Is your business currently on TikTok? Are you wondering how to advertise on the platform? In this article, you’ll find out step by step how to create ads on the platform.

But first, is TikTok ads necessary for your business?

With over 800 million active users worldwide, TikTok’s huge audience creates an opportunity for advertisers. TikTok has surpassed Twitter and Snapchat, with less growth time. Even then, it still has fewer ads being served than similar counterpart social platforms. The social media app has certainly shaken up the world of marketing and hit us with refreshing content and marketing opportunities.

In early 2019m, the app launched a beta version of its ad offering. Since then, the early adaptor brands like Grubhub, Nike, Fenty Beauty, and Apple Music have used TikTok ads to promote their products in creative and visually appealing campaigns. The platform offers advanced targeting and unique ad creation features, unlike many of the other social platforms. If used effectively, it can help brands reach a lucrative audience.

However, before you dive into creating ads on the platform, it’s important to consider that TikTok isn’t the best place to advertise for all brands. First, ask yourself if this ad platform is right for you by answering two questions:

1. What demographic do you want to target?

If your audience is primarily a younger audience and you’re looking to target this, then TikTok ads would be a worthwhile investment. 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. If you are looking to target an older audience then this platform wouldn’t be right for your marketing plan.

It is worth noting that social networks tend to attract younger audiences first and then make their way to an older demographic. So whilst TikTok ads may not be right for you now, you may want to start building up your own page if your targeted demographic starts to grow on the platform. It will also be worth staying ahead of the curve and learning with TikTok as it progresses.

2. Do you have the budget to advertise?

Large brands such as Nike, Disney, and Grubhub have been early adaptors to drive large impressions, but TikTok ads may be less affordable for smaller brands.

As the platform is relatively new, the costs of ads come at a premium. They start at an average of £8 per CPM and can go up to £250,000 for larger budgets and larger campaigns. To add, TikTok ads require a minimum investment of £400, with no clear ROI at this point.

If you still think TikTok ads would be a good fit for your business then check out how to set up ads:

1. Create an account

To create an account you’ll have to first head to TikTok’s ad homepage. Once you go through the signup process and submit your information, a representative will be in touch to set up your TikTok Ad account.

Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 15.59.29As the ad platform is relatively new, it can take up to 48 hours to have your account set up and ready to create ads. However, once it is set up the process for creating ads is relatively straightforward.

2. Create your first ad campaign

In your dashboard, click the campaign tab and then the create button.


Then, choose a campaign objective. You have three options, Traffic, Conversions or App Installs.


Next, you’ll need to set your budget. You can select either a daily or total budget option under settings. Both of these need to be at a minimum spend of £400.

3. Set your ad placement, details and targeting

The next step is to create an ad group for your campaign and select your placement and targeting.

The TikTok ad platform will allow you to select from all other platforms within their company which includes, BuzzVideo,m New Republic and others. You can also select automatic placements which directs TikTok to place it where they think your ad will do the best. If you’re advertising in the UK we would suggest selecting only TikTok as a lot of their other placements operate a large majority of their audience in other countries.


You’ll then need to follow the steps and input the information required to start running your ad. This will include your URLs, display names, imagery and categories. TikTok also has a feature where you can choose up to 20 keywords to describe your website or app. The platform will then use this information to best match your product with the right audience.

The targeting section allows you to set the location, age, gender, language, interests, devices and more to define your targeted audience for your ad.


Similar to Facebook ads, you can also upload a custom audience if you have IDs of existing TikTok users. You’ll need to upload these in CSV, TXT, or ZIP file.

4. Set your spend, duration and goals

You can now set your spend and duration. For your budget, you can set a daily or total budget. Also, choose when you want your ad to be shown. Dayparting lets you select specific times of the day or week.

Pacing option

Pacing determines the speed at which you want your budget to be spent. Standard delivery evens out delivery across your schedule, while the accelerate option spends your budget as quickly as possible.

Optimisation goal

The optimisation goal determines what you’d like to achieve with your campaign. You can choose from conversions, clicks or impressions.

Selecting the conversion goal will serve your ad to people who are more likely to convert into your desired action. For instance, downloading an app or submitting a form.

You can also create conversion events by clicking Library and selecting conversions. You can then determine if you want to set up conversions for tracking app installs or specific trackables of your landing page via a pixel.

To create an app install conversion, first type the name of your conversion event, enter the link to your app in Google Play or the App Store and then select a tracking partner to start measuring conversions from your TikTok ad.



If your goal is clicks, then you’ll be billed on a CPC basis and your ad will be optimised to drive as many clicks as possible.

Lastly, if your goal is set as impressions, then your ad will be billed on a CPM (cost per mille) basis, which is priced on a thousand impressions.

Smart Optimisation

Smart optimisation can be turned on or off. If selected your bidding will constantly adjust and optimise to increase conversions. We would recommend switching this off if you choose impressions or clicks as your goal.

5. TikTok Video Creation Kit

Deciding your creative is pretty simple, thanks to the advanced creative features. You can choose if your ad is horizontal, vertical or square video or image. The video creation kit gives you video and image templates which you can customise using your own images. You can also select from 300+ free background music.

The platform currently allows brand takeovers, in-feed ads and hashtag challenges.

Brand takeovers

A takeover ad appears instantly when a user first opens up the TikTok platform. You can then redirect from the ad to an internal TikTok account or externally to a website or app. This is currently limited to one ad a day.

Currently (at the time of this writing) Lewis Capaldi is running a brand takeover ad to direct people straight to his page and promote his Live. This could have been in partnership with TikTok to promote the new Live feature.


In-feed Ads

These ads are native ads placed at the bottom of organic TikTok videos or in the normal feed. These ads direct to your website or app. These are a more affordable option then brand takeovers.

Here is an example of an in-feed ad:


Hashtag Challenges

Hashtag challenges usually last for 6 days. You can partner with TikTok’s marketing team to create a sponsored hashtag challenge which encourages users to share content on TikTok on your brand’s behalf.

The brand guest started a TikTok challenge #inmydenium. The challenge encouraged users to show themselves styled in denim. “Ready for your close up? Show us how you style your denim 👖 Transform your outfit from a mess to best-dressed! All you need is denim. #inmydenim Challenge your friends 👯‍Sponsored by GUESS”. This campaign has had 48.7M views.


6. Optimise your ads

Here are our tips for optimising your TikTok ads:

If you create a brand takeover or in-app display ad, make sure your images or videos are high-resolution. The ad will be displayed full screen and therefore highly visible.

We would recommend having only one call to action to ensure you don’t confuse users with what you are asking them to do.

Ad descriptions are limited to 80 characters so if you need to be wordier with your description then make sure to incorporate this into your display creative using the video creation kit on TikTok. Make sure to place this in the middle of your creative, as all descriptions appear at the bottom of the screen. You don’t want one area of your ad to be text-heavy, it will turn users off.

Automated Creative Optimisation Tool

This tool allows you to upload up to 10 images or 5 videos, 5 ad texts, and 1 CTA and it will then combine your creative assets to form multiple ads. TikTok will then test the variety of ads and present the best possible combination to your target audience.


It does seem there is currently little guidance when it comes to the TikTok ad platform but like any other ad platform, it is best to test your targeting until you get the right combination to achieve your goal.

Last Updated on September 3, 2022