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How to build a funnel on TikTok based on the RACE marketing model

When you start running ads on TikTok it’s essential that you build your funnel properly and make sure the campaign structure is correct. It would be smart to build it based on your customer journey map and on your marketing model. The most widespread marketing model for e-commerce businesses is RACE. It stands for Reach, Act, Convert, Engage. Let’s find out how it works, how each stage is related to the funnel, customer journey map, audiences, and what creative strategies usually perform better on each of them.

Let’s start with Reach

It includes all your prospecting or brand awareness campaigns including organic efforts. Brand awareness campaigns are not for small businesses as they require a pretty big ad budget. But whatever your brand’s size is, your key goal on this stage is just to let people know about you, get their attention. The more people follow your page, see your ads and click through them, the better. That’s why your creatives’ key goal should be not to sell anything, but to grab users’ attention. Videos that are mostly emotional rather than rational generate great results on the Reach stage. Everything unusual, intriguing, everything that breaks patterns and doesn’t let users skip will work. Brands that have sufficient budget can test lifestyle and spokesperson types of video in Reach&Frequency campaigns. Smaller companies can try unpacking, product demonstration, tutorial, or other types of video that are engaging enough and don’t require a lot of money and effort to be created. If we look at Reach from the customer journey map perspective, that’s where users view your ads, interact with them or click through to your website or landing page. For medium brands with limited budget it would be smart to use the Conversions objective starting from this point. When using this objective for our clients, we’ve noticed that targeting broad audiences worked much better than precise targeting. It’s always worth testing look-alike audiences for prospecting as they really help TikTok algorithm to optimize properly. When you’re making a plan for the Reach stage you should remember one key thing: all your ad copies, creatives and CTAs should mainly be aimed at raising awareness and creating the first impression. Reach audience, aka prospecting audience should be the biggest in size throughout your whole funnel.


This is the stage where the real interaction and your relationship with potential customers begins. This is where you can retarget all those who’ve seen your ads or visited your website on the Reach stage. It would be better to segregate these audiences though and show them different messages and creatives because those who’ve clicked through to the website are obviously more interested in what you sell. It’s better to add some social proof now, show user-generated or influencer-generated content, highlight positive reviews and recommendations from previous purchasers. Your key goal on the Act stage is to either make people convert or at least make the next move, e.g. add to cart or start the checkout. Add creatives that are a mix of emotional and rational, that demonstrate product’s features and benefits and have emotional triggers at the same time. Check if the price per add to cart is within your KPIs and CTR is high enough. If they aren’t, try to change your creatives and CTAs. If it doesn’t help, test different objectives and bidding methods. Sometimes this stage intersects with the next one, Convert, as some people can make a purchase after the second touch with your ad, although this is very rare. But much more often, the Act stage has to be repeated several times to get a user to the Conversion. You’ll most likely need several kinds of creatives for the middle of the funnel (it includes audiences of website and product page visitors, clickers). And as I said earlier, videos should be a little different for those who are further down the pipeline.


In terms of the funnel and customer journey map, this stage includes audiences of those who have added products to the cart or started the process of checkout. Now is the time to be a little more pushy and give users as many reasons to buy as possible. They’re almost there and perhaps they just got distracted and didn’t finish the purchase because of that. That’s why ads on this stage may act as a reminder. You can also use discounts in exchange for a newsletter subscription or just as another incentive to buy. And of course, now is the perfect time to use all your trump cards. If you offer free shipping, a money-back guarantee, all sorts of warranties, small gifts, or any other perks, say about it in your ads and on your product page or checkout page. Social proof may also work here, but listing benefits and giving good clear reasons to make this purchase from you generates even better results. Metrics you should keep an eye on now is the correlation of add-to-carts to checkouts and then checkouts to purchases. If you see that 40% or more of the add-to-carts end up being abandoned carts, it’s a bad sign. It means that your product page isn’t converting as well as it should. Perhaps, the load speed is low, or you haven’t listed benefits clearly enough, or have only few pictures of a product, etc. All this lowers website conversion rate and should be fixed immediately. You should also constantly check Price per Purchase and make sure it’s within your KPIs. If it’s not whereas website conversion rate is fine (at least 5%), try different ad objectives. Perhaps, using Traffic or Reach would be better than Conversions on this stage because you’ll need to show your ads to a relatively small group of people and it’s important that all of them actually see these ads.


After you get the money from a user and make them a client your relationship doesn’t end. You move to the next stage, which is Engage. In fact, this is where the real brand-client relationship starts. Now you have a chance to earn purchasers’ loyalty and if you’re really good at it, probably even make them your brand advocates. The higher your LTV, the more profit you get and the higher your return on ad spend will be in the long run. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of gimmicks that are used to make people stay with a business for as long as possible, e.g. invitation to a closed VIP club where they have early access to new collections, special sales and discounts, personalized newsletters, occasional gifts, bonuses, etc. On TikTok, you can launch a hashtag challenge for your brand’s products owners, show them ads that will encourage them to make another purchase, or ads with special discounts for repeat customers, show them new products/collections but with a different message than for acquisition campaigns audiences. Customer retention rate should constantly grow, month by month, year by year, as it defines your brand’s reputation and your profitability. Ads as well as relevant social media content are important on this stage, but not as important as your products quality, customer service, and satisfactory customer experience in general. If the customer retention rate is low, you won’t find the answer why in your Ads Manager, you’ll most likely have to conduct a customer satisfaction survey.
RACE marketing model is applicable to various e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses. One of its key benefits is that it’s simple, yet proven to be effective. You can make changes and adjustments to each stage without seriously affecting the other. What’s more, sometimes huge brands have separate teams responsible for each step of the model which proves its flexibility and versatility. If you’ve read this article up to this point, you must be serious about growing your brand’s presence on TikTok. You can try doing it all by yourself, or hiring freelancer media buyers, copywriters, video editors who hopefully know how it’s done on TikTok and keep your fingers crossed for it to work. Or you can hire a team of professionals who’ve been running ads on TikTok for more than a year now and are official TikTok partners. Yes, I’m subtly hinting at my own team, AAMFunnel digital marketing agency. We love what we do, and that’s why we are good at it. If you want to get a free consultation, just book a call and you’ll see yourself.   Hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share!  

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