Advertising in TikTok: still expensive and not for everyone


TikTok’s audience of over 500 million active users worldwide has overtaken Twitter and Snapchat in popularity. TikTok has enormous potential for advertisers without being overloaded with ads.


The app, in which users can edit and share 15-second videos with built-in filters, effects and music, has shaken up the marketing world with its unprecedented virality.

Is TikTok advertising right for your business?

In early 2019, the app launched a beta version of ads. Since then, major brands like Grubhub, Nike, Fenty Beauty and Apple Music have used TikTok ads to promote their products in an unconventional format. Advanced targeting and unique ad creation capabilities set TikTok apart from its predecessors. With the right approach, you can reach one of the most profitable audience segments with TikTok advertising.

However, promotion in TikTok is not suitable for every business. Before investing effort and time in advertising, it’s worth answering two questions.

1. What is the target audience for your business (demographics)?

66% of TikTok’s global audience is under 30 and 41% are between the ages of 16 and 24. TikTok is a great platform to promote a brand aimed at young people, but is unlikely to work for businesses targeting a more mature audience.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

It is worth noting that despite the fact that today the predominant part of the TikTok audience is young people, we can assume that in the future the older generations will catch up. The audience of other social networks has followed the same path. So even if now your target audience is not the same as the audience TikTok, you should gradually look closely at this platform, at the right time ahead of the competition.

2. Do you have a sufficient budget for advertising in TikTok?

Since big brands like Nike, Disney, and Grubhub have quickly taken on TikTok, advertising on the platform may not be very affordable for small businesses.

Advertising on TikTok is rare and recent, and therefore rates are more in line with the premium segment – the average CPM is about $10, and the total budget for advertising campaigns can be as high as $300,000. Moreover, the minimum budget for launching a campaign is $500, so TikTok is not the best option for a business that needs affordable advertising with predictable results.

If you answered yes to both questions, here’s a guide for running ads in TikTok.

PromoPult module for targeting advertising in social networks: all channels in one office, minimal budgets, automated creation of creatives, automatic bid management, easy selection of targeting.

#1: Create an ad account in TikTok Ads

To create your first ad campaign in TikTok, go to the TikTok Ads page and click Create an Ad.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

Since TikTok Ads is in beta mode, the process of setting up ads has not yet started completely. After clicking Create an Ad, a popup will appear requesting the information needed to start your account. After sending the information, a TikTok Ads representative will contact you to set up TikTok Ads.

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It can take up to 48 hours to activate your account. The next steps are quite simple.

#2: Create an ad campaign in TikTok Ads

In the TikTok Ads dashboard, select the Campaign tab at the top of the page and click Create.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

Then select the purpose of the campaign. You can now choose from three options: Traffic, Conversions, and App Install.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

To set a campaign budget, select Daily Budget or Total Budget in the settings. A minimum budget of $500 applies to both the total budget and daily budget settings.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

#3: Set up Placements, Details, and Targeting

The next step is to create a group of ads for the campaign, select placement locations, and set up targeting.

One of the key features of the TikTok Ads dashboard is the ability to choose the specific platforms you want to advertise on. In addition to TikTok itself, ads can be placed in the entire group of apps: Vigo Video (India only), BuzzVideo, News Republic and others.

There is also an automatic placement option, where TikTok itself will select the best sites for your ads.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

After selecting locations, add the necessary information to launch your ad campaign, including relevant URLs, display names, images, and categories.

You can also describe the essence of your site or app using up to 20 keywords. These words will help the system show ads to the right audience.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

In Targeting, you can set the parameters of your target audience: geography, age, gender, language, interests, devices used, etc.

If you want to show ads to specific users, you can create a separate group with their IDs in TikTok Ads. To do this, just upload a file with a list of IDs in CSV, TXT or ZIP-archive format.

#4: Configure Ad Spend, Duration, and Goals

You can now configure your budget, impression schedule and goals in TikTok Ads.

Setting the budget and schedule of impressions

Under Budget & Schedule, you can choose a daily budget (the money you will spend during the day) or a total budget (the money you plan to spend over the entire duration of the ad campaign). Note that at the ad group level, the minimum daily budget should be at least $20. See the help for more details on the budget.

Also, define a schedule of impressions (start and end dates). The Dayparting option allows you to select specific days of the week or time of day when the ads will be displayed.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

Select the Pacing speed of the budget

Now set the speed at which the budget will be spent. If you select Standard delivery, the budget is distributed evenly over the days of the campaign. The Accelerate option involves spending the budget as quickly as possible.

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Select an Optimization Goal

The Optimization Goal represents the key metric by which you measure the success of your campaign. You can select Conversion, Click or Impression and the system will optimize bids based on the selected goal.

If you choose conversions as a goal, the ads will be shown to users who are more likely to make a conversion. To track conversions (e.g. installing an app or filling out a form), create an event under Library → Conversions.

Here you can set up the tracking of app installs, or interactions with specific elements of a landing page, by installing a TikTok Ads pixel on the site.

To track app installs, name the target (Conversion Event) and place a link to the app on Google Play or the App Store, then select Tracking Partner.

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

The cost of ads with adjusted conversion targets is defined as oCPC (optimization cost per click). The system optimizes displays so that ads are shown to users who are most likely to perform the targeted action. Unlike CPC (cost per click), oCPC corresponds to the expected cost per conversion. TikTok automatically manages bids based on your settings to use your budget to meet your goals.

If you select clicks as a goal, pay per click (CPC), and ads are optimized so that as many users as possible click on your ad.

If you select displays as a goal, you will be paid based on CPM (cost per mille), i.e. per thousand displays.

Enabling or disabling Smart Optimization

TikTok offers the option of smart optimization (Smart Optimization). When it’s activated, bids will be optimized to increase conversions. If you’re targeting clicks or impressions, it’s best to turn off the Smart Optimization option.

#5: Create ads: TikTok Video Creation Kit and three ad formats

The process of creating creatives is fairly straightforward. The ad format in TikTok is horizontal, vertical, or square videos and pictures.

The coolest thing about the advertising platform is the Video Creation Kit, which contains templates that you can customize with your own images. You can also find more than 300 free audio tracks of background music there.

TikTok currently has three advertising formats: brand taggers, in-feed ads, and hashtag chelenges.

Brand Takeovers

In this case, ads appear as soon as you open the app. The link can be internal (to another TikTok video) or external (to another site or app). Currently, only one brand per day can advertise in this format.

An example of a TikTok video from the food delivery app Grubhub:

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

In-Feed Ads

These native ads appear either under organic TikTok videos or directly in the feed, depending on the type of product. Links in these ads can also lead to the advertiser’s website or app. The average cost is $10 per CPM, which makes the format more affordable than brand tiktokers.

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Here are the app ads that appeared when you scrolled through the feed:

Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

Hashtag Challenges

Hashtag Challenges are launched in close cooperation with the TikTok marketing team. As a rule, the challenge lasts six days.

The challenge involves the creation of user-generated content with specified conditions that must be posted with a specific hashtag. Hashtags are promoted by the platform itself (the challange banner is placed on the main page), as well as with the participation of popular TikTok bloggers.

Successful campaigns rack up tens of millions of views of videos created as part of the challange.

#6: Optimize your TikTok ads

  • Use high-resolution images when creating ads for brand teakover, as they will automatically unfold to full screen.
  • Place only one call to action (CTA) that matches the link as closely as possible. For example, if you offer to download the app and get a promo coupon at the same time, the user might be surprised to find himself on the app download page instead of the coupon page.
  • When writing text, keep in mind that TikTok ads have very little room for words. The description is limited to 80 characters, so if you’re selling a fairly complex product, put the text in the video itself using Video Creation Kit.
  • The description of the ad is placed at the bottom of the screen, so the main creative message should be placed in the center of the video or picture so it doesn’t blend in with the text below.
    As with any advertising format, try to experiment with targeting settings and creatives to find the best combination of elements.

Tips for Advanced

In addition to the Video Creation Kit, use other built-in tools.

  • If you’re working with a group of ads, check out the Automated Creative Optimization features. This tool allows you to upload up to 10 images or 5 videos, 5 ad texts and one CTA (call to action) and then combine several ads from them. This way, you can test different combinations of text and visuals and find what works best for your target audience.


Реклама в TikTok: пока что дорого и не для всех

  • The Landing Page to Video tool can find and upload high quality images from your landing page by itself, then combine those images, add music and automatically create video ads.
    Conclusion: it’s as easy to make ads in TikTok as it is on other social networks

    With great creative and automation tools, running and managing ads in TikTok is pretty easy.

    It’s true that the platform is fairly new, so there aren’t yet enough detailed instructions to work with the advertising options. Hopefully, this step-by-step guide will help you understand the interface and get your ads up and running quickly.


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