November 14th, 2023
3 minutes

Why are your Google Ads
showing up on TikTok?

In recent weeks, Google and TikTok have quietly launched a test, on a global scale. You consequently might have seen Google Ads search results popping up in the TikTok search engine.

Here’s an example of a search run on TikTok that was shared on X.

Under what circumstances do your campaigns Google Ads appear on TikTok?

As an advertiser, your ads show up on TikTok if your Search campaigns have the “Include Google search partners” option enabled.

Google Ads Partner Network

For a few weeks now, if this option is selected, your ads could be displayed directly in the TikTok search engine, among all the videos.

Note too, that PerformanceMax and Display campaigns are also thought to be included.

Though surprising and unexpected, this is indeed a test being run as part of a potential partnership between the two platforms. Without any communication from Google, advertisers have been surprised to see the performance of some campaigns change without understanding why this is happening. By way of evidence, this conversation illustrates the confusion felt and questions asked by some of those affected by these tests.

Two signs that your ads might be included in the testing:

  • The share of ad impressions on partner search engines has skyrocketed (we’ve seen the proportion go from 10% to 60% for some clients)
  • Conversions have surged but the quality of leads has significantly deteriorated, even to the extent of being completely off-target.

To date, no information has been communicated about how the ads are displayed, whether advertisers’ campaign settings are maintained, which sectors are involved, or how long the test is set to last.

Why have Google and TikTok joined forces in this way?

Changes in consumption habits and information-seeking by the younger generation are largely driven by social networks. Research by Tinuiti analyzes the shift in consumption habits from Gen A to Gen Z, and the results are unequivocal: social networks, particularly TikTok, are taking over.

Advertisers are no doubt aware that TikTok is the most downloaded social app in the world (656 million in 2021 and still leading in 2023) and has become the most visited site worldwide, pushing Google into second place. It is also well worth knowing that TikTok has overtaken YouTube in terms of consumer spending too.

Top Apps Worldwide by

This is a concern for Google, which wants to expand its reach to these new targets who are seeking information elsewhere than on its search engine.

For both Google and TikTok, the motivation behind this partnership is the desire to increase their visibility, traffic, and advertising revenue on their respective platforms.

This collaboration would offer new possibilities in terms of information search, but it remains to be seen how the partnership will evolve if it is made permanent. Will the integration of Google searches into TikTok only involve advertisements, or organic searches, or both? How will such searches be integrated? What will the impression rules be?

And a note of caution for advertisers: TikTok’s audience may not fit well with all markets and sectors. A problem could arise if the modus operandi used during this test is not altered. Advertisers whose target audience is not on TikTok should have the option not to broadcast their ads on TikTok, to avoid experiencing a significant decline in performance.

Final point to ponder – if this alliance between the two web giants comes to fruition, what will happen with data management and the sharing of information between data collected by Google and data collected by TikTok?

Stay tuned…

Estelle Lamarre I assist software vendors and IT consultancy firms in their lead generation strategies thanks to my expertise in SEA, SMA and marketing automation.
Google Partner
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