Since bursting onto the social media scene in 2018, TikTok has enjoyed exponential growth. It has more than 800 million monthly active users and, as reported by Sensor Tower, in Q1 2020, TikTok had more than 315 million app downloads. That’s the best quarter experienced by any app, ever.
TikTok is a short-form mobile video platform that provides content creators a chance to reach a large community. And, with TikTok Ads Manager, brands can tap into TikTok’s global audience. In this guide to TikTok advertising, we share everything you need to know to target the right audience, create ads, and track your campaign performance.
The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Advertising in 2021:
Why TikTok Advertising?
TikTok is largely favored by Gen Z, but more older users have started jumping on the platform in 2020. During Q1 2020, the share of 24–34-year-olds on the platform increased from 22.4% to 27.4%. At the same time, the 35–44-year-old demographic increased from 13.9% to 17.1% (Comscore). With such a broad range of ages represented on the platform, it’s a good chance that your target audience is on there.
TikTok’s content consists of 15–60-second videos. This format means that ad spots are at a premium since they aren’t likely to get lost in a sea of competing ads like they can on other platforms. And TikTok has an easy-to-use self-service advertising platform that makes it a breeze to create an engaging ad campaign.
As with any advertising platform, TikTok advertising isn’t for all brands. It’s important to consider your target audience and find out if they’re using the platform (remember, it’s largely dominated by Gen Z and Millennial audiences). If your target demographic is Baby Boomers, TikTok advertising is not for you.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key benefits of TikTok advertising.
Effective Reach and Engagement
TikTok’s audience spans more than 150 countries and it’s one of the most downloaded apps worldwide in 2020. Plus, TikTok ads can be placed on the platform’s other products, too.
Targeting Your Potential Customers Precisely
TikTok lets you target just the right audience using age, gender, location, interests, and more. You can also create custom audiences and lookalike audiences to reach people like your existing customers.
Transparent Measurement & Trusted Data Partners
TikTok includes measurement tools so you can track your ads’ performance. Similar to Facebook, TikTok uses a tracking pixel to monitor your ad performance and measure results by tracking the behavior or your website visitors.
TikTok Ads Manager Overview
TikTok Ads Manager has all the tools you need to create, launch, manage, and track your TikTok advertising campaigns. In this section, we walk you through each section of the TikTok Ads Manager. If you’re new to the platform, take a look at our TikTok marketing guide.
On the dashboard, you’ll get an overview of your TikTok ad data and be able to track performance changes. You’ll find information related to active campaigns, ad budget spend, ad performance over time, and more.
On the Campaign page, you’ll be able to see all of your campaigns, ad groups, and ads and manage them. By clicking the Create button, you can create an ad immediately.
This section of the TikTok Ads Manager is where your ad resources are held. Here you’ll find everything you need to create or manage ad creative, audiences, pixels, and more.
In the Reporting section of the TikTok Ads Manager, you’ll be able to create custom ad reports or create reports using one of the included pre-defined templates. You can run reports on the fly or schedule reports to be delivered when and where you need them.
TikTok Advertising Guide
Creating ads on TikTok is easy. You start by creating a Campaign, move on to building Ad Groups, and then create your Ads. It’s important to understand how each of these components works together so you can create a successful advertising campaign. This will help you set up target audiences, set up a realistic budget, and design eye-catching creative, expanding your ad reach, improving ad performance, and meeting your TikTok advertising goals.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to TikTok advertising.
Create a TikTok Ad Campaign
The first thing to do when you want to run an ad on TikTok is to create a campaign and your campaign objectives. You can choose from different objectives like app installs and traffic. To create a TikTok ad campaign:
- Choose your campaign objective
- Set your campaign budget
Set up a Campaign
Sign up for a TikTok Ads account and log into the TikTok Ads Manager. To create an ad, click Campaign > Create:
Choose the Right Objective
What are your business goals? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Drive conversions? Get more people to check out your video content? Your objective is what you want viewers to do when they see your ads. For TikTok ads, those objectives can be in one of three categories: awareness, consideration, or conversion.
Set Up a Campaign Name & Budget
Your campaign budget is the amount that you’re willing to spend on running your ads. Once you hit your budgeted amount, your ad will stop being served. Setting a budget helps you keep tabs on your marketing budget, control delivery of your ad, and measure ad performance. There are 3 budget choices:
- No Limit: With an unlimited budget, there won’t be any restrictions on your ad delivery at the campaign level.
- Daily Budget/Lifetime Budget: Ad delivery is limited by the daily or total budget at the campaign level. This limits the daily spend or total spend of all the ads within your campaign.
Each TikTok campaign you create can have multiple ad groups, making it easy to optimize ads and measure performance. Let’s take a look at how to create an ad group in TikTok Ads Manager.
Create an Ad Group
With TikTok advertising, you can set up ad placements, target audiences, budgets, schedules, goals, and bids for each ad group. Here’s how to set up an ad group in TikTok Ads Manager:
- Choose your ad placements
- Fill in your ad details
- Set a target audience
- Set up a budget and schedule
- Choose your optimization goals and bidding method
Set up an Ad Group
After creating a campaign, your next step is to set up your ad group. As we mentioned, you’d be able to choose ad placements, fill in ad details, and set your audience, budget, schedule, bidding method, and delivery type.
Step 1: Placements
You can either choose your own ad placements or choose Automatic Placements to have TikTok optimize your ad delivery across all placements. Not all placements are available everywhere. Here’s a list of placements and available locations.
Step 2: Ad Details
The Ad Details section is where you’ll fill out all the details related to the landing page or app you’re promoting.
- Promotion Type: Depending on your campaign objective, you can choose either app install or website.
- Display Name: Here’s where your brand name or app name goes.
- Profile Image: The profile image is shown to your audience with your ad.
- Category: Choose the ad category that describes your promotion to get the most from the advertising optimization model.
- Ad Tags: Add up to 20 tags to describe your website or app. TikTok’s algorithms will use the tags as keywords to match your ads to the appropriate audience.
- User Comment: If you don’t want users to be able to comment on your ads set this to off.
- Video Download: If this is turned off, viewers won’t be able to download your video ads.
Step 3: Creative Type
TikTok offers automated creative optimization. When this option is turned on, TikTok will automatically generate combinations of your creative assets (images, videos, ad texts) and deliver the highest-performing combinations.
Step 4: Targeting
TikTok offers several options for creating or excluding custom and lookalike audiences. Plus, you can narrow your audience by demographics and device options like age, operating system, gender, carrier, interests, and more.
Step 5: Budget & Schedule
After you’ve set targeting for your ad, it’s time to set your budget and schedule.
- Budget: You must set a daily budget of at least $20 no matter if you choose Daily Budget or Lifetime Budget.
- Schedule: TikTok lets you set a start and end time for your ads, set a date range, or continuously run your ad once you’ve set it to run.
- Dayparting: With this option, you can choose certain time periods throughout the day to show your ads. You can go really narrow with just a half-hour all the way up to 24 hours. If you choose All Day, your ads will run throughout the day, but choosing Select Specific Time limits your ads to those times during your scheduled campaign.
Take a look at the best times to post on TikTok to find out when your ad might get the most eyes on it.
Step 6: Bidding & Optimization
With TikTok ads, you can choose your bidding and optimization optins, using third-party tracking to monitor ad performance, if you want.
- Optimization Goal: With certain campaign objectives, your optimization goal will be set by default. Otherwise, you’ll have the option of optimizing for conversions, clicks, or reach.
- Billing Event: TikTok automatically sets billing events based on your chosen optimization goal. For reach, your ads will be billed as CPM (Cost Per Mille). For clicks, you’ll be billed based on CPC (Cost Per Click). And, for conversions, you’ll have the oCPC (optimization Cost Per Click) bidding method and pay via CPC.
- Smart Optimization: Activating Smart Optimization allows TikTok to optimize conversion events and use smart delivery of your ad.
- Bid Strategy: Standard Bid mode offers stricter control of your cost per result so the average cost per result stays within your bid.
- Bidding: Set how much you’re willing to pay per click, conversion, or per thousand impressions and TikTok’s algorithm will deliver your ads accordingly.
- Delivery Type: With Standard delivery, your ad budget will be spent evenly during the scheduled campaign time, but with Accelerate, your ad budget will be spent as quickly as possible.
You can have a single ad or multiple ads within each ad group. This lets you compare the delivery of different ads and optimize based on their performance. If you’re wondering how much advertising on the platform will set you back, check out our article about the cost of TikTok ads.
Create Your TikTok Ad
Now that you have your campaign and ad group set up, it’s time to create your TikTok ad. These are what you’ll be showing to your target audience and can be in the form of images or videos. You should also include copy and a strong call to action. Here’s how to create a TikTok ad:
- Upload images or videos
- Add ad copy and call-to-action buttons
TikTok Ads Manager includes video creation and editing tools that make it really easy to create high-quality, engaging ads even if you don’t have video editing experience. If you want something a bit more high-level, check out these TikTok video editing apps.
Let’s walk through the process of creating an ad on TikTok.
Set up an Ad
TikTok makes it very easy to create ads by uploading your own edited videos or images, or by designing ads within TikTok Ads Manager using the included video creation tools. Available ad formats and specifications will vary depending on the placements you choose.
Step 1: Add Creative
Start by choosing your ad format (either Image or Video). The TikTok ad placement only supports video ads. Images are available to choose because they can be used on TikTok’s News Feed apps. You can upload media to your ad by adding it from your computer, choosing it from your existing TikTok library, creating a new video, using a video template, or using Smart Video. With Smart Video, TikTok analyzes your media to create edited videos.
Step 2: Choose a Cover
Once you’ve uploaded your video, you’ll want to choose a cover photo by clicking Customize Video Thumbnails. Based on the length of your video, TikTok will show up to 8 frames for you to choose from. You also have the option to upload your own custom cover photo.
Step 3: Preview Your Creative
Now that you’ve got your ad creative set, it’s time to preview it. Ad previews aren’t device-specific; the actual ads will be adjusted depending on device and network conditions. TikTok recommends previewing ads on your actual device to get the best idea of what they will look like.
Step 4: Enter Ad Name
Name your ad something that makes it easily identifiable to you. This name is for internal reference, so it won’t be seen by viewers.
Step 5: Enter Ad Text
Enter the text that will appear above your ad. TikTok supports 12–100 English characters and 6–50 Chinese or Japanese characters (including punctuation and spaces). You can not use emojis, French braces, or hashtags. If your text is too long it may not display correctly on certain screens, so be sure to preview it!
Step 6: Add Call-to-Action
The final step to creating your TikTok ad is adding a call-to-action for your ad. TikTok has a few options to choose from:
- Download Now
- Learn More
- Shop Now
- Sign Up
- Contact Us
- Apply Now
- Book Now
Once you’ve chosen your call-to-action, click the Submit button to create your ad. You can create another ad right away by clicking the Add button. You also have the option to Copy and existing ad or Delete the ad you just edited.
Track Ad Performance
Congratulations! You’ve created a TikTok ad. Now it’s time to track its performance. Fortunately, TikTok has the tools you need right in the Ads Manager. You’ll get a view of the overall data across your advertising campaigns from the Dashboard page. For details, you’ll definitely want to dig into the data provided on the Campaign page.
The Dashboard is where you can get up-to-date information on overall ad performance, ad spend, and the status of all of your TikTok advertising campaigns. Here you can:
- Monitor operation logs from the Today’s Spends area
- Check the status of all campaigns, ad groups, and ads
- View performance metrics by different dimensions (including gender, operating system, dayparting, etc.)
- Download and export data
On the Campaign page, you’ll be able to see the details for your campaigns, ad groups, and ads, as we mentioned.
TikTok also gives you different ways to filter, customize, and view your data.
Filter by different criteria so you can view data for only the campaigns you want to look at. You can change criteria easily or combine criteria for highly customized reporting. And, you can save custom filters for even easier access.
TikTok lets you set Custom Columns so you’re only seeing the data you want to see. You can also drag and drop columns to change how they appear and save your custom column view for easy access.
By clicking View Data under each campaign, ad group, or ad, you can check out the performance data and audience analysis for a custom time period and choosing daily or hourly data. Some of the data dimensions you can report on include cost, impressions, clicks, conversions, CTR, conversion rate, CPC, CPM, and conversion cost. From the Breakdown tab, you can see performance based on audience segments.
Get Started With TikTok Advertising
TikTok advertising isn’t much different from the other social media platforms you’re used to advertising on. With its self-service Ads Manager, TikTok has an easy-to-use advertising platform that takes no time at all to learn and use effectively.
Made it through the article and still don’t think you can handle TikTok advertising on your own? Here are the top TikTok marketing agencies who will do it for you!