TikTok Advertising

Learn about TikTok advertising, the various types of TikTok ads, how to advertise on TikTok, and tips for running a successful campaign on TikTok.

Avik Dutta
February 28, 2023
11 min read

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Table of Contents

What is TikTok advertising?

Have you found yourself wondering, “How does TikTok advertising work exactly?”, “What are the benefits of TikTok advertising”, or “What’s the better TikTok advertising strategy?” If you have, then don’t sweat it because you’ve come to the right place. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer picture of all of this and then some.

Simply put, TikTok is a social media platform where users can create, watch, and share 15-second videos with music and other special effects. It has become particularly popular among younger users and has gained a reputation for being a place for creative and entertaining content.

TikTok advertising is a way for businesses to promote their products or services on the platform by creating sponsored content in users' feeds. And with over 1 billion active users worldwide, TikTok advertising has become a wildly successful way for businesses to reach a younger, tech-savvy audience to drive brand awareness and engagement.

Types of TikTok ads

There are a wide variety of TikTok advertising formats that you can choose from, depending on your campaign goals. So, let’s cut to the chase and jump right into the different types of TikTok ads:

1. In-feed ads

In-feed ads appear in the user’s feed without affecting their experience. These ads can be as long as 60 seconds, and they have a CTA button. Like other posts in the feed, users can also like, comment, or share in-feed ads.

Ad specs:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9

  • Supported file types: .mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi

  • Video resolution: minimum of 540*960px, 640*640px, or 960*540px

  • Video duration: 5–60s (ideal duration: 9–15s)

In-feed ads

2. Brand Takeover

Brand takeover ads are full-screen ads that can either be dynamic or static. They get featured as soon as you open TikTok. These ads are typically 3–5 seconds long, and they’re designed to grab your attention so that you act right away. These ads are really nifty at driving mass awareness and sales. Though, it’s important to note that TikTokers only see one brand takeover ad per day.

Ad specs:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9

  • Supported file types for images: JPG or PNG

  • Supported file types for videos: .mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi

  • Video duration: 3–5 seconds

Brand Takeover

3. TopView

Similar to brand takeovers, TikTok TopView ads aim to increase brand exposure by occupying TikTok’s prime ad real estate. They have a video-first ad format that occupies the first in-feed post after 3–5 seconds of opening the app. These ads can last up to 60 seconds, and there’s no other content that’s competing for the viewer’s attention, apart from your own. Because of all of this, they can be truly immersive. If you’re looking to drive brand awareness, TopView ads are an excellent way to reach new users with an engaging narrative.

Ad specs:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9

  • Supported file types: .mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi

  • Video resolution: minimum of 540*960px, 640*640px, or 960*540px

  • Video duration: maximum of 60 seconds

4. Branded Hashtag Challenge

Branded Hashtag Challenge (BHC) is another defining video-sharing format. The ad encourages users to create videos using a specific hashtag and to participate in online trends or contests.

You can use the BHC to boost engagement, brand awareness, and user-generated content (UGC) as well. If you want to take a closer look, click on the banner to open the Hashtag Challenge page. All the videos with branded hashtags have been listed there so users can get a better idea of this popular ad type.

Ad specs:

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9

  • Supported file types: .mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi

  • Video duration: 12s–15s

  • Character limit for hashtags: Maximum of 70 English characters (18 English characters are ideal)

5. Branded Effects

Effects are one of the most beloved forms of expression on TikTok. They allow users to create video content with unique, customizable filters and visuals.

With Branded Effects, TikTokers can interact and engage with your brand differently, such as by trying on makeup styles. This way, it pulls them right into your brand experience.

You can customize these ads using TikTok's custom filter, and they can remain active for up to 10 days. Similar to the BHC, Branded Effects allow you to tap into the platform's co-creation effect, and it’s a great way to boost user engagement.

6. Spark Ads

TikTok's mantra — "don't make ads, make TikToks" — comes to life with Spark Ads. Spark Ads are the way to go if you’re interested in leveraging UGC or organic content.

With these ads, you can advertise more organically through TikTok posts. Unlike traditional advertising, Spark Ads put real TikTok accounts that create authentic posts to good use. This way, social marketing and paid marketing strategies can merge to cement an organic presence.

Users can visit your brand profile by swiping left or clicking the ad's handle name or profile picture.

Ad specs:

  • No restrictions on the video ratio, resolution, file type, video duration, or file size

Spark Ads

How to advertise on TikTok

To advertise on TikTok, you must create an account on the platform and set up a campaign on TikTok Ads Manager.

After creating your account, follow these steps to advertise on TikTok:

Step 1: Select an advertising objective based on your goals

Once you have logged into TikTok Ads Manager, click “Create Ad” and select your campaign objective. TikTok has eight objectives that are categorized based on advertising funnels:

  • Awareness

    • Reach: show your ad to the maximum number of people

  • Consideration

    • Traffic: send more people to a destination on your website or app

    • Video views: get more views and engagement for your video ads

    • Lead generation: collect leads for your business or brand

    • Community interactions: get more followers or profile visits

  • Conversion

    • App promotion: get more users to install and engage with your app

    • Website conversions: drive valuable actions on your website

    • Product sales: sell products from your TikTok Shop, website, and app

select an advertising objective based on your goals

Step 2: Name your campaign and define a budget

After choosing the objective, add your campaign name. By default, TikTok includes a campaign name based on the objective and duration.

To set up a budget cap for the overall campaign, you can define a “Daily” or “Lifetime” budget. Otherwise, you can define budgets for individual “Ad Groups.”

Click “Continue” to proceed to the Ad Groups configuration.

name your campaign and define a budget

Step 3: Choose your ad placements

Next, you’ll have to decide where your ads should appear from TikTok’s family of apps.

You can select the apps manually or allow TikTok to intuitively place the ads on different platforms so that you can get the best results. Here’s the where and how of it at a glance:

  • TikTok (includes Search): in-feed ads in the “For You” feed (and Search)

  • Pangle: TikTok audience network

  • Global App Bundle (includes Resso): multiple ad formats on non-TikTok apps

choose your ad placements

Step 4: Define the audience targeting

The next step is to define who’ll see your ads based on certain audience attributes, such as:

  • Demographics

  • Languages

  • Locations

  • Age groups

  • Genders

  • Interests and behaviors

  • Device attributes

You can also target custom and lookalike audiences. Though, do keep in mind that some placements only support ad delivery in select locations. For audience targeting, read our audience analysis guide.

define the audience targeting

Step 5: Set your budget and schedule

Next on the list is setting a daily or lifetime budget for your ad group. Specify the total amount you’re willing to spend on the ads. Additionally, define the campaign duration and if you want to run ads at specific times of the day, which is commonly called dayparting.

set your budget and schedule

Step 6: Select the bidding and optimization

Once that’s done, choose your bidding strategy and optimization goal. You’ll be charged based on this configuration, i.e., how much you’re willing to pay for a specific action.

TikTok Ads Manager currently supports several bidding strategies, including:

  • Bid cap: keeps the average cost per result below the bid threshold set by you

  • Cost cap: provides the system with an average cost per result that it should try to achieve

  • Lowest cost: uses the available ad group budget to generate as many results as possible at the lowest cost per result

Finally, define the delivery type between standard and accelerated. This will determine how your budget is spent, and ads are distributed within 24 hours.

Then, click “Next” to proceed to upload your ad creative.

select the bidding and optimization

Step 7: Upload your ad creative

And lastly, we come to the ad creative, which is an essential aspect of running a successful TikTok campaign. Each ad group can have up to 20 ads.

You can choose to run your ads in the following ad formats:

  • Single video ads

  • Static image ads

  • Video shopping ads

  • Carousel ads

  • Spark ads

Once you’ve set up your ad, TikTok will show you a preview displaying the text, CTA, URL, and name. If all of it looks good, review and submit your ad for review.

TikTok will review your ad before it’s approved and launched.

There’s an important thing to note here. You’ll have to ensure that you’re following TikTok’s ad guidelines and policies before uploading the ad and submitting it for review.

upload your ad creative

TikTok advertising best practices

Now that you know how to set up and launch a campaign on TikTok, here are a few TikTok advertising best practices so you can get the best bang for your buck:

1. Use catchy visuals and sound

TikTok is all about creative and eye-catching content, so ensure your ad features attractive visuals and sounds.

2. Use the CTA feature

Every piece of customer-oriented content requires a clear call to action to let users know what they should do next. If you want more traffic on your landing page, use a call to action, or CTA, that prompts users to visit your website. CTAs offer an upfront way to effectively increase your conversion rate when you’re using TikTok ads.

3. Use relevant hashtags

Use relevant hashtags in your ad to make it easier for users to discover your content. Take advantage of the TikTok marketing campaign trends to create hashtags and drive engagement.

4. Test different ad formats

Don't just stick to one type of TikTok ad. Experiment with different formats to determine which ones perform best for your business. For example, TopView might work for you and drive a massive engagement, but Branded Effects might be driving the most conversions and user engagement. So, carefully analyze and choose your ad formats.

5. Consider using influencer marketing

Consider partnering with influencers to reach a wider audience and boost the success of your ad campaign. Collaborate with influencers of your industry to get the best results.

Learn more: Influencer marketing strategy

6. Boost your native organic content

Promote UGC or organic content to provide authentic and unique brand experiences with a long-lasting marketing impact and improved ROI. It will help increase your organic engagement in the future.

7. Track your results

Monitor your ad performance to identify what's working and what’s not quite hitting the mark. By doing this, you’ll get to know which adjustments are necessary and how you can better boost your ROI.

8. Follow creative best practices from TikTok

TikTok has a set of creative best practices that can help improve click-through rates (CTRs) and overall performance. Incorporate those tips in your ad campaigns to get the best results.

Bring Your Campaigns to Market Faster with AI

TikTok ad examples

Here are a few popular, creative TikTok ad examples to get you truly inspired:

1. #BMWeDrive — BHC

BMW, the world-class automobile brand, wanted to promote a plug-in hybrid vehicle in South Korea, the BMW eDRIVE.

The brand collaborated with famous K-pop musician Henry as part of its "e-ideal Vibe" campaign.

Result: the campaign attracted 45.99 million video views from 3,400 participants. It also drove 6.29 million engagements.

2. #NikeShesBallin — BHC

In partnership with UEFA European Women's Championship, Nike and TikTok aimed to change how women athletes are perceived and instill a love for football.

Using TikTok in a way that felt native, Nike partnered with 36 TikTok creators and launched #NikeShesBallin, a BHC that supported TopView, Top Feed, in-feed, and Spark Ads across six key European markets.

Result: the campaign saw incredible results, with 3.6 billion views of the Hashtag Challenge on the platform. The TikTok creators also drove excellent audience reach.

3. Maybelline New York’s TopView ad

Maybelline New York kicked off their campaign with a TopView ad mashup featuring key creators from the campaign. It was a fantastic example of how brands can use creators to make their TikTok ads interesting, engaging, and native to TikTok.

Result: the TopView Ad revealed a 5% increase in CTR compared to industry benchmarks and a 2% increase in engagement rate with over 22 million views.

Why Sprinklr?

As social advertising matures, the tools, platforms and processes that are needed to manage campaigns and data become overwhelming. Considering the limited visibility that brands have into advertising, it becomes challenging to be more efficient while aligning with organic marketing activities.

Sprinklr's Unified Customer Experience Management (Unified-CXM) platform removes the hassle of siloed marketing with a comprehensive, unified view of all your social channels. With Sprinklr, you can manage all of your social activity right in one place, automatically optimizing budgets, maximizing targeting opportunities and consolidating reporting.

Want to know what’s specifically in it for advertisers? Well, here’s what.

Continuous collaboration on exclusive products

With TikTok expanding its advertising offering, its partnership with Sprinklr will give advertisers access to the newest API features available, which means more customer opportunities. Advertisers can shape the direction of the TikTok advertising platform and the Sprinklr Marketing product.

AI-powered optimization

Improve performance on TikTok in-feed video campaigns with AI-powered, real-time optimizations across campaigns using standard channel metrics, custom brand calculations and third-party analytics.

What’s more, Smart Budget Allocation allows advertisers to dynamically distribute budgets based on performance across campaigns and ad groups. And features like Smart Bidding will enable advertisers to automate the manual bidding process for the ideal results with the least effort.

Smart rules

Deliver TikTok ads at the right time to the right audience with the help of external signals that will inform and trigger your campaign delivery. Sprinklr’s Smart Rules, which consider factors like the weather, give advertisers the opportunity to leverage real-time events to deliver relevant and timely content to their audiences.

Real-time reporting

Review real-time, automated reporting dashboards by using standard channel metrics, custom brand calculations, and third-party analytics. This way, you can uncover timely insights, monitor pacing, and compare performance to benchmarks to improve your advertising strategy.

To top it off, these reporting dashboards are highly customizable, so advertisers and their stakeholders will receive insights that are tailored to their unique business objectives.

Maintain global user security standards

Create frameworks to ensure cross-channel and global governance with permission controls for ad accounts, user groups, and pages, all from Sprinklr’s unified platform. You can also ensure that all of your ads follow brand guidelines with Sprinklr’s automated ad and budget approval features. This will effectively prevent any off-brand campaigns from going live.

Unlock your Sprinklr free trial

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of advertising on TikTok can vary depending on a number of factors, such as your target audience, the specific ad format you choose, and the length of your ad campaign. For starters, TikTok requires a minimum budget of $50 at the campaign level and $20 at the ad-group level per day.

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