With the rising prominence of TikTok as an advertising channel, more brands are adopting it in their marketing strategies. The Chinese platform is arguably the hottest place on the Internet right now. It’s growing at a mind-blowing pace, reaching 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2022; Faster than any other platform ever.
The business side of TikTok is already a threat to major online advertising networks, even though it only started in 2019. But can the huge potential of TikTok make businesses ditch heavyweights like Google Ads? The search engine giant currently owns the largest ad publishing service in the world, surpassing even Facebook (Source). Let’s have a full TikTok Ads vs Google Ads comparison to find out how the short video-sharing app fares against the Internet Behemoth.
Let’s talk about TikTok Ads first
TikTok was a breath of fresh air in the social media world. The content format on which it was based became so popular, especially after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that it hit milestone after milestone at a rapid pace. TikTok is all about consuming and sharing fun, informative, and viral content through short videos. Its impeccable content suggestion system and smooth UI design provide a seamless experience for users. An average TikTok user opens the app 19 times per day and enjoys a never-ending flow of organic, non-disruptive content carefully selected by TikTok’s algorithm based on his/her preferences and viewing habits. All this has resulted in a strong and dedicated community that’s growing by the day.
From a business point of view, everything we mentioned above makes TikTok a very appealing place for brands to connect with people. The user base is huge, the community is very engaging, and the prices are among the cheapest in the PPC landscape. But that’s not all that TikTok has to offer. The way ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) has implemented advertising features on the platform is very unique. We’re going to go through it in our comparison, but let’s get to the other side of this battle of giants.
Google; The deity of the Internet
It’s hard to imagine a world without Google and its services. What once was a simple search engine is now at the core of almost every Internet function. From searching, email, and social media to navigation, shopping, AND advertising. Google is by far the most visited website in the world and processes over 8.5 billion searches every day. That’s huge to even think about.
It’s no wonder how Google also owns the largest digital advertising network. Google Ads, which also consists of the Display Network and YouTube Ads, brought $147 billion in revenue for the company in 2020. Businesses of all sizes put organic and paid presence on Google services in their marketing strategies as the primary way of building awareness and finding customers. And Google makes it possible with its plethora of marketing capabilities.
Google Ads as a whole is very much different than TikTok Ads. It’s much more diverse and not confined to one social network. The Display Network alone serves ads across more than two million websites. The majority of ads however belong to the paid search section, where google provides advertisers with a dozen of highly advanced tools to find customers with high buyer intent.
TikTok Ads vs Google Ads
As mentioned above, a direct comparison between these two is not so easy due to the vast differences in their nature. But knowing these differences will help you pick the right place for your ads and grab the highest ROI.
First and foremost, you need to understand how each platform plays a different role in a brand’s marketing funnel. People turn to Google to search for what they currently need. It could be information, products, or services. In other words, users generally have a high intention to buy and are actively looking for an item of interest on the search engine. This makes Google Ads a perfect place to acquire customers right at the later stages of the funnel. You will be there when prospects are looking for you or what you have to offer.
TikTok on the other hand works really well for introducing your brand to people and building brand awareness. Your TikTok audience may not convert right away, but you’ll have a perfect opportunity to spread your name and engage with a vast number of potential customers. TikTok’s very nature accelerates your recognition. The app is designed for uninterrupted, continuous viewing of engaging content that has a chance of going viral, thanks to the top-notch delivery algorithm. Ads on the platform perfectly align with this philosophy, meaning there’s not much difference between organic and paid content on TikTok. Users might not even realize they’re watching an ad until several seconds into the video. TikTok Ads perfectly blend in with other content on the app and bring a lot of value. This results in much higher engagement rates and lower ad fatigue.
This isn’t a fair game though
TikTok is still a young platform, having only started serving ads in 2019. It’s safe to say that ByteDance still has a long way to go to reach the advertising prowess of Google and Facebook, but the company is on the right track (By the way, we also have a complete TikTok Ads vs Facebook Ads comparison you should check out).
Compared to Google Ads and Facebook Ads, TikTok has fewer options to refine your ad properties and targeting. Ad formats are limited to short videos up to 60 seconds but luckily, there’s a great in-app video editing tool available to streamline the production process. TikTok enables you to create your own promotional channel and fill it with your branded content. There are some unique and clever features at your disposal too that help you get the most out of TikTok. You can partner with influencers, run your own branded challenges with exclusive hashtags, and create branded filters and stickers.
Google on the other hand is packed with numerous features to give you total control over where, when, and to whom your ad is served. There’s also a ton of performance insights and analytics data available along with multiple split testing options to fully optimize your campaigns and get the best results possible.
So which one works better for you?
The answer to this question might be different for every business, and it doesn’t have to be just one of them. Up to this point, you might’ve realized how both channels suit better for specific purposes. Before jumping to a conclusion based solely on factors like “pricing” or “audience size”, you need to determine which one checks all the boxes for your marketing goals. TikTok has the young, dedicated community that’s growing larger by the day. Google has the massive reach and superb analytics. TikTok requires high creativity and making ads in a certain format. Google hosts millions of businesses competing fiercely for top spots. and In many cases, utilizing a combination of the two can do wonders. You’ll properly cover your entire marketing funnel while keeping your ad spend low and efficient.
Are Google Ads better than TikTok Ads?
It heavily depends on your business and priorities. Google Ads is good for targeting clients at the later stages of your funnel and grabbing their attention right when they’re looking for a product or service.
TikTok on the other hand is great for increasing brand awareness and engaging with a vast audience. There’s also the question of demographic. Almost every Internet user turns to Google for searching. TikTok is exceptionally popular among younger audiences and is great for targeting female prospects since %53 of TikTok’s user base are female.
Are TikTok Ads cheaper than Google Ads?
The average CPM (Cost per 1000 Impressions) on TikTok is higher than all of Google’s channels ($10 vs $1.5 for paid search, $3.12 for Display Network, and $9.5 for YouTube Ads)
How is TikTok advertising different from Google?
TikTok Ads are limited to short videos, just like the organic content on the platform. Whereas Google provides three different (and huge) advertising channels: Paid search, Display Network, and YouTube Ads.
Google’s paid search service (which is its biggest and most profitable channel) is excellent for acquiring prospects with high buyer intent. TikTok on the other hand is perfect for building brand awareness and engaging with your audience with its non-disruptive, immersive ad format.