How To Advertise on TikTok—An In-Depth Guide

Sep 15, 2023

How To Advertise on TikTok—The Ultimate Guide on TikTok Ads

If you’re getting started using TikTok for business, one of the main questions you may have is how to advertise on TikTok. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is an excellent marketing tool, and it’s not only because of its potential to drive organic reach with absorbing content. Paid ads on TikTok are another way to put a spotlight on your business. Successful brands on TikTok have been using paid advertising options ever since 2019 when TikTok launched a beta version of ads. You may think that advertising on TikTok is reserved for brands that are yet to attract their first followers, but that’s far from the truth. Even big names, such as Nike and Apple Music, use TikTok’s advertising potential to promote their campaigns. Regardless of the platform’s reach, not every business will benefit from the same ad type—TikTok advertising is quite complex. In this article, we’re bringing you actionable tips on how to run ads on TikTok and level up your marketing strategy.

What To Be Aware of Before Starting a Paid Ad Campaign on TikTok

Source: ROBIN WORRALLBefore starting an ad campaign on TikTok, you should clearly determine the following:

  • Your specific objectives—Is your main goal expanding your audience or increasing conversion rates? TikTok ads will guide you through a couple of steps which include goal setting, but you should think of it beforehand
  • Target demographics—Whether your target audience is on TikTok or not is not the main question—they probably are. Still, for some demographic groups, TikTok might be a more natural fit than for others. According to statistics, TikTok advertising works best for brands that target young adults—more than 80% of TikTok's global audience is under the age of 40
  • Your budget—TikTok ads give you the opportunity to set your budget beforehand. You can set the maximum amount you are willing to spend on your campaign per day or for its overall duration, so make sure to consider it in advance based on the price range

TikTok Ad Types

Source: Josh RoseTikTok provides you with plenty of advertisement options, and you need to choose which of the following will fit your budget, resonate with your target audience the most, and communicate your brand’s message the best. Here are several options you can choose:

  1. In-feed ads
  2. Brand takeovers
  3. Top-view ads
  4. Branded effects
  5. Hashtag challenges
  6. Sponsored influencer content

In-Feed Ads

Source: Glenn Carstens-PetersIn-feed ads are TikTok paid ads that allow you to create a video of up to 60 seconds long to auto-play on the For You feed, just like other organic content. In-feed ads are used for many different campaign objectives—as each in-feed ad has a CTA button, brands use them to increase traffic to their external landing page, app download pages, or their TikTok account.

Brand Takeovers

Source: S O C I A L . C U TA brand takeover is a full-screen ad that pops up as a three-second still image or an up to five-second-long GIF immediately as the user launches TikTok. They’re usually linked to the brand's landing page or a TikTok hashtag challenge. Similar to the top-view ads, this type of ad might lead to better conversion rates since the entire screen is clickable. The format of this ad grabs the user’s attention and reduces the impact of other videos in the feed.Just one of the names that benefited from brand takeover ads is the makeup brand Too Faced, which advertised their Lip Injection lip gloss this way, generating 7.6 million impressions and 1.3 million clicks as a result of the campaign.

Top-View Ads

Source: Austin DistelTop-view ads appear on the For You page as the first in-feed post within the first three seconds of launching the app. These ads can also be up to 60 seconds long and offer an absorbing viewing experience, isolated from the competing content. Their specific position guarantees increased engagement, a wider reach, and more impressions. According to a TikTok-commissioned study, 71% of users say that this type of ads grabs their attention. One of the brands that used top-view ads and had great success with its campaigns is Balenciaga. Apart from garnering a total of 25 million video views, these ads also persuaded the brand’s audience into exploring the brand further—over 4.5 million clicks to their landing page prove it.

Branded Effects

TikTok branded effects allow brands to show their creative side in a unique way by making all kinds of filters and stickers that other users can use when making their own content. They are often incorporated into hashtag challenges (with users applying the branded effect to their videos and responding to a challenge prompt), leading to tons of user-generated content that can do wonders for brand exposure.An example of excellent branded effect use is the challenge started by the Mucinex team, which inspired numerous Gen-Zers to participate. This brand created a branded effect using its mascot and prompted TikTok users to make videos with the #BeatTheZombieFunk hashtag via collaborations with popular TikTok creators like tWitch. tWitch

Hashtag Challenges

A hashtag challenge is an excellent way for brands to go viral as it encourages user-generated content and achieves a level of engagement that goes far beyond a click. They take different placements within the app:

  • Standard videos placed within the feed
  • Clickable banners on the Discover page
  • Hashtag challenge page that banners lead to, which contains all videos created using the hashtag

A great example of a successful hashtag challenge is the Universal Pictures #FindYourMagic challenge that started as a means of promoting the movie The House with the Clock on the Walls. The brand was inspired by the videos featuring magic tricks and illusions, which were popular at the time, so they launched a hashtag challenge that tackles the theme of the movie in question and allows users to interpret it in their own ways. The challenge generated over 1.3 million likes and over 9,000 pieces of user-generated content.

Sponsored Influencer Content

Considering that TikTok rewards its best-performing content creators through the TikTok Creator Fund, it’s no wonder that this platform abounds with influencers ready to collaborate with all kinds of brands.TikTok influencer content is one of the most popular forms of advertising on the platform. Brands partner with TikTok influencers who create custom sponsored content featuring the brand’s products or services on the influencer’s TikTok account. Today, with the TikTok video length extended to 3 minutes, the opportunities to get creative are endless for both brands and creators who aim at becoming famous, like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae Easterling.Why is TikTok influencer marketing so good for brands? If you strategically pick the influencer who will advertise your product, i.e., opt for the one whose target audience overlaps with yours, the videos they make will expand your reach and likely generate more sales.Take an example of Walmart—even though they are one of the biggest retail brands, they are still taking TikTok marketing quite seriously, working with influencers of all sizes. Michael LeIf you decide to try out influencer marketing on TikTok, here’s how their prices usually range:Influencer CategoryNumber of FollowersPrice per PostNano-influencers1–10,000$5–$25Micro-influencers10,000–50,000$25–$125Mid-tier influencers50,000–500,000$125–$1,250Macro-influencers500,000–1,000,000$1,250–$2,500Mega-influencersMore than 1 million More than $2,500

How TikTok Ads Work

Source: ANGELA FRANKLINAny brand using TikTok For Business has an opportunity to easily create, manage, and track the performance of its ads. You get to choose the mode in which you’d like to manage your ads:

  • Simplified mode—Choosing this mode, you get a more straightforward approach to ad creation and management, which lets TikTok's algorithm do the most based on the objectives you select (e.g., website conversions, app installs, lead generation, or others), letting you focus on your other business tasks
  • Custom mode—Those who opt for the custom approach get more advanced options for managing their ads, such as A/B testing, combining ads, etc.

You can switch between different modes anytime.

How To Set Up Your Campaign

Source: John SchnobrichTo set up your ad campaign on TikTok, follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for a TikTok For Business account
  2. Log in, click on the Campaign button, and choose your objective
  3. Name your campaign (up to 512 characters) and set your budget
  4. Name your ad group and select ad placements
  5. Choose whether you want TikTok to automatically generate combinations of your images, videos, and ad text
  6. Target your audience based on gender, location, age, or other parameters
  7. Set the budget and schedule for individual ad groups
  8. Select your bidding strategy and optimization goals
  9. Import your ads or create them or create them within Ads Manager
  10. Check out the previews, add tracking links, and submit your ads

TikTok Ad Review Process

Source: charlesdeluvioWhile most of the steps in TikTok ad creation are self-explanatory, with TikTok walking you through the process with no fuss, the review of your ads might require further explanation. After your ad has been submitted, it usually takes 24 hours for TikTok to review it. If you want to ensure this process isn’t unnecessarily prolonged, check out if your landing page the ad will lead to and the ad itself are compatible with all relevant TikTok policies. You can use the following checklist of what you should pay attention to:Your Landing PageYour Ad

  • Functionality and mobile-friendliness
  • Delivery of what’s featured in the ad
  • Language—it should match the targeted region
  • No automatic downloads

What Is the Cost of Advertising on TikTok?

On TikTok, you don’t need millions of followers to reach millions of people—TikTok is all about equal opportunities for good organic content, but this doesn’t mean that you can achieve success effortlessly. Brands still need to invest considerable resources into their marketing strategies, so every aspect of it is covered. Bear in mind the advertising prices and the minimum budget amounts for campaigns and ad groups. To ensure brands reach their ad objectives, TikTok sets a minimum daily budget for each—$50 for campaigns and $20 for ad groups. While TikTok is not entirely transparent with its prices before you start setting up your campaign, here’s how the platform’s advertising costs break down generally:Ad TypePriceBrand takeovers$50,000 per dayIn-feed ads$10 per impressionHashtag challenges$150,000 per six daysCustom influencer packages$10–$10,000 (varies widely based on the specific influencer’s rates)Branded effects$45,000 per 30 days

Choosing the Right Strategy on TikTok Can Be Challenging

Source: Gilles LambertUsing TikTok for business isn’t as simple as it might seem, considering the cheerful and dynamic nature of the platform. Figuring out how to go viral on TikTok or how to get TikTok famous isn’t a simple task, regardless of whether you’re currently focused on expanding your reach organically or via paid advertising. Not having enough experience and expertise in social media often results in failed social media strategies in spite of large investments, and some brands become reluctant to make new ones. If your efforts are not paying off, you are probably doing something wrong. Before you go any further with your new TikTok strategy, make sure you’re aware of the most common strategic pain points for brands.

The Biggest TikTok Marketing Challenges

Brands using TikTok for business tend to repeat the mistakes that commonly lead to unproductive marketing strategies. Here’s what they fail at:

  • Understanding the complexity of social media marketing—Some brands don’t realize how much time, resources, and data analysis are required for fruitful social media marketing campaigns. A good social media marketing campaign requires persistent work that will result in consistently good content that brings value rather than occasional fun videos
  • Hiring teams with required expertise—A campaign handled by one person or a small in-house team is unlikely to bring the desired results. High-quality campaigns come from joint efforts of large teams with diverse points of view
  • Executing ideas—Brands whose social media content doesn’t perform as expected do not necessarily lack a theoretical understanding of social media marketing. Mistakes are often made at the execution stage and range from failing to translate ideas into actual content pieces successfully to choosing the right influencers for paid advertising campaigns
  • Following the right social media trends—Trends on socials constantly change, and not everyone is aware of how to make use of the latest fad. Without professional help, some brands may insist on following those TikTok trends that don’t have the same echo as they did a couple of months ago, and others may struggle with recognizing the trends they would benefit from

Kubbco Can Help You Make the Right Choices

Source: AbsolutVisionThe majority of issues in a brand’s approach to TikTok stem from not being aware of how TikTok marketing operates and hiring teams that lack the necessary knowledge and experience.TikTok is much different from other socials and requires its own approach. To get followers and eventually make money off of it, you have to engage a team that excels in everything from data analysis to content production and advertising. Kubbco is a social media agency with a wide range of expertise in social media marketing, and we can help you reach your TikTok goals. Here’s what services we provide:

  • Data analysis—We analyze your target audience’s interests and common opinions based on their social media use to come up with the right type of content for your marketing campaign
  • Community management—We handle your social media interactions to get your brand into important conversations on socials and expand your audience
  • Content production—Kubbco’s team consists of different content experts, from content writers, photographers, and directors to graphic designers, video producers, animators, etc. We can create all kinds of content you’d like to center your strategy around
  • Paid advertising—Not all types of paid advertising work for every brand. Just because some of them did wonders for certain brands, it doesn’t mean it’s what you should opt for, too. We can direct you toward the right type of paid advertising and manage all steps of your paid campaign

Our Client’s Successful TikTok Marketing Campaigns

Source: OLAPLEXVarious big names have reached out to us wishing to transform their TikTok marketing approach, increase engagement, and grow their business. During our five-week collaboration with the haircare brand OLAPLEX, we created 28 videos which resulted in 5.1 million views altogether.Other brands we created TikTok strategies for, such as essence cosmetics, Matas, and NATURLI’ Foods, have also seen their TikTok stats go through the roof—here’s what we achieved together:ClientCollaboration TimespanVideos PostedFollowers GainedTotal InteractionsTotal ViewsViral Videosessence cosmetics2 years 2 months556386,0007.1 million73 million12Matas8 weeks2513,500209,0005.6 million8NATURLI’ Foods23 weeks1125,200179,0006.2 million20Regardless of whether you are yet to get started on TikTok or you’re looking for some fresh ideas to spice up your existing strategy, reach out to Kubbco anytime. You can also sign up for our newsletter and keep track of the latest social media news from your inbox.

Caroline Dan
TikTok Specialist & Content Creator

I create viral TikToks for brands.

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