TikTok Advertising Uncovered TikTok Advertising Uncovered


A Complete Primer for Beginners

Picture of Jairene Cruz
Jairene Cruz


Are You Spying on Your Competitors' Ad Campaigns?

Our tools monitor millions of native, push, pop, and TikTok advertising campaigns.

Welcome to the dynamic universe of TikTok, the platform that has transformed the digital marketing landscape. Since its global launch in 2017, TikTok's growth has been phenomenal, earning the title of the most downloaded app in 2019 and 2020.

But are TikTok Ads really worth trying out? Will you really be able to reach your audiences here?

Why TikTok Ads?

Before we discuss everything about TikTok advertising, let us first answer this question.

In 2023, TikTok's user base has swelled to over 1.67 billion active users spanning 160 countries, accounting for nearly 21% of all internet users worldwide. In the United States, TikTok overshadows Instagram, as it now has a whopping 122 million active users.

TikTok's appeal extends beyond the younger generation, catering to a broad demographic spectrum. The user age groups of 10 to 19, 20 to 29, and 30 to 39 each comprise approximately a quarter of the total users, with women representing 24% of the global audience.

Given its soaring popularity and diverse audience, TikTok presents an unmatched opportunity for digital marketers. You are sure to find your audience here!

Our goal here is to guide you through the immense potential of TikTok Ads, empowering you to leverage this powerful tool for your marketing campaigns.

How do TikTok Ads Work?

TikTok Ads are innovative promotional tools that appear in a user's feed. They blend seamlessly with the platform's organic content, making them less intrusive, more engaging, and offering an immersive viewing experience.

Types of TikTok Ads

Several types of TikTok Ads are designed to meet specific marketing objectives.

These are:

1. In-feed Ads

In-feed ads are a unique type of TikTok Ads that pop up on the user's "For You" page as they scroll. These ads are designed to be short, typically around 15 seconds, just like regular TikTok videos. Their brevity ensures they hold viewers' attention, providing critical information or entertainment quickly and effectively.

Recently, TikTok allowed users to upload longer videos. It’s up to you to try and test whether shorter or longer videos work best for your campaign.

What sets these in-feed ads apart is their seamless integration with user-generated content. They're designed to look and feel like the other videos users encounter on their feeds. This makes them less intrusive and more appealing to the audience.

The visual and audio elements of in-feed ads are critical. They need to be engaging and captivating, drawing users in from the very first second.

The goal is to spark curiosity, make the viewer pause while scrolling, and pay attention to your message.

In-feed ads can boost brand visibility, increase engagement, and drive conversions when executed correctly.

They offer a golden opportunity for brands to connect with their audience naturally and non-disruptively within the TikTok environment.

2. Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are a strategic tool on TikTok that businesses can use to bolster their online presence. They involve creating a unique hashtag related to your brand or campaign, encouraging users to use this tag when posting their content.

The beauty of branded hashtags lies in their ability to foster user engagement. They don't just passively display information; they invite users to participate, create, and contribute.

This active involvement often leads to higher engagement rates as users feel more connected to the brand.

Moreover, these hashtags serve as a rallying point for your community. Using your branded hashtag, users signal their association with your brand, extending your reach to their followers. This organic sharing amplifies your visibility without extra effort on your part.

Branded hashtags also inspire creativity. They challenge users to produce or reproduce content in novel ways, sparking a flurry of diverse posts. This variety keeps your brand fresh in users' minds, increasing recall.

To maximize the impact of your branded hashtags, make them catchy, easy to remember, and relevant to your brand. Monitor the usage of your hashtags regularly to understand the kind of content that resonates with your audience. With the right strategy, branded hashtags can boost brand visibility and user engagement on TikTok.

3. Branded Effects

Branded effects are an innovative form of TikTok advertising that invites users to engage with your brand in a playful, interactive manner. They include various custom-made elements such as filters, stickers, and special effects that users can apply to their videos, transforming ordinary content into something more eye-catching and fun.

One key benefit of branded effects is their ability to promote user interaction.

Rather than simply viewing an ad, users become part of the advertising experience by incorporating your branded elements into their content.

This active participation leads to greater engagement and brand affinity.

Another advantage is the creativity they inspire. Branded effects encourage users to experiment with their video content, leading to unique, personalized creations that reflect their individual styles. This enhances the user's content and indirectly promotes your brand.

Furthermore, when users share videos featuring your branded effects, they expand your brand's reach to their followers. This organic sharing boosts your visibility without any additional effort from your end.

To maximize the impact of your branded effects, ensure they're catchy, easy to use, and relevant to your brand.

Monitor the usage of your effects regularly to understand what resonates with your audience. By strategically leveraging branded effects, you can create a fun, interactive experience that helps your brand stand out on TikTok.

4. TopView Ads

TopView ads represent a premier advertising opportunity on TikTok.

These ads occupy the entire screen, giving you ample space to make an impactful statement. This ad format grabs users' attention and lets you showcase your brand or product more immersive and compellingly for up to 60 seconds.

Their unique placement ensures they're the first thing users see when launching the app, providing your brand unparalleled visibility.

TopView ads are not just about visibility; they also offer the chance to create a memorable first impression.

Since they're the first content users encounter, well-designed TopView ads can set a positive tone for the user's TikTok experience.

The key to effective TopView ads lies in making them engaging and relevant. They should tell a captivating story that resonates with the TikTok audience, encouraging users to engage with your brand beyond the initial ad.

Moreover, these ads need to be visually striking. Given their prominent placement, they should stand out from the rest of the content users will encounter during browsing.

TopView ads can significantly boost brand awareness, engagement, and conversion rates. They offer a powerful platform for brands to connect with the TikTok community at the start of their app experience.

5. Spark Ads

Spark Ads are a type of in-feed ad on TikTok that lets brands transform their or a creator's videos into advertisements.

They are highly recommended for all advertisers due to their simplicity and effectiveness.

With the creator's consent, these ads can direct users to the brand's TikTok account, allow them to use the brand's audio for their own videos, or lead them to a music page.

Spark Ads' new user interface for profile landing pages has proven to be more efficient, delivering a 69% higher conversion rate and a 37% lower cost per action.

6. Branded Takeover

TikTok's Branded Takeover is not just another ad, it's a powerful tool that businesses worldwide are using to engage their target audience.

Imagine this: you open your TikTok app and the first thing that grabs your attention is a full-screen ad. You can't miss it.

It's a 3 to 5-second video that instantly pulls you in, promising high levels of engagement.

These Branded Takeovers are designed to amplify your brand's voice on TikTok, fitting perfectly into the platform's unique user experience. Your brand gets an exclusive category for the day, helping your message stand out from the sea of content on a user's For You Page (FYP).

But it doesn't stop there. The magic of TikTok's Branded Takeover lies in its unique blend of creative tools and e-commerce integration. It empowers brands to weave a compelling narrative, hold viewer's attention, and convert them into customers.

The downside is that it is too obviously an ad and can be intrusive. Plus, only companies with big budgets can afford it since it is one of the costliest options in TikTok (a minimum of $50,000 per day).

Mechanism of TikTok Ads

TikTok Ads functions through an auction-based system.

In this setup, advertisers compete for ad placements by placing bids. The advertiser who places the highest bid secures the coveted spot.

This competitive mechanism ensures that the most invested advertisers get the prime ad placements, leading to potentially higher visibility and engagement.

However, the TikTok Ads platform isn't just about winning the highest bid and reaching the right audience.

To ensure your ads resonate with the viewers, TikTok offers targeted advertising.

This feature allows brands to fine-tune their ad delivery based on specific demographics. You can target your ads according to age, gender, location, and users' interests.

Targeting specific demographics increases the likelihood of your ads reaching an audience genuinely interested in your brand or product. Rather than broadcasting your ad to a general audience, targeted advertising lets you focus your resources on potential customers.

This strategic approach can enhance the efficiency of your ad spend, improving return on investment.

The age-based targeting allows you to zero in on users within specific age brackets.

This feature is particularly useful for brands whose products or services cater to specific age groups. Similarly, gender-based targeting enables you to tailor your ads to the gender that predominantly uses your product or service.

Location-based targeting is another powerful tool.

You can direct your ads to those locations if your brand operates in specific regions or if your product is more relevant to users in certain areas.

Lastly, interest-based targeting lets you connect with users based on their hobbies, preferences, and behavior on the app.

This level of personalization makes your ads more engaging and relevant to the users.

In essence, the mechanism of TikTok Ads combines the competitiveness of an auction system with the precision of targeted advertising. This dual approach ensures your ads gain visibility and reach the most relevant audience, maximizing their impact.

The Importance of Creativity and Authenticity on TikTok

On TikTok, creativity and authenticity aren't just preferred; they're essential. The platform thrives on original, genuine content; its users value this authenticity over overt advertising.

For a brand to succeed on TikTok, it must embrace this unique culture and produce content that genuinely resonates with the audience. The emphasis isn't on hard selling but instead on storytelling.

Indeed, storytelling is a powerful tool on TikTok.

Instead of simply showcasing products or services, successful brands weave engaging narratives around them.

They use their ads to tell stories that evoke emotions, spark curiosity, and capture viewers' imagination. These stories promote the brand and provide entertainment, information, or inspiration, adding value to the viewer's experience.

Remember, TikTok is fundamentally a platform for expression and creativity. Your ads should reflect this ethos.

They should inspire users, ignite their imagination, and motivate them to interact with your brand. This could mean creating ads that are humorous, thought-provoking, or heartwarming.

Or it could mean leveraging popular trends, memes, or challenges to create content that feels fresh, relevant, and in tune with the platform's culture.

Authenticity plays a crucial role in this process.

Today's consumers are savvy; they can tell when a brand is genuine and just trying to sell. Authenticity breeds trust, which is the foundation of any successful brand-customer relationship. On TikTok, this means being true to your brand's identity and values while adapting to the platform's unique style and norms.

Moreover, authenticity should extend beyond your ads to your interactions with users. Engage with your audience in a sincere, meaningful way.

Respond to comments, participate in conversations, and appreciate user-generated content featuring your brand. This will show users that you're not just on TikTok to advertise but to be an active, contributing community member.

TikTok Ads offer a unique opportunity to connect with a diverse, engaged audience. By understanding the different ad types and mechanisms and embracing creativity and authenticity, brands can harness the power of TikTok to drive their marketing success.

Who are the Audiences in TikTok?

TikTok is a diverse platform with a dynamic user base. To effectively advertise on it, understanding the demographic breakdown, learning the audience’s behavior, and identifying your target audience is crucial.

This section provides an overview of these elements, focusing on age, gender, location, interaction patterns, and the unique culture of the TikTok community. With this knowledge, brands can craft compelling content that resonates with their intended audience and drives engagement.

Demographic Breakdown of TikTok Users

TikTok's user base is diverse, spanning different age groups, genders, and locations.

As of July 2023, around 18% of TikTok users are aged between 18-24, followed by 16% in the 25-34 age bracket. The 35-44 age group makes up more than 7%, with the 45-54 and 50+ age groups comprising 4% and 3%, respectively.

The platform presents an almost even gender split, with 54% female and 46% male users. This wide-ranging demographic distribution provides a broad spectrum for brands to target their advertising efforts.

Identifying your target audience on TikTok involves understanding demographic data. If your product or service caters to a specific age group, gender, or location, use this information to target your ads accordingly.

User Behavior on TikTok

Understanding how users interact with TikTok is crucial for effective marketing. Many active users open the app daily, indicating high user engagement.

Users engage with various content, from comedic skits and dance challenges to educational videos and DIY tutorials. The diversity of content consumed reflects the platform's versatility, making it a fertile ground for creative advertising.

You must monitor user behavior to identify what kind of content resonates with your target demographic.

Pay close attention to the trends, challenges, and types of content they engage with the most. This will provide valuable insights into tailoring your advertising content to engage your target audience effectively.

Understanding the TikTok Community

The TikTok community thrives on trends, challenges, and viral content. Brands can leverage these elements to create engaging advertisements that resonate with users.

Trends often involve popular songs, dance routines, or thematic content. Challenges, usually user-generated, involve performing specific tasks or routines. Viral content varies widely but generally includes unique, creative, or humorous videos that captivate the audience's attention.

By aligning your content with the unique culture and trends of the TikTok community and accurately identifying your target audience, you can create compelling advertisements that attract attention and drive engagement and conversions.

How Much Does It Cost To Advertise on TikTok?

Several factors, including ad format, duration, audience, and geography, influence the cost of TikTok Ads. The ad format you choose can significantly impact your campaign costs.

For example, a Brand Takeover ad, which guarantees visibility as it's the first thing users see when they open the app, tends to be more expensive.

The duration of your ad also plays a role. Longer campaigns generally cost more, but they also provide more exposure. Your target audience is another crucial factor.

Ads targeting highly competitive demographics might cost more due to increased demand. Lastly, geography matters—running ads in regions with higher advertising costs will naturally increase your expenses.

Average Cost of TikTok Ads

On average, TikTok boasts an engagement rate of 15% more than other social networking platforms, making it a lucrative space for marketers.

The Cost Per Mille (CPM) for TikTok Ads averages $10, while the Cost Per Click (CPC) is typically around $1.

For each campaign, advertisers should expect a minimum spend of $50 (when the budget is set at campaign level).

However, creating a TikTok video on platforms like Canva and even TikTok itself can be done for free, further enhancing its appeal.

Are TikTok Ads Worth It?

Despite these costs, TikTok Ads can offer an excellent return on investment, especially if you're targeting younger demographics.

Numerous case studies have shown how brands have leveraged TikTok's unique features to create viral campaigns that deliver impressive results.

For instance, one campaign might only reach a few thousand users but can generate millions of impressions due to the viral nature of the content (when users share your content).

This virality, coupled with the platform's high engagement rates, makes TikTok a cost-effective advertising option for many brands.

Strategies for Optimizing Your Budget on TikTok Ads

Optimizing your budget on TikTok involves careful planning and strategic decision-making.

First, choose the right ad format for your goals and budget. If you're working with a smaller budget, consider options like In-Feed Ads instead of pricier formats like Brand Takeovers.

Next, consider your campaign duration carefully. Choose a duration that balances cost with your specific marketing objectives.

Shorter, more intense campaigns can generate buzz and engagement quickly, but longer campaigns offer sustained exposure.

Also, be strategic about targeting. Focus your ads on the demographics most likely to engage with your brand to maximize your return on investment. Finally, consider the geography of your ad campaign—target regions with lower advertising costs to stretch your budget further if possible.

In conclusion, while the cost of TikTok Ads can vary based on several factors, thoughtful planning, and strategic decisions can help you optimize your budget. By understanding the factors influencing ad costs and implementing strategies to manage them, you can make the most of your TikTok advertising efforts.

How to Get Started with TikTok Ads

Let’s pull back the curtain on the ins and outs of this dynamic platform, where creativity reigns supreme and opportunities for brand visibility are as vast as the ocean.

1. Set Up a TikTok Ads Account

To kick things off, navigate to the TikTok Ads Manager signup page. Here, you'll need to establish a login using either an email address or phone number and, of course, a secure password.

Remember, these details are your keys to the kingdom—you'll need them each time you want to access your TikTok Ads Manager account.

2. Billing Set Up

Next up is the financial nitty-gritty. You'll need to provide all the necessary billing and payment details.

The exact data required may vary based on your country's regulations but typically includes your billing address and tax information. You'll also get to choose between Automatic (Autopay) or Manual (Prepay) payment types.

3. Ad Campaign Creation

With your account setup complete, you're now ready to create your first ad campaign.

Depending on your comfort level with online ads, you can opt for the Simplified Mode (ideal for beginners) or the Custom Mode (better suited to those looking for advanced options and control).

On the next page, name your campaign for easy identification. You can leave the default naming that TikTok Ads added, but to make it easier to find the right campaign, name it yourself.

Following this, choose your ad placement. You can let TikTok automatically place your ad, or you can manually select where your ad will appear.

4. Defining Your Marketing Goals and Target Audience

Before creating your first ad, clearly define your marketing goals. Each goal will require a different approach.

Under Awareness, we have the Reach objective.

Under Consideration, there’s Traffic, Video Views, and Community Interaction.

Finally, we have Conversion, which include App Promotion (for app installs), Lead Generation, Website Conversions, and Product Sales.

Proceed to the next pages to set up your campaign. How your dashboard looks depends on whether you chose a Simplified Campaign creation or a Custom one.

Whichever you choose, don’t forget to properly indicate your target audience. Consider factors like age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors.

A well-defined target audience will help you create more effective and targeted ads. Then, decide on your budget and schedule. Remember, these should align with your marketing objectives.

5. Craft Your Video Ads

Finally, create your ad. Use engaging visuals, compelling copy, and a clear call to action. You can even use user-generated content for as long as it has mentioned your brand, and the user allows the use of their content for ads.

You can add several videos if you’d like to test which creatives convert best. Once done, review your ad and click 'Submit' to launch your campaign.

It will undergo an evaluation to see that it passes TikTok Ads standards. If it gets approved, it will automatically start running.

6. Measuring Success: Understanding TikTok Ads Analytics

Understanding TikTok Ads analytics is crucial to measuring success and adjusting your strategy. Key metrics include impressions, clicks, cost, and conversions. Monitor these regularly to assess your ad's performance.

You’ll even see a breakdown of Campaign, Gender, Placements, Operating Systems, and Dayparting performance.

For more in-depth data and calculated metrics (like CTR and conversion rate), it would be best to download reports or integrate a third-party tracking platform.

If your ad isn't performing as expected, don't be afraid to adjust your strategy. This could involve tweaking your ad creative, adjusting your target audience, or increasing your budget.

As you can see, creating effective TikTok Ads involves careful planning, creative execution, and ongoing monitoring.

Following these steps, you can set up your TikTok Ads account, define your marketing goals, create engaging ads, and measure your success effectively.

Wrapping Up

In summary, TikTok's advertising platform offers a cost-effective opportunity to reach a younger demographic. By selecting the most suitable ad format, duration, and target audience, brands can optimize their budget for maximum returns.

Strategic planning, including clearly defined marketing goals and a well-identified target audience, sets the stage for creating compelling ads.

This process involves creativity, adherence to best practices, and regular testing of ad variations. More importantly, understanding and utilizing TikTok Ads analytics allows for continual strategy adjustments based on performance metrics.

Remember, TikTok isn't just about scrolling and watching. It's a stage where you can engage, inspire, and connect with a vast, diverse audience. Your audience is waiting, and the spotlight is all yours, so take that leap into the world of TikTok Ads!

Top Converting Landing Pages For FREE

Receive top converting landing pages in your inbox every week from us.

Looks good!
We need your agreement to get started. Please select checkbox.

Latest Stories

Here’s what we've been up to recently.

Get our stories delivered

From us to your device instantly