scale strategies tiktok tiktokads

Why TikTok advertising is the number 1 opportunity of 2021 for e-commerce

TikTok. The most downloaded and highest grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, hitting just shy of 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in spending via the platform.

Users tripled between Q1 2020 and Q2 2021.

Additionally, as Apple’s opt-out rates continue to climb in light of ios14 changes, the success and reliability on Facebook’s ads management platform, continues to decline.

As an agency, brand wide we are executing an omnipresent strategy when it comes to maximising budget output for our brands, and the key tool for us right now driving the highest impact?

TikTok Ads.

The opportunity is ripe when it comes to just how early the new the platform really is. Compared to Facebook being the ‘go-to’ for advertising within e-commerce over the past 5+ years, a platform that launched way back in 2004, TikTok only came on the scene in 2017.

Just like Facebook when it first came out, and just as much when something new comes about, it is always filled with doubt, uncertainty, and the usual ‘does it fit my demographic’ questions..

If we have understood anything from working in this space almost all of our adult lives, it’s that the early adopters, win.

& those that don’t act, always do… eventually.

AFTER the opportunities have already been seized, and then they are just playing catch up and trying to stay competitive.

Balenciaga TikTok Ad Example
Balenciaga TikTok Ad


How did the fashion labels that are entirely e-commerce only, that boast millions of followers, crazy high engagement rates and legions of fans..

The brands that were set up in a bedroom with nothing more than a dream, a supplier and a wi-fi connection that are now worth $100M+ get to where they are?

They simply got in when no one else was, and took an opportunity to have first mover advantage.

Our guess is, you didn’t have an Instagram page for your brand in 2010 when Instagram first came on the scene?

Well, imagine if you did…

Building a Shopify store and running Facebook ads to it with stunning creatives was the advice to take for mass scale 6 years ago. This still works today, however the brands who did this back then had first mover advantage.

Brands such as MVMT who got in early, made strides ahead of anyone else and took the bull by the horns, created a brand which had a $100Million exit.


MVMT Watches
MVMT Watches

Their watches are now very commonly replicated, and ‘InstaBrands’ have saturated their market.

Arguably, if they started again today they couldn’t replicate their success.

Timing was everything.

TikTok now presents that opportunity to brands once again, and it’s one that doesn’t come around often. The chance to strike fast, act early, test, learn & grab market share before your competition even consider setting up a TikTok page.

Getting ahead of TikTok’s opportunity is what brands like MVMT saw in the early Instagram days. If you can make viral, authentic, native TikTok content on the platform, and execute this correctly with the right back end advertising set up, your brand can win big.

100k+ audiences can be achieved within weeks, and store sales can rocket like BFCM on steroids.

From our research, (this was shocking to discover) we have found a plethora of household beauty and fashion names that are dominant on almost every other platform, without a TikTok account!

In our eyes, this just shows how early we are..

..& how early you can be.

Conversely, high AOV luxury power players are adopting it. Such names like Louis Vuitton & Gucci have amassed a large following, and have been running paid ads to great effect.

Additionally, we have seen companies such as Qatar Airways and even Aston Martin running ads on the platform.


Still yet to see the opportunity?

TikTok outlined three new e-Commerce integrations that are coming to the app:

– A tool that lets the most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales

-The feature for brands to showcase catalogs of their products on the platform

-“Livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars.

Essentially with the Livestreamed shopping, the T.V. shopping channel will soon be a thing of the past and be an obsolete business model, as TikTok is democratising it.

You now have the ability to have your own e-commerce shopping channel, but interactive AF!

Look Fantastic ran an interactive e-commerce LIVE just last week, and it popped off…

Look Fantastic E-Commerce LIVE

The Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin already generates the majority of its income from in-app commerce, as opposed to branded ads. So, as TikTok heavily invests in the shopping space, soon you’ll be able to click from your favourite brand, directly to checkout.


What’s the strategy? 

When it comes to TikTok ads, the front end just like any other advertising platform, is just as important as the back end ads strategy.

The success of TikTok resides in how inclusive it is as a platform. It’s a positive platform, a happy place for creators and scrollers.

While many brands opt to get a ‘polished’ look and feel to their brand through their Instagram feeds, Facebook creatives and often editorial aesthetic, where everything has to be ‘just perfect’, TikTok is a pattern interrupt to this trend.

Brands now have to rethink what is considered to be ‘on brand’, as TikTok completely flips the dynamic you may have had in mind, on it’s head.

TikTok is where your consumers are there to interact with you on a more personal level. If you keep this in mind when thinking up your creative strategy, you’ll win.

TikTok themselves have released the statement:

“Don’t Make Ads. Make TikTok’s.”

This is a fundamental rule to keep in mind. If you are running the same creatives that have worked for your brand on other platforms and are expecting them to convert in the same way, you will likely run budget to the ground.

A user is on TikTok for a reason, and therefore your ad, needs to be inclusive of this reason; they want to feel inspired, find a ‘life hack’, or be taught something new in a short 10-15 second clip.

When crafting your creative, it’s paramount you understand how TikTok works, and how content on there goes viral, before you start.

Our advice is to create content which is as native as possible to the For You Page, aka the ‘FYP!’, add a trending track or VoiceOver, and get creative with it.

Generate content which will endear your audience, make them bond with you, or give them an ‘ah-ha!’ moment of realization that they need your product in their life.

Prepare to disrupt any previous thoughts you had about advertising, and how your brand will integrate with this platform, TikTok is very different to anything else.

…If you want it to work, that is.

Gucci TikTok Model Challenge


What Are The Ad Types?

Brand Takeover 

An ad is shown on the app launch screen. Prior to landing on your “For You” pages and starting your daily scroll, you’ll be greeted with a short and sweet ad. These will  either be a 3-second static image or a 3-5 second video without audio. Given the format, these ads are best suited for awareness campaigns but advertisers should expect to pay premium prices for this spot especially since TikTok will only show one Brand Takeover Ad to a user each day.

TopView ads 

These are the easiest way to think about TopView ads is just as a slightly delayed Brand Takeover Ad. They are 60-second videos designed to target your audience in the most effective way possible. These placements are guaranteed to be the first thing your user sees and will most likely interact with.

In-Feed ads

Similar to ads you’re familiar with on Facebook or Instagram, but they’re a part of your daily “For You” feed. The ads that most will run as a core element of their strategy, this ad format can run up to 60 seconds of video with sound and blends seamlessly into your scrolling and exploring. The ones we see the best conversion rates with, and allow us to retarget your audiences nicely.

Overall, on a TikTok advertising level we have been piloting TikTok ads since the turn of the year, and since then have had a wide range of brands do incredibly well. Seeing massively low CPM’s, high CTR’s and handsome ROI.

Our strategy in light of ios14 has very much been an omnipresent and budget maximisation strategy to ensure budget goes as far as it can for our brands, and that we move proactively for the highest returns and sustained scale possible for our partnerships. With this being said, TikTok is leading the way with where we allocate the bulk of that budget, being as much as 70% in some cases.

Our typical structure looks something a little like this:


The Normal Company Winning Funnel Structure

On a brand level, it’s very clear that for any brand regardless of industry, the opportunity is a colossal one when it comes to TikTok, you just have to nail the strategy, and get moving before it passes you by.

We mentioned in the title of this blog post that TikTok is the number 1 opportunity of the year.

However, on reflection..

This could well be the opportunity of a decade.

facebook ads IOS14 Power brands


This is a general announcement we have sent out to all of our brands today following recent updates from Facebook, and additional learnings we have seen over the past couple of days as we continue to stay at the very forefront of the environment for our brand partnerships benefit

We also thought we should make this a blog post for two reasons..

1. This stuff is killer content and deserves to be put out there, so why not.

2. Navigating ios14 has been a battlefield for everyone these past couple of months. In particular, we want to help the smaller brands that may not be able to afford an expert agency that has access to this type of information, and could really do with it to just stay afloat and survive in such times. We know it can help, and hopefully it does!

There are two main points to raise as an initial FYI:

1. IOS adoption has went up significantly with their latest forced IOS 14.6 update causing a higher opt-out rate causing a decrease in performance.

2. Starting June 30th, Facebook have CONFIRMED a positive update will be taking place. Facebook shall be expanding their use of conversion modelling to include it in their 7 day click default attribution setting. The inclusion of these new modelled conversions may result in a noticeable increase in 7-day click conversions, and overall ad account performance. Facebook are continuing to improve their machine learning models and expand their coverage of these new modelled conversions, in order for the platform to have greater transparency, of which has largely been lost of late, impacting our capabilities to scale budgets effectively.

With point 2, we certainly see a light at the end of the tunnel. The next few weeks will be bumpy but hopefully we’ll see a drastic improvement in July as anticipated since March.

In line with the above, we wanted to share what is working right now and shed light on a case study which could be modelled similarly for your brand..

The clients who are performing significantly well right now are releasing either new offers, promotions, collections/product ranges or re-structuring their offer/landing pages/sales process.

One brand of which has already hit $400k this month, due to some revamping and restructuring of offers.
A lot of this is driven by a sale that finishes end of this month.
They also don’t run sales often so the urgency/desire is very much real, and has caused a stir with their audience who want to fully take advantage of this FOMO inducing campaign.

It’s worth us mentioning that a nice portion of these returns have come from our email campaigns we put in place (money is, has been and always will be in the list long term – this is fully owned by you, and is one of the biggest assets a brand can have when software companies take the control away with such things like ios14). A well nurtured email list will always be a good weapon against change. (Of course with $0 attributed marketing spend to any returns seen here is also a huge plus point)

Here is a separate campaign which went out today for a completely different brand, which goes down a ‘secret sale’ avenue, with added benefits for taking part – something this brand has also never done, so causes high intrigue and uptake.


A lot is changing right now and we need to lean into it in every form we can.

– Borders, the world, physical businesses all opening back up

– Weather globally is getting warmer so less time spent online. General market seasonality always seen at this part of the year. 

– Money being spent locally again instead of online.

Therefore, creativity will play a huge level of importance this month…

We suggest to find genuine reasons to run sales, promos or campaigns right now to boost conversion rate and sales:

1. Fathers day

2. Summer sales

3. Revenge travel hype 

4. Flash sale (72 hours/1 week only) 

Evergreen is 100% taking a hit right now. It’ll only get worse before it gets better, so we are encouraging as above, to get creative with your strategies to make the most out of what we can right now, and drive performance to be as high as it can. 

*Photo of brand performance for June thus far – can clearly see when the campaigns went live*



We would encourage you to utilise this information as much as possible, and use it to get creative with how your brand could strategise this period.


Extra point of notice: 

We have noticed performance drop offs across accounts on 1st June. Since then there has been over a 40% increase of users updating to IOS14.5. Adoption rates are increasing fast as you can see: 

Therefore, this really is a time to be thinking different, rather than sitting around hoping to ride the wave.

Your ROAS will continue to be in a downtrend, your marketing budget will be stretched thin, and ultimately you will be leaving opportunity on the table.

We hope this helps, not only to help your brand survive ios14 and the multiple updates Apple are putting out there onto brands, but ultimately we hope this helps your brand thrive, and outpace your competition in such volatile times.



Brand facebook ads Fashion

The 2020 King Content Strategy For Brand Scale.

Ads on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are today deemed the most annoying.

This is according to Business Insider Intelligence’s recent Digital Trust Survey.

Well that’s simple.

People don’t like being advertised to, especially when they want to scroll and find new inspiration from their favourite bloggers, escape for 10 minutes on a lunch break, play the latest Justin Bieber music video, or see what those they love have been up to.
It’s irritating, and a primary barrier to what they are on the platform to see, and experience.

The results of this survey should come as a wake-up call to marketers and brand owners alike still unsure about native content, or focussing more on the natural, stripped back approach to marketing vs the glossy magazine cover-esque pieces of creative.

So, what’s the solution?

Based off our recent results across our brand partnerships and client portfolio, the fuel for the most recent ROI experienced has been user generated content.
In the last 3 months especially, this has been the primary driver behind results both on an engagement, organic level, but also on the paid advertising front.

Our ethos is simple, and the types of conversations we have been having recently looks a little like this..

Integrate with content your target customers love to see, and be a part of the reason they are on the platform.
Be native.

Don’t be a 1990’s yellow pages advert plastered in the middle of an Instagram feed.

You’ll lose out.

If your marketing is in a designated advert, in between your target customer and the content they want to watch, undoubtedly it will be glanced over or not given attention. Your CTR will be sky high, even on the editorial you spent hours on end in a studio developing, tweaking and editing.
Not to mention the cost for producing your glossy ad.

It just won’t generate interest, and your marketing spend will be wasted because you are going against your consumers’ psychology and frame of mind at that given moment.

Integrate your message into user generated content, and become an intrinsic, flowing piece of the platform experience.

Here’s our top reasons why UGC is the way forward for brands that want to scale:


1. It’s the human touch

As above, people don’t want to be advertised to. They don’t want to be bombarded by marketing messages and they most certainly don’t want your ad interfering with their user experience on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube.

User generated content goes against ‘marketing’.

It’s a natural, aesthetically on point piece of content that creates a feeling.

A feeling that is in line with who your customer wants to be, how they want to feel, and the desire they have when it comes to the ‘why’ they would buy from your brand.

Here’s the thing: People trust people.

People want to relate with people.

This has been one of our key mantra’s when it comes to strategy calls of late with our clients, especially those in the fashion space.

Those that have adopted this strategy and nailed in on the UGC space to their advantage, have seen all time high conversion rates and revenues reported for the months of July and August consistently.

Instead of scrolling through websites that only tell you their ‘halo’ version of the product, people now prefer a natural, vibey conversation coming through from what they see from brands.

What they crave, essentially, is the human touch to an otherwise lifeless, staged, over-edited piece of content. UGC content provides precisely that – the human element.

It shows the product for what it is, the brand for the feeling they create with a no holes barred approach, and the customers for the community they generate.

Seeing a similar person to you, or a respected influencer wearing the new line is the best way to demonstrate your product to would-be-buyers. It’s the pairing of valuing perspectives of their fellow customers, hand in hand with an unfiltered view of your product in a real world use, often in a real world environment.

This is what UGC provides your brand: The much needed, and much desired help that prospective customers understand the product inside and out, and they get to know what to expect before they even land on the product page.

2. Customer Experience Is Accentuated 

Consider that you have been using the same angles of content for the past 6 months.

Your ads may very much be experiencing ad fatigue, because your product only shows so much.

It shows one angle, repeatedly: Your angle as those behind the brand day to day.

You have yet to mix this up and twist things into the angle you really need to be portraying as priority: Your customer’s view when they have the product.

When this switches up, your intended customer will see something a little like this…

They open up Instagram, scroll along and then get hit with a native ad that speaks the same language as those in which they follow, almost as if the ad they are seeing has been posted by one of their close friends.

Immediately they have minor emotions tied into the creative, and they are getting a sense of feeling with your brand.

The piece of content shows your brand in a native and natural form, and in a way studio content just cannot relay in the same way.

Suddenly, the product has new life to it, a new portrayal, and a new value proposition in the eyes of your consumer.

A different view, creates different reactions. 

They are now viewing someone experience the product in real life and validate all its claims, as opposed to just hearing them.

In short, your consumer is already experiencing the product, and in turn they get convinced that it’s as good as you say it is, and it does exactly as what that customer would expect from a product.

User-generated content adds a dash of authenticity and reverberates with the customer in the most natural form.

It’s a buying accelerator like no other.

3. It Converts 

User generated content drives sales like no other.

When people see for themselves how a product has impacted the life of someone else, and someone they identify with, they begin to find ways the product can help them, and starting selling the product to themselves.

In turn, this creates a higher CTR and traffic generation from this type of content compared to any other because it’s so identifiable.

The metrics align perfectly for any brand looking to scale, because UGC generates interest and more ‘scroll stopping’ than an ad that doesn’t look like it belongs.

It’s why people skip the adverts immediately when they come on T.V. between their favourite show – they know it’s not going to be relevant or personally tailored to them.

It’s another annoying barrier before they get to what they really want to see, and the reason why they are watching T.V. in the first instance.

However, if those adverts were people you adored and identified with showing off their latest buys in the most natural way, you may just hear them out.

Brands get far more bang for their spend, because their spend isn’t being wasted on people scrolling past, but rather the spend on the content is now getting clicks, and clicks create conversions.

You may end up buying something you do not need at all, or find something you may have passed up on initially, because it directly impacted you on an emotional level – it’s not just another advert. 

User-generated content consciously and subconsciously alters buying patterns and increases eCommerce sales twofold with brands who have lacked in that department historically.

Every marketing metric that aligns to sales, rises in all the right areas, and it’s clear to see why.

Brand Coronavirus facebook ads Fashion

£650m to Zero. How Stubbornness Will Kill Primark.

UK ‘Giant’ clothing store Primark made a grand total of £0 this month on the back of four weeks of closure, and over 60,000 furloughed staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Primark’s usual £650m months have plummeted to rock bottom due to their lack of diversified channels, in a world which is changing around them, and one of which they have ignored for many years.

With stores across the world forcibly closing due to the UK lockdown, Primark has been unable to sell any products due to its non existent online presence or diversified channels. In the past, the store has tried to justify this by saying it would not be able to keep prices low if home delivery were an option.

But, this in our eyes is an all too familiar phrase and string of excuses similar to that of brands and stores that we have seen fall at the hands of a digital first world over the past 18 months.

Primark however, like many physical stores have now had the shock which would have been inevitable regardless; adapt to e-commerce, or face a harsh reality check at some point. 

Chief executive George Weston said: ‘ABF has been squarely in the path of this pandemic. At Primark we have 68,000 of our people receiving furlough payments from governments across Europe, without which we would have been forced to make most redundant.

‘From making sales of £650m each month, since the last of our stores closed on 22 March, we have sold nothing.’

With this highlighting how George Weston and his board have failed to acknowledge and take action on what it means to have a digital strategy, the company and their staff are now paying the price of an ‘adapt or die’ retail world.

George added: “In time we can rebuild the profits. We can’t replace the people we lose.”

Shortsightedness can prove to be a killer even at the best of times and when business is booming, however at this current time especially, the so-called-giants will face a harsh reality which could see many household names pay the ultimate price.

The value of diversification for brands and stores is becoming apparent, as it always will when it becomes too late, but always pushed aside when times are good.

The question poised on Primark and their Directors is now this: Should we shift to e-commerce as a priority? 

The answer, is undoubtedly so, but equally it took a worldwide pandemic for them to emerge out of a cave, and ask what should have been a question they answered with tenacity when they had an opportunity to thrive, rather than merely scrap to survive.

Myles Broom