How To
9 min read

How to Advertise on TikTok: Getting Started With TikTok Ads

Nicole Hankey

August 1, 2022

Every brand should be leveraging the growth of TikTok to expand its reach by running TikTok ads. Learn how to get started with this guide.

It’s currently the third most popular social network globally, catching up quickly to Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms. It’s the most popular with users under 25, though it’s also gaining traction with older audiences. In April, the app reached 1 billion users, a significant milestone. 

So you want to capitalize on this growing app to reach a wider audience but may not know where to start. Let us help with that.

Is there another social media platform with more growth potential currently?

Probably not.

In other words, don’t sleep on TikTok. You must be on this platform if you have a business or are involved in content creation and social media marketing. If you’re new to TikTok and need help getting started, check out our guide to fast track success.

If you already have a handle on TikTok basics but want to know more about how to make TikTok work for you (literally!), then you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll tackle how to create a business TikTok account, set up your first ad campaign, and start driving revenue. 

Why should I advertise on TikTok?

Ok, you understand ‌TikTok is a popular social media platform, and you can see the marketing appeal. But why should you spend money to advertise on TikTok? 

The answer is simple. 

It works to target your audience and bring sales to your business. 

When done right, it will produce a positive long-term return on investment (ROI) that will help to increase your revenue and brand awareness. 

With TikTok, your ads can accomplish a lot more than just driving traffic to your business and hopefully bringing in sales. You can take advantage of the popularity and format of the platform to accomplish a whole host of benefits for your brand.

Benefits of advertising on TikTok

Considering the impressive reach and engagement on TikTok could prove to be an invaluable resource for your business. Don’t forget the app’s celebrated algorithm that will ensure your ads are shown to the people most likely to engage with them—further increasing the chances of high conversions. 

How to create a TikTok business account

Have we convinced you yet? Then, read on for step-by-step instructions to get your very own TikTok ad campaign up and running. If you already have your TikTok business and ads account set up with pixels, you can skip to creating a campaign further below.

First things first—you’ll need a TikTok business account. While you can accomplish a lot with TikTok marketing using just a regular TikTok user account, you’ll need the extra business-only features to access the TikTok ads manager. 

Luckily, switching to a business account is easy. First, we’ll show you how to change a business account from a personal one in the app. Then, we’ll go over how to create a business account from scratch on the web. 

Switching to a TikTok business account in the app

  1. From your Profile, tap the three bars in the top right corner. Then choose Settings and privacy.
TikTok settings

  1. Select Manage account from the list of options
Manage TikTok account

  1. Tap Switch to Business Account.

Switch to TikTok business account

  1. Check out the business-only features you’ll now have access to! Then tap Next.

TikTok business account

  1. You’ll be presented with a list of business categories to choose from. Pick the most applicable one, then click Next
TikTok business categories

  1. You’ll see a pop-up alerting you to your new status! You’ll also get a message in your Inbox with useful business account info to help you make the most of your TikTok experience.

Successful TikTok business account setup
Getting started with TikTok business account

Creating a TikTok business account from the web

  1. Go to https://business.tiktok.com/ and click the Create new button in the top right corner. 
TikTok Business Center

  1. Fill out some basic account information and hit Sign up.
TikTok for business
  1. Complete steps 1-3 to finish setting up your business account. You’ll need to provide your business name, address, website, and billing information. Then click Create.
  1. Congratulations! Now you’re all set up with a TikTok business account. This is what your dashboard will look like once your account is created. 

Create your TikTok Ads account

So now you’re all set up in the TikTok business center. But wait, you’ll also need to set up a separate Ads account to run an ad campaign. Here’s how to do it from the web:

  1. ​​From the Business Center, click Advertiser accounts on the left sidebar menu. 
TikTok advertiser accounts

  1. This will bring up a new window where you can either create a new Ads account or request access to a pre-existing one. For our purposes, click Create New
TikToks ads account

  1. You’ll be prompted to provide some information for the account (it will likely match the information from your Business account, which TikTok will pre-fill for you). Then click Next.
Creating TikTok ads account

  1. You did it! This is what your Ad account dashboard will look like. 
TikTok ad account dashboard

Get started with TikTok pixel

Unfortunately, you’re not entirely done yet. To truly get the most out of your TikTok ad campaign, you’ll want to download and set up a TikTok pixel on your business website. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this, it’s a way to track user behavior on your website for clicks, purchases, form submissions, and more. Most major advertising systems, including top tier social media platforms like Facebook use them for multiple purposes. 

You can set pixels up for different events, allowing you to track exactly how your ads are performing and affecting your business. Follow the steps below to get up and running in no time. 

  1. From your Business center dashboard, locate your Advertiser account and click Ads Manager.
Open TikTok Ads Manager

  1. This will open the Ads Manager dashboard.
alt text: TikTok Ads Manager dashboard

  1. From here, click on Assets in the top dropdown menu, and hit Events.
TikTok assets
  1. This will bring up a screen prompting you to download and set up a TikTok pixel. Click Create Pixel. 
TikTok pixel

  1. You will need to name your new pixel and choose whether to set one up manually or through a partner like Shopify. For this example, we’ll select the manual option. Click Next. 
Alt text: create TikTok pixel

  1. Next, you’ll have the option to set your pixel up in standard or developer mode. For now, choose Standard Mode. Hit Create. 
TikTok pixel event setup

  1. Now, follow the steps to download and set up your pixel on your business website. Then click Next. 
TikTok events for pixels

  1. You’ll be presented with some choices for creating your events. You can choose between URL and Click events. Read about the differences and make a selection.
Create events in Tiktok to track actions

  1. Complete the guided steps for setting up each event. When you’re done, hit Complete Setup.
  2. Congratulations! Now you have a shiny new TikTok pixel on your website. 

How do I run my first TikTok ad campaign?

Now that your business and ads accounts are ready to go along with your tracking pixel, you're ready to start creating TikTok ads.

Create a TikTok ad campaign

The next piece of this process is setting up and launching a campaign that your individual ads will be a part of. 

  1. From your Ads Manager dashboard, click Create an ad. 
  2. This will prompt a pop-up window allowing you to choose between Simplified Mode and Custom Mode. You can read more about each option and select the one that best suits your needs. You can always change this at any time. 
TikTok simplified mode vs custom mode

  1. Choose your campaign goal. Based on your content marketing goals, you can opt to focus on community engagement, website views, generating leads, or conversions. Pick the one that’s ideal for you right now. For this example, we went with Get website visits. Then click Continue.
Alt text: TikTok ad campaign goal

  1. Next, you’ll be prompted to select your audience. You can set this up manually or let TikTok automatically target an audience for you based on its algorithm. Make your selection, then click Continue. 
Setting a TikTok ad budget

  1. Finally, you’ll need to set a budget for your campaign. You can choose from daily or lifetime and set any amount starting from $50. You’ll also choose a start and end date or opt to keep it running indefinitely. Then click Continue
Alt text: setting a TikTok ad budget

  1. Now you’re finally ready to create your first ad! This is what the screen should look like at this point. 
Alt text: creating a TikTok ad

  1. You can link an existing TikTok account or post directly from your Ads Manager. You can also pick whether to upload a video or image or record content for your ad. When you’re done, hit Submit. 
  2. After you upload your content, you’ll have plenty of options for editing and optimization. You can produce multiple versions of the same ad content, all under the same ad group and campaign. 

Types of TikTok ad formats

There are quite a few different ways to run ads on TikTok. There’s the standard in-feed video ad, of course, like the one we discussed earlier. But there are other ad placement strategies for your business to gain exposure, boost engagement, and drive conversions through TikTok advertising. 

Also, if you’re curious about how various types of TikTok ads perform, check out the average CTR rates of each class to give you an idea of what you can achieve. 

In-feed ad

These ads show up as specific content in users’ feeds. Think of these as the primary, barebones TikTok ads. They have an average CTR of 1.5-3%. 

Brand takeover ad

Branded takeover ads are precisely that—they literally “take over” the TikTok app—showing up when users first fire it up and appearing elsewhere on the For You page. As you might expect, they have a higher CTR at around 7-10%. 

TopView ad

A step down from a takeover, these ads appear at the top of the For You page within the first few seconds instead. They generate CTRs as high as 16%—not too shabby!

Top feed ad

These are identical to TopView ads, except they appear as the first video ad in the For You feed. Essentially, these are a level down from TopView. For a better idea of how these ad types fit together, here’s a graphic from TikTok:

TikTok ad types
Source: TikTok

Branded mission

Branded mission ad campaigns are a new feature to TikTok as of May 2022. They uniquely allow brands to create these branded missions, which creators can choose to participate in by creating related content. Businesses can then choose to highlight and further partner with their favorite content and users. All of this leads to a community-generated advertising campaign that’s heavy on engagement. 

Branded hashtag challenge

This is a golden opportunity for businesses to participate in viral TikTok challenges! To get involved, brands can sponsor branded hashtag challenges to prompt creators to make and post related content. A great example of this is the tag #Snoozzzapalooza. 

Branded effect ad

Branded effects allow you to create your brand’s TikTok effect, which creators and users can then incorporate into their posts. This can be a wildly effective advertising method paired with the hashtag challenge and broader branded mission. 

For example, Shoppers Drug Mart created an effect to promote their Beauty Lover event, which allowed users to try on makeup virtually with sponsored products and choose their favorite one. It was a hit, with over 5 thousand videos created with the effect and over 97 million hashtag video views. 

Spark ad

Spark ads allow companies to utilize user-generated content that mentions their brand and add a link and CTA in a spark ad. This comes across as more natural since real customers and consumers of your product are posting, and you can leverage that by adding to it and promoting it with Spark ads. 

Sponsored influencer ad

TikTok influencer marketing is a great way to increase your target audience’s reach by pairing up with an influencer in your industry to advertise sponsored content. This is similar to a Spark ad, but you plan this ahead of time by collaborating with influencers.

Carousel ad

Advertisers can display up to ten visuals with ad placement on the News Feed to display ads. Each carousel ad can have its unique text and link, giving you plenty of creative options.

Review and launch your campaign

Once you’ve created a campaign, any ad groups, and the specific ads you want to run, it’s time to review and launch. You’ll have previews of everything available to make sure everything looks perfect. There are plenty of options to customize your budget and targeting, with help from TikTok to optimize it all according to your goals and specifications automatically. 

It can be nerve-wracking to start something that’s such a huge investment of time and money, but once everything looks good, don’t be afraid of launching. It’s the only way to learn and grow, and luckily, TikTok is a fantastic environment for both ‌things. 

Monitor and optimize based on analytics

Your TikTok dashboard will provide you with all the metrics and tracking details you could ever want. This makes constantly monitoring and improving your campaigns and individual ads a breeze. 

Pay attention to reach, engagement, and conversions—the higher, the better, of course. As a frame of reference, 17% is a good engagement rate to aim for. 

Related: How to get more followers on TikTok

Final thoughts on advertising on TikTok

If you’ve made it this far, you now know all about how to advertise on TikTok, and, hopefully, start to set up and run your very own campaign and ad! 

Before diving headfirst into TikTok ads, make sure you have clear goals, a set budget, and a vision for what you want to achieve. But most importantly, keep an open mind and have fun along the journey. It’s all a learning experience, after all, and you’ll get what you put into it.

Don’t forget to check out our related guides for more helpful info on the world of TikTok. Also, Copy.ai has a ton of free tools that can help kickstart your ad content creation! There are over 90 tools to explore and experiment with, from freestyle text generators to social media-specific copy features. 

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