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Published January 16th 2023

The Beginner’s Guide to TikTok Advertising

This guide gives you an overview of TikTok ads and takes you through the most important steps to building your ad campaigns.

TikTok is one of the most popular social networks worldwide. It’s where new trends are born and challenges are going viral.

For brands, TikTok is a great place to connect with their audiences in a new and fresh way. One way to reach these audiences is through ads. But where do you start, and what should you consider before typing in your credit card info? 

Read this guide to get helpful tips on how to create ads on TikTok.

Why should you run ads on TikTok?

TikTok’s popularity has exploded over the last few years with no end in sight. With over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is the sixth most popular social network in the world. This provides you with a huge audience you can target.

30% of TikTok users discover products via ads in their feed, and consumers spend 14% more when TikTok is part of their customer journey. Those are some excellent reasons to spend some money on TikTok ads.

How much do TikTok ads cost?

It depends. Obviously. 

On what? Well, for one it depends on your overall goals for the campaign. Second, it depends on how widely and for how long you want to run your ad. In the TikTok ads manager, you can limit and define how much you want to spend. But note there’s a minimum budget of 500 dollars you need to spend to run TikTok ads.

What is the TikTok ads manager?

With the TikTok ads manager, you can easily create ads for TikTok. But before you jump in, you need to set up a TikTok ads account.Once you set up your account, go to the TikTok ads manager page and simply log in with your account details. Now, let’s dive into how you can set up ads with the TikTok ads manager.

How to set up TikTok ads

You start your TikTok ad process by setting up an ad campaign. Next, you build your ad groups, and in the last step, you create your ads and choose which visuals you want to use. Below, we will go through each step in more detail.

1. Create your campaign

First, you need to set up your campaign. For this, go to the TikTok ads platform, click "Campaign," and then "Create." 

From here on out, you need to choose your objectives, give your campaign a name, set a budget, and create ad groups. 

Let's take a closer look at those steps.

2. Choose your objectives

After you set up your campaign, you need to define your ad objective. In the TikTok ads manager, you can choose from different objectives. Which objective you choose depends on the goal you want to achieve with your ad campaign.

Your campaign goal is usually rather broad and looks at what you’re trying to achieve long-term. Your objectives, on the other hand, are the concrete steps you want to take to achieve this goal. Objectives concentrate on more short-term outcomes.

So, first comes your overall campaign goal. What do you want to focus on? Do you want…

  • To raise brand awareness? 
  • More people to engage with your videos? 
  • To drive more traffic to your website? 
  • To increase conversions?

Once you have defined your campaign goal, choosing your campaign objective should be easy. TikTok divides their objectives into three different categories: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Here’s an overview of the seven available objectives:


  • Reach (increase impressions)


  • Traffic (drive traffic to a specific URL)
  • Video Views (increase video ad views)
  • Lead Generation (using a pre-populated form to collect leads on TikTok)
  • Community Interaction (drive traffic to your profile page to increase engagement)


  • Website Conversions (drive actions to your site, like a purchase or subscription)
  • App Promotion (animate users to use or re-use your app)

3. Give your campaign a name 

Your campaign, of course, needs a name. You can use up to 512 characters. This isn’t part of the running ad and will not be visible to consumers. The campaign name provides information for you and your team members. Make sure you choose a name that gives enough details so that everyone knows what the ad is about and it can be easily found.

4. Set your budget

Next, we have the budget. You have different options in the TikTok ads platform to define your budget. You can choose either ‘no limit,’ ‘daily,’ or ‘lifetime’. With no limit, you give no restrictions moneywise on how far your ad will spread. The ‘daily’ option lets you set a daily budget limit, while with ‘lifetime,’ you can set a budget limit for the whole campaign.

You can also set a budget for every created ad group (see next step). Once you hit the limit of your budget, the ad will stop running. This way, you can calculate your spent budget accurately and avoid overspending.

5. Create your Ad Groups

For each Tiktok campaign you set up, you can create multiple ad groups within them (we’ll explain what it is and why you might want to do that below). The range is from one to 999. You can give each ad group a name, and, like with the overall campaign name, you can use up to 512 characters.

Ad groups are a helpful way to structure your different ads into buckets. Splitting your campaign into different ad groups makes measuring the performance and optimizing ads much more straightforward. For example, your overall campaign goal as a fashion retailer is to drive traffic to your website. One way to group your ads in this campaign is by setting up ad groups for different products (shoes, shirts, dresses, etc.).

In the ad group setup, you can choose from different ad placements and set your budgets, schedules, goals, target audiences, and bidding strategy.

Let’s go through these steps for setting up an ad group in more detail.

1. Choose your ad placements

For each ad, you can choose different placements. Placements are the area where you want your ads to show up. You can set them yourself or choose Automatic Placements. With Automatic Placements, TikTok will automatically optimize your ad display to reach more people. If you want to define the placements yourself, click “Select Placement” instead. Here, you can manually choose either:

  • TikTok placement: Your ad will be displayed in the Tik Tok app in the For You Feed area 
  • News Feed apps placement: Your ad will be displayed in TikTok’s other apps like BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, NewsRepublic, or Babe
  • Pangle placement: Your ad will be displayed in the ad network of TikTok for Business

2. Pick your target audience

In this step, you can choose the target audience you want to reach. You can select a lookalike or custom target audience or define your target audience based on age, gender, location, language, interests, behaviors, or device details.

3. Fill out your ad details 

Next, you give more details about the kind of ad you want to promote. Here are the details you need to fill out:

  • Promotion Type: You can choose between App Install or Website, depending on your set objective
  • Display Name: Here, you should put your brand name or the app's name.
  • Profile Image: Upload a profile picture that will be shown as part of the ad.
  • Category: Pick the category that best describes your promotion. With this information, TikTok can improve the optimization of your ad.
  • Define Tags: Add tags to describe your website or app. You can pick up to 20 tags. The TikTok algorithm will use these tags to show the ad to the right audience.
  • User Comment: Here, you can either allow user comments or disable them.
  • Video Download: Decide if you want users to be able to download your video ad.

4. Define your budget and schedule

Now it’s time to define your budget for each ad group. Whether you choose the daily or lifetime budget, the minimum spend is 20 dollars daily.

After you set your budget, you can schedule your ad group. Define your ad's start and end date, or choose to run it continuously. You can also let your ad only run at a specific time of day. In the dayparting section of the setup, you can define time frames from half an hour up to 24 hours. This option can be very useful if you know your target audience is more active in the evening or your ad offer is more attractive at a certain time of day.

5. Choose your optimization goal and bidding strategy

What is the outcome for your ad campaigns? For your optimization goal, you can choose either ‘Conversion,’ ‘Clicks,’ or ‘Reach.’ This decision should be an easy one as this is based on your ad goals. For example, if you want people to go to your website you pick ‘Conversion’ as your optimization goal. For certain objective goals, the optimization goals will be matched automatically.

Depending on your optimization goals, TikTok will automatically set your billing events. For example, if your optimization goal is set to ‘Clicks’, you will be billed based on cost per click (CPC). Here, you can also define your bidding strategy, meaning how much you are willing to pay per click, per video, or per 1000 impressions.

6. Set up your TikTok ads

After you have defined all the previous steps, it’s time to create your TikTok ad. In this step, you will decide which visuals and information details you want to display in your ad. This contains uploading your images or videos, adding a caption, and - very importantly - a call to action. In the TikTok ads manager, you have different options you can choose from: “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” or “Learn More.”

You can upload your visuals from your computer or library or create a new video directly in the app. You also have the option to use a video template. Once you are happy with your visuals, set a cover photo and preview your ad for a final check. After entering your text and call to action, you are good to go and can set your ad live.

Useful tips for successful TikTok ad campaigns

Be authentic 

TikTok is all about authenticity. Avoid using overly polished, highly-produced videos. Be authentic, speak directly into the camera, use user-generated content, or collaborate with content creators. 

Shake it up 

With TikTok you have many different options to bring your message across. Remember to be creative and have fun. People choose TikTok because they want to be entertained. You can be emotional in your content but don’t forget to keep a positive angle.

Use audio

Audio, like music, is an essential part of the TikTok experience. You should add audio or music to your ad and make it part of your storytelling. In TikTok, you can choose from thousands of tracks. Use fast pace tracks above 120 beats per minute, as videos with fast pace tracks are more likely to be watched from start to finish.

Come to the point 

Don’t save your key message for the end. Come to the point right at the start of your ad. 63% of all TikTok videos with the highest click-through rate display their key message within the first three seconds.

Include a strong call to action

Your call to action is the most important part of your ad. Make sure you include a strong and clear call to action. Whether it is bringing people to your website, getting more profile visitors, or making them download your newest content - your call to action should be on point. Keep it short and use direct language.

That’s a wrap

Now that you have an overview of TikTok ads and the TikTok ads manager, it’s time to try it out. Keep track of your ads' performance to determine which ads are performing best. This way, you can improve your future ads strategy and ensure the best outcome for your money.   

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