Social Media & Social Ads

How to Advertise on TikTok: Step by Step Guide

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By Laia Cardona, on 31 March 2023

As TikTok is gaining more momentum outside of Gen Z circles, advertisers are building up their TikTok advertising strategies.

Considering that the app has approximately 1 billion monthly active users around the globe and 113.3 million active users aged 18 and above in the U.S., (TikTok only measures data from users who are 18 and up) it is easy to understand why this social media platform is important in advertising.

The app has launched a number of advertising formats to help brands reach their audiences. To help you make the most of it, let's review the step-by-step process for how to advertise on TikTok.

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Advertising on TikTok

Advertising on TikTok is a great opportunity for brands. The platform's advertising tools allow marketers to reach over 1 billion users aged 18 and above.

In reality, this number is likely much higher because, as mentioned, TikTok's advertising tools only report data on advertising audiences of users aged 18 and up. However, users aged 13 and up are permitted to use this platform.

In early 2019, TikTok released a beta version of its advertising platform. Since then, big brands like Nike and Apple Music have used TikTok advertising to promote their products with unique and entertaining ads.

How to Advertise on TikTok Step by Step Guide

Over the past few years, this has continued to grow and now advertising on TikTok offers unique formats and targeting options. When used effectively, TikTok will not only show your ads to your target audience, but can also help you access Gen Z, one of the most lucrative and hard-to-reach user groups.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on TikTok?

TikTok has evolved its advertising solution since it was first introduced in 2019 and now offers a comprehensive, easy to use advertising platform.

The cost of advertising on TikTok can vary widely based on what kinds of campaigns you'd like to launch. The minimum CPM is $0.50, which means that you would pay 50 cents for every 1,000 views your ad gets. For CPC, the minimum is $0.02 per click and, as an advertiser, you have to invest at least $500 per ad campaign.

However, there are many features and options that can increase your TikTok advertising costs. Of course, these can also bring a lot of benefits to your business. Some of these advertising option include:

  • Running campaigns with influencers
  • Doing a branded takeover
  • Created a branded lense
  • Making in-feed ads
  • Creating Topview ads

TikTok Advertising Target Audiences

If your brand’s main target audience is Gen Z, advertising on TikTok could be a good investment. The majority of TikTok users are under the age of 30, and 80% are between 16 and 34.

It’s important to remember that many social networks first become popular with younger users and then expand to other audiences. Even if advertising on TikTok isn't right for your brand right now, it's a good idea to learn about the process so you can be prepared.

TikTok Statistics

A report by Business of Apps confirms the current market domination through the number of downloads. TikTok comes out ahead of more established apps like Instagram and Facebook.

How to Advertise on TikTok

According to Statista, engagement levels on the app are also high. This is important to consider when deciding whether or not to include TikTok in your social media marketing strategy. Ultimately, it all depends on your goals but keep the engagement rate in mind in addition to the overall downloads and popularity.

TikTok Advertising Formats

TikTok offers 2 main forms of advertising on the app. Let’s take a look at which one would be best for your brand.

Auction Ads

Auction ads on TikTok allow you to bid on ad slots within this social network. These are the only self-service style ads currently available.

Biddable ads allow you to bid to place video ads in the app's main feed. There are three different pricing models:

  • CPC (cost per click)
  • CPM (cost per mille)
  • CPV (cost per view)

You can target your ads by age, gender, and location. You can also create custom audiences and blacklists.

Formats That Require a TikTok Account Manager

TikTok also offers campaigns that go beyond normal video ads. To use these formats, you will need to have a larger budget and work with a TikTok account manager. The campaign options are the following:

  • Brand Takeover. A large-format ad that appears when users open the app. It is limited to one advertiser per day.

How to Advertise on TikTok Step by Step Guide

  • Hashtag Challenge. The goal of this type of campaign is to create viral user-generated content by uploading a video with a unique dance or challenge and encouraging users to participate. This is an great format because, depending on the challenge itself, the advertisement can be as subtle or as straightforward as you design it to be.
  • Branded Effects. These effects are totally customized, with logos and/or other branded elements and are made to meet specific campaign needs. These effects are often designed so that people can interact with them and, by extension, the brand on TikTok.
  • Branded Lenses. This ad format is similar to the one above allows brands to create custom augmented reality filters for users to incorporate into their content, similar to Snapchat and Instagram.

How to Advertise on TikTok Step by Step Guide

  • TopView. These ads appear at the top of the "For You" feed when first opening TikTok. They are full-screen videos of up to 60 seconds so they block out any other content. While these are somewhat similar to brand takeovers, TopView ads do not cover the screen as soon as users sign in
  • Influencer Package. You will be set up with a TikTok influencer relevant to your brand who will then create sponsored content. TikTok has its own platform for partnering with its creators.

  • In-Feed. These videos integrated into the "For You" feed, and are displayed as if the advertiser were a TikTok creator.

How to Advertise on TikTok Step by Step

1. Create a TikTok Ads Account

Go to the TikTok Ads homepage and click the "Create now" button.

 How to Advertise on TikTok

When you click the button, a form will appear asking you for information to set up your account. If you already have a Tiktok account you can register with it.

How to Advertise on TikTok

2. Create an Ad Campaign

Once you're inside the TikTok Ads dashboard, you'll need to click on the "Campaign" tab and then on the "Create" button.

TikTok organizes its advertising on three levels: Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Ads. A campaign is an overall activity, while ad groups and ads are the functions within a campaign.

How to Advertise on TikTok

Choose a goal for your ad. Currently, TikTok advertising offers three main objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion

Tiktok ads objectives

Once you have selected your objective, you'll have to name your campaign and choose the budget. Here you can choose between the "Daily Budget" or "Total Budget" options for the campaign.

How to Advertise on TikTok

3. Set Up the Ad Group

The next step is to create an ad group within the campaign. This step is when placements and targeting are decided. Within a campaign, you can have different ad groups intended for different audiences.

How to Advertise on TikTok

One useful tool is Automated Creative Optimization, which allows you to upload up to 10 images, 5 videos, 5 ad texts, and one call to action. The system will then combine them to create multiple ads. Then, the tool will test these ads and use the most effective combinations.

Next, the "Targeting" section allows you to define the target audience for your ads. You can set parameters such as location, age, gender, languages, devices, and more.

How to Advertise on TikTok

How to Advertise on TikTok

A very important part of this step is the keyword section, which allows you to select up to 20 terms to describe your website or application. These keywords will be used to show your products to the right audience, so think carefully about your choices.

4. Set the Campaign Details

In the "Budget & Schedule" section, select the ad group budget. Once again, you can select how much you're willing to spend per day or the total amount you want to spend for the duration of the campaign.

Then select the dates you want the campaign to be active. The "Dayparting" option allows you to choose specific times of day or days of the week to show your ads.

How to Advertise on TikTok

You can then select the ad group optimization goal and the Bid Strategy.

How to Advertise on TikTok

The optimization options that appear will depend on the campaign objective you selected. It could be Reach, Click, 6-second views (Focused view), Follow, Profile Visit, Lead, or Conversion.

5. Design Your Ad

Follow the instructions to enter all the assets needed to start running your ad, including identity, ad details (such as images, videos, copies), destination page, and so on.

Tiktok ad design

tiktok ad design 2

You will need a TikTok pixel in order to run Conversion campaigns and track campaign effectiveness.

5 TikTok Advertising Best Practices

You're finally ready to start your TikTok advertising! Here are some final tips to optimizing your ads and making them even more effective.

  1. Take a look at TikTok’s own inspiration section within their website to see how other brands have found success on the platform

  2. When launching an ad in the Brand Takeover format, it's especially important to use high-resolution images. Be sure to follow TikTok’s ad specifications.

  3. Note that text space is limited to 80 characters. But, because you only have a split second to grab your audience’s attention, we recommend including the most important text in the actual video.

  4. Focus on only one call to action at a time like asking people to download your app or use a coupon on your website, but not both at the same time.

  5. As always, don't forget to test different creative elements and targeting to improve your advertising on TikTok. A/B testing is the best way to see which of your different tactics and assets are working.

We hope this guide helps you succeed in the world of TikTok advertising! As this is still a relatively new platform, we can expect to see the trends, processes, and best practices evolve over time.

TikTok for Business

Laia Cardona