The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Ads

TikTok is seemingly all the rage right now. This one app has content creators dancing, cracking jokes, telling heartwarming stories, and giving tips in short videos for others to like, comment on, and share. What started as an app for entertainment has quickly blossomed into an app filled with information, laughter, and a continuous flow of challenges and TikTok trends right now.

It certainly helps businesses, too. Brands can connect with their fans on TikTok in new ways. The app leaves room for plenty of personalities to show through, with ample opportunities for users to create meaningful connections. In 2019, it began offering ads, giving businesses even more space to let others know what they’re about.

In this ultimate guide to TikTok ads, we’ll talk about:

Benefits of TikTok Advertising

Hand holding a mobile device with the TikTok app on screen

Image by Solen Feyissa from Pixabay

TikTok has grown tremendously since its launch in 2017. In 2021, became the most popular web domain, beating out frontrunners like and It’s also been the most popular app in the United States for a couple of years now, again surpassing other favorites like Instagram and Snapchat.

If those aren’t convincing enough reasons to start advertising on TikTok, consider the app’s additional benefits:

We mentioned TikTok’s popularity in the United States, but this app has also grabbed the attention of people all over the world. Globally, Hootsuite reports that TikTok is in the number six spot of the world’s most-used social platforms, with Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp in the top three spots. Additionally, TikTok ads reach close to 16% of the world’s population over 18 — more than 884 million people.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s more data that proves TikTok’s popularity and potential reach through marketing on its platform:

Users Don’t Mind Seeing Ads

Apparently, TikTok users are okay with seeing advertisements being included in their feeds, whether it’s a collaboration with a TikTok creator or a singled-out ad.

A few interesting stats that prove this:

It Reaches Younger Audiences

Teens sitting on steps outside using mobile devices

Image by natureaddict from Pixabay

TikTok mostly appeals to younger audiences. If your brand is one that wants to attract more Gen Zers into your audience, then TikTok is the place to be. As of September 2021, Statista reports that 25% of the app’s users fall between 10-19, while 22.4% are 20-29. And, if you’re looking for a slightly older group, Millennials and Gen Xers make up a prominent portion of its demographics, too, with 42% falling into the 30-49 age range.

It’s Relatively Simple to Get the Hang Of

TikTok advertising doesn’t require a major learning curve or a complex marketing background. The app guides you through creating ads using the TikTok Ads Manager, so you won’t feel left in the dark when setting a budget or targeting an audience. Plus, creating video content on the platform is super simple, thanks to the many easy-to-use tools TikTok offers. 

You Can Get Creative

TikTok is all about creativity, which is why it gives users lots of tools, music, and smart assets to use when creating content. There are also several types of ads to use on TikTok, allowing you to choose the perfect form of marketing for your business. 

You Can Use Precision Targeting

Target your audience to get the best return on your investment. On TikTok, you can pinpoint people who have visited your website or downloaded your app, have specific interests that align with your business, or fall into the demographics of your ideal customer. Other targeting metrics include device targeting, behavior targeting, and targeting audiences based on other TikTok creators they’ve followed or interacted with.

Types of TikTok Ads

TikTok gives several options for ad types to marketers, including:

In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads appear on a user’s For You page as they scroll through the feed. They act just like a regular TikTok video, so users can like, comment, and share the ad. This is TikTok’s primary ad type, making it one of the most used formats. Advertisers also like in-feed ads because they’re easy to create and have a natural feel to them, like they fit right into the platform. Use the same elements as you would a regular video, too, with the addition of a CTA button for people to click through to your offer. 

Top View Ads

Top View ads appear at the top of a user’s For You page rather than in the feed. This way, when the user first clicks over to that page, they’ll see your ad first. Like in-feed ads, top view ads can appear just like a regular video but with an included CTA button for users to quickly find your offer. You can make up to a 60-second advertisement for top view ads. 

Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads

Graphic filled with abstract hashtags in various colors

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

A branded hashtag challenge features some type of brand-created TikTok challenge with an associated hashtag. When brands create a hashtag challenge, they encourage TikTok creators to post videos with the best hashtag on TikTok that relates to a prompt. The paid ad displays on TikTok and brings users to a challenge page when they click on it. The page includes other videos using the branded hashtag and instructions for creators to follow when they make their own videos.

Branded Effect Ads

Effects on TikTok are similar to filters, offering users fun ways to play around with their content via new elements, props, and interactive effects. Brands can create sponsored effects with their branding for creators to use to tell their stories and create new content. 

Spark Ads

A spark ad is TikTok’s newest form of advertising designed to blend in seamlessly with users’ TikTok feeds. These ads boost posts you’ve already created or posts from another creator. Say, for example, that you’ve partnered with another creator to post a review of your new product. You can use a spark ad to boost that post and get more views on TikTok.

Brand Takeover Ads

Brand takeover ads are similar to top view ads in that they’ll display at the top of a user’s feed once they open the TikTok app. However, users won’t be able to engage with the ad like they would a top view ad. Instead, they display for a few seconds until the user is allowed to skip them. You’ll get a CTA button with these ads like you would an in-feed or top view ad.

The Cost of TikTok Ads

Women using TikTok on a mobile device

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The cost of TikTok ads varies based on the type of ad you choose, your set budget, and how well you’ve targeted your audience. As you might guess, brand takeover ads tend to be the most expensive because they take up premium advertising space on a user’s feed. In-feed ads are usually among the cheapest, but your ad can easily get lost in a feed.

Furthermore, TikTok accepts bids for its advertising, and the best bidder gets the highest advertising spot. Increasing your budget and allowing TikTok to boost your bid according to your cap automatically can improve your ad’s visibility. 

Something important to note is that TikTok requires advertisers to spend at least $20 per day for each ad group, but how you optimize your budget is up to you.

Getting to Know the TikTok Ads Manager

The TikTok Ads Manager is the tool you’ll use to create and track your ad campaigns on TikTok. Here’s how to get started.

Setting Up Your Account

First, visit the TikTok for Business page to set up your account. Fill out some details about yourself and your business, and you’ll be ready to start making ads. Be sure to verify your account via email.

Creating Ads

Creating ads on TikTok requires just a few steps:

  1. Start a campaign: Open the Campaign tan and click Create to start a new ad campaign.
  2. Define your goal: Choose an objective (goal) for your ad: Awareness (for best reach), Consideration (to increase traffic, app installs, or video views), or Conversion (to increase website conversions).
  3. Target your audience: This is where you’ll define who you’d like to see your ads. It could be people who fall within a specific demographic or TikTok users with specific interests, like food recipes or pets.
  4. Set a budget: Let TikTok know what you’re okay spending on your ads. You can set a daily or lifetime budget.
  5. Create an ad: Now is the fun part — creating your ad. Start with a video and use Tiktok’s many tools to design your creative. If you’re already familiar with making TikTok videos, this process should be simple for you.

TikTok Ad Requirements

TikTok video ads require a ratio of 9:16, 16:9, or 1:1. Videos must be between 5-60 seconds long, but TikTok suggests between 9-15 seconds. Ad descriptions can be up to 100 characters long.

Analyzing Campaigns

Your TikTok business account includes free analytics tools to help you analyze your ad campaigns. Before you start, set up the TikTok pixel to help you track interactions between your ad campaigns and your website.

Your dashboard gives you an overview of each campaign’s performance. Then, you can dig deeper by clicking a specific campaign to see its details, such as the total cost you’ve spent and the ad’s click-through rate. TikTok Ads Manager lets you customize your reports by creating custom columns or dragging and dropping information where you need it to personalize your analysis further. 

TikTok Ads: Best Practices

Mobile device on a TikTok screen on top of magazines next to a cup of coffee

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

We’ve talked about the different types of TikTok ads and setting up your campaigns. Now, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your TikTok ads.

Know Your Audience to a T

Your TikTok audience could be entirely different from another brand’s TiKTok audience, so it’s crucial to know your own. Learn what they like and dislike, what kind of content gets the most engagement from them, and when they typically visit TikTok.

These facts about your audience will tell you what you need to know when targeting an audience in TikTok Ads Manager. The right targeting techniques help you pinpoint the people who will be most interested in seeing your video. Narrowing your ad’s schedule to only the best times to post on TikTok can also lead to better engagement by getting your content in front of your audience when they’re most likely to visit TikTok.

Don’t Forget the Music

Music and sounds are central to TikTok. TikTok is a place for discovering new music and artists. According to TikTok research, 68% of users say they remember brands better when they use music in their videos. And, 58% of users admit that they’re more likely to talk about a brand or share its content if they use music.

TikTok includes a massive library of music and sounds to use in your ads. Still, if you feel stuck, you can rely on Smart Video Soundtrack, a useful built-in tool that lets TikTok use its algorithm to find music to add to your video.

Hop on the Trend Bandwagon

Don’t ignore trends on TikTok either, as following them could quickly make your content go viral. TikTok is the place for trends, with 71% of its users believing that the most viral trends get their start on TikTok. And if you do latch onto a trend, 61% of TikTok users will like your brand even better. 

The reason trends pick up so quickly on the platform is because TikTok knows when trends exist and prioritizes trending content. Not only can your brand craft content that’s likelier to go viral by following a trend, but it also could expand its creativity by participating in something new.

Analyze — and Keep Analyzing

An ad that works right now might not be as successful a month from now. Trends are always changing on TikTok, so you’ll need to keep up with what’s hot right now when planning your ad campaigns.

Analyzing your current campaigns is a big part of that. Use TikTok’s analytics to determine what kind of ads get the most engagement to help you plan future campaigns. Consider using the social split-testing method to change variables and decide which combination of variables work best for your TikTok brand.

More Resources on TikTok Ads

For more information on creating TikTok ads and marketing tips, check out the following resources:

While you experiment with TikTok advertising, don’t neglect the tried-and-true methods for growing your audience. Add the TikTok follow button to your website to attract more followers — it’s 100% free, easy to install, and quick to customize.

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

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