Social Media Marketing

TikTok Vs Facebook Ads: What's The Difference?

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the key differences between these two powerhouses when it comes to running ads on each platform.

At this point, most people on the planet are familiar with Facebook, the number one most widely used social media platform in the world. With 2.895 billion monthly active users in July 2021 and approximately 42 million new users in the last 3 months, it’s no wonder why Facebook is the mega platform that it is today.

However, if there’s a platform that can dethrone Facebook, it’ll be TikTok - the new kid on the block with about 689 million active monthly users as of January 2021. TikTok has been the up-and-coming social media platform that brands and advertisers are keeping a lookout for.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the key differences between these two powerhouses when it comes to running ads on each platform.

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting simply refers to the way you identify potential audiences on a platform.

On paper, both platforms allow you to target users from all ages, but it’s important to note that both platforms attract different age demographics. About 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24, who form the majority of their user base. In contrast, 31.3% of Facebook users are of ages 25-34 years old. Knowing this difference is crucial in your marketing campaigns; especially if you’re targeting a specific age group (Generation X/Y/Z), since you want your ads to appear on a platform that your audience actually uses.

Aside from targeting by the age group, you can also target audiences on both platforms based on their implied interests. However, Facebook has more niche interests available on their platform whereas TikTok offers lesser interests and mostly sticking to the conventional categories that are already popular on the platform itself.

Audience targeting in facebook
Interest and behavior in facebook

On Facebook, we see that the "Technology” category contains a variety of sub-categories, whereas on TikTok there’s only one broad “Tech & Electronics” category.

Ad Placements

Most people are familiar with TikTok ads that appear while scrolling through your  “For You” page, but  TikTok also has news feed apps like BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, News Republic and Babe - each with a unique audience from different countries around the world.

Here are the various ad placements that are available for TikTok’s news feed apps:

  1. BuzzVideo: in-feed, details page, post video
  2. TopBuzz: in-feed, details page, post video
  3. News Republic: in-feed
  4. Babe: in-feed, details page
Tiktok Ad placement examples

TikTok also lets you run ads on Plangle, which helps you extend your audience reach via numerous high quality applications, allowing you to reach more people with your video ads. When setting up your campaign, you would be able to choose either an automatic placement (Pangle and other apps) or select a placement exclusively to Pangle (only available in certain countries).

On Facebook, you can run ads on Facebook/Instagram (feed, stories, messenger, etc) and also on Facebook’s audience network (websites/apps affiliated with Facebook).

Facebook ad manager placement

Ad Types & Formats

Another consideration is the ad type and format that you intend to run.

On Facebook, advertisers can run both static image and video ads in a variety of aspect ratios (1:1, 4:5, etc), giving you more options to customise how you want your ads to look. Facebook also allows you to run messenger ads on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp; a feature that’s not available on TikTok currently. Messenger ads can be used to directly engage audiences who might be potential customers for your brand.  

Both Facebook and TikTok allow you to run lead generation ad campaigns, which can help you reach specific audiences who may be interested in your product or service. Lead generation ads contain custom questionnaires that help your brand better understand your audience, who may become potential customers and help you achieve your business goals.

TikTok does not allow for static image ads; only video ads with a 16:9 vertical ratio. Although this may be seen as a limitation, at the end of the day TikTok is a video-only app where users go to consume vertical video content. Ultimately it’s up to your brand to choose what works best for your brand’s marketing strategy.

One unique ad format that TikTok has is their branded hashtag challenge, which allows  brands to interact with their audiences through a sponsored hashtag challenge that encourages user generated content (UGC).

With millions of videos on TikTok, hashtags also play a major role in helping users locate videos and build a community of common interests.

Here is an example of how Zalora uses the branded hashtag challenge:

@zaloramy How many outfit changes can you do for #Zstylenow challenge? Can you top Jaylyn? #sponsored ♬ Getaway - Official Sound Studio

TikTok is also getting ready to launch a new eCommerce-focused ad format to bolster its revenue and diversify its range of in-stream shopping tools. This feature would allow brands to merge their product catalog listing and branded videos, which makes shopping for products so much easier. Douyin, TikTok’s parent app, has already started and its in-app commerce is performing better than in-app ads.

eCommerce focus ad placement


While there’s no clear winner between TikTok vs Facebook Ads, the more important thing to consider is the pros and cons between both platforms and choose the one that best suits your target audience and exemplifies the way you want to present your brand.

Not sure how to navigate an ever-changing media landscape? Here at Big 3 Media, we're a Singapore video production company that offers a suite of services to market your business during these challenging times:

  • Live Streaming services
  • Video production
  • Website design and development
  • Media Buy
  • Graphic Design & Mascot design
  • Content Marketing Strategy

If you are looking for content marketing options for your business, drop us an email or message and find out how Big 3 Media can help you!

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