Advertising on TikTok

tik tok
Table of Contents
In this article, you'll learn how to create TikTok ads to promote your products or services. But before we start showing you how to run ads, you need to ask yourself a few more questions to find out if advertising on TikTok is right for your business:

Is TikTok advertising right for my business?

Before explaining how to advertise on TikTok, let’s briefly explain its importance. With over 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok presents a huge opportunity for advertisers. Not only has TikTok surpassed Twitter and Snapchat in popularity, but it is also less saturated with ads than its older counterparts. The visual app, which allows users to edit and share 15-second videos with built-in filters, effects and music, has truly rocked the marketing world with its unprecedented virality.

In early 2019, the app launched a beta version of its ad offering, meaning the different ad formats that can be seen on TikTok. Since then, big names like Grubhub, Nike, Fenty Beauty and Apple Music have used TikTok ads to promote products in unique and visually compelling campaigns. With advanced targeting and unique ad creation features, TikTok’s ad platform is unlike many of its predecessors.

However, not all businesses are positioned to benefit from advertising on TikTok. Before you invest your time and effort into advertising on TikTok, here are two questions to ask yourself to determine if this ad platform is right for you.

What is the target audience for my business?

If young people are one of the main targets for your business, TikTok ads could be a worthwhile investment. With 66% of TikTok users under the age of 30 (41% are aged 16-24). This, therefore, is not a suitable platform for companies that have targets above 30 years old.

However, it should be noted that while TikTok’s current audience is predominantly young, social networks tend to be adopted by younger audiences first, and then make their mark on older demographics. So it may still be worth learning more about the platform to stay ahead of the curve, even if TikTok isn’t the right channel for your business at the moment.

Do you have the budget to advertise on TikTok?

While large companies like Nike, Disney and Grubhub have been quick to advertise on TikTok to make a big impression, TikTok ads might be less affordable for smaller businesses.

Because ads on the platform are new and rare, they have a premium cost that starts at an average of $10 per CPM and can reach a total budget of $300,000 for larger campaigns. In addition, TikTok campaigns require a minimum investment of $500, so they might not be a great fit for your business if you’re looking for more affordable and predictable advertising options.

If you think your business meets the above requirements, here is a step-by-step guide on how to start advertising on this platform.

#1 – Create a TikTok Ads Account

To create your first advertising campaign on TikTok, visit the TikTok Ads homepage and click the create an ad button.

Because TikTok Ads is still in beta, the ad creation process is not fully open to any business yet. When you click the button, a form appears asking for details to set up your account. After submitting this information, a representative will contact you to set up your TikTok ad account.

It can take up to 48 hours for you to be set up with an enabled account. Once you have access to your new account, the process of creating ads is relatively straightforward.

#2 – Create a TikTok ad campaign

If you’ve launched paid campaigns on FB you’ll see that the dashboard is relatively similar.

In the TikTok ads dashboard, click the Campaign tab at the top of the page and then click the Create button.

Next, choose a campaign objective. As of today, you can choose from three options:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Application installs

To set your budget at campaign level, select the Daily Budget or Total Budget option under Settings. Please note that both the daily budget and the total budget must be at least $500.

#3 – Set up your placement and targeting of your ad groups on TikTok

The next step is to create an ad group for your campaign and choose your formats.

One of the most useful features of the TikTok ad dashboard is that it allows you to select the exact platforms you would like to run your ads on. These include not only TikTok but also its entire family of apps such as Vigo Video (India only), BuzzVideo, News Republic and others.

There is also an option for automatic placements, where TikTok determines the platform based on platform performance.

Once you have selected your preferred placements, follow the prompts to enter all the necessary details to start running your ad, including the URLs where you want to drive traffic, display names, images and categories. You can also select up to 20 keywords to describe your website or application, which will then be used to match your products to the right audience.

The targeting section allows you to define the target audience for your ads. Set parameters such as location, age, gender, languages, interests, devices and more to attract your target audience.

If you have a database of a specific group of people to target, you can create a custom audience by uploading the IDs of existing TikTok users. To do this simply upload the IDs as a CSV, TXT or ZIP file.

#4 – Control TikTok ad spend, duration and targeting

Now you’re ready to choose a budget, schedule and target for your TikTok ads.

Set a budget and duration.

In the budget and duration section, set the budget for the ad group. You can choose a daily budget (the amount you are willing to spend each day) or a total budget (the total amount you are willing to spend during the campaign schedule).

Also choose the expected duration of your ads

Day splitting allows you to select specific times of the day or week at which to run your ads.

Choose an impressions consumption option

Next, set the rate at which you want your budget to be spent. The standard delivery option spaces your budget in a linear fashion over the duration of the campaign, while the Accelerated option spends the budget as quickly as possible during the scheduled time.

Select your optimisation goal

Your optimisation goal reflects the key metrics you hope to achieve with your campaign. You can choose to optimise your ad group for Conversion, Click or Impression.

If you choose Conversion as your goal, your ad will be served to the people who are most likely to convert. To track all actions that result in a conversion (e.g. app downloads or form submissions), create conversion events by clicking on Library and selecting Conversions. This process is very similar to Facebook Ads.

From here, decide if you want to set up conversion tracking for app installs or certain elements of your landing page using pixels.

To create an app install conversion, enter a name for the conversion event, enter the link to your app on Google Play or the App Store, and select a tracking partner to start measuring conversions for your ads.

Conversions will be priced using the oCPC (optimised cost per click) method, which ensures that your ads will be shown to users who are most likely to take the expected actions. With oCPC, you bid on the individual conversion cost you expect, but then pay per CPC (cost per click). TikTok ads automatically adjust bids based on your bid settings, bringing the cost of your campaign closer to your target price.

If you select click-through as the overall target for your ad group, you will pay based on the CPC, and your ad will be optimised to generate as many clicks as possible.

Finally, if you target impressions, you will pay based on the CPM (cost per thousand), which indicates the price per thousand impressions.

Enable or disable smart optimisation

TikTok offers an option called Smart Optimisation, and if enabled, your bid will constantly adjust and optimise to increase conversions. If you choose to pay for clicks or impressions as a goal, it’s best to turn Smart Optimisation off.

#5 – Design your ads using the TikTok Video Creation Kit

To help inspire you to create the ideal ad for this platform, we’ve written a post about the top 20 ad examples on TikTok. When it comes to designing the creative assets for your ads, the process is pretty straightforward. TikTok ads can be horizontal, vertical or square videos and images. The best part of the ad platform is a tool called the Video Creation Kit, which provides video and image templates that you can customise using your existing images. It also includes over 300 free background music options.

Types of ads on TikTok

Advertising on TikTok currently allows the following types of ads:

  • brand acquisition

  • in-feed or home screen ads

  • hashtag challenges

  • brand lenses or brand filters

Below we explain TikTok advertising in detail:

Brand acquisition

A brand acquisition ad will appear instantly when a user opens TikTok, playing automatically. These are 3-5 second full screen videos. The ad can then redirect the user to an internal or external link, be it another video on TikTok, a website or an external application. The goal of this ad type is to drive more traffic and conversions to the advertiser. Most notably, this ad type is currently limited to one advertiser per category per day.

In-feed or splash screen ads

In-feed ads are native ads of up to 60 seconds, placed at the bottom of organic TikTok videos, or in the feed as part of the video queue, depending on the product type. They play automatically, full screen, and with sound.

These ads can also redirect users to your website or app. On average, they cost $10 per CPM, which makes them a more affordable option than branded takeovers.

Here is an example of an in-feed ad:

tiktok anuncio en el feed

This type of ad has 4 main variations to highlight:

  • Interactive letter: interactive video that allows users to choose an option and learn more about the brand through your landing page or a call-to-action.

  • Voting card: allows you to make a vote among users and share the results with them right after their vote.

  • Pull-down menu: an eye-catching and visual menu advertisement that drives traffic to the website.

ejemplo carta desplegable tiktok

  • Premium icon: eye-catching and personalised icon that induces conversation.

ejemplo icono premium tiktok

Hashtag Challenges

Another format of advertising on TikTok is to partner with the TikTok marketing team to create a sponsored hashtag challenge that encourages users to share TikTok content on behalf of your brand. Challenges generally last for 6 days. They are placed on the “explore” page and the goal is to increase visibility and engagement through the hashtag.

Branded filters

These ads are located on the “For You” page and use virtual reality to create 3D objects or filters. These branded filters have more than 20 different formats and aim to take advantage of TikTok’s gamification trend, as this type of content has grown by 200% compared to last year.

#6: Optimise your ads

When creating a brand acquisition or in-app display ad, make sure to use high-resolution images because the visuals of the ad will take up the user’s entire screen and will be highly visible.

Focus on a single call to action (CTA) to make the most of the redirect.

For ad copy, keep in mind that TikTok ads offer very little space to explain anything in words. Ad descriptions are limited to 80 characters in English, so if you’re selling a more complex product or service, incorporate words into your creative using the Video Creation Kit.

Since all ad descriptions appear at the bottom of the screen, be sure to place your key creative elements in the centre of the screen to avoid congestion.

As with most ad platforms, to be successful advertising on TikTok it is best to experiment with a variety of targeting options, creative and copy, see which variations work best and finally narrow down your ad to the most successful combinations of elements.

In addition to the Video Creation Kit, take advantage of the other built-in advertising tools. At the ad group level, the automated creative optimisation tool (shown in action below) allows you to upload up to 10 images or 5 videos, 5 ad texts and 1 CTA, and will then combine your assets into multiple ads. It will test a variety of these ads throughout your campaign and ultimately present the best possible combination to your target audience.


Thanks to a wide range of design and automation tools, TikTok ads are easy to set up and master. Hopefully this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the interface and get you up and running in no time.

What should I do now?

If you have more questions and want to know how we work, contact us and one of our consultants will contact you for advice.

For further information on this and many other topics you can check out other articles in our blog where you will find references on this, and many more topics.

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