Complete Guide on How to Use TikTok Ads

Updated: Sep 21


Image Source: Pixabay


TikTok is the new kid on the block, so it is expected that all eyes are on it waiting for it to thrive or deep dive towards the bottom and into oblivion. And as far as the present happenings are concerned, TikTok is gaining momentum by the day and it seems to be maneuvering smoothly towards the ranks of the social media giants. You can’t really underestimate the power of a newcomer or suffice to say of an underdog.


Brief History of TikTok


The rise of TikTok didn’t happen overnight or even in a year. Technically, and despite popular belief, it isn’t really that new in the market. Before it was launched as TikTok, it already existed as two separate apps that eventually merged – Musical.ly and Douyin.


Musical.ly was founded in 2014 by Alex Zhu and Louis Yang. It was an app where users can create and share 15-second lip-sync music videos, and it landed the number 1 spot in the App Store in 2015.


Source: Business Insider


Meanwhile, in September 2016, a short-form video-sharing app, Douyin, was launched in China. It wasn’t a new idea for the Chinese market, but within just a year, the app had 100 million users and 1 billion views each day.


In September 2017, Douyin expanded outside of China under a new name: TikTok. It rose to fame quickly across Asia. And while it started to gain popularity globally, Musical.ly was taking over the United States.


Finally, the foreseeable merger happened. In November 2017, ByteDance, the parent company of Douyin, bought Musical.ly in a $1 billion deal.


Douyin, the version of TikTok in China.

Image Source: Business Insider


At first, ByteDance operated the two apps separately – Musical.ly in the United States and TikTok in other foreign markets. In August 2018, ByteDance announced that it would shut down Musical.ly and merge it into TikTok. So, in a blink of an eye, all the Musical.ly accounts were moved to TikTok.


The Musical.ly team.

Image Source: Business Insider


Following a boost in popularity during the lockdown period amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok surpassed the 2 billion downloads in April, according to the app analytics firm Sensor Tower. TikTok’s driving demographics are the Gen Zers, but millennials are also catching up into the latest craze (Comscore).


Advertising on TikTok



Image Source: TikTok for Business


TikTok offers great advertising opportunities for small business owners and enterprises. Considering that it just rolled out its ads options with its beta platform in 2019, we can say that it’s still less saturated with ads.


Moreover, if your target audience is Gen Z, running ads on TikTok can prove to be potentially rewarding to your business. Nevertheless, just like what Comscore says, millennials are also starting to flood the app.


And even if your brand is stern with targeting only the older demographics, knowing the process on how to advertise on TikTok will still be helpful with your social media marketing efforts. After all, many of the popular trends and viral videos across different social networks start with younger users and then eventually expand to other audiences.


TikTok Advertising Formats


There are two overall ad formats available on TikTok: biddable ads and ads that require a TikTok representative. Let’s take a look at each ad type and determine which one would be best for your brand.


Biddable Ads


These are the only self-service style ads that are available to advertisers as of the moment. Bidding is made manually, and these ads allow you to make use of the standard in-feed video ad. There are three different pricing models for biddable ads:

  • CPC (cost per click)

  • CPM (cost per mile)

  • CPV (cost per view)

Advertisers can target their audience by age, gender, and location. TikTok also promised that they would add more targeting options soon such as by behavior and interests. Right now, you can also create custom audiences, and blacklist or whitelist audiences.


Ads That Require a TikTok Account Manager


If you want to go beyond standard video ads, TikTok also offers campaigns that would fit your taste and your goals. However, with these ad formats, you need to have a deeper pocket. Below are the ad campaign options that fall under this category:


Brand Takeovers:


This is a large-format ad type that appears when a user opens the app, bringing your message to your target audience right away in a catchy manner. You can then drive the user to an external or internal destination. This ad type is only available to one advertiser per day, though.

Hashtag Challenges:


This ad campaign encourages users to participate. Its goal is to create user-generated content, which can be in a form or a dance or a unique video challenge. This capitalizes in the audience’s natural tendency to join whatever that is new or trending. Hashtag challenges have a strong potential to go viral, which is common on the platform.


Branded Lenses:


If you are familiar with the AR lenses of Snapchat and Instagram, then, these are similar to those lenses. Branded lenses enable brands to create custom filters for users to add to their content.


TikTok Influencers:


With this type of ad, you will be partnered with a certain influencer that resonates with your brand and your target audience. This influencer will create sponsored content for you. You can find out more about this on TikTok's creator marketplace, their platform for partnering with influencers and content creators.


How to Use TikTok Ads


1. Create and Set up Your Account


Simply click here to start your account registration. Fill up and submit the form, a TikTok representative will review your application and will contact you within 5 business days to inform you whether your business qualifies or not.


Image Source: TikTok for Business


Check out the next steps in creating your account here.


2. Set up a Campaign


The structure of the TikTok Ads Manager is divided into three parts: campaigns, ad groups, and ads. Creating a campaign is the first step in running ads on TikTok. Under this initial step, you will need to identify your objective, your campaign name, and your budget.


Image Source: TikTok for Business


The six objectives that you can choose from in your campaign fall under three major categories: awareness, consideration, and conversion. If your goal is to get more visitors to your website, you should choose traffic which falls under the “consideration” category. And if you want to get as many eyeballs to see your brand, then, you should choose the “reach” objective under “awareness.”


Image Source: TikTok for Business


After choosing your objective, you need to choose the budget for the entire campaign. You can choose between “No Limit,” “Daily Budget,” and “Lifetime Budget.”


Image Source: TikTok for Business


3. Set up an Ad Group


Once you are done in setting up your campaign, you will proceed with this step which includes the determination of your ad placements, ad details, targeting, budget, schedule, bidding method, and type of delivery.


Image Source: TikTok for Business


Click here to find out more about the details about setting up an ad group.


4. Design Your Ad

Image Source: TikTok for Business


TikTok Ads Manager currently supports images and videos in horizontal, vertical, or square format. If you are not design-savvy or you don’t have video-editing skills, don’t worry because you can make use of TikTok’s Video Creation Kit to make your video creation faster and easier.


Another tool that you can use is the Landing Page to Video Tool, which captures images from a landing page URL that you give, and combines these images with music to create video ads.


In creating your ad, it’s important to choose a catchy cover, write a striking ad text copy, and add a strong call-to-action.


Strike While the Iron Is Hot


TikTok is currently on fire, and to match with its unwavering global fame, it also launched its advertising platform to monetize the app while helping as many business owners as possible in reaching their marketing goals. There is no better time to try out TikTok’s ads than today.


The $500 minimum budget for overall campaigns under the self-service ads is way higher than the minimum required “ad spend” from other social media platforms. So, if that is still too much for you to allocate for ads, try spending more time weighing the pros and the cons.


If you are looking for affordable ads that can generate predictable results, advertising on TikTok might not be the best bet for you at this moment. And if you have more questions or you might want to talk about other alternatives, feel free to schedule your free consultation today.


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