A guide to TikTok advertising

Jina Marwood Jina Marwood
August 11, 2020

To date, TikTok has over 800 million active users worldwide. With such a wide range of users, the app has presented a large opportunity for brands and businesses to advertise on their platform. And, because the app only launched in 2016, TikTok is less saturated with ads than its older counterparts, such as Twitter and Snapchat. 

If your target audience is a younger demographic, it’s time to switch gears and start focusing on TikTok advertising in your content and digital marketing strategy. 

Here’s everything you need to know — from the type of ads and how much it’ll cost you, to launching a campaign and analyzing your metrics. 

The types of ads on TikTok

Brand takeover: A brand takeover allows you to dominate the conversation as your message takes over a user’s screen for a few seconds, which then converts to a regular in-feed video ad.  

Branded AR content: AR advertising is used when brands want to incorporate their message into branded stickers, lenses, and other types of AR filters that TikTok users can use in their videos.

In-feed video: In-feed video ads are the most widely used ads, which appear on a user’s public feed — otherwise known as the “For You” page. 

Hashtag challenge: A hashtag challenge ad will show up in the “Discovery” section of the app, mainly used to encourage user-generated content and user participation in a challenge. 

Sponsored influencer content: Sponsored influencer content is predominately used when a brand wants to communicate a message from a specific influential TikTok user.

How much do they cost? 

TikTok sets a minimum budget of $500 at the campaign level and $50 at the ad group level. The reason they apply a minimum spend is meant to ensure that your content has enough dollars behind it to reach target audience and ad objectives.

An article in 2019 leaked just how much you’ll need to set aside for TikTok marketing. 

In-Feed Video: $25,000 minimum per campaign with $30,000 daily maximum.

Brand Takeover: $50,000 per day.

Hashtag Challenge: $150,000 for six days.

Branded AR Content: $80,000 – $120,000 based on the complexity of the lens design.

Customer Influencer Package: Dependent on the influencer, but sources have noted that this ranges between $600 – $1,000 per post.

Setting them up

To get started advertising on TikTok, you will need a TikTok advertising account or account manager. To see if your business qualifies, you can reach out to them directly.

Once you have access to TikToks’ ads, you’ll have to enter your basic account information, like your username and password. You’ll have to verify your information through a phone number or email address.  Once complete, confirm that you agree to the terms and conditions, then click on “Sign Up.”

Organizing and launching your ads

TikTok allows users to organize ads through three levels. 

Campaigns

A campaign defines your ad with one main objective and budget. This is the top level, where you name your campaign and can decide whether you want to launch with a daily budget or a lifetime budget.

Setting a lifetime budget allows your ad campaign to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible, while setting a daily budget allows your ads to gradually permeate your target audience. 

Ad Groups

Under campaigns, you will find one or more ad groups. This is where you choose your ad placements, demographic, budget, and schedule.

Ad placements define your audience based on where users will see your content on the app, whereas ad demographic defines your audience based on age, location, language, and interests. 

Once you’ve finished deciding who your target audience is, you can rearrange the budget and schedule for your ad group.

Ads

After ad groups, you will find one or more ads. This is where you create video ads that will reach your target audience for your ad group. Ads can be uploaded as video or as images but if you choose images, TikTok will configure them into a video for you.

Before uploading your ad, TikTok offers image and video specifications to create ad content that will look best on TikTok and partner apps. For the highest quality ads, the app recommends that you use the following specs: 

  • An aspect ratio of 9:16 or 1:1 or 16:9 
  • A resolution of greater than 720px x 1280px or 640px by 640px or 1280px by 720px
  • A video between 9 to 15 seconds in length
  • A brand name that is 2 to 20 characters in length
  • A description of your business, brand, product, or service that is 12 to 100 characters in length

Once you have finished creating your ad, you can use TikTok’s ad preview tool to see how your ad will look on mobile devices. After you’ve successfully set up your first campaign, you’ll be able to submit your campaign for approval. 

Track & monitor

Once your ads are up and running, you can monitor your ad’s performance through the ads dashboard. You’ll be able to analyze important metrics like your click-through rate, conversion rate, impressions, cost-per-click, and total budget spent so far. Ensure that you’re actively checking on your ad performance so you can get an idea of how well each ad was received by audiences. 

Get familiar

Now that you know all the basics, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the app before planning your first campaign. The most advantageous way to produce an effective TikTok ad is to become knowledgeable with content that is trending, which changes almost every day. Knowing what’s popular on the app will help you build out the best and most successful content for your campaign. 


If you’re not convinced that TikTok marketing is for you, there are other social platforms that you can leverage. Read our article on where to start when running social ads, or contact us and ask how we can help!

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