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Everything You Need to Know About TikTok Ads
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Everything You Need to Know About TikTok Ads

Updated on March 28, 2024
8 minute read

Get all the details on TikTok ads, from setting up your first campaign to creating ads that convert.

Published March 28, 2024

Whether you’re looking to drive traffic to your website or generate revenue for your latest product, a creative and well-targeted TikTok campaign can drive huge results. 

So, grab your notepad because we’re sharing all the need-to-knows to optimize your strategy this year with TikTok Ads.

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What Are TikTok Ads?

TikTok Ads are promoted content (typically full-screen videos) that a brand or creator pays to run on the platform. 

TikTok Ads Example

There are three levels of TikTok Ads:

  • TikTok Ad: A single advertisement

  • TikTok Ad Group: A collection of TikTok ads

  • TikTok Campaign: A collection of TikTok ad groups

FYI: Later's in-house team of experts are trusted by leading brands to run their TikTok influencer campaigns — from outreach to analysis. Schedule a call to learn more.

Why Use TikTok Ads?

From well-known beauty brands to emerging tech companies, brands far and wide have found success with TikTok Ads. 

The opportunity is two-fold: Showing your products in action and connecting with Gen Z (over half of TikTok’s audience). Win-win. 

How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost?

Short answer: TikTok Ads cost as much as you want them to. 

The platform uses an auction and bidding model, meaning you decide how much you pay per view, click, or impression. 

However, there is a minimum spend — $50 USD/day per ad campaign and $20 USD/day per ad group. 

TikTok Bidding Methods

When it comes to TikTok Ads bidding, there are four key methods:

  • CPV: Cost per 1K views

  • CPM: Cost per 1K impressions

  • oCPM: Optimized cost per 1K impressions 

  • CPC: Cost per click 

TIP: Take advantage of TikTok’s Suggested Bid feature to ensure your price is right. 

8 Types of TikTok Ads

Whatever your strategy, there are plenty of TikTok Ads to choose from.

Here are the eight types: 

#1: TikTok Video Ads

TikTok Video Ads are one of the most common forms of TikTok advertising. 

TikTok Video Ads Example

They look like regular TikToks with a direct link or CTA to what’s being advertised. Simple as that. 

#2: TikTok Spark Ads

TikTok Spark Ads is a native TikTok Ads format that lets you leverage organic TikTok posts and their features in your advertising. 

This means you can use your own posts or posts made by other creators (with permission).  

TikTok Ads — Spark Ad Example

The best part? All views, comments, shares, likes, and follows gained from boosting the video are attributed to the organic post — making for authentic ad campaigns. Major win.

Leading brands, like Clif Bar & Company, have used Later's influencer marketing platform to optimize and scale their TikTok campaigns. Schedule a call for more details.

#3: TopView Ads

TopView Ads are TikTok video ads shown to users upon opening the platform.

TikTok Ads — TopView Ad Example

They’re full-screen, sound-on, interactions-on — making them a worthwhile option to showcase your brand. 

#4: TikTok Image Ads

TikTok Image Ads are just what they sound like: still images that include a brand or app name, and text. 

However, the process of getting them live is a little different as they’re only available through the Global App Bundle and Pangle Placements. 

Need more than one slot to convey your message?

Advertisers can post up to 10 images (each with its own caption) all in one ad with Carousel Ads. 

#6: Playable Ads

Inception: TikTok Ads edition. 

TikTok Ads — Playable Ad Example

Perfect for gaming companies, playable TikTok Ads are interactive videos that let users experience your game in real time before downloading. 

#7: Video Shopping Ads

ICYMI: Video Shopping Ads are available to all web advertisers (mobile is currently in closed beta testing with a select group).

From catalogs of shoppable products to selling on TikTok Live, your next sale is truly a scroll away.

#8: Branded Effects

Branded stickers, filters, and special effects are all simple and creative TikTok Ads strategies to build brand awareness. 

MAC Cosmetics branded effect

How? They encourage UGC (user-generated content) and interaction with your brand.

What Are TikTok Ads Specifications?

Since image and video ads live on TikTok, there are quite a few formatting rules to follow. 

Bookmark TikTok's full ad specs guide for all the fine details: Video Ads Specifications.

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign

Ready to create your very own TikTok Ads campaign? Follow these simple steps: 

Step #1: Log Into TikTok Ads Manager

To get started, log into the TikTok Ads Manager with your TikTok Business Account (if you need to make the switch, follow TikTok’s instructions). 

Step #2: Create a New TikTok Ads Campaign

From the TikTok Ads Manager, hit the Campaign button in the top navigation. Then, click Create. 

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 2

You’ll then be prompted to enter Simplified Mode or Custom Mode.

NOTE: Since Simplified Mode is a stripped back version of Custom Mode, our remaining steps will apply to Custom Mode. 

Step #3: Select an Advertising Objective

To clearly define your TikTok Ads campaign from the start, TikTok has you choose one of three objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion. 

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 3

Choose whichever one best suits your strategy, and a corresponding goal.  

Step #4: Name Your TikTok Ads Campaign

Name your campaign and identify if it fits into any special ad categories.

Here, you can also define your individual campaign budget.

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 4

FYI: The minimum spend is $50 USD/day per ad campaign. 

Step #5: Create & Name Your Ad Group

Once the campaign settings are settled, it’s time to move on to the ad group settings. 

Choose a name for your ad group, then decide whether users will be able to comment, download, or share your TikTok Ads. 

Step #6: Determine Targeting 

Next, it’s time to choose your target audience. 

You can define your target audience by demographics like location and gender, and more advanced targets like interests and behaviors. 

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 6

Step #7: Set Your Ad Group Budget & Schedule

Set your Ad Group budget and how long you want your TikTok Ads to run for. 

Remember: The minimum spend is $20 USD/day per ad group. 

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 7

Step #8: Set Your Bidding & Optimization

The last step in creating a new ad group is deciding how much you’ll pay per metric (i.e. cost per view or cost per click). 

To use the lowest cost bidding strategy, leave the Bid control section blank.

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 8

NOTE: Select Accelerated under Delivery type to get TikTok to reach your targets as quickly as possible. 

Step #9: Upload Your Ad

Finally, it’s time to upload your TikTok Ads!

Upload your content, write your caption, and choose your identity (selecting your own brand’s TikTok account will create a Spark Ad). 

Step #10: Set Your Destination Page

Determine your CTA — aka, where you want your audience to land. 

You can also add a legal disclaimer, if necessary. 

How to Create a TikTok Ads Campaign Step 10

Step #11: (Optional) Determine Your Tracking

You can choose to track events on your website, app, or third-party sites.

#Step 12: Submit Your Ad (& Celebrate)

Hit Submit to send your TikTok Ads campaign to TikTok for review. 

According to the platform, most submitted ads are reviewed in about 24 hours.

Finally, celebrate — you just submitted your first TikTok Ads campaign!

5 Best Practices for TikTok Ads

Depending on your skill level, creating lead-driven TikTok Ads can be a learning curve. 

Here are our top five best practices to help you get the most out of your campaigns: 

#1: Make the First Three Seconds Count

With over 1M TikToks viewed everyday, people want to be entertained immediately or they’re on to the next — and this can be tougher to achieve with ads. 

By making the first three seconds of your ad engaging, you’ll keep your audience's attention for longer (and reach more eyes too). 

#2: Use Music 

Capture the attention of users and the essence of your TikTok Ads message with music. 

Our advice? Tap into TikTok's "Sounds for Business" — a library of pre-cleared commercial sounds to power organic and paid content.

#3: Optimize for Sound-off

Not only is it a great rule of thumb for accessibility, but adding captions to your TikTok Ads is necessary to keep users engaged. 

TikTok Ads — Captions Example

Why? 69% of social media users view videos with the sound off in public places and 25% watch with sound off in private places. 

PRO TIP: Browse through dozens of captioned templates on CapCut

#4: Update Your Ads Often

TikTok recommends trying your hand at a bunch of ad types when you first start advertising on the platform, and switching up your ads every 7 days to “avoid ad fatigue.”

Fresh TikTok Ads = fresher leads.  

#5: Work With TikTok Creators 

The ultimate TikTok Ads tip? Partner with creators! 

Where traditional ads can miss their mark with younger audiences, TikTok creators have the selling power to turn your brand into a trusted online name. 

TIP: Learn how to leverage the power of TikTok creators: The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Influencer Marketing.

And there you have it, our complete guide to TikTok Ads.

With these tips and steps you’re well equipped to create the best ads that'll deliver results. 

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