Advertising on TikTok 2023 – Your Quick Start Guide to Wildly Effective TikTok Ads

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Believe it or not, TikTok is more than just an app where you show off your dancing skills. This popular and highly-downloaded app has proven to be a valuable advertising platform for many businesses.

Here are some facts regarding the platform:

  1. TikTok users are NOT just GenZ'ers. 59% of users are from the Millenial, GenX, and Baby Boomer generations. I'm a Baby Boomer! And I'm on TikTok.

  2. There are MANY unique communities and content niches that are seeing success on TikTok. You will find clothing brands, other apps, services, coaches, transportation companies, restaurants, music industry professionals, and of course influencers.

  3. TikTok is NOT just another social media platform. TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app.

As you can see, TikTok is a great advertising platform. It's definitely not too late for you to get onboard. In this post, I’ll not only show you how to create TikTok ads, but I'll also go over best practices for success with those ads.

apptopia money spent

Why Advertise on TikTok?

If you are skeptical of setting aside funds to advertise on TikTok, you aren't alone. Many businesses aren't pulling the trigger because their target audience isn't part of the younger crowd looking for the latest dance moves. Here are a couple stats for you as you ponder whether or not to start an ad campaign on TickTok.

Factcheck for TikTok:

In order for your TikTok ad campaign to be successful, your audience must be fully engaged. Well, Tiktok users can’t seem to get enough and keep coming back over and over again to the platform.

The data shows that 90% of TikTok users visit the app at least once per day. Your TikTok ad spend is one of the most effective ways of engaging your audience.

Will TikTok Ads Work for Your Business?

While the decision to advertise on TikTok can be extremely powerful, it may not be the right move for every business. Since it’s best for reaching a Gen Z audience, B2C brands that are targeting older generations should move forward with a bit of caution before deciding to use the platform. In addition, TikTok might not have much potential to reach the target audience of B2B companies, but things are changing daily.

Social networking sites tend to be adopted by younger audiences first and then they influence other audiences to come on board. This is exactly what's happening with TikTok.

Their global network offers an immense opportunity for brands who decide to advertise on TikTok. Especially since it's less saturated with ads than other platforms. This could be the opportunity you've been waiting for to justify TikTok ads cost.

Businesses are able to interact directly with verified influencers using TikTok Creators Marketplace (TCM). It was created to connect businesses and influencers. This is a great way to match organic content with your products and services to justify your ad spend.

TikTok Advertising Costs

There is no simple way to calculate the total price of TikTok advertising. Like many paid advertising sites, TikTok advertising uses bidding systems. You can use their bidding system to set specific places for specific audiences. TikTok helps advertisers optimize bids on their TikTok ad by allowing them to adjust bid settings to improve their reach.

Larger businesses such as Nike, Disney, and Grubhub quickly adopted the use of TikTok advertisements to generate huge impressions. As ad networks on the platform are relatively new, they come at premiums that can range from around $80 to $1000 for larger advertising campaigns. A TikTok campaign requires an investment of $500, therefore, it may not be the right solution for you.

TikTok Advertising Best Practices

What's needed to be successful with setting up a TikTok ad account for your business?

First thing is to make sure you create content that's both entertaining and educational (Edu-taining.). TikTok attracts consumers who enjoy engaging, entertaining, and uplifting content.

Here are 5 content ideas that can be used for your TikTok ad:

  1. Start a Challenge

  2. Tease a New Product

  3. Educate Your Audience

  4. Join in on Trends

  5. Teach with Tutorials

Secondly, create consistent posts filled with information that your audience craves. This is vital, as TikTok's algorithm favors consistency and relevancy.

TikTok's ad-ranking is calculated by a combination of advertisement relevance, advertisement quality, and offer price. High quality, relevant ads are displayed more frequently, which means that more people will view your ads on TikTok.

Finally, one thing you cannot do without in your TikTok ad is sound. Whether it's a music track, voiceover, or you talking to the camera - adding audio is a necessity. More than 93% of top-performing videos use audio. In reality, I don't think that I've seen a TikTok video without sound. So, I don't advise you to create a TikTok ad without some kind of sound.

TikTok Advertising Options

TikTok has several ad formats that you can use to get the results you want, according to your objective. TikTok is authenticity-driven. You can advertise nearly everything on TikTok, starting from food delivery and ghost kitchens to clothing brands and beauty products. There are numerous ways to create brand awareness, engagement, and sales and still remain authentic to your mission and goal. I'll go through the list and show you some examples of great TikTok video ads.

Top view ad

Top View TikTok Ads

Top View ads appear in your feeds and are shown as soon as users launch the app. This format is extremely popular and is excellent for branding your ad campaign. TikTok claims that these ad campaigns rank as the first format to engage customers and have an 87% better sales performance compared to most other types.

branded effect ad

Branded Effect TikTok Ads

Unlike Instagram or Snapchat, TikTok provides branded effect ads, which include filters and lenses. These are tailor-made sharable stickers, filters, and special effects. This type of video ad campaign mainly focuses on awareness, rather than traffic and conversion rates. They feature your cool logo fonts and brand image across the medium. 

Spark ads

Spark TikTok Ads

Spark ads offer you the option of using User Generated Content (UGC). The functions have the same quality as promoted posts on a number of platforms and are a step up from In-Feed ads. With this format, you can use your advertising budget for organic content. This ad takes the viewer to your website or landing page.

Unlike Non-Spark Ads (regular In-Feed ads), Spark Ads use posts from real TikTok accounts, which ensures that all views, comments, shares, likes, and follows gained from boosting the video during the promotion are attributed to your organic posts. ~TikTok

branded hashtag ad

Branded Hashtag Challenge TikTok Ads

Hashtags are widely used, so it makes perfect sense to use them in your TikTok advertising. It gives users the opportunity to engage with your brand by creating user-generated content around your campaign theme. Users join the campaign by producing related TikTok videos that use the hashtag you created. Whether it’s a branded term, phrase, or call to action, branded hashtag ads increase social media engagement and brand awareness.

in-feed ad

In-Feed TikTok Ads

These ads appear when a user scrolls through their feed. Full-screen audio advertising blended into native content makes a perfect combination. In-Feed ads are one of the most popular advertising forms on TikTok because users can like, comment, share, follow, and use the same sound in their own video.

lead generation ad

Lead Generation TikTok Ads

TikTok now has a lead generation tool that's similar to Facebook Leads ad. TikTok Leads Generation enables businesses to contact prospects through direct email campaigns inside Tiktok. TikTok's lead generator features include a pre-filled form in which users can submit e-mail, text, telephone number, and other pertinent information that advertisers request.

In partnering with Lead Bridge, you can now transfer the leads you generate in your ad to a CRM tool like ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, etc. The integration provides you with automatic synching between the two platforms.

brand take-over ad

Brand Takeover TikTok Ads

A brand takeover ad will appear immediately when you open the TikTok app, similar to TopView ads. Brand Takeover ads are similar to non-skippable Youtube ads. Since the user doesn't have the ability to like or comment on the ad, its a good idea to combine the brand takeover ads with another ad format for greater reach and engagement.

Shoppable ad

Shoppable TikTok Ads Videos

Shoppable TikTok video ads are similar to Instagram shoppable posts that allow businesses to create branded URLs on TikTok advertising videos and generate revenue for their online store. The advertising options available on Shoppable videos are highly sought-after among eCommerce retailers.

Setting Up Your TikTok Ads Account

To get started with TikTok ads, set up your TikTok advertising account. If you need assistance, here's some help in getting that done.

Once your TikTok ads account is set up, click the Campaign tab in the TikTok Ads dashboard. Now click the Create button.

ad objective

Choose your Campaign Objective

The first step to setting up your TikTok advertising campaign is to set a campaign objective for what your TikTok advertising campaign will do for your brand. What do you want to accomplish with TikTok ads? TikTok breaks down their seven ad objectives into three categories on the TikTok ads dashboard.


Reach: Show your ad to the maximum number of people (in beta).


  • Traffic: Drive traffic to a specific URL.
  • App Installs: Drive traffic to download your app.
  • Video Views: Maximize video ad plays (in beta).
  • Lead Generation: Use a pre-populated Instant Form to collect leads.


  • Conversions: Drive specific actions on your site, like a purchase or subscription.
  • Catalog Sales: Dynamic ads based on your product catalog (in beta, and only available to those with a managed ad account in supported regions).

Set a Budget and Schedule

After choosing your TikTok advertising campaign objective, you'll then schedule when you want the campaign to start. Next, choose the timeframe.

When selecting the dates that the TikTok advertising should run, you can choose specific days in a particular calendar year.

Now, you must decide the budget for your TikTok ads cost. You may choose between Lifetime, a Daily budget, or Minimum budgets.

Then, you decide on the TikTok ad delivery method. You have two choices:

  • Standard delivery methods allocate your budget evenly throughout your ad push.
  • Accelerated delivery means you can spend more advertising dollars in a timely fashion.

Set Creative and Target

TikTok has an automated creative optimizer which automatically generates combinations from your creative assets (images, videos or ads). TikTok advertising formats can be horizontal, vertical, or rectangular, depending on where you place your ads.

If you're feeling uninspired as far as design goes, you can use TikTok's Video Creation Kit. This tool is loaded with various video and image templates plus over 200 free music tracks. You can find the video creation kit inside the TikTok ads dashboard.

Once your ad has been created, the next step is to set a target audience. TikTok allows users to create "custom" or look-alike audiences similar to Facebook. You may further target customers according to demographics, devices, age, and gender.

Create TikTok Ad Groups

Next, create ad groups for your TikTok ad campaign and select the target group. TikTok ads are made up of three components: campaigns, ad groups, and ads.

Creating an ad group lets you choose the exact platforms you want your ad to be displayed on for maximum visibility. It includes all its apps: Vigo Video (India only), BuzzVideo, Buzz Republic, and others. TikTok decides where to display your advertisements.

TikTok advertising also offers automatic placement where TikTok can decide which ads will show best and place them to ensure you reach the target audience you want.

Optional TikTok ad placements are also available. Once you select your preferred placement, enter all the details needed for running your ad, including all applicable URLs, display name, and image description.

custom audience

TikTok Custom Audience

Similar to Facebook, TikTok also uses Custom Audiences to target people who already know about your business or have engaged with you in some way. 

This re-marketing tool helps you reach and interact with repeat customers and increase your following and engagement. You can also use this tool to create lookalike audiences.

A minimum audience size of 1,000 is required to target a custom audience in an ad group.

TikTok Ad Specs

Vertical video ads need to have one of the following aspect ratios: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9. With a minimum resolution of 540 x 960 px or 640 x 640 px. Top performing ads have a video resolution of 720p or higher.

You can use these file types: MP4, MPEG, MOV, or AVI.

Video duration is 5-60 seconds, but top performers use between 21 and 34 seconds. With a max file size of 500 MB.

The description allows for 1-100 characters with no emojis.

Create your TikTok Advertising Campaign

It's pretty simple to create TikTok advertising. Choose your ad format: image, video, or Spark ad. Add photos or video. You can upload your own, a previously created video, or create TikTok advertising videos inside of Ads Manager. You'll be able to use the video template and/or the available video creation tools to create video ads your target audience can't wait to interact with.

Choose a default thumbnail, or upload your own (recommended).

Next, enter your text and link. Preview your ad details on the right of your screen, add relevant tracking links to your TikTok ad details, and then click Submit.

Optimize Your TikTok Ad

Using A/B tests is really the easiest way to determine which TikTok advertising setups will be most successful for you. A/B testing is where you change one element of an ad while keeping everything else the same. Run it from inside TikTok's ad platform and then compare results. 

Optimization tips:

  1. Ensure you have a high-resolution image as it takes over the entire user's screen.

  2. Focus on a single call to action.

  3. Create at least five different creatives for each ad group.

  4. Feature products under $50 for impulse buyers.

  5. Convey your most important message in the first 5 seconds.

Tracking Your TikTok Advertising Campaigns

TikTok has an integrated ad management system which helps you track the effectiveness of your ads, ad budget, and status. You can use the TikTok Pixel to track your ad by inserting the code on your website’s “thank you” page.

As you can see, TikTok's ad platform is extremely powerful and not too saturated yet. It's the perfect place to find and engage with TikTok users who are also part of your target audience.

Now that you see the possibilities for using TikTok ads, are you ready to jump onboard?

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  1. I don't know much about tiktok ads as i am an avid Youtube advertiser, but it sounds like tiktok is something that i should be looking into. My main challenge is creating the video that stands out and gets attention. But i guess it's worth it to learn how to create these engaging videos so that i can increase my business. Great post.

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