Digital Advertising

TikTok Advertising | Full Guide

TikTok Advertising | Full Guide

12 min
06 Aug 2020

What is TikTok? 

TikTok is the current social media app taking the world by storm. Why? Because it’s content is diverse, engaging, and appeals to all sorts of users. 

On the app, you can create short video clips about nearly anything. Users can be watched doing everything from lip-syncing and dancing to performing challenges and tricks. 

The platform allows for videos up to a minute long. This is the perfect timeframe for users to fit in the max number of videos in a short scrolling session. It also appeals to the ever-shrinking attention spans of social media users. 

With following features, users can hone in on their favorite videos to see them first. Like other platforms, collecting followers is key to creating influencers. But we’ll get to that later.

The app’s algorithms take into account each unique user’s preferences. It creates a feed based on the types of videos you watch, like, and the users you follow. 

This creates an amazingly engaging personalized feed. The custom stream of videos hone in on and appeal to your preferences. All of this makes scrolling through TikTok a popular and addictive pastime. 

Why Advertise on TikTok?

With over a billion downloads last year, TikTok has become the most popular non-game downloaded app. It draws users from all over the world that spends hours on the platform.

So why advertise on TikTok? Because you simply can’t afford not to!

TikTok has an image of hipness and newness. Your ad on the platform can give your brand the same vibe. Seeing that you’re part of TikTok gives your brand a certain coolness.

But, “TikTok’s just for kids”, you say! You may think your target demographic isn’t on TikTok. However, you might be shocked at the app’s ability to span age ranges. 

While it’s true that the majority of the users are on the younger side, there is a decent percentage of users at every age range. With the huge audience on TikTok, even smaller groups make up a pretty significant number of users. 

TikTok is an amazing opportunity to capture the eyes of consumers of all ages. It’s also not super jam-packed with ads yet. So you’ll likely get more bang for your buck than on other platforms. 

Types Of TikTok Ads

Types of TikTok ads

One of the best things about TikTok advertising is the options. The app allows you to create super customizable campaigns. This lets you advertise in the best way for your brand. 

  • In-feed Ads: These pop up in users’ News Feeds. They visit their “For You” page and can feel seamlessly part of their scrolling for high-impact results. 
  • Brand Takeover: These first appear when a user opens TikTok. They remain on the screen for a few seconds before transitioning into an In-Feed Video.
  • Branded Hashtag Challange: This engaging ad type gets users involved in challenges by encouraging them to hashtag their posts with your verbiage. It pops up on the “Discover” page.
  • Branded Effects: Allows you to promote your brand with 2D/3D/AR content that users can add to their videos. 

Each of these ads has its own pros and cons. Don’t be tempted to stick with one type of TikTok ad. Creating a combination of these will likely give you the best impact.

In-feed ads can give you the chance to include a link to your site. It also gives you time to entice viewers and throw in a few calls to action. The fifteen-second limit gives you ample chance to share what’s great about your brand. 

However, there’s nothing making viewers actually watch your in-feed ad. They can scroll right by, completely ignoring your message. The key to overcoming this is being super engaging.

Brand Takeover ads pop up right when the app is open. This is the perfect chance to get the complete attention of your audience.

They are, of course, pricey. So make sure you make them meaningful if you spring for them.

A branded hashtag challenge can give you exponential exposure. They are a fun way to get users involved and increase brand awareness quite a bit.

The downside, they can be pricey and also come with the chance of failure.

Branded effects also give you the chance to rapidly spread brand awareness through other user videos. It gives you the air of hipness. 

Again, this also has the chance of failure and completely depends on users getting on board with your strategy and brand. 

Successfully Advertising on TikTok

Simply popping an ad on TikTok is not going to guarantee you results. As with any marketing strategy, you need to be strategic.

We know that branding is mainly about emotion and giving your brand personality. However, marketing smartly will save you cash and extend your marketing dollars. 

There are a few things you should keep in mind when developing your TikTok advertising strategy. 

Brainstorming a Dynamic Campaign

First things first, give your brand a voice. Decide what you’re trying to communicate to consumers and stick to it. Nothing is more confusing to buyers than an inconsistent message.

Plan to align your campaign across all of your channels. You want things to feel cohesive. To consumers, cohesive says reliable. 

Think about all of your marketing tools: 

  • Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok)
  • Your Web Page (Desktop Site, Mobile Site, Blog)
  • Outbound Communications (Email, Print Media) 
  • Signage (In-Store Displays, E-Billboards) 

These should all have the same general feel. Think a consistent color scheme, similar fonts, same mood.

Users that click on your TikTok ad should feel a seamless transition to your website. Your emails should mimic the feel of your print media. Your in-store displays should draw in shoppers with the familiarity of your brand. 

So, before you dive into your TikTok ad, be sure to have a clear campaign outlined. This will set you up for success as you can tailor your ads to be part of your message.

Set an Ad Budget

Now we know that marketing comes with financial constraints. Your budget dictates the extent of your campaign. 

This is just as true, if not more, with social media marketing. 

Your ad campaign should have a clearly defined budget. Your TikTok advertising budget should be part of that. 

What’s great about advertising on TikTok is that they make it super simple to stick to your set amount. 

Your campaign budget must be at least $500. At, the ad group level, the cost must be above $50. Other than that, you can set the best budget for you.

You can set your budget by the day or the cost of your total campaign. And this isn’t set in stone. You can change this amount at any time during your campaign.

Consider your budget when you decide on your ad types. They vary in price and potential impact. 

  • In-feed Ads: Pre-pay per each view with a guaranteed minimum
  • Brand Takeover: Pay per day with a minimum total time viewed
  • Branded Hashtag Challange: Pay a flat cost for the week
  • Branded Effects: Can vary based on how complicated the graphics are

This gives you an idea of how you can spread your budget. Some guarantee visibility while others allow for the chance to spend a little more for larger, exponential reach. 

Really, what also drives this decision is what you are trying to achieve with this campaign. And that brings us to deciding on your objective.

Decide on Your TikTok Advertising Objective

Defining a clear objective will help you move forward with purpose. What’s the whole point of your campaign and TikTok presence?

Are you trying to drive traffic to your site? Is your main goal to increase downloads of your app? Maybe you’re just trying to increase brand awareness.

When creating your ad, TikTok allows you to select your advertising objectives. The sophisticated algorithms will then best place your ad to achieve this goal.

Not only does this determine the optimal ad type for you, but it helps you determine your demographic and target audience.

Select Your Targeting Preferences

Another awesome thing about TikTok advertising is the ability to fine-tune your audience. This gives you the most effective way to reach your target demographic.

Before creating your ad, think about who exactly you are trying to reach. Are you trying to deepen your presence in your current market? Or are you trying to expand your customer base to new demographic groups?

TikTok allows you to set the categories for the audience you are trying to reach by:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Interests

Once you have figured out these parameters, keep them in mind when you create your ad.

Younger audiences have short attention spans. Your best bet is to create ads that are immediately engaging. 

Think about location and seasonality when targeting certain markets. Even things like regional trends and current events can come into play.

Gender marketing is also important to consider. Tailor your ads to appeal to the specific sex that you’re targeting. 

Think about the tone of your message and the colors you use to appeal to each gender. You can also strive for gender neutrality and attempt to reach a broader audience.  

Check Out the Ad Competition

When it comes to marketing, why reinvent the wheel? Check out what your competition is doing well for some helpful hints.

If you’re just breaking into the market, look for leaders in your industry to mimic your strategy against. There is a reason their companies have grown to such success. 

Looking to expand your target audience? Find companies that are popular with that demographic and observe their ad features. 

This is not to say that you should brazenly copy their content. However, there are some key items that can give you some helpful hints when creating your ads. 

Do they include testimonials or endorsements? What is the overall tone of their ads? This can help you decide the energy and items that are best to include in your ads. 

In the world of social media, trends are everything. They pop up and explode quickly and are constantly changing. 

Fortunately, TikTok trends are easy to identify. The “Discover” tab can give you instant access to the most trending hashtags. This information is invaluable in creating engaging content.

Use the search capabilities to find companies similar to yours. This is another great way to use the successful strategies of others to inspire your campaign. 

Check out the top content in your brand category. You can also see the most popular users, videos, sounds, and hashtags related to your industry.

Your ultimate goal is to make it to top rankings on the discover page. You can do this with a branded hashtag ad. However, generating creative and engaging content can also earn you this valuable spot.

Creating Engaging Ads

Create engaging TikTok ads

In-Feed Ads

Stopping the scroll is essential in making your ad impactful. You need users to stop and actually engage with your message. Creating unique ads is vital.

The first impression is everything with in-feed ads. You need to capture your audience’s attention within the first one or two seconds of your ad. Make an immediate effort to grab their focus.

Create a bold statement right off the bat. Music and videos should begin playing immediately. The viewer should know within seconds what you’re selling and why they need it.

End your in-feed ad with a memorable call to action. Leave users with a strong and lasting impression of your brand so they seek it out for future purchases. 

Hashtag Challenges

Hashtag challenges are all about inclusivity. You need to create a challenge that users feel they need to be part of for it to be successful. 

Strike the right combination of fun and hip. Make your hashtag about your brand but also flexible enough that users can put their own spin on it. 

Once your hashtag takes off, the goal is for it to continue to spread. A viral hashtag can give you an absolute ton of brand exposure. Be creative with your hashtag so users engage and increase your brand awareness.

Brand Takeovers

These ads launch when users open the app. They are a perfect opportunity to get in front of eyes that can’t scroll over your ad.

However, not being able to scroll through doesn’t necessarily mean that they are paying attention. Knowing this ad will appear when the app launches, many users simply look away and wait to move on to their scrolling. 

Grab their attention with bold graphics and engaging content. This is a good chance to win the click-through. Make it simple for them by providing a link to your external website. 

Branded Effects

These are another great way to get more brand awareness. When users add your branded content to their posts, you gain organic exposure.

Like hashtag challenges, the key here is making users feel like they want to participate in your marketing. For that, it needs to feel fun and hip.

Create a unique filter that users can use just for your brand. Give users access to stickers they can add to their videos. 

Keep it light and fun, but also reflective of your brand. The goal is to encourage users to want to use your effects, but to also increase branding exposure.

Strategically Placing Your Ads

Ad placement is everything. TikTok luckily has smart tools to help you best place your ads. You can also choose to manually place your ad.

When you advertise on TikTok, you also have access to their partners. This means that your ads can also be placed on popular apps like BuzzVideo, News Republic, and more.

Depending on your preferences and objectives, TikTok can strategically place your ad where it will achieve the best performance. By selecting the “Automatic Placement” option, you can take advantage of this information.

Utilize an Influencer

Utilize TikTok influencers

The advent of social media has brought us a whole new marketing tool. Influencers. These social media users have a cult-like following that trusts and values their opinions.

Using an influencer to market your product can give you both credibility and exposure. An astounding 92% of consumers trust an influencer’s word over traditional ads. 

Look for an influencer that makes sense to your brand. You’ll have access to their large audience and their ability to set trends.

Verified users have little blue check marks next to their names on TikTok. Look for an influencer that has plenty of followers but also makes sense for your product and demographic. 

Are you looking to increase sales of your food product? Check out foodie influencers like home chefs and health gurus. 

Trying to increase your brand awareness amongst a younger demographic? A teen influencer popular with the next generation of consumers could catapult your brand’s reputation. 

Your influencer has amassed a large following due to their ability to appeal to viewers. You can trust that they will create authentic and engaging messaging about your brand.

Adjust as Needed

Another awesome feature of TikTok advertising is the ability to track your reach. Nearly real-time feedback and monitoring allow you to clearly see how your ad is doing.

The TikTok dashboard has useful reports to evaluate your campaign. You can delve into metrics, making it easy to adjust your strategy as needed.

The data allows you to clearly see how well your ad is performing day by day. You can also see the number of individual impressions your ads are making.

It’s easy to evaluate the cost per conversion and your budget. This can help you decide how well your campaigns are working from and investment aspect. 

Bonus Tip – Utilize TikTok’s Advice and Tools

You don’t need a beautifully, professionally produced video to make an impact on TikTok. In fact, some of the most simple videos are the most effective. 

Make sure your video is clear and has a high-resolution. Try to keep the important imagery in the center of the screen for easier viewing.

TikTok provides simple guidelines to make creating great videos easy even for those with no experience. Following these and being creative can earn you more impressions and conversions.

The app’s Video Creation tool makes producing your video super easy. It even includes templates and royalty-free music tracks for a one-stop video making shop.

The TikTok Ad Studio app is a great way to make awesome videos from your mobile device. You can shoot, edit, and add effects and transitions, all in one place! 

With these tools and information, TikTok couldn’t have made it easier to get your ad up and running.

Making Marketing Simple

With this evolution in marketing, advertising is ironically made more simple. Taking a holistic approach can help your brand fit right into the TikTok landscape. 

It’s important to not overthink your branding strategy. Think of your brand as a person. What message are you trying to send?

Your presence on TikTok should seem natural, not forced. With the right combination of ads and engagement, you can take advantage of this platform to grow your brand in new and modern ways.

How can you use these TikTok advertising tips to bring new life to your marketing strategy?

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