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TikTok Retargeting – How to Retain Customers for Years with TikTok Ads

Retain customers with TikTok Retargeting Ads

Retaining your customers with TikTok Retargeting Ads

Suppose you are a Founder or marketing professional, and you understand that TikTok retargeting plays an essential role in retaining visitors. Whether your goal is increasing app installs or driving sales, directing the right content at the right time within the TikTok sales funnel is essential for a powerful sales funnel. You need a comprehensive TikTok retention strategy that helps you retain your hard-acquired customers.

At House of Marketers, we partner with businesses that are not only looking to grow their brands through paid ads. We work with businesses that also want to retain their customers more effectively with TikTok retargeting ads. Gone are the days where businesses solely have to focus on saturated platforms like Facebook and Instagram, for retaining their most valuable customers. TikTok brings in a better platform to engage, convert, and re-convert customers in more fun and engaging ways.

As you probably know, first-time visitors generally don’t purchase on their first visit to your website. They need to build trust for your brand. While some initial website traffic does translate into the most desired actions, like making a purchase or an app installation, in the first interaction with your ads, 92% of them are unlikely to involve a key conversion.

On their first visit, the majority of the people come for something else other than buying. “They come to browse, look at the prices and compare.” Says Ed Kennedy, Director of Digital Commerce Strategy at Episerver. By retargeting your first-time visitors within an effective TikTok strategy, you build repeatable pathways for prospects to re-engage with your brand, products, or services. 

What are TikTok Retargeting Ads?

woman holding a green smartphone and smiling with a friend

TikTok retargeting ads (otherwise known as TikTok remarketing ads) allow you to deliver social media ads to people that have already visited your website or engaged with your TikTok content in some way. Your TikTok remarketing ads help you to show your audience relevant content that is likely to further engage or convert them into new or returning customers. TikTok Retargeting Ads can take the form of Top View ads, Feed ads, and more.

Marketers use TikTok retargeting ads to reconnect with prospects and increase sales, app installs, and customer loyalty. The platform allows your business to reach previous customers or previous visitors that previously engaged with them.  

Most commonly, the objective of retargeting is to re-engage your website visitors or content engagers, get them to return to your business website, and convert the returning visitor into a customer. 

How do TikTok Retargeting Ads work?

TikTok ad retargeting involves a straightforward process that lets you find people that know or have already interacted with your business. TikTok’s ads platform allows users to retarget prospects via their custom audience feature. Through the custom audience feature, users create ads aimed at remarketing, increasing your profile’s follower base, or reaching more similar audiences.

TikTok Retargeting requires the TikTok pixel

Ads work when a piece of code has been included on your website – this piece of code is called a pixel, and it allows TikTok to track visitors across your website, and attribute them to the people who have viewed your ads on TikTok. Additionally, with TikTok, you can target specific people, by uploading customers lists. This enables their systems to retarget specific customers with your ads.

The TikTok Pixel is a smart JavaScript code that tracks your TikTok Ads performance on your website. Once installed, the Pixels allow TikTok systems to track, run conversions, optimise and project your campaigns to a selected audience.

tiktok pixel


How do reduce wastage, when running TikTok Retargeting Ads

TikTok ads retargeting does not work in isolation. They work best in a well-structured ads strategy within a consumer funnel, that has been carefully segmented.

You only want to spend money re-engaging the most engaged visitors in your target audience. For example, if you have 10,000 website visitors, it can be more cost-effective to only deliver ads to the people who have browsed your website for at least 30 seconds, or perhaps to those who have entered key website pages. This would allow you to optimise your budget for the website visitors that are more engaged by your brand and will thus reduce wastage.

TikTok Consumer Funnels Explained

TikTok is a platform for discovery that has been engineered to shorten the traditional consumer funnel. When users open the app, they are taken to a customised content feed curated to their personal needs.  

Today, new brand discoveries occur on people’s social networks, and content feeds. The TikTok consumer sales funnel is a valuable tool that helps you to visualise the path customers take when moving from prospects to customers. The TikTok consumer sales funnel has four notable stages, when done correctly: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, and Re-Converting. Now, not every user is going to go through this exact funnel, but, it’s a good habit to position your funnels in this way, tailoring content for each stage of the process. For example, you don’t want the first ad someone sees to be a discount – you want to engage them with your brand first.

1) The Awareness Stage (Consumer sale funnels explained)

a lady carrying a branded bag

Stage one of the consumer funnel is the awareness stage, whereby your visitors find or witness your branded content. This stage typically involves the first time your audience witnesses your branded content on TikTok. It often involves an unconscious recognition of your brand.

TikTok comes with powerful algorithms that keep users locked on their screens for hours. For instance, users get treated with personable video content that speaks directly to their interests through the ‘For You’ feature. With this feature, you can create more intimate and authentic content that resonates with your audiences. With that, even if the content is branded, discovery doesn’t feel intrusive. 

TikTok has the potential to drive meaningful brand discoverability and brand awareness. A study done in 2020 indicated that over 79% of TikTok users credit the platform for introducing them to a brand they had not heard about before (source)

Furthermore, the platform is tailored for quick conversions, with users moving straight from the discovery stage to action with no intermediaries.

2) The Attention Stage (Consumer sale funnels explained)

The next stage of the TikTok consumer funnel is the attention stage. This often involves your audience engaging with your branded content in some way (for example, tapping the ‘love’ button on your video ad or clicking your ad link). It often helps you to establish brand trust and credibility with consumers.

The goal is to stay ahead of the competition. One great way of doing it is staying relevant by keeping an eye on and adapting trending hashtags and using TikTok video elements that keep your audience engaged. 

Many TikTok users use the platform to keep up with the latest trends. It is no wonder the platform is becoming a reckoning force inspiring Gen- Z and millennials in making particular conversion actions. As a matter of fact, 73% of users say that TikTok inspired them to purchase online even when they did not intend to do so. 

targeting on a dart on a bull's eye

3) The Conversion Stage (Consumer sale funnels explained)

The main reason for running TikTok ads campaigns is seeking and imploring the prospects into performing some desirable actions on your websites. Conversions take the form of account registrations, app installs or making a purchase. 

With custom audiences, you’ll be able to build audiences that have already engaged with your brand, before directing content at them, that encourages them to convert. At this stage, you can use more direct call-to-actions in your ads that trigger people to go to your website and purchase, or go to your app and install it.

4) The Re-converting Stage (Consumer sale funnels explained)

The final and often most disregarded stage of a consumer sales funnel, is the re-converting stage, which involves re-converting your previous customers. With TikTok, you can create custom audiences that comprise of your previous customers. We consider this, the most important stage of a powerful customer sales funnel, because it involves re-engaging people that have a much stronger affiliation with your brand. It’s the stage that requires the most care, as you need to ensure that you keep your old customers happy and engaged.

TikTok Custom Audiences

TikTok custom audiences are audiences that can be segmented based on their behavior or particular audience characteristics. Here 5 of the different ways you can segment people into your custom audiences, so you can target them more effectively.

  • Customer file audience – this gives marketers the ability to upload customers’ files using Mobile Ad IDs. 
  • Engagements custom audience – this option allows marketers the ability to create a customs audience out of all users who have engaged with their ads across TikTok’s family of apps
  • App activity – this option will enable you to create a custom audience from users who have completed certain events with your app. The events could include app installation, in-app ad impressions, app registrations, and more. 
  • Website traffic option – with this option, you can create a custom audience of users who have visited or taken specific actions on your website (including the visiting of specific pages). 
  • Lead generation option – this option allows you to retarget users who interacted with your lead ads but never took action. 

2 Tips for Creating Effective TikTok Ads Campaigns

After reading this article, you can learn more about how our agency runs our TikTok paid ads campaigns here. But first, here are a couple of tips for setting up your TikTok ads campaign.

Always start with a broader target audience

The TikTok Ads manager interface allows you to target a broader range of audiences. The TikTok ads platform allows you to precisely determine who you want to view your ads. But, if you have a wide audience to target, create several broader audience ad sets before getting precise. TikTok’s AI algorithmic systems will eventually point your ads to the best audience. 

Use multiple creatives to keep your TikTok target audience always engaged

There is no prewritten rule for determining what works best for particular campaigns. However, as a general rule, exploit TikTok features to develop native and relatable content. Take advantage of TikTok features to create user-generated and organic content.  Work with top TikTok creators to build content that is creative and super engaging.

For maximum engagement, include people in your creative. The trick here is collaborating with content creators and influencers in creating your creatives.

73% of users say that TikTok inspired them to purchase online even when they did not intend to.

Effective targeting sets the precedence for retargeting and allows you to better stream your campaigns for maximum conversions. 

TikTok ads retargeting is more effective than on Facebook and Instagram because TikTok has much more creative options. Their hashtag challenges, brand takeovers, and brand filters have helped TikTok stand out from the rest. Additionally, TikTok offers marketers and brands different lookalike audience options that they can manipulate to perfect their digital campaigns.

Segment your Retargeted Audiences

Besides the normal target demographics like age, gender, and geographical locations, TikTok allows you to redefine your targets according to specific user behaviours. This could be, for instance, the number of pages visited, a user’s number of websites visits, or even a user’s conversions pages visits. 

By leveraging these user behavioral insights, you can clearly identify your most engaged communities and target them. 

woman on Brooklyn bridge

Top of the consumer funnel

Users at the top of the sales funnel could simply be viewing your content on TikTok, or browsing your website. They are often not fully engaged with your brand yet. Visitors in this segment include those entering your site via your home page, or scrolling past your ad on TikTok.

The middle part of the consumer funnel

Visitors in the mid-segment are those who spent a substantive amount of time on your website; this could be measured in the number of pages they visited. The more page visits or time a user spends on your site, they already know what they are looking for. 

An excellent retargeting strategy targeting this segment could include displaying content-rich ads and redirecting them to information-rich sites like white papers or customer testimonials. 

The lower part of the consumer funnel

The lower segment represents prospects who are informed and engaged but are yet to make act on a purchase. For users in this segment, retargeting could mean displaying ads that focus on urging them to take a particular action. This could be, for instance, encouraging them to sign up for your subscription with a free trial.

3 Ways to Retain Customers with TikTok Retargeting Ads

ladies taking a selfie for TikTok

While connecting and engaging with prospects is critical, it is equally important to keep them coming back for more. A successful TikTok ads strategy should focus on brand awareness and conversions and focus on customer retention. How are you going to achieve it? 

1) Leverage TikTok Creativity to retain customers

Like in most social media platforms, TikTok users are constantly pampered with updates and the flow of fresh content. 

Under these circumstances, you are only presented with only one chance to make your point and capture users’ attention.  

You really don’t want to miss the chance, and that is why creativity should be at the center of your ads strategy. Your ads should be exclusively visually appealing, and you should capitalise on TikTok assets and optimisation tools to create smart videos that suit TikTok’s look and feel. 

TikTok also gives varied user options that allow you to repurpose and reconfigure creative without creating new ones. The functionality also determinise which creatives perform well and which one does not.  So, it helps you quickly adapt ads and make changes and improvements when necessary. 

2) Partner with influencers to retain customers

Working with already established influencers not only helps you attract prospects but also helps in retaining them. Influencers have an existing relationship of trust and credibility that is not is to break. Leverage this relationship by ensuring that you choose an influencer who aligns with your brand to help you expand your audience and drive sales. 

While the focus should be on someone who can identify with your brand, remember not to constrain them with your brand guidelines. Give the influencers enough creative space and freedom to fully showcase your brand in a way that best suits both of you. Several members of our team first started running influencer campaigns across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok since 2015, which gives us a much better advantage. Influencer marketing only really took off in 2017 so it is still a really young advertising industry.

3) Run consistent, aligned messages on TikTok and off TikTok

Regardless of the objective of your TikTok ads campaign, you should strive hard to put across a consistent message that aligns with your brand personality. By staying consistent across all platforms, your target audience can build a more solidified understanding of what your brand stands for, and how it communicates.

It also helps promote positive customer experiences. With this enhanced visibility, your customers will quickly identify your brand and reconnect with a lot of ease. 

TikTok Retargeting Summary

TikTok retargeting ads are great brand-building and consumer conversions tools, but they work best in a well-developed strategy.

A great TikTok paid ads strategy should encompass everything from a powerful content strategy, pixel setup, influencer identification and onboarding process, custom audience development, audience segmentation, ads strategy, and more.

In the process, you also need to know who to target and who not to target. Is your TikTok Ads campaign feeling a little stale? The first step towards unstacking your ads campaign begins with a conversation. Give us a call, here for a more comprehensive TikTok ads management strategy.