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how to advertise on tiktok

How to Advertise on TikTok: Tips and Best Practices for TikTok Ads

TikTok isn’t just home to memes and viral dance challenges. With over 100,000 creators and one billion monthly active users, TikTok has become a platform where brands big and small can advertise to users in engaging and meaningful ways. 

The TikTok advertising landscape is just as diverse as its user base, though, so knowing how to advertise on TikTok is key to finding success on the trendy social media platform. In this post, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of advertising on TikTok.

Looking for more than just a guide to advertising on TikTok? WebFX is social media advertising agency with 25+ years of experience helping clients launch social media campaigns, both organic and paid.

See how WebFX’s social media specialists can help you launch a TikTok ad campaign and more by checking out our TikTok advertising services or giving us a call at 888-601-5359 today!

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What are TikTok ads?

Like other social media platforms, marketers can advertise their brand on TikTok through paid and organic methods. Both TikTok advertising methods have their perks, helping brands gain crucial exposure to a wide audience.

Organic TikTok marketing

Organic TikTok marketing is simple. Businesses can show off their brand and what they do to TikTok’s vast audience by creating videos and posting them on their profile. Whether they’re funny, insightful, or witty, brands can use TikTok to show off their personality and connect with users in a more informal, down-to-earth way.

Paid TikTok ads

Paid TikTok ads are promoted content that brands and creators pay to have shown to specific audiences in high-visibility areas. Paid TikTok ads are managed through TikTok Ads Manager, so you have to have a business account in order to start running them for your business (more on that in a bit).

TikTok ad types

When running paid ads on TikTok, marketers have a variety options to choose from. To run the most effective TikTok ad campaign that achieves your unique marketing goals, it’s important that you understand how each ad type works and where it’ll be seen.

Below is a brief overview of TikTok ad types and where on TikTok you’ll find them:

  • In-feed video ads: These video ads appear throughout users’ feeds on their For You page. Mixed in with organic content, in-feed ads can make a user stop scrolling.
  • TopView ads: TopView ads take over users’ entire screen and appear when the TikTok app first opens. They can last for 5–60 seconds.
  • Shopping ads: TikTok shopping ads appear as videos, catalogs, and live-streams within users’ For You page. Shopping ads feature a sponsored brand and product and include a call to action (CTA) button for users to learn more.

tiktok shopping ad

  • Branded content: Brands can create unique content like stickers, filters, lenses, and more for users to take and use in their own videos. Branded content allows brands to encourage users to interact with their page and spread the word about their brand.
  • Brand takeover: A mix of TopView and in-feed ads, brand takeovers are ads that take up the entire screen for a few seconds before reverting to an in-feed ad.
  • Hashtag challenges: Similar to branded content, hashtag challenges encourage user participation by having them share the hashtag in their own videos. Hashtag challenges can be found on TikTok’s Discovery page.
  • Sponsored influencer content: This TikTok ad allows brands to spread their message through influencer partnerships. In sponsored influencer content, influencers will talk about your brand in their own video that’s promoted as an ad.

tiktok influencer sponsored video

  • Spark ads: Spark ads are great for boosting organic content, appearing in your profile just like other TikToks. Users can duet and stitch Spark ads with their own videos, and they won’t disappear when you stop paying to promote them.
  • Pangle ads: Pangle ads appear as videos, banners, images, app open ads, and more.  They’re placed through the TikTok Audience Network.
  • Image ads: Image ads appear within TikTok’s newsfeed apps — BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, and Babe.
  • Carousel ads: In these ads, brands can include up to 10 images with captions in one ad. Carousel ads are only available in TikTok’s newsfeed app series, BuzzVideo.

How to run TikTok ads

We’ve learned about the different TikTok ad types, but now it’s time to put them into action and start advertising on TikTok. Follow this simple guide on how to run TikTok ads so you can start increasing your brand’s visibility today.

  1. Set up a TikTok business account
  2. Log in to TikTok Ads Manager and create a campaign
  3. Create your Ad Group
  4. Create and submit your ad

1. Set up a TikTok business account

In order to advertise on TikTok, you need to have a business account set up. If you already have a TikTok business account, feel free to skip this step. If not, don’t worry — setting up a business account is easy! Just follow these steps:

  1. Create or log into your personal TikTok account
  2. From your profile, tap the menu icon at the top right of the screen
  3. Select Settings and Privacy
  4. Tap Account
  5. From the options list, select Switch to Business Account
  6. Follow the prompts to describe your business and connect your email to your account

tiktok account settings

Once you’ve done that, you’re all set. You’re now the proud owner of a TikTok business account!

2. Log in to TikTok Ads Manager and create a campaign

Now that you have your TikTok business account, head over to TikTok Ads Manager and log in using your TikTok credentials. Once logged in, select Campaigns from the top menu, and then hit Create.

tiktok ads manager campaign overview

Here, you’ll be prompted to enter Simplified Mode or Custom Mode. Simplified Mode is a more basic program, while Custom Mode offers more complex configurations. Whichever options you choose, the next steps will be similar. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll select Custom Mode.

Before you actually create your TikTok ad, you need to identify your goals for the campaign. Select your advertising objective from the given list of options.

tiktok ads manager advertising objectives

Then, name your campaign and select whether your campaign will fall under any special ad categories. You’ll also have the option on this page to optimize your campaign budget or set a budget

3. Create your Ad Group

Now that your campaign is in place, it’s time to create your Ad Group. TikTok Ad Groups are where you’ll set ad placement, audiences, etc. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves! First, name your Ad Group. Then tap on Advanced Settings and identify whether you’ll allow users to comment on, share, or download your video(s) once it’s launched.

Next, identify your target audience by selecting different demographics like age range, gender, location, and more. Then, select your Content Exclusions (shown as inventory tiers). In a nutshell, Content Exclusions rate your ad(s) based on whether it shows graphic or violent content. This selection will determine where on For You pages your ad(s) will be shown.

Once you’ve hammered out those details, it’s time to dive into your budget. Set your daily ad budget and identify how long you want your ad(s) to run. Finally, set your bidding and optimization settings. Here, you’ll indicate how much you’ll bid per metric.

4. Create and submit your ad

Time for the fun part! Now that you’ve got all the details in place for your TikTok ad campaign and Group, it’s time to upload the content for your ad. You’ll also write your caption and select your identity (whether you want the ad to show your display name or your brand’s handle).

Finally, set your destination page, the place you want your ad to take users who interact with it. If you want your ad to take users to an external site outside of TikTok, you’ll be prompted to enter the URL. If users will be staying on TikTok, select Instant Page to link to an in-app page.

Once you’ve made those selections, you’ll have the option to track events on your website, app, or other third-party sites associated with your ad(s).

After that, you’re all done! Submit your ad(s) for TikTok review. Ads are typically reviewed and launched within 24 hours.

TikTok advertising best practices

Finally, we want to leave you with some TikTok advertising best practices to get you started with your next TikTok ad campaign, including a tip from one of WebFX’s social media experts! 

Set clear campaign goals

Our first best practice comes from WebFX’s Director of Social & Media Advertising, Hunter Nicholson:

Expert insights from

hunter headshot
Hunter Nicholson WebFX’s Dir. of Social & Media Advertising

The most important element of creating a strategy for launching TikTok ads is to know what your goals are and how you can utilize TikTok campaigns to align with those targets. With such a wide variety of users on the platform and trends that frequently pop up, it’s important to keep those goals top of mind and find ways to tap into different methods of reaching them with different ad tests, video formats, etc.

Setting goals is an important part of any digital marketing strategy, but it’s especially important for TikTok. When planning your TikTok advertising strategy, set SMART goals for yourself, or goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Understand your audience

Another TikTok advertising best practice to keep in mind when launching a TikTok ad campaign is to understand the audience you’re trying to reach with your ads. As Hunter said, there’s a wide variety of users on the platform. That means it’s important that you effectively target the audience segments most important to your brand.

The best way to do this is to gather and analyze customer and user data from TikTok, your website, and other channels to better understand your audience. From how they interact with your brand online to when they’re active, getting to know your audience will help you fine-tune your TikTok advertising campaign so it can reach your target audience.

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Grow your TikTok presence with WebFX

When it comes to social media advertising, WebFX is second to none. With over 25 years of experience, 50 awards, and 350+ client reviews on Clutch, WebFX is a social media marketing agency you can trust to help you grow your brand presence on TikTok and beyond.

See what all the hype is about for yourself by checking WebFX’s TikTok advertising services, or contact us online today to learn more!

Expert insights from

hunter headshot
Hunter Nicholson WebFX’s Dir. of Social & Media Advertising

The most important element of creating a strategy for launching TikTok ads is to know what your goals are and how you can utilize TikTok campaigns to align with those targets. With such a wide variety of users on the platform and trends that frequently pop up, it’s important to keep those goals top of mind and find ways to tap into different methods of reaching them with different ad tests, video formats, etc.

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