How to Promote Your Business Using TikTok Ads – A Step-by-Step Guide

TikTok’s growth has been astronomical. The short-form video platform announced in September 2021 through a blog post that one billion people use TikTok every month.

That means, with about 7.9 billion individuals on this Earth, about a billion regularly consume TikTok content, including TikTok ads, dancing videos, viral (and dangerous) challenges, and sometimes, even educational content.

Many people relied on TikTok for entertainment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the social networking service, according to DataTrek Research, saw the most significant surge on Google and it surpassed other popular social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.

When TikTok was first introduced, the usage was highest among 13 to 17-year-old individuals, and it was known as the realm specifically made for Gen Z.

With so many young Tiktok influencers like Addison Rae, Charli D’amelio, and Bella Poarch rising to fame, many people have the perception that the app is strictly for Generation Z. However, the age range of users and creators on TikTok is increasing.

From parents sharing parenting tips to grandparents doing fun challenges – you will now find people of all age ranges consuming and creating content on TikTok.

Here is a breakdown of the distribution of TikTok users in the US as of March 2021:

The Rise of Paid TikTok Ads

TikTok is currently available in 154 countries, making it an excellent opportunity for brands to harness the purchasing power of the platform’s growing Millennial and Gen Z audience and raise their following, brand awareness, brand loyalty, sales, and much more.

A survey conducted by Adweek reported that approximately 49% of TikTok users (including 36% of Generation Z and 15% of all adults) purchased an item after seeing it being promoted, advertised, or reviewed on TikTok.

Due to TikTok’s popularity, more and more brands are finding their groove on the platform by engaging in viral challenges, recruiting trendy influencers, and making short, humorous videos to promote their products.

However, it is not just organic content that is on the rise – several brands have now jumped to use paid TikTok ads to take advantage of the audience. Whether the objective is to increase sales, grow user following, or push their content to a broader audience, it is evident that TikTok is a fantastic place to do so.

Users, especially younger ones, are accustomed to consuming content with little to no advertising. With TikTok, marketers can sneak in an advertisement in such a manner that it doesn’t make TikTokers immediately shut the app. Sometimes, individuals don’t even realize that they are watching ads!

Unlike ads on Facebook and YouTube, the ads on TikTok appear just like regular videos, except they are made by companies. As a result, they grab the attention of the users.

TikTok allows brands to target users based on different parameters. While targeting the audience on TikTok is not as profound as on Facebook, it still enables marketers to apply the following filters:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geo-location
  • Interests
  • Custom Audiences: This will allow you to blacklist or whitelist specific profiles. You can ensure that your ad reaches the right people through this option.

TikTok Controversies

Before deciding to leverage TikTok ads, consider the controversies surrounding TikTok.

The app is currently banned in Bangladesh and Indonesia due to “inappropriate and pornographic content.” In addition, other countries like Armenia, Pakistan, and Azerbaijan have implemented certain restrictions, and the application is continuously monitored.

Former U.S President Donald Trump considered TikTok a threat to national security. TikTok and other Chinese-based applications are also currently banned in India due to national security issues.

The censorship of TikTok has led to TikTok-clone applications taking over the market share. Despite that, the platform is still one of the fastest-growing apps globally.

Types of TikTok Ads

Now that we know more about how beneficial TikTok can be, here is a list of the different types of TikTok ad campaigns that you can run on the app:

1.In-feed Ads

These are self-service ads you can create yourself through the TikTok Ads Manager interface.

In-feed ads appear on users’ feeds as they scroll through the videos. These ads blend nicely with TikTok’s user-generated videos but are still marked as sponsored.

Users can also like, comment, share, and download your in-feed ad videos as they do with other regular videos. Hence, if your content is interesting, engaging, and creative enough, running the ad can easily make your video viral.

Through the TikTok Ads Manager interface, you can easily create an in-feed ad, which can help you increase brand awareness, grow your reach, and get more followers.
Recommended TikTok Ad Specs for In-feed Ads

Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9
File type: .mp4, .mpeg, .mov, .avi, or .3gp
File size: ≤500 MB
Duration: 5-60 seconds are allowed; however, 9-15 second videos are suggested
Description: 1-100 characters (Latin) and 1-50 characters (Asian)

2.Image Ads

These ads run only in TikTok’s News Feed Apps (BuzzVideo, News Republic, TopBuzz, Pangle, and Babe). Image Ads must contain

  • A creative image
  • Brand or app name
  • Ad description

Recommended TikTok Ad Specs for Image Ads


Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9
File type: .JPG or .PNG
Max file size: No restrictions, ≤500 KB is recommended
Description: 12-100 characters (Latin) and 6-50 characters (Asian)

3.News Feed App Series Video Ads

Like Image Ads, News Feed App Series Video Ads are also available for the TikTok News Feed Apps.

Recommended TikTok Ad Specs for News Feed App Series Video Ads

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 1:1
  • File type: .mp4, .mpeg, .mov, 3gp, or .gif
  • File size: ≤500 MB
  • Duration: No restrictions; however, videos of 5-60 seconds are suggested
  • Description: 12-100 characters (Latin) and 6-50 characters (Asian)

4.Spark Ads

These unique ads allow your business to boost organic content using

  • Your own TikTok account’s posts
  • Posts made by other users (with their authorization)

Spark Ads include a CTA of your choice, account name, audio, and caption. Users will also be able to like, comment on, and share your posts.

Recommended TikTok Ad Specs for Spark Ads

  • There are no restrictions on video resolution and duration, file type and size, and ad ratio.
  • Emojis and account mentions are allowed.

5.Pangle Ads

Pangle Ads are placed using TikTok Ads Manager, which uses intelligent image resizing to ensure that your pictures meet the size requirements for Pangle Ads.

However, these ads are available in limited countries, such as UAE, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Cambodia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Similar to Carousel Ads on Facebook, these ads run only in TikTok’s News Feed apps and include up to 10 images with unique captions.

6.Playable Ads

Playable Ads are interactive videos that allow users to interact with a preview of your app before downloading it. The users will be able to experience your app by swiping or tapping on your playable ad.

7.Top-View Ads

These ads capture users’ attention by appearing at the top of their “For You Page” (FYP) when they open the TikTok app.

Top-View ads can be up to 60 seconds long and are perfect for increasing brand awareness.

8.Branded Hashtag Challenge

Hashtags on TikTok help the audience find videos that they are interested in.

When hashtags are used in challenges, they prompt people to participate by recording videos of themselves doing a particular action. Sometimes there are prizes involved, but most of the time, it is just for fun.

When a business sponsors a hashtag challenge, it is known as a Branded Hashtag Challenge. It is a fantastic way to increase engagement and increase brand awareness.

One of the most unique and effective TikTok ads examples was that of Maybelline. Maybelline came up with a Branded Hashtag Challenge on TikTok called #Maybeli. The multinational company came up with their own music video and song called “MẤY BÉ LÌ.” The goal of the challenge was to empower women.

Watch here.

9.Branded Effect

Branded effects consist of stickers, filters, customizable filters, and other special effects to get the audience to interact with your brand.

How to Set Up A TikTok Ad Campaign – A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Step 1: Create a TikTok Ads Manager Account

If you want to set up a TikTok ad campaign, you must create a TikTok Ads Manager account.

However, if you just want to boost existing content, you can directly do that via TikTok Promote.

Here is how you can set up your TikTok Ads Manager account:

  1. Click here to start the registration process.
  2. Fill in your details and hit the “Sign Up” button.
  3. TikTok will then send you a verification code to your phone number or email address. Check your spam folder if you haven’t received it after 30 seconds.
  4. Select your country/region, industry, business name, time zone, phone number, and currency, then click on “Register.”
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Step 2: Know your Objectives

After making your TikTok Ads Manager account, click on the Campaign button.

Before setting up your TikTok ad campaign, you have to set the objective. For example, do you want people to download your application? Subscribe to your newsletter? Follow your social media pages? Buy your products and services?

TikTok Ads Manager has categorized the objectives into three categories:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

Following is the breakdown of the objectives you can choose from:

Awareness

Reach: The perfect choice if you want to increase your brand awareness. By selecting reach as your ad objective, you will be able to showcase your ad to a considerable number of people.

Consideration

Traffic: With this objective, you will be able to drive people to any destination on your application or website, such as a blog post, landing page, survey, etc.

App Installs: With this option, you will be able to send TikTokers directly to the app store/play store, where they can check out your app’s ratings, reviews, and descriptions and download your app.

Video Views: Maximize your videos’ views by targeting users who are most likely to view them.

Lead Generation: This option will allow you to get your customers’ contact information and other details directly on the app.

Conversions

Conversion ads will encourage the audience to complete a particular task on your website, such as purchasing an item, subscribing to your newsletter, or adding an item to their cart.

Which Objective is Right for My TikTok Ad Campaign?

Following are some of the questions that can help you identify your goals and priorities:

  • What are your business goals?
  • Think about your target market – do they know about your business? If not, Reach might be your objective.
  • Do you want your customers to learn more about your business? Traffic, Video Views, or App Installs might be the right objective.
  • Do they already know about your brand and are thinking about making a purchase? Go for Conversions.
  • Do you want customers to know about your brand, its unique selling points, and your brand personality? Go for Video Views.
  • Do you want to increase brand recall? Reach is one of the most effective sources, even for well-known brands.
  • Are you launching a new product or service? Awareness and Consideration campaigns will work well and generate the groundwork for future
  • Conversion campaigns.
  • What is your budget?

Step 3: Create your Ad Group

After creating an account and picking your objective, it is time for you to create your ad group.

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Add your display name, upload an image for your profile, and specify how you want the audience to interact with your ads.

After that, select your ad placement. Auto-placement is the perfect option for beginners, as the platform itself will test different options and see what will work best for your users.

With the manual placement option, you can place your ad within TikTok on the NewsFeed apps, such as BuzzVideo, Babe, News Republic, and TopBuzz.

You can also use certain brand safety features – for instance, blocking your ad from appearing on a particular website.

Other than that, you can decide whether you want users to be able to comment or not comment on your ad. You can also determine whether you want the audience to be able to download your ad on TikTok.

Step 4: Select Your Target Audience

TikTok Ads allow you to choose the exact audience you want your advertisements to be displayed to.

A survey conducted by AboutAds asked individuals if they would like to see ads for random products or products relevant to their interests. 40.5% of the people chose the latter, while 27.6% said they were all right with both. Thus, targeting the right audience is critical.

As mentioned above, TikTok allows users to select the target audience for their ad campaigns. Thus, for your ads, you can set different parameters such as

Gender: Male, Female
Age: 13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+
Location: Country/Region, State/Province, City, and Metro Areas.
Languages: Based on the language of their app
Interests: For example, skincare, fashion, gaming, sports, etc.
Behaviors:

  • Video Behaviors: Includes viewing, liking, commenting, and sharing content by category, for instance, “beauty,” “food, “sports,” etc.
  • Creator Interactions: Includes viewing or following creator profiles by category, e.g., “fashion,” “travel,” “DIY,” etc.

Devices:

  • Connection Type: 2G, 3G, 4G, or WiFi
  • Operation System: Android or iOS
  • Device Model
  • Device Price
  • Mobile Phone Carrier

Step 5: Set The Budget

The budget is the total amount that you want to spend running ads. On TikTok, you will find two types of TikTok ads budgets:

  • Lifetime budget
  • Daily budget

1.Lifetime Budget

It is the maximum amount you want to spend on an ad group or campaign during the entire defined period of your ad.

2.Daily Budget

It is the maximum you want to spend on an ad group or campaign per day.

Minimum Budget

It is the minimum amount required when setting up both a daily or lifetime budget.

Campaign Level Minimum Budget:

Daily Budget: Must exceed 50 USD
Lifetime Budget: Must exceed 50 USD

Ad Group Level Minimum Budget:

Daily Budget: Must exceed 20 USD
Lifetime Budget: It is calculated by multiplying the daily budget by the number of days scheduled.

For example, if the ad is scheduled for 10 days, the minimum ad group budget would be 20 USD x 10 days = 200 USD.

Note: Once your campaign is published, you cannot change the budget type.

To learn more about TikTok’s budgets, click here.

TikTok’s Ads Credit Program

After TikTok’s “Back-to-Business Program,” which provided TikTok ads credit to support small businesses, the platform has now introduced the “TikTok Promotional Credit Program for Shopify.”

This program is currently only available in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia.

Shopify store-owners who sign up for a new TikTok Ads Manager account from the TikTok on Shopify meet the eligibility requirements for this newly-introduced program.

Furthermore, with this program, merchants will receive promotional TikTok ads credit after they’ve spent the following threshold within 14 days of registering their TikTok Ads Manager account:

UK: Spend 74 GBP and receive TikTok ad credit of 74 GBP.
US: Spend 100 USD and receive TikTok ad credit of 100 USD.
​AU: Spend 129 AUD and receive TikTok ad credit of 129 AUD.
CA: Spend 127 CAD and receive TikTok ad credit of 127 CAD.

Learn more about TikTok Promotional Credit Program for Shopify.

Step 6: Set up Your Ad

First and foremost, enter the name you want to call your ad. The ad name you add is only for your reference and helps distinguish that particular ad from your other ads. It is not a part of your actual ad.

After that, pick your ad format. TikTok currently supports only video ads, while the News Feed apps support both video and image ads.

The next step is to add media, which you can upload using three options:

  1. Add from Computer: Access media directly from your computer.
  2. Add from Assets: Upload media from previous ads.
  3. Create a Video: This will provide you with two options to select from: “Use Video Template” and “Smart Video.”

Video Template:

Allows you to create video ads by selecting an existing template and uploading your images, logos, and text. For more information, refer to TikTok’s Video Creation Kit.

Smart Video:

This option will automatically analyze your media and create videos for you.

The next step is to choose a thumbnail to grab the audience’s attention. TikTok allows you to upload your own thumbnail. You can also pick your thumbnail from the pre-selected images from your video ad.

Step 7: Enter Other Elements

Once you are done with the above steps, it is time for you to add other elements that will be displayed with your video ad, such as

1.Display Name:

Ensure that your display name is consistent with your company, brand, website/app, or the product that is being promoted.

2.Text:

This text is a part of your ad and will be displayed to your audience to provide them with a brief of what you are marketing.

3.CTA (Call-to-Action):

This tells users what you would like them to do when they come across your ad. Following is the list of some of the CTAs that you can include:

  • Shop Now
  • View Now
  • Experience Now
  • Install Now
  • Watch Now
  • Apply Now
  • Download
  • Subscribe
  • Visit Store
  • Contact Us
  • Learn More
  • Read More
  • Click Here

4.Profile Image:

Your profile image will be shown to the audience as part of your ad.

5.URL:

Add the URL of your website or any other link that you want to drive the traffic to through your TikTok ad. This option, however, is only available with specific ad objectives.

Step 8: Preview Your Ad

Before publishing your ad, you need to preview it. TikTok does not have any additional charges and allows you to preview your ads conveniently.

While previewing your ad, keep in mind the following notes:

  • Only approved advertisements can be previewed.
  • You can only preview your ad for 10 minutes. After that, you have to restart the preview process.
  • Ensure that where you are previewing your ad is consistent with the targeting area of your ad. For Instance, if you are targeting the UK with your ads, then the preview device needs to be in the UK. If you’re not present in the exact location while previewing your ad, we recommend using VPN.
  • If you’re previewing “App Installs,” then you need to use a device that contains the destination app store. For example, if your app is on Play Store, use an Android.

For more information on how to preview ads on TikTok, click here.

Step 9: Include Tracking URLs

After previewing your TikTok ad campaign, add TikTok Pixel or any other relevant third-party tracking links to track the performance of your ad.

TikTok Pixel:


It collects data through web browsers, such as

  1. Ad information: Data about the ad the user has clicked on.
  2. Timestamp: This determines different actions, for example, when a website/page was viewed, when a product/service was purchased, etc.
  3. User Agent: This determines the TikTok user’s device model, operating system, browser, etc.
  4. IP Address: This determines the user’s geographic location.

For more information about TikTok Pixel, click here.

Supported Third-Party Tracking Partners


Following is a list of supported third-party tracking partners:

  • Adbrix
  • Adform
  • Adjust
  • AppsFlyer
  • AppMetrica
  • Branch
  • Double Click
  • FlashTalking
  • F.O.X
  • Kochava
  • myTracker
  • Party
  • Singular
  • Sizmek
  • Tenjin

For more information regarding TikTok’s supported tracking third parties, click here.

After you’re done with all the above steps, create your ad by clicking the submit button. Congratulations! Your ad is now live.

Or Use TikTok Promote to Boost Existing Content

We’re sure you’ve heard of Facebook and Instagram boost; TikTok Promote is the equivalent of that. It allows anyone aged 18 and above to promote their existing content.

Here is how you can boost your existing TikTok content:

  • Go on your TikTok profile, and click on the three-line icon located on the right side of your profile.
  • Now that you’re in the settings option, click on Creator tools.
  • Click on Promote.
  • Select the video that you want to promote.
  • Choose your objective.
  • Choose your target audience, set your budget and duration, and click Next.
  • Enter your payment information and then click on Start Promotion.

3 TikTok Tips Everyone Needs to Know

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, TikTokers base their content on what’s trending. The trends change rapidly – what’s hot one week might not necessarily be popular the next – and to end up on the FYP organically, the key is to jump on the trends as soon as possible.

Unlike Instagram, you don’t have to photoshop the pictures or come across as “perfect.” In fact, TikTok actually embraces imperfection and authenticity.

Thus, here are a few helpful tips you need to consider for your TikTok ads:

1.Be Human

According to Forbes, Generation Z consumers appreciate authenticity and want to trust the brand they wish to purchase from. They also like knowing what the brand stands for.

Thus, instead of being a content farm, create content that is funny, imperfect, authentic, weird, but mostly human.

Let’s take the example of Duolingo, a language-learning website and app. Duolingo’s TikTok has recently gone viral and has gained millions of views and followers in the past few months. This is mainly due to Duolingo’s mascot, which has now become a fan-favorite, playful, and chaotic character.

Zaria Parvez, the 23-year-old social media coordinator, started creating TikTok videos for Duolingo in September of 2021. As a result, the mascot now has his own personality: one that thirsts over Dua Lipa, is a Taylor Swift stan, and bashes on Google Translate.

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2.Pay More Attention to Sound

Sound has always been a massive part of TikTok, and other social media platforms, such as Instagram Reels, are starting to pay more attention to it.

On TikTok, the audio (music, sounds, and voice effects) can be an integral part of the video or the punchline for a joke. For instance, one of the TikTok ads examples is that of Fisker Inc.

You might have seen one of their advertisements marked as sponsored on your TikTok FYP. The Fisker Inc ad uses a sound that recently went viral on TikTok. The TikTok ad also currently has 4.3 million views.

According to a Kantar Report on how brands drive impact and make noise with sounds on TikTok, approximately 88% of the users said sounds are essential to the overall TikTok experience.

According to the same report, 73% of the users also reported that they “stop and look” at TikTok ads if they contain audio effects.

3.Interact

Commenting on a post on social media platforms can often feel like you’re just shouting into the void. However, you will not find it to be the same case on TikTok.

TikTok is one of those platforms where commenting and interacting are encouraged.

Interacting with the audience and other brands is encouraged for brands and businesses, especially those just getting started, as it helps them build a community online.

If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok recently, you might have noticed that several brands and influencers have started commenting and interacting with other brands, influencers, and viral videos.

They also actively use their top comments to make new content for their feeds.

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3 TikTok Ads Examples

Executing a successful campaign can be pretty challenging, especially in an industry where there is a lot of competition. However, the right amount of competition can actually spark creativity and innovation.

Thus, to inspire creative thinking, here are three great TikTok ads examples:

1.McDonald’s

In 2021, McDonald’s celebrated its 50th anniversary in Australia. The fast-food company wanted to connect with existing customers and re-engage old customers who may have stopped purchasing from the brand.

Thus, to achieve those objectives, McDonald’s came back with its iconic sound – “ba da ba ba ba.” The brand used this jingle on TikTok and asked six Australian artists to reinterpret it by adding their own musical flair.

According to TikTok, through this TikTok ad campaign, Mcdonald’s was able to get a total of 41.2 million impressions, more than 400k likes, and 10k comments.

Watch here.

2.Wet n Wild

To launch and create awareness for the new Wet n Wild “Big Poppa” mascara, the brand decided to use TikTok and used several TikTok ad types, including TopView, Branded Hashtag Challenge, In-Feed Ads, Custom Sound, etc.

Wet n Wild partnered with more than 400 creators, including Bella Poarch, who used the #BiggerIsBetter Hashtag Challenge to show off their huge lashes. Bella’s TikTok received more than 95 million views, 3.2 million likes, approximately 34.8k comments, and 13.8k shares.

According to TikTok, the Hashtag Challenge went viral on TikTok, and more than 1.5 million videos were created, equaling to 2.6 billion total views.

3.Pepsi

Pepsi partnered with some of the biggest names in football, including Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho, and Shanice Van de Sanden.

Thus, to create a viral moment and generate awareness about their football campaign, Pepsi resorted to TikTok and opted for the Branded Hashtag Challenge. Pepsi encouraged individuals to show off their best moves by dueting with their idols through the campaign.

As reported by TikTok, the #PepsiChallenge was able to engage its target audience and generated 3.4 billion video views.

Watch here.

Take Away

TikTok is the quirkier version of Instagram and 2021’s version of 2017’s Snapchat, and you just don’t know whether it will fade away like Vine or stick around for a very long time like Facebook and Instagram.

Either way, we know for sure that right now, it is incredibly prevalent and hyper-relevant.

According to Backlinko, globally, the average time spent on TikTok per day is 52 minutes, and it is continuously skyrocketing. So with that proportion, it is an excellent idea for your brand to go for TikTok ads and target a large audience, especially if your target market includes Generation Z or Millenials.

Take your time to develop a creative strategy and promote your brand in unexpected ways. TikTok is a fun and less-risky platform; thus, as a brand, join in on the fun that has made TikTok so famous.

You can do so by blending TikTok’s paid ads and organic content. Ensure you fill your page with the type of content that the audience likes to see so that they have a reason to stick around after the paid campaign ends.

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