TikTok became a primary platform for users to learn about new products, services, and businesses; therefore, being one of the top platforms for advertisers.
A new marketing channel is always a challenge when figuring out the best way to track its effectiveness (aka actual sales and marketing ROI).
In this article, we will look at tracking methods for TikTok and analyze the benefits of each of them. Taking our expertise as a tracking software with TikTok tracking functionality, we will find out the best ways to gain control over your performance on TikTok.
Types of TikTok advertising
Before we explore how to track sales, we have to understand the difference in how advertisements on TikTok are made.
There are two big marketing categories for TikTok advertising: using TikTok Ads service or running influencer marketing through TikTok bloggers.
Each channel carries different advantages and disadvantages, but let’s see the best ways to track the performance for each of those advertising tactics.
How to track TikTok Ad Performance
Just like with any paid ads channel, you will have to go through a hassle of a technical setup when figuring out ad tracking.
Here you can choose to go two ways: using TikTok pixel tracking or by getting a custom tracking solution.
Just like The main benefit of using a TikTok pixel for tracking is that it’s relatively easy to set up. You are able to place the code on your website’s “thank you” page and also install it with one of the official partners (like Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.). For setup, head to the official tutorial from TikTok.
A couple of benefits from using TikTok pixel:
- Conversion tracking: TikTok pixel allows to track sales coming from TikTok Ads after you place the code on your website. You can choose the type of events you want to track and customize the conversion funnel for tracking.
- Optimization: TikTok pixel allows you to improve optimization by feeding the algorithms more data about the users who are more likely to purchase. The more sales your pixel captured — the better goal optimization you may expect.
- Access to custom audiences: When you connect TikTok pixels you get a chance for remarketing activities, creating custom audiences from the data sets that TikTok pixel gathers. For example, you can check where the user drops off the funnel and remarket to this audience later on with a specific ad.
- Good old setup process similar to Facebook Ads: If you worked with Facebook Ads before, you won’t find any problem setting up TikTok pixel, the process is very similar.
However, just like in the case of the Facebook pixel, it’s an example of client-side tracking, which is not a reliable method in 2022. Pixels can be inaccurate in the conversion data collection process as they are getting blocked easily after all the privacy updates in the advertising industry.
Getting a TikTok tracking solution
An alternative for TikTok tracking would be using a custom solution from a third-party ad tracking software. It can be more complicated when it comes to the setup at the beginning. However, it’s more trustworthy and reliable. Especially if your tracker is using only first-party data and server-side tracking (S2S).
As S2S tracking works without third-party cookies and is not affected by ad blockers, conversion data will have more accuracy, especially if you have a lot of post-iOS 14 device traffic (those devices have more privacy-related restrictions). It’s a secure, privacy-compliant tracking method, which is crucial when we are talking about the cookieless era of advertising.
There is no universal answer if you want to go for a custom tracking solution for TikTok. There are plenty of solutions that offer ad tracking functionality, but only a few that have TikTok API integration. The setup process will vary depending on the solution, so be sure to check the guides from the ad tracker of your choice.
- Create a TikTok pixel as a Data source. It’s not the same thing as adding a piece of code to your website. TikTok pixel in this case just serves as a designated place for gathering data from TikTok.
- Connect your software via API with TikTok and connect the data source (from above)
- Create a campaign in your tracking software
- Launch a new campaign on TikTok with the advertising objective “Conversions”.
Make sure your ad tracking solution has an API integration with TikTok to provide server-side tracking mentioned above. As an example, RedTrack’s TikTok API integration allows you to collect and pass conversion data, as well as the costs of your campaigns.
Another choice you will have to make when tracking TikTok Ads is to go with redirect or no-redirect tracking. I recommend going for the latter one. Even though redirect still works for TikTok, we may expect it to be blocked in the future, just like in the case of Facebook or Google.
How to track influencer campaigns on TikTok
To track influencer campaigns on TikTok, you have a choice between tracking links or promo codes. You can always use both to make sure you don’t miss any of the conversions coming from the influencer.
Promo codes are not only a great way to track the conversion coming from the influencer, but it also gives an incentive for purchase to the user. A promo code usually equals a special offer or a benefit that can convince people to purchase.
If you operate with promo codes, you need to make sure:
- You can generate unique and human-readable promo codes, preferably that contain the influencer’s name.
- If you don’t use spreadsheets to calculate each influencer’s performance. There is plenty of tracking software that allows automating this process.
- If you decide to go with tracking software for automation, be sure it supports coupon (promo code) tracking and attribution to track those sales according to the promo codes issued. It will make it easy to understand the actual performance of each influencer and calculate the reward instantly.
Using tracking links for influencer campaigns
Bear in mind how easy it will be for the user to click on the link in the description of the content. Sometimes, if there’s not enough incentive, this link can be missed. However, it’s still a great tracking method for your sales.
If you do use this tracking way, make sure to hide all the tracking parameters you need to identify:
- Which channel brought the conversion
- Which influencer brought the conversion
- Which particular ad worked out best
Don’t forget to use a link shortener, so it looks pretty. But beware that many link shorteners can damage (UTM) tracking parameters. So you have to double-check that to be sure you are recording all the data. A couple of link shorteners we can recommend: Bit.ly, Replug, Ow.ly by Hootsuite.
There are plenty of advertising methods you can choose on TikTok and plenty of tracking tactics. Even though TikTok is a hypervisual platform where UGC (user-generated content) runs the show, it’s still super important to get your tracking right to control the ROI numbers.