Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

Comparing TikTok Ads vs. Facebook Ads

Shae Henrie

Content Strategist @ AdRoll

TikTok and Facebook are the most popular social media apps in the world, with a combined active user base of almost four billion. This is a great opportunity for advertisers to reach different parts of the world and find new, fresh audiences, but which platform is right for your ad campaign when they’re both so different? In this blog, we break down the differences between TikTok ads vs. Facebook ads, including the pros and cons, and how and when to use them!

What Are TikTok Ads?

TikTok’s ad platform empowers both large and small enterprises to broaden their reach and tap into new audiences in creative ways. According to TikTok, one in three users bought a product because they saw it on TikTok. There are various types of TikTok ads, but overall, most ads are displayed in a user’s newsfeed like any other TikTok video. 

What Are Facebook Ads?

Facebook has over three billion monthly active users, the most out of any other app, making it a powerhouse for reach. There are many different formats of Facebook ads, but the main ones are image, video, carousel, and collection ads

Key Differences Between TikTok Ads and Facebook Ads

One of the main differentiators between TikTok vs. Facebook Ads is that TikTok has more options for direct engagement with users. One type of TikTok ad that sticks out is Brand Effects, where brands can create their own shareable stickers, AR filters, and lenses. In fact, eBay took advantage of this type of format and launched a campaign where sneakerheads voted for their favorite shoes via Branded Effects. In the end, 1.2 million users participated in the poll and the campaign delivered a +54% lift in comment rate.

However, TikTok is limited in terms of display. Its ads are primarily displayed on people’s home pages; meanwhile, Facebook users can find them in their newsfeeds, Messenger apps, stories, etc. Since TikTok is a video platform, image-based ads won’t appear as organically as Facebook. On Facebook, advertisers can even link to multiple products in a carousel ad that feels like window shopping, where consumers can swipe through their top picks. 

Another key difference is that Facebook offers options for A/B testing, which has proved valuable for advertisers. For example, Lulus wanted to optimize their ads and put them to the test, leading to a 7% increase in incremental purchases and a 9.5X return on ad spend.

When to Use TikTok Ads

According to Insider Intelligence, TikTok users ages 25 to 54 spend over 45 minutes daily on the app, beating out other social media platforms, including Facebook. TikTok is much more popular among younger generations even though Facebook has twice the number of users in the same age range. If your target audience is predominantly millennial and Gen X consumers, TikTok is the ideal platform since these generations have more purchasing power than Gen Z. 

However, attention retention on TikTok is short. In order to be successful with TikTok ads, you have to captivate your audience within a handful of seconds. If five seconds is too short to sell your product or service, the type of TikTok ads available may not be the right fit. Brands should instead consider testing creator-based ads and/or influencer collaborations since users will trust their credibility and have more incentive to see the video through to the end. 

When to Use Facebook Ads

Since Facebook is an older, more established platform, its advertising tools offer more capabilities than TikTok. Advertisers find that Facebook has more targeting capabilities that help narrow down the right audience by including age, location, and niche interests. It also has a vast and diverse user base, unlike TikTok, which tends to lean toward a younger audience with fewer monthly active users. So, if your brand has a strong buyer persona, Facebook offers more options to align with each characteristic of your ideal customer so you can easily reach the right people with less risk. 

Another benefit of using Facebook ads vs. TikTok ads is Facebook’s connection to Instagram. If your brand already has a successful campaign running on Instagram, you can easily expand your reach through Meta’s Business Manager or other advertisement management tools. Or you can have a two-for-one deal and broaden your reach by launching your campaign on Facebook and Instagram at the same time.  

How to Decide Between TikTok Ads and Facebook Ads

Although both platforms have pros and cons, your decision depends on your goals and how much you’re willing to spend on social media advertising. When comparing Facebook vs. TikTok ads costs, the average cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM) for Facebook is higher than TikTok. Although Facebook ad costs fluctuate with big holidays, the total costs can lower depending on audience targeting, so it’s not set in stone. 

However, when it comes to TikTok, campaigns require a minimum budget of $500, which can be steep for small businesses. Since TikTok is a video-based platform, you can’t rely on product images like a Facebook carousel ad. Brands need to invest in high-quality video content. The most successful TikTok ad campaigns require a lot of planning and strategy, so the production of the ad needs to be considered along with the costs of running the ad itself. 

As a beginner, you might find image ads less intimidating and more cost-effective to launch than video ads. Still, if your customer base is primarily millennials, it might be time to record a TikTok

Launching Your Social Ads 

AdRoll is here to keep you informed of advertising trends and help you maximize your advertising potential. Maybe your best strategy is launching ads on both Facebook and TikTok! With AdRoll, you can launch, manage, edit, and analyze campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, to help you see your campaign strategy holistically. See how AdRoll can integrate all your ads in one place


Are Facebook ads cheaper than TikTok ads?

It really depends on the type of ad you’re running, your targeting settings, and how long your campaign will be. In general, video ads cost more than image ads on Facebook, so that is something to consider if you want to launch a video-centric campaign. 

As we mentioned before, TikTok has a minimum budget requirement of $500, while on Facebook, it’s less, and there’s more flexibility to how much you want to spend depending on clicks or duration. 

Are Facebook or TikTok ads better?

This boils down to what your product or service is and who you’re targeting. TikTok has proven itself to be an excellent platform for direct-to-consumer brands since there’s a flux of micro-influencers and great user engagement, and TikTok allows ads with user-generated content that feels authentic and organic. However, these benefits have the most effect on younger generations. 

Facebook’s reach, especially combined with Instagram, targeting and retargeting capabilities, and testing abilities, make it a great fit for more established brands and marketers. With a bigger budget, brands can certainly make an impact, and bigger brands also have a stronger sense of their target audience, eliminating an extra step in finding buyer personas . Its user base spans age, gender, location, and more, so you can reach anyone without worrying about limitations. 

What are the disadvantages of Facebook ads?

Since Facebook is the biggest social media platform, you have to compete with other brands to place your ad. If your brand really wants to be seen, it will require a bigger budget to outbid the others. 

One of Facebook’s most significant benefits has also become one of its downfalls. Facebook and Instagram users in Europe can now subscribe to an ad-free version because of the increasing pressure and ever-changing compliance regulations to protect users’ privacy. It’ll be important for both brands and advertisers to stay on top of new developments as we see how ad-free Facebook affects ad performance and spending. 

What are the disadvantages of TikTok ads?

Since TikTok has a younger audience, it can be easy to lose control of your brand narrative or capture the right tone of voice. Brands have to jump very quickly on trends in order to be relevant. Also, the attention span of younger audiences is short. You only have about five seconds before they scroll past your ad, so being creative is essential — you don’t want your money to go to waste. 

Explore Next