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TikTok Advertising 101

The hottest app in the U.S. is an up-and-coming advertising platform. Learn more about TikTok ads

Sorry to burst your bubble but if the only “TikTok” you know is the hit pop single by Ke$ha from the early 2000s, you are missing out.

TikTok is easily one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world today because it presents an alternative version of online sharing. The app allows its users to create short videos with music, filters, and other relatively cool features that are not usually found on other applications. 😎

TikTok (a.k.a. Douyin in its home market) was launched in China in 2016. The following year, ByteDance acquired the popular would-be rival app,, for $1 billion. In 2018, both apps were merged.

The merger was seen as a perfect way for TikTok to enter the US market precisely because already had a considerable American audience. And finally, in 2020, TikTok has taken over and redefined the way people use social media — thanks (but no thanks) to COVID-19 wreaking its havoc.

If you want to join the bandwagon, now is the perfect time to get started with marketing your business and building a brand through TikTok. Reach a global audience, drive meaningful results, and inspire action from the people that matter most to you with social media advertising on TikTok.

  • Who uses TikTok?
  • Why advertise on TikTok?
  • Get started with TikTok Advertising
  • Essential TikTok marketing tools

Who uses TikTok?

TikTok is the seventh-largest platform in terms of users in comparison to other platforms that have been around much longer such as Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter.

💡 Fun Fact: Instagram took 6 years to gain the same amount of monthly active users that TikTok managed to achieve in under 3 years! On the other hand, Facebook (“king of social media”) took more than 4 years.

Age demographics

If younger people are one of the primary audiences for your business, TikTok ads could be a worthwhile investment for you. Although if your brand caters to older audiences, you might want to rethink about considering this platform for your ads.

Here is a specific breakdown of TikTok users:

  • 25% of internet users aged 10-19
  • 4% of internet users aged 20-29
  • 7% of internet users aged 30-39
  • 3% of internet users aged 40-49
  • 11% of internet users aged 50+

Gender demographics

As of March 2021, female users accounted for 61% of TikTok's active user accounts in the United States while male users only accounted for 39%.

Location demographics

As of January 2021, the platform has a whopping 689 million monthly active users worldwide! TikTok spans over 150 markets from all over the world and is localized in 75 languages.

TikTok also has global offices located in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, New York, Dublin, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Here’s a list of the countries with the most TikTok users globally:

  1. United States – 65.9 million
  2. Indonesia – 22.2 million
  3. Russia – 16.4 million
  4. Japan – 12.6 million
  5. France – 9.3 million
  6. Germany – 9.1 million
  7. UK – 8.5 million
  8. Italy – 8.3 million
  9. Spain – 7.5 million
  10. Netherlands – 3.8 million
  11. South Korea – 3.3 million
  12. Australia – 2.4 million
  13. Norway – 1 million

Why advertise on TikTok?

One of the many reasons why you need to advertise on TikTok is its massive audience. As you should know, audience is everything. Without it, you will only waste time and money.

Lucky for those of you who are looking to get started on TikTok advertising, its audience is expected to grow even bigger in the months to come because of the various phases of lockdown happening around the world.

This directly translates to millions of people looking for alternative forms of entertainment while spending more time at home with their mobile devices.

Types of TikTok Ads

1. In-Feed Ads

These types of TikTok ads are full-screen and skippable that appear as the user is scrolling through their For You Page (FYP). In-Feed Ads can be up to 60 seconds long, and users will be able to engage in them through liking, commenting, and sharing.

If you tend to make use of In-Feed Ads, you will also be able to include a call-to-action button that will lead your viewers to a landing page — a beneficial feature if you’re aiming to increase website traffic and sales.

2. TopView Ads

TopView Ads are 60 seconds long and appear immediately after a user opens the TikTok app. These ads are full-screen with sound and auto-play. You can also include a call-to-action button in these ads to guarantee your reach.

3. Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Takeover Ads are full-screen ads that appear on the FYP immediately after a user opens the app. These ads can be created using 3 to 5-second videos or 3-second images and can be used to direct users to a Hashtag Challenge or a landing page (depending on your goal).

Users are only able to see one Branded Takeover ad per day. This means less competition for you and your brand, but this exact reason also makes them a bit expensive compared to other ad types.

4. Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads

Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads are sponsored hashtag challenges that are featured at the top of TikTok’s Discover Page. This ad type specifically helps advertisers achieve more engagement from users because of the influx of user-generated content.

If you aren’t familiar with this ad type, here’s how it works:

  1. A user clicks on the branded hashtag challenge ad.
  2. The user is taken to a Brand Challenge page containing a description of the challenge and its rules, brand logo, and a link to the brand’s website
  3. Users then will need to create their content based on the challenge by using the designated hashtag.

5. Branded Effects

Similar to Branded Effects on Snapchat and Instagram, your brand will be able to create shareable stickers, filters, and special effects on TikTok for promotions. Other brands often combine this ad format with other types of TikTok ads.

Pro Tip: Make use of filters and special effects for your ads because they are popular among TikTok users enough to drum up more user-generated content and increase your brand’s overall engagement.

6. Influencer Collaborations

While this isn’t exactly a TikTok ad format, your brand can most certainly partner with influencers to create TikTok ads and reach your marketing objectives — particularly so if your chosen influencer’s niche directly aligns with your brand’s.

Get started with TikTok Advertising

TikTok advertising is rapidly evolving as the application grows. Before the launch of new TikTok for Business solutions in June 2020, brands needed to contact the company directly to learn if they qualified for advertising.

With TikTok’s new features and further developments today, creating an account on the TikTok Ads Manager is just a few clicks and approval away. Once your brand is approved and your account is finally set, you can unleash your creative side by getting started on TikTok advertising in just four simple steps:

Step 1: Create a campaign

Start by creating an ad campaign under the “Campaigns” tab and clicking on the “Create” button. This will give you the option to choose your campaign objective — whether you want to drive traffic, conversions, or app installs.

Once you have that sorted out, give your campaign a name and set a campaign-level minimum budget. You can set a lifetime budget to quickly reach as many people as possible. Although if you set a daily budget, you can still gradually and steadily reach out to your target audience.

Step 2: Choose your placements and targeting

Once your campaign is set, you can start creating an ad group for your campaign. This is where you get to decide on the placements and targeting for your ad group. Your choice of ad placement will determine where your ads appear on TikTok and its partner platforms.

You can either choose automatic placement or manually select your targeting placement. Automatic placement will make sure that your ads appear on all the TikTok partner apps. So it might be something to consider if you don’t have a specific placement in mind.

If you prefer to do things manually, you can configure your targeting based on demographics — location, gender, age group, language, and interest category. But if you want to target a more specific audience group, you can opt to create a custom audience in two ways:

  1. You can upload the IDs of users you want to target in a CSV, ZIP, or TXT file, or

  2. You can also create a custom audience based on certain metrics such as engagement, app activity, and website traffic.

Step 3: Create a new ad

TikTok gives you the option to upload either a video or an image file as your ad creative. To ensure that your ad looks great on TikTok and across all the partner platforms, make sure you follow the recommended ad specs.

After creating an ad, you will have the option to preview it and get an idea of how it’ll appear to TikTok users. This way, you can check whether your ad needs some tweaking before you submit it for review.

Pro Tip: You can further customize your ad by naming it so it’s easier to recognize between different ads within the same ad group.

Step 4: Measure your ad’s performance

You should also measure your performance to see how the campaign is paying off. TikTok provides native analytics that can show you how your ad is doing in terms of impressions, clicks, conversions, and more.

Essential TikTok marketing tools

There are a lot of TikTok ad marketing tools that you can use for your campaigns, although we chose to highlight and focus on tools that are managed and run by TikTok exclusively, such as:

  1. Video Template
  2. Smart Video
  3. Smart Video Soundtrack
  4. Quick Optimization
  5. TikTok Video Editor
  6. Smart Text
  7. Automated Creative Optimization
  8. Asset Analysis Report

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