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September 11, 2023

How To Run Ads on TikTok

by
Ellie

Ellie is a Writer, Creative Strategist and Content Passionfruit Specialist. Having previously worked TikTok and Spotify, she’s an expert at tapping into trends, humour, and emotional touch points to tell entertaining stories and make meaningful connections for brands.

How To Run Ads on TikTok
Table of contents

Looking to run ads on TikTok? Before investing media dollars, understand the different ad formats and targeting options to optimize your content for maximum impact. Plus, learn creative tips and strategies to make your brand shine on TikTok.

Introduction

Let's dive into the world of TikTok advertising, where creativity and authenticity can connect you with your global audience. For those paying attention, TikTok is the fastest growing app in the world with over a billion active users. The app's full screen video, endlessly enjoyable scroll of content and engaging comment section has captured the attention and hearts of its users. As a brand or a small business owner, TikTok ads can be a vital resource to boost your brand's visibility, reach and sales. In this guide, we’ll explore what TikTok advertising is, how it works and why it is essential for your marketing strategy. We'll also cover step by step how to get started so you can feel confident and empowered creating ads on TikTok.

Other guides in this series:

What is TikTok Advertising 

TikTok offers a number of paid advertising products designed to meet your business objectives. With a wide range of video products (covered below), their scalable solutions can be tailored to your goals, audience and budget. By utilizing their various video-first solutions, their audio library and their network of Creators, your brand can easily launch a product, run a promotion and grow a following.

How TikTok Advertising Works / Do TikTok Ads Work 

TikTok is a community that prioritises authenticity and creativity, making it an ideal platform for brands to showcase their products or services in a fresh and engaging way. The app is also praised for its algorithm that connects people and communities through shared interest points, no matter how niche. This ensures that your ads reach the right audience at the right time and in an era of ever-shrinking attention spans, TikTok ads have proven to be highly effective in driving real engagement and meaningful results for businesses big and small. In fact, TikTok users are 1.5 times more likely to immediately go out and buy something they discovered on the platform and 60% of TikTok users find advertising content unique or different from any other platform. 

Why Should You Use TikTok Advertising? 

There are a number of reasons to use TikTok ads. For one, TikTok offers scalable advertising solutions, meaning any size business can find solutions that work for them. Additionally, most TikTok ads appear in feed alongside a user's customised content. This means the app’s large viewerbase is already primed to see something that resonates with them. Plus, we know that people go to TikTok to improve their moods, be inspired, and learn something new, which is a great environment for a brand to be a part of. Finally, the TikTok special sauce is its Creator community. Creators on TikTok are experts in their niche and their communities, they are praised for their authentic voices and their distinct perspectives. Using Creators in your advertising allows you to harness the Creators authenticity in service of your message. In an era where people are increasingly wary and cynical of brands and advertising, using Creators is a great way to get an authentic perspective on your productor service. 

What Types of Ads Can you Run on TikTok 

There are six main types of ads you can run on TikTok. All are available to use within TikTok’s self-service Ads Manager or with assistance from your TikTok Sales representative.  

  • In-Feed Ads: In-Feed ads appear within a user's For You Feed and allow you to use the full screen, vertical video to tell your story in a true to TikTok way with the sound on.  These assets can be further enhanced with interactive add-ons.
  • TopView: For brands looking to boost awareness, a TopView allows a brand to make an impact by taking over the first ad slot users see when they open the app. 
  • Branded Mission: Community is everything on TikTok. Branded Missions allow you to crowdsource content from engaged Creators, then boost the top performing assets to naturally drive brand equity.
  • Branded Effect: Effects are having a moment on TikTok. Branded Effects are a great solution for brands who want to give fans a hands-on experience through try-ons, filters or branded games. Work within TikTok’s API to create a custom effect that adds to a user's storytelling possibilities. 
  • Spark Ads: Spark ads are potentially the most versatile ad product on TikTok. This solution allows you to boost or promote different types of videos within the TikTok ecosystem. These could be your own videos, user-generated content or Creator videos. 
  • Promote: For Brands looking to boost videos on their organic feed, the in-app promote tool is a very simple solution to quickly put paid dollars behind existing organic assets. This is a great tool to help build a following or continue building on the success of an organic asset.

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on TikTok 

That's entirely up to your brand. The cost of running ads on TikTok varies depending on your campaign objectives, targeting parameters, audience size and selected ad formats. However, it's important to know that there is no minimum fixed spend for advertising on TikTok. TikTok runs its ads on a bidding system, allowing advertisers to set a budget and bid for their ideal ad placements. For brands who need creative support, TikTok offers the Creator Marketplace where brands can easily connect with and hire Creators as well as the TikTok Business Center which allows Brands to manage and access all Marketing Solutions in one place.

How to Advertise on TikTok Step by Step 

Now that you understand the benefit of TikTok advertising as well as the different formats, let's dive into how to set up your ads on the TikTok platform.

  • Define your target audience: Before you begin, it's important to understand exactly who you want to speak to. Map out your target demographic, age group, geographical location, interest buckets, etc before creating your ad group.
  • Research what’s working in your industry: I recommend doing some research about what has been successful or unsuccessful in your given industry. Look at what your competitors are doing or simply look at what you like about your own For You Feed to gain inspiration and guidance on what your ad can look like.
  • Create your campaign: Within the TikTok ads manager, You'll be prompted to name your campaign and select your objective.
  • From there, you'll be prompted to set up your ad group (ex: Fall promotion). Please note there is an ad limit of 20 ads per ad group. From here, the real creativity begins.
  • To create your ad, first enter an ad name. This will help you distinguish between various ads in an ad group and it will only be used for your reference. From there, you'll be able to select your ad format, enter all your ad details and upload your chosen media as well as select a thumbnail, call to action, and desired URL. You also have the ability to add tracking links to track ad performance (learn more about the TikTok pixel here).
  • Define your budget and start running your ads: Finally, set your budget and time frame, and you're ready to go live! Ad performance is easily monitored in your ads manager dashboard, or if you have a TikTok for business account, you can also look at performance and app.
  • Keep optimising and double down on what’s working: The optimisation never ends! If a certain format, content category or talent is working well for your brand, keep it up! The algorithm favours repeatability and familiarity, so continue to test and find the franchise your brand can own on platform.

5 TikTok Advertising Best Practices 

Ready to get started with your next TikTok advertising campaign? Here are five best practices for creating memorable marketing on TikTok.

  • Be true to the platform: As mentioned above, TikTok is all about authenticity and creativity. If you want to connect with your audience on the platform, that has to be your starting point for all content. Embrace the platform's fun and quirky vibe and emulate the native feel of content on the app. For starters, scroll through your own feed, save any videos that pique your interest and revisit them when you need inspiration.
  • Have a hook: TikTok users can tell fairly quickly whether a video is interesting or not. That means your content needs to connect with your audience as quickly as possible. Use the first three seconds to immediately convey what it is you're trying to say, bonus points if you can make it fun, entertaining, interesting or attention grabbing. But, make sure the rest of your video can pay off your introduction. No one likes a let down.
  • Provide value: No matter what your campaign objective is or your brand identity, meaningful ads on TikTok will always give something back to the audience. This could be a story, a heartfelt moment, a funny skit or delicious recipe. Whatever your way in, make sure that it's compelling enough to keep your audience hooked till the end. consider using short, quick cuts or a surprise ending to keep viewers engaged. 
  • Leverage fan content: TikTok’s community loves to share their opinion. When it makes sense, user generated content is a great lever to pull for quick turn promotional assets. In addition, it's a nice way to pay it forward to the community and show that you are actively listening to your consumers. 
  • Call to action: Use TikToks in-app features, like text overlay, to make your call to action clear and concise. Whether it's visiting your website, downloading an app, or making a purchase, make sure that it is easy for viewers to engage with your brand. 

Should You Use A Marketing Professional For Your TikTok Ads? 

Working with a marketing professional is a great solution for any brand or business needing extra support with their TikTok ad campaigns. Whether you're a startup or a Fortune 500 company, working with a TikTok expert can maximise conversions, drive faster cost-effective CPC/CPMs and minimise any lag time for campaign setup. To learn more about Passionfruit’s community of experts, visit our specialist page.

Conclusion

If you've made it this far, you are ready to start making amazing ads on TikTok. Be prepared to experiment, try new things and ride the learning curve. Remember, TikTok is all about fun and creativity, so let your imagination run wild and embrace the platform's unique spirit while staying true to your brand identity. Happy creating (and advertising)!

Professor Passionfruit Illustration
Table of Contents

Looking to run ads on TikTok? Before investing media dollars, understand the different ad formats and targeting options to optimize your content for maximum impact. Plus, learn creative tips and strategies to make your brand shine on TikTok.

Introduction

Let's dive into the world of TikTok advertising, where creativity and authenticity can connect you with your global audience. For those paying attention, TikTok is the fastest growing app in the world with over a billion active users. The app's full screen video, endlessly enjoyable scroll of content and engaging comment section has captured the attention and hearts of its users. As a brand or a small business owner, TikTok ads can be a vital resource to boost your brand's visibility, reach and sales. In this guide, we’ll explore what TikTok advertising is, how it works and why it is essential for your marketing strategy. We'll also cover step by step how to get started so you can feel confident and empowered creating ads on TikTok.

Other guides in this series:

What is TikTok Advertising 

TikTok offers a number of paid advertising products designed to meet your business objectives. With a wide range of video products (covered below), their scalable solutions can be tailored to your goals, audience and budget. By utilizing their various video-first solutions, their audio library and their network of Creators, your brand can easily launch a product, run a promotion and grow a following.

How TikTok Advertising Works / Do TikTok Ads Work 

TikTok is a community that prioritises authenticity and creativity, making it an ideal platform for brands to showcase their products or services in a fresh and engaging way. The app is also praised for its algorithm that connects people and communities through shared interest points, no matter how niche. This ensures that your ads reach the right audience at the right time and in an era of ever-shrinking attention spans, TikTok ads have proven to be highly effective in driving real engagement and meaningful results for businesses big and small. In fact, TikTok users are 1.5 times more likely to immediately go out and buy something they discovered on the platform and 60% of TikTok users find advertising content unique or different from any other platform. 

Why Should You Use TikTok Advertising? 

There are a number of reasons to use TikTok ads. For one, TikTok offers scalable advertising solutions, meaning any size business can find solutions that work for them. Additionally, most TikTok ads appear in feed alongside a user's customised content. This means the app’s large viewerbase is already primed to see something that resonates with them. Plus, we know that people go to TikTok to improve their moods, be inspired, and learn something new, which is a great environment for a brand to be a part of. Finally, the TikTok special sauce is its Creator community. Creators on TikTok are experts in their niche and their communities, they are praised for their authentic voices and their distinct perspectives. Using Creators in your advertising allows you to harness the Creators authenticity in service of your message. In an era where people are increasingly wary and cynical of brands and advertising, using Creators is a great way to get an authentic perspective on your productor service. 

What Types of Ads Can you Run on TikTok 

There are six main types of ads you can run on TikTok. All are available to use within TikTok’s self-service Ads Manager or with assistance from your TikTok Sales representative.  

  • In-Feed Ads: In-Feed ads appear within a user's For You Feed and allow you to use the full screen, vertical video to tell your story in a true to TikTok way with the sound on.  These assets can be further enhanced with interactive add-ons.
  • TopView: For brands looking to boost awareness, a TopView allows a brand to make an impact by taking over the first ad slot users see when they open the app. 
  • Branded Mission: Community is everything on TikTok. Branded Missions allow you to crowdsource content from engaged Creators, then boost the top performing assets to naturally drive brand equity.
  • Branded Effect: Effects are having a moment on TikTok. Branded Effects are a great solution for brands who want to give fans a hands-on experience through try-ons, filters or branded games. Work within TikTok’s API to create a custom effect that adds to a user's storytelling possibilities. 
  • Spark Ads: Spark ads are potentially the most versatile ad product on TikTok. This solution allows you to boost or promote different types of videos within the TikTok ecosystem. These could be your own videos, user-generated content or Creator videos. 
  • Promote: For Brands looking to boost videos on their organic feed, the in-app promote tool is a very simple solution to quickly put paid dollars behind existing organic assets. This is a great tool to help build a following or continue building on the success of an organic asset.

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on TikTok 

That's entirely up to your brand. The cost of running ads on TikTok varies depending on your campaign objectives, targeting parameters, audience size and selected ad formats. However, it's important to know that there is no minimum fixed spend for advertising on TikTok. TikTok runs its ads on a bidding system, allowing advertisers to set a budget and bid for their ideal ad placements. For brands who need creative support, TikTok offers the Creator Marketplace where brands can easily connect with and hire Creators as well as the TikTok Business Center which allows Brands to manage and access all Marketing Solutions in one place.

How to Advertise on TikTok Step by Step 

Now that you understand the benefit of TikTok advertising as well as the different formats, let's dive into how to set up your ads on the TikTok platform.

  • Define your target audience: Before you begin, it's important to understand exactly who you want to speak to. Map out your target demographic, age group, geographical location, interest buckets, etc before creating your ad group.
  • Research what’s working in your industry: I recommend doing some research about what has been successful or unsuccessful in your given industry. Look at what your competitors are doing or simply look at what you like about your own For You Feed to gain inspiration and guidance on what your ad can look like.
  • Create your campaign: Within the TikTok ads manager, You'll be prompted to name your campaign and select your objective.
  • From there, you'll be prompted to set up your ad group (ex: Fall promotion). Please note there is an ad limit of 20 ads per ad group. From here, the real creativity begins.
  • To create your ad, first enter an ad name. This will help you distinguish between various ads in an ad group and it will only be used for your reference. From there, you'll be able to select your ad format, enter all your ad details and upload your chosen media as well as select a thumbnail, call to action, and desired URL. You also have the ability to add tracking links to track ad performance (learn more about the TikTok pixel here).
  • Define your budget and start running your ads: Finally, set your budget and time frame, and you're ready to go live! Ad performance is easily monitored in your ads manager dashboard, or if you have a TikTok for business account, you can also look at performance and app.
  • Keep optimising and double down on what’s working: The optimisation never ends! If a certain format, content category or talent is working well for your brand, keep it up! The algorithm favours repeatability and familiarity, so continue to test and find the franchise your brand can own on platform.

5 TikTok Advertising Best Practices 

Ready to get started with your next TikTok advertising campaign? Here are five best practices for creating memorable marketing on TikTok.

  • Be true to the platform: As mentioned above, TikTok is all about authenticity and creativity. If you want to connect with your audience on the platform, that has to be your starting point for all content. Embrace the platform's fun and quirky vibe and emulate the native feel of content on the app. For starters, scroll through your own feed, save any videos that pique your interest and revisit them when you need inspiration.
  • Have a hook: TikTok users can tell fairly quickly whether a video is interesting or not. That means your content needs to connect with your audience as quickly as possible. Use the first three seconds to immediately convey what it is you're trying to say, bonus points if you can make it fun, entertaining, interesting or attention grabbing. But, make sure the rest of your video can pay off your introduction. No one likes a let down.
  • Provide value: No matter what your campaign objective is or your brand identity, meaningful ads on TikTok will always give something back to the audience. This could be a story, a heartfelt moment, a funny skit or delicious recipe. Whatever your way in, make sure that it's compelling enough to keep your audience hooked till the end. consider using short, quick cuts or a surprise ending to keep viewers engaged. 
  • Leverage fan content: TikTok’s community loves to share their opinion. When it makes sense, user generated content is a great lever to pull for quick turn promotional assets. In addition, it's a nice way to pay it forward to the community and show that you are actively listening to your consumers. 
  • Call to action: Use TikToks in-app features, like text overlay, to make your call to action clear and concise. Whether it's visiting your website, downloading an app, or making a purchase, make sure that it is easy for viewers to engage with your brand. 

Should You Use A Marketing Professional For Your TikTok Ads? 

Working with a marketing professional is a great solution for any brand or business needing extra support with their TikTok ad campaigns. Whether you're a startup or a Fortune 500 company, working with a TikTok expert can maximise conversions, drive faster cost-effective CPC/CPMs and minimise any lag time for campaign setup. To learn more about Passionfruit’s community of experts, visit our specialist page.

Conclusion

If you've made it this far, you are ready to start making amazing ads on TikTok. Be prepared to experiment, try new things and ride the learning curve. Remember, TikTok is all about fun and creativity, so let your imagination run wild and embrace the platform's unique spirit while staying true to your brand identity. Happy creating (and advertising)!

Written by
Ellie Brzezenski
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Professor Passionfruit Illustration

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