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The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Ads

8 min read

With nearly a billion monthly users, the TikTok app has replaced Facebook as the king of social growth. Since January 2019, TikTok has experienced an enormous 300 million growth in reported active users. An impressive rise of 37.5%. Because of its popularity, TikTok users of all ages and backgrounds are jumping on this app and creating engaging, career-propelling content.

It makes sense that businesses are looking to jump on the trend and start creating as well.

With millions of viewers and a diverse audience, advertising on TikTok is a great tactic for businesses looking to grow their customer base and increase sales.

If you believe TikTok ad creation is the right step for your business, you’ll need to know the options and guidelines for video ads.
Currently, there are five TikTok ad formats available:

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Brand Takeover Ads Format

full-screen splash page to amplify and strengthen your brand message or theme. This type of ad is one of the most effective — grabbing the user’s attention with a full-screen display. When the ad first appears, the dashboard at the bottom of the screen used for navigation is disabled. This focuses the attention of the viewer.

  • Full-screen video for powerful ad delivery.
  • Customized ad: 3-second image or 3-5 second video.
  • The entire ad is clickable and users can be led directly back to your page.
  • CTR averages 15%.

TikTok ads

TopView Format

A video format ad that captures the user’s attention quickly with sight, sound, and a compelling story. This ad pops up and begins playing when a user first opens the app, before their general feed becomes visible.

  • Premium placement.
  • Auto-play feature.
  • Up to 60 seconds of playtime for long-form advertising.
  • CTR is 16-18%.

In-Feed Video Format

An ad that is visible in a user’s personal feed. In-Feed videos are more engaging and interactive because they exist in a user’s feed — this leads to a more personalized interaction.

  • This ad features up to 60 seconds of auto-play.
  • Can include multiple call-to-actions.
  • Ideal ad placements in feed.
  • CTR averages 18%.
  • Easy to share, comment, and like this type of advertisement.

TikTok Hashtag Challenge Format

A creative and engaging way to generate mass exposure and invite users to add to your brand’s message.

  • Hashtags are placed throughout the app to promote engagement.
  • Call to Action button to drive meaningful traffic to your website.
  • Audiences are targeted more effectively with this type of ad because they can interact with the message/theme directly.
  • CTR averages 7-10%

Branded Effect Format

Presenting users with an interactive filter is a fun and creative way to encourage engagement.

  • Effects can be integrated into Hashtag Challenge or standalone.
  • Effects and video are clickable so users can be directed back to your business profile and home page.
  • Effects are triggered by gestures and facial expressions.
  • Branded Effects are similar to filters on Snapchat and Instagram that can create a unique or warped effect for a fun, interactive experience.
  • CTR averages 10-12%

How to Run TikTok ads

Once you determine which type of video ad is ideal for your business you’ll want to focus on the ad creation process. In order to begin advertising on TikTok, you must create a TikTok Ads account.

Follow these steps:

  1. Visit TikTok.com/business.
  2. Select “Get Started” in the top right corner.
  3. On the next page, you will see a drop-down menu.
  4. Select your country and choose whether your content will be a business promoting goods and services or an individual promoting a personal website/page.
  5. Provide a valid email or phone number.
  6. Create a valid password.
  7. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  8. Click “Register” to finish the registration!

Setting up TikTok Ads

Once your TikTok Ads account is set up, the process of manually setting up your ads on TikTok is fairly straightforward.

Before advertising, it’s beneficial to understand how TikTok Ads Manager organizes your campaigns and assets within the platform. With TikTok Ads Manager, you can target your ads to achieve a specific goal or outcome, making your ads more effective.

  • To Generate Awareness: Reach
  • To Direct Leads: Traffic
  • To Increase App Downloads: App installs
  • To Generate Longer View Time: Video views
  • To Drive Sales: Conversions

Optimizing your campaign with these options will make for more effective ads, maximizing your overall investment. You will also want to organize the campaign spending and decide on the campaign’s name.

Keep your KPI’s and campaign objectives in mind as you tailor your campaign. Try focusing on a single KPI and remember your video ads are designed to correlate directly with your campaign objective.

Measuring Performance of TikTok Ads

You’ll want to determine whether or not your money is being used wisely based on your ad performance. Luckily, TikTok has made doing so fairly straightforward. TikTok provides a comprehensive and robust dashboard that enables you to measure and track your ad performance and ad spend. Ad groups share the same target and objective. This dashboard also allows you to see which ad group you are currently running and the status of your TikTok ads.

You can also view the status of your campaigns, ad groups, and ads that can be active or not delivering. Make sure to monitor the performance metrics and overall CPM, CPC, CPA, CTR, and other conversions.


The possibilities for brand success on TikTok are endless.

Take, for example, E.L.F cosmetics, who in October 2019, created a song and dance challenge called “Eyes, Lips, Face” specifically for TikTok. It featured creators wearing makeup and highlighting their eyes, lips, and face makeup creations.

This song was the beginning of brand-created music specifically for TikTok. If creating music isn’t a possibility, running a video ad is an effective way to get your foot in the TikTok door.

TikTok is a fun, engaging app that has helped creators and brands grow their market exponentially. As evidenced by the success of other brands; TikTok ads work! Even major brands like Chipotle, Ocean Spray, Guess, and Aerie have gone viral and seen success with TikTok advertising videos, hashtags, and trends.

TikTok is an innovative advertising platform because users are from all walks of life with varying ages, hobbies, and backgrounds. For some brands, there is no better platform to truly showcase what you have to offer the world.

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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