The Complete Guide to TikTok Advertising

TikTok is a fun, dynamic app where people share short, creative videos. It's got over a billion users worldwide, making it a real hotbed of activity.

From dance challenges to life hacks to funny little skits—you can find all sorts of content here.

Yet, TikTok isn't just about having fun. It's also a fantastic place for brands to get noticed. 


It's simple: TikTok's hyper-engaged user base is a marketing goldmine. When you advertise on TikTok, you get the chance to connect with users from various demographics.

This guide gives you a complete run-through of TikTok advertising. 

It explains what it is, who should use it, and why it could be a game-changer for your brand. 

It also dives into the types of ads you can create, tips to maximize your reach, and much more. So sit tight and get ready to jumpstart your TikTok ads journey!

What Is TikTok Advertising?

TikTok advertising, as the name suggests, is a marketing strategy where brands use TikTok to promote their products or services. But it's not just about creating any old ad. TikTok ads are designed to blend seamlessly with the platform's entertaining and authentic vibe.

Screenshot of Fendi commercial on TikTok.
Fendi customizes its audio and visual aesthetics to fit its target audience's tastes.

And where do these ads appear? They pop up in several places! Users might see them while they're scrolling through their “For You” feed or in-between watching videos.

They're hard to miss, which means your brand gets a lot of eyeballs. It's like having a billboard in the busiest part of town!

Who Should Use TikTok Advertising?

TikTok advertising isn't just for any brand or business. It's for those ready to tap into a young, energetic audience. If your target demographic is under 30 and you've got something fun, interesting, or innovative to share, TikTok is your perfect match.

tiktok demographic

Still, it’s not just about your audience’s age. 

The TikTok crowd loves creativity and genuineness. It’s a place where trends are born and go viral overnight. So, if you're a brand that likes to push boundaries, try new things, and embrace a bit of the unexpected, then you'll fit right in.

And let's not forget the influencers! 

TikTok is home to countless influencers who can help amplify your brand. So if influencer marketing is part of your strategy, TikTok advertising should definitely be on your radar.

TikTok Ads: Types and Uses

TikTok has a buffet of options with it comes to Ads. Below is a list of TikTok ads types and their uses. Hopefully, it helps you pinpoint the best choice for your brand: 

1. In-feed Ads

In-feed Ads are like unexpected guests at a party. They show up while users are scrolling through their “For You” feed. It's video content that fits right in with other TikTok videos. 

Screenshot of Calvin Klien's in-feed ads on TikTok
You can use in-feed ads when you want you them to blend in and not feel too “salesy.”

You can add a call to action, too, like “shop now” or “learn more.” 

In-feed ads have several categories:

Video Ads

They're high-quality, full-screen ads that can be up to 60 seconds long. These are great for telling a story or showcasing your brand in a creative way.

Spark Ads

Ever wanted to jumpstart a conversation with your audience? That's what Spark Ads are for.

They're a newer type of ad that let users interact with your content. They can comment, like, share, and even follow your brand. 

Image Ads

Image Ads are like classic billboard ads but for TikTok. They're static images that can show off your product or brand. Use these when you've got a strong visual message to share. 

Playable Ads

Playable Ads are like interactive video games for your brand. Users get to “try before they buy” with a mini-game or interactive experience. 

Screenshot of playable ads on TikTok.
These are fantastic if you've got a product or service that can be experienced digitally. 

Shopping Ads

Shopping Ads are like virtual storefronts right on TikTok. They give users a sneak peek of your products. These ads are perfect if you're an e-commerce brand and want to turn viewers into shoppers.

There are three types to choose from:

Video Shopping Ads

Video Shopping Ads are like mini commercials for your products. They show off your product in action with a video, and users can click to buy it right away.

Screenshot of video shopping ad on TikTok
TikTok gives you all the tools you need to create stunning video shopping ads for your products.
Catalog Listing Ads

Catalog Listing Ads are like your brand's personal catalog on TikTok. You can display a range of products all at once. If a user likes what they see, they can tap on a product and go straight to your site to buy it. 

Live Shopping Ads

Live Shopping Ads are the closest thing to a real-life shopping channel on TikTok. They let you host a live video where you can showcase and sell products in real-time. Users can shop while they watch and ask questions live.

Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads on TikTok are like a slide show for your brand. They let you use multiple images or videos in one ad. Users can swipe through to see all the content. It's perfect when you've got more than one thing to show off or a story to tell that needs a few slides.

Pangle Ads

Pangle Ads lets you advertise your mobile game right on TikTok. They're interactive, fun, and designed to get users excited about your game. If you're in the gaming business, Pangle Ads are your ticket to reaching a massive audience of gamers on TikTok.

Screenshot of Pangle Ad on TikTok.
Unlike Playable Ads, you can't actually play Pangle Ads while on TikTok—you'll have to download the game.

2. Managed Brands Ads

Managed Brands Ads on TikTok are a bit like having a personal assistant for your advertising. They give you access to more advanced features and help from TikTok's own ad team. 

You have several types at your disposal:

Branded Hashtag Challenge

A Branded Hashtag Challenge is like a virtual dance-off or cook-off but for your brand. You create a fun challenge and ask users to participate using your branded hashtag. 

One great example is Nike's “#MagicBoots” campaign, which grew its follower count by 215,000 followers in just six days.

These challenges can go viral and create a huge buzz for your brand. It's all about getting users involved and having fun.

TopView Ads

TopView Ads are the first thing users see when they open the app. It's a full-screen video ad that can last up to 60 seconds.

Branded Effects

Ever thought about integrating your brand directly into TikTok? Well, that’s what Branded effects can do. 

You can customize your own stickers, filters, and effects with this feature. 

Here's a great example from Adidas: 


honestly, try it with your shoes #adidas #aifilter #aimanga

♬ That was the last time – Princess Diana

And the catch? Well, there isn’t one! 

Your audience can use these fun add-ons in their own TikTok videos. It's like giving your brand its own spotlight, right in the middle of the TikTok party!

Do TikTok Ads Cost Money?

Yes, but it’s not as complicated or intimidating as you might think. 

TikTok uses an auction and bidding model for its ads, which means you decide how much you're willing to pay per video view, click, or impression.

You can set your budget based on what you're aiming to achieve. Want more people to see your ad? Or more clicks on your website? You decide what's worth spending on.

But remember, there's a minimum spend. 

Each campaign needs to have at least $50 USD per day. That means every day your campaign is live, you'll spend at least $50. On the other hand, the minimum budget for ad groups is $20 USD per day.

TikTok Bidding Methods

TikTok offers four bidding methods to its advertisers. Each bidding method has its unique focus, so your choice should align with your advertising objectives. Here’s a more detailed look at each one:

1. CPM (Cost per Mille/Thousand Impressions)

CPM is all about visibility. You're paying for every thousand times your ad is displayed on the platform, irrespective of whether users interact with it or not. This approach ensures the highest possible reach within your allocated budget.

2. oCPM (Optimized Cost per Mille/Thousand Impressions)

The oCPM method refines the strategy by targeting users who are more likely to complete a specific action such as making a purchase or installing an app. 

With oCPM, you still pay per thousand impressions, but your ad is specifically shown to a user base that's more inclined to engage with your content.

3. CPV

CPV allows advertisers to pay based on video engagement. 

You're charged when a user watches at least 6 seconds of your video (or the entire video if it's less than 30 seconds) or interacts with your video in any way. 

The primary goal of this method is to maximize video engagement and views.

4. CPC

CPC focuses on driving user action. Under this method, you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. 

The TikTok algorithm targets users who are most likely to interact with your ad. This makes it an excellent choice for objectives like driving website traffic, boosting product sales, or increasing app installs.

What Are the Recommended TikTok Ads Specs?

Want your TikTok ad to really stand out? Here are the golden rules to follow for TikTok video ads:

  • Aspect ratio: Whether it's 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9, each has its charm. But, it's the 9:16 ratio that truly takes the cake!
  • Minimum resolution: Stick with 540x960px, 640x640px, or 960x540px to keep things clear and appealing.
  • Video file type: Your video file can be in .mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi format. Variety is the spice of life, after all!
  • Video length: Aim for 5 to 60 seconds. But, for optimal engagement, try to hit that sweet spot between 9 and 15 seconds.
  • Video file size: Keep it under 500MB. That's plenty of room for all your creative genius!

By following these specs, your ad will not only look neat and professional but it'll also be primed to seize attention and win hearts on TikTok!

Happy female vlogger recording content at home to use in her TikTok advertising.
Happy female vlogger recording content at home using her cell phone while staying at home – lifestyle concepts

Tips to Create More Engaging TikTok Ads

Want to take your TikTok ads to the next level? Here are five tips that can help

Tip #1: Target your ads. 

It's not just about who sees your ads, but who interacts with them. Use TikTok's targeting tools to show your ads to the right people.

Tip #2: Use the K.I.S.S. method.

Keep It Simple, Silly! TikTok users love content that is fun, easy to digest, and straight to the point. Avoid creating content that is too long or too complicated to understand.

Tip #3: Time your posts.

Timing matters. Find out when your audience is most active and schedule your posts accordingly. 

Take advantage of TikTok's analytics tools to understand when your audience is most active. Is it during the lunch hour? Late in the evening?

 Find your sweet spot and schedule your ads to go live during those peak times. 

Tip #4: Incorporate TikTok’s interactive features.

From duets to filters, make use of TikTok's fun features to make your ads more engaging.

Tip #5: Collaborate with influencers. 

Partnering with influencers who align with your brand values can give your brand a significant boost. They can create unique content with your product, expanding your brand visibility and building trust with their followers. 

Final Thoughts

TikTok advertising is a dynamic and exciting field. With the right ad format, bidding method, and engaging content, you're on your way to harnessing the platform's power. Remember, TikTok is a place for creativity and fun. So, let your brand personality shine, keep your finger on the pulse of trending topics, and don't be afraid to try new things. 

Alexa Alix

Meet Alexa, a seasoned freelance writer with a flair for transforming intricate concepts into engaging narratives across an array of industries. With her passions extending to nature and literature, Alex is adept at weaving unique stories that resonate. She's always poised to collaborate and conjure compelling content that truly speaks to audiences.

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