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TikTok Advertising 101: The Free Guide to Success on the Platform

You’re ready to kick some serious ass on TikTok, but aren’t sure where to start, right? No worries. We've got you. 😉 Just keep reading. ⬇



We’ve got the secret sauce to success, and TBH it’s better than the best steak we’ve ever put in our mouths, which is saying something.   


Why is TikTok Advertising Such a Successful Method for a Majority of Companies? 🤷‍♂️

It’s estimated that over one BILLION people are active in a given month on TikTok as of January 2021. This gives businesses an almost unparalleled opportunity to get in front of their audience in a way they haven’t been able to before. 

With advanced targeting options, unique and creative ad features, the opportunity for very visually appealing, eye-catching, and thumb-stopping campaigns, and a platform much less overwrought with ads from competitors, TikTok has truly given marketing and advertising experts a run for their money. Literally. 💸

It wasn’t until very early 2019 that TikTok began experimenting with the concept of adding ads to the platform, granting an opportunity for large brands, including Apple, Nike, and GrubHub to embrace new levels of potential with advertising on TikTok

Of course, your brand may not have as much success with TikTok advertising as some. Not because you have less ad spend, but because it’s all about demographics and target audiences and all that complicated stuff we’ll get into momentarily. ⏰

When it comes to deciding whether or not TikTok is a good fit for your business, consider your audience and maybe even give it a test shot. You never know when things are going to go viral on TikTok. Take the newest sea shanties trend, started by Nathan Evans, a 26-year-old Scottish postman, and aspiring technician. 

Sea Shanties haven’t exactly ever been “popular” and haven’t been promoted outside of a niche audience prior to this TikTok going viral. A classic example of how we never quite know WHAT could potentially go viral or get traction on TikTok. Especially when it comes to advertising ok TikTok. 

Does My Business Have a Chance to Succeed with TikTok Advertising?

There are two answers you need to determine whether or not your business can truly benefit from TikTok advertising

#1 What is the target demographic of YOUR audience?

The demographic of your audience will be the main determining factor for whether advertising on TikTok will be a successful avenue for your business when it comes to ROI and brand growth on social media. 

If your audience is between the ages of 13 and 30, TikTok advertising is definitely an avenue you should explore as the percentage of U.S-based TikTok users by age makes this age bracket the most likely to see your services and products. See the below table for a glance at what ages represent each percentage of users. 


Something you should always keep in mind, though, is that EVERY social media platform, save professional platforms such as LinkedIn and like apps were adopted by a younger audience before being adopted by an older audience. For instance: Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, etc. 

This trend is beginning to take shape on TikTok as more and more millennials and even generation X counterparts have started experimenting with the creative take on relatable video content

We’ve seen it play out plenty of times. For anyone wondering, we give it a year before moms everywhere have officially taken over the app. Watch out, kids! 🤪

#2 How Much is it?

Now the almost age-old question: how much is it to advertise on TikTok? And the age-old response: “it depends on your goals” which is TRUE, but also not enough information for people like you who need solid answers to get started. 

We hear you. And we’re here to help. 📈

Huge businesses have already taken advantage of advertise on TikTok on a grand scale, (which is no surprise as they have the $$$ to spend) but it might be a bit less doable for smaller businesses. 

Because advertising on TikTok is a (relatively) new concept, you might see yourself spending around $10 per CPM as on average. In addition, they require a (minimum) investment of about $500. 

💲 A quick run-down of what different types of campaigns and ad types might cost:

  • Brand takeover ads can cost anywhere from $20,000-$200,000. The rate will depend on the duration of the campaign, among other factors. 
  • Hashtag challenges cost $150,000 for six days. 
  • Depending on the agency, you can sometimes get as low as $50-$100 a day.
  • TikTok influencers for brand promotion can cost anywhere from $600-$1,000+ a day, depending on their number of current followers.
  • In some cases, TikTok is offering ad credits to potential advertisers. We can help you claim this and create an optimized campaign for brand promotion! Interested? Shoot us a message.

You know how much it costs if it’s right for you and how it can help. Now it’s time to get into the HOW behind the WHY. 🔎

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Getting Started with TikTok Advertising 🚀

Now we’re ready to GET STARTED with advertise on TikTOk, right? You’ve got your account created, you’re geared up, and have your budget ready, so let’s hit it. 🎶🎧

#1 Create Your TikTok Ads Account

For this step, you’ll need to visit the TikTok ads homepage and click on the “Get Started” Button, located in the menu in the top right-hand corner of the homepage. 

From here, you’ll click “create an ad” and then fill out the pop-up questionnaire about your business. It takes an average of about 48 hours for an account review and confirmation to be completed. 

#2 Create a TikTok Advertising Campaign

Within the TikTok Ads platform, you’ll click the “Campaigns” tab. It’s located at the top of the page, right in the middle. 

The next prompt will be “create, and then from there, you’ll need to select an objective. There are three options: 

  • Traffic 

Traffic leads people to your website. Yay! More clicks. 👆

  • Conversions

Means you’ll be making money off of sales. Whoop! 🤑

  • App Installs

People are going to be downloading your app. 🎉 If the app costs money, bam. Bucks made. If the app is attempting to teach or reach, also bam because it’s another step further on the buyer's journey. 🥂

#3 Set a Budget

To set a budget for your TikTok advertising campaign at a campaign level, you’ll need to select either the daily budget OR the total budget for the entirety of the campaign. 

You’ll find these options under campaign settings. There is a minimum requirement of $50 for either/or, so keep that in mind when you’re in the “perusing” phase of the campaign setup. (This applies for budgeting at an ad group level, as well.)

There is also an option that allows you to refrain from setting up a budget, but we don’t recommend it. You never know when you’ll make a mistake or, especially in the learning phase, realize what you originally planned isn’t working as well as you hoped. 

Setting a budget for your TikTok ads allows you to find out what is and isn’t working and improve upon the best-performing ads. Always, always give yourself room to adjust and improve. 

  • Choose a pacing option: It’s of VITAL IMPORTANCE that you remember to set a pacing option when being creative with TikTok advertisement if you don’t want your ad spend to disappear overnight. Or, in extreme cases, within hours. (We’ve been in business long enough that we’ve been around the block a few times. You know what they say: “Don’t try this at home.” 🏡)

Your choices for pacing include: 

  • Standard delivery: TikTok will space your ad spend out evenly throughout the entirety of your TikTok advertisement campaign. 


  • Accelerated delivery: TikTok will spend the budget as fast as possible, beginning at the start of the campaign.

#4 Establish TikTok Advertising Placement, Details, and Targeting 

After you’ve established a budget, created a campaign, and chosen a TikTok advertising objective, it’s time to create an ad group and decide on placement and targeting, as well as tie up loose ends on the details spectrum. 👟

There is an option for automatic placement or a chance to select placement. This means your ad will either air on TikTok, or on TikTok and its family of news apps. 

TikTok will provide prompts for filling out last-minute details, including images, copies, relevant URLs, categories, and display names, among other (less important) things. 😜

TikTok will allow you to select up to 20 keywords that will be a determining factor when it comes to figuring out what audience your TikTok ads belong in front of. So take your time with keywords and think carefully about what searches an individual.

l would make when hunting for your products. 

Targeting details are the fun part. 😎🎯 You’ll be able to set specific guidelines on who should be viewing your ad. These details will include location, age, gender, particular languages, and even interests.

🔥🔥🔥 Hot Tip: When advertising on TikTok, you can upload existing users' IDs and target them specifically. 🔥🔥🔥

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#5 Schedule Your TikTok Ads

Advertising TikTok is not unlike other platforms in that you can set specific times and days when you want your ads to appear for your target audience. 

These times can be inserted within the budgeting and scheduling options.

#6 Designing Your Ads 🎆

TikTok will provide you with everything you need to make killer ads with a “video creation kit” that features customizable image and video templates, 300+ free music options, and more that will bring your advertising ok TikTok efforts over the top. 

You’re not obligated to use their tools, though. So no worries if you’re prepared and excited to use the creative license on your own advertising efforts! 💃

TikTok Advertising Best Practices

When it comes to advertising on TikTok, making the most of your budget and getting the biggest bang for your effort is the #1 priority at all times. We’re going to help you get there. 

#1 Put the spotlight on a single CTA and leave it there.

No distractions. More than one CTA is going to pull users' attention away from your goal and that won’t help you get money in your pocket or get the most out of your redirect link, so stay focused so they can, too! 

#2 TikTok ad descriptions are limited to 80 characters.

If you’re looking to be successful, don’t plan on using the description to get there. The power on this platform is contained within video content, so unleash your inner beast and make some killer content. 😈

#3 Place key creative elements in the center.

This is where the eye will be drawn to look during the endless scrolling game, so keep your key creative elements FRONT and CENTER stage. This also helps avoid congestion as the description will be located near the bottom of the screen. 

#4 Your creative assets deserve to be high-quality.

When and IF you decide to try a brand takeover ad or one of the in-app display ad options, we recommend ensuring the high-resolution of every image, video, or otherwise creative asset that you decide to use. 

Why? Because ultimately, your creative asset will be taking over the entire screen of a user, making everything- that includes imperfections, not only visible but front and center for everyone to see. Keep it high-quality, folks.

#5 Don’t Settle. Embrace better for your brand.🌠

Advertising TikTok is similar to a variety of other platforms in that you don’t want to settle before you know what’s out there. 

So on that note, take time to test other variations of images, music, video, targeting, vibes, and placement before settling on “the perfect match”.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

We know you have a million questions, but unfortunately, we do not mind readers. So we’ve picked some obvious ones we hope will help, but if you have any more, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Feedback is our favorite! 📣

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a platform that allows users to create vertical, short-form (15 - 60 seconds in length) videos.

What is the TikTok Challenge?

Challenges on TikTok are, put simply, iterations of viral videos created on the app. There are dance challenges, dare challenges, lip sync challenges, and more.

What Gets Shared on TikTok?

Music, dances, challenges, tips, tricks, photos, jokes...really just a little bit of everything! So the real question should be: "What ISN'T shared on TikTok?" 😂

Do I Need to Hire an Influencer for My TikTok Advertising Campaign?

Nope! You don't need to worry about hiring an influencer to get started with TikTok advertisement. Everything you need to get started can be done within the TikTok ads manager.

How Many Hashtags are Too Many for the Ad Description?

When it comes to advertising, hashtags are much less useful. However, when it comes to the organic content, we would recommend 3-5.

How Do I Make Viral Content for my TikTok Ads?

Unfortunately, it's extremely difficult to PLAN viral content. It never happens because we never quite know what sort of content will strike a chord in people in a variety of different demographics. It's not rocket science, it's just science. 🚀

However, creating some thumb-stopping, "viral" content for individuals in your target audience is not only doable: we've done it.

Should I Consider Hiring a TikTok Advertising Agency?

For smaller businesses, if you feel confident in your abilities and are following the steps outlined in this blog carefully, we wish you the best of luck and have no doubt that you'll enjoy every step of the process.

However, for individuals or brands that are ready for rapid growth and success, we'd love to work with you to help you find the perfect, thumb-stopping solution. Let's get in touch!

Tap Into the Limitless Success of TikTok Advertising 📱

If you're looking to give your brand a pedestal on everyone's new favorite app, we're here to help. We managed an over $6,000,000 ad budget for our clients last year and we're hyped to double that in 2021. We'd LOVE for you to be a part of it!

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with our social media experts and let's take your TikTok advertising efforts over the finish line in 2022! 🎊 Click below for details.



Keith Kakadia

I am a native of New Orleans, LA with a passion for social media marketing, entrepreneurship, and making new connections. I enjoy the opportunity to work with amazing individuals and brands everyday.

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