dropshipping with TikTok isn't something you have experience in, you should try doing it! That's the only way of finding out if it works for your business or if it doesn't.
See it as a small experiment. There is a minor downside if you fail, but a massive upside if you succeed!
4 Final tips for dropshipping with TikTok
If you do decide to give dropshipping with TikTok a try, don't forget to make the best out of it.
Here are four tips that will make your TikTok marketing efforts more worthwhile.
1. Don't forget about the audience you are targeting
The first tip is that you should always keep the audience you are targeting in mind.
Since a large part of TikTok's users are younger people, it could be that the buying power of an average TikTok user is lower compared to an average Facebook user, for example.
2. Inspect TikTok's common reasons why ads fail
Do you remember us mentioning that ads on TikTok get rejected relatively quickly?
This is due to TikTok's advertising policy, which is rather strict.
To make things easier for advertisers, TikTok created a list of common reasons why ads fail. We suggest studying this list before creating your first ad to learn from other's mistakes!
For example, your TikTok Ads may fail the review if it contains any exaggerated, overstated, or misleading claims about your product performance:
3. Keep ads short and organic
TikTok users love short videos. Preferably ones that are shot with just a smartphone camera! It makes TikTok videos look organic.
To achieve the highest ad performance on TikTok, you should try to match the style of your ads so that they resemble regular TikTok videos.
Keep your ads short, and don't make them look like commercial ads!
Long and commercial ads on TikTok will almost surely miss your performance expectations.
4. Check TikTok's campaign optimization checklist
TikTok's Business Help Center contains a lot of useful information for TikTok advertisers.
One of the more helpful articles you will find there is called "Campaign Optimization Checklist & Troubleshooting".
On this page, you will find awesome tips regarding your TikTok campaign's budget, bidding, and more!
Dropshipping with TikTok is a relatively new way of reaching potential customers for your online store.
In this article, I hope to have given you enough information so that you will feel confident about making your first steps in the TikTok advertising world!
But if you think that TikTok isn't the right platform for your business, don't forget that there are plenty of other options out there.
Just visit this article for a guide on how to pick the right marketing method for your ecommerce store.
And if you didn't pick an ecommerce platform yet, check our list of the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping here!
If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below!
Have a great rest of your day, and good luck with everything!