When it comes to hot social marketing trends, nothing is hotter than TikTok. With over 800 million monthly active users, businesses can’t ignore TikTok advertising. Especially if you’re looking to reach users under the age of 30. Here’s your complete guide on how to advertise on TikTok.

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to inform your social strategy in 2021.

Who should advertise on TikTok?

While searching for examples of effective TikTok ads, we found several major brands advertising on TikTok. We’ll share these ads later in the post. Here are some key stats that can help you determine if your business should advertise on TikTok.

Do these stats sound appealing to you? Continue reading to learn how to advertise on TikTok, find out how much TikTok ads cost, and see some examples of effective TikTok ads.

How to advertise on TikTok

To get started advertising on TikTok, you will need a TikTok advertising account or account manager. To see if your business qualifies, you can contact TikTok Ads directly.

TikTok ads create an account page

contact form for TikTok ads

Once you have submitted your information, a TikTok representative will review your information. If your business qualifies, they will contact you to set up your advertising account.

TikTok ad options

TikTok offers several options for advertisers to reach their target demographic.

  • In-Feed Video: Ads appear in the native news feed of TikTok on the For You page.
  • Brand Takeover: Ad appears when TikTok users open the app and completely take over the screen for a few seconds before turning into an In-Feed Video ad.
  • Hashtag Challenge: Ad appears on the Discovery page. It encourages users to participate in user content creation challenges. These can include a shoppable component for retailers.
  • Branded AR Content: Ad appears as branded lenses, stickers, and other 2D/3D/AR content for TikTok users to use in their videos.
  • Custom Influencer Package: Ad appears as part of sponsored content created by a TikTok user with influence in your market.

You will need a TikTok ad account manager for most of these options. The exception is the first: In-Feed Video ads. Advertisers with access to the self-service dashboard can create In-Feed Video ad campaigns.

TikTok account setup

Once you have access to the TikTok Ads platform, you can log in to access your dashboard. From there, you may have to finish your ad account setup with a few more steps. In some cases, an account rep may set up your account for you.

Welcome to TikTok ads page

Creating a new ad campaign

Once you complete your account details, you can go to the Campaign tab to create your first ad campaign. TikTok allows you to organize your ads using three levels: campaigns, ad groups, and ads.

  • The top-level is the campaign. You will define your campaigns with one main objective and budget.
  • Under a campaign, you will find one or more ad groups. You will define ad groups with ad placements, target audiences, budget, and schedule.
  • Under an ad group, you will find one or more ads. You will create video content ads to reach your target audience for your ad group.

Click on the Create button to create a new In-Feed Video ad campaign.

"Campaign" button highlighted in TikTok ads dashboard

Choose your ad campaign’s objective. Depending on your country, you may have more options available to you.

TikTok advertising objectives: Traffic, app install, or conversion

Name your campaign and enter your lifetime or daily budget. Setting a lifetime budget would allow your ad campaign to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible. A daily budget would allow your ad campaign to steadily penetrate your target market.

Tiktok advertising settings. Budget is set to "Lifetime"

Creating a new ad group

Next, you will create your first ad group. Start by choosing your ad group’s ad placements.

To get the best results, you can let TikTok choose placements automatically. This will allow your ad to appear on TikTok partner apps. They include BuzzVideo (Japan), TopBuzz (US and BR), Babe (Indonesia), and News Republic (worldwide).

Tiktok advertising placements, set to "Automatic Placements"

Next, configure the audience targeting. TikTok allows you to target audiences by general demographics, interests, and devices.

Targeting demographics for Tiktok ads

Custom audience targeting options

TikTok also lets you use custom audiences in your ad group targeting. You can create custom audiences in a few ways. You can use your customer’s contact data, website traffic, app activity, or ad engagement.

Note that the minimum website traffic data audience size is 1,000 users. If you want to use TikTok Ads for retargeting, you will need to install the TikTok Pixel prior to launching your ad campaign. This will give it enough time to collect traffic data and match it to TikTok users.

TikTok Pixel also aids in:

  • Measuring the effectiveness of your TikTok ad campaigns.
  • Optimizing ad delivery to users who are more likely to complete your ad campaign objective.
  • Removing audiences that have already converted so you do not spend your ad budget on unnecessary impressions or clicks.

Once your audience targeting is complete, you can configure the budget and schedule for your ad group.

Budget & Schedule settings for TikTok ads

You may be able to customize the bidding and optimization of your ad budget spend. The higher your bid, the more likely your ad will be seen by your target audience over your competitor’s ads.

Bidding & Optimization settings for TikTok ads

Creating a new ad

Once your ad group is configured, you can upload your first ad. Ads can be uploaded as video or as images. If you choose images, TikTok will group them into a video for you.

Single video or single image options for TikTok advertising

TikTok offers image and video specifications to create ad content that will look best on TikTok and partner apps. For best results, ensure that your videos meet the following specs.

  • A recommended aspect ratio of 9:16/1:1/16:9.
  • A resolution of greater than 720px x 1280px, 640px by 640px, or 1280px by 720px.
  • A video that is 5 to 60 seconds in length, although 9 to 15 seconds is recommended.
  • A brand name that is 2 to 20 characters (English) in length or an app name that is 4 to 40 characters in length.
  • A description of your advertised product or service that is 12 to 100 characters (English) in length.

TikTok also offers several creative tools. Advertisers can use them to create the right content for their target audience. These creative tools include a video creation kit, landing page to video, smart video soundtrack, and TikTok Ad Studio.

Once you have finished creating your ad, you can use TikTok’s ad preview tool to see how your ad will look on mobile devices. You may continue to create more ads and ad groups for your campaign.

After you have completed your ad campaign’s set up, you can submit your campaign for review.

Monitoring ad campaign performance

After TikTok approves your ad campaign and it begins to run, you can monitor your ad’s performance in your ads dashboard.

TikTok ads analytics

Use filters within campaign reports to drill down into your data. Learn how your ads are performing based on specific dimensions and metrics. These filters include ad creative, audience demographics, device type, and placement.

How much do TikTok ads cost?

If you want to get the most visibility amongst TikTok users, be prepared to invest in your TikTok advertising campaign. According to a leaked TikTok pitch deck from June 2019, each ad type cost the following.

  • In-Feed Video: $25,000 minimum per campaign with $30,000 daily maximum.
  • Brand Takeover: $50,000 per day.
  • Hashtag Challenge: $150,000 for six days.
  • Branded Lenses: $80,000 – $120,000 based on the complexity of the lens design.
  • Customer Influencer Package: Variable based on influencer and campaign. Some sources have noted $600 – $1,000 per post.

For those with access to the self-service TikTok ads platform, advertisers are able to set daily or all-time budget caps. TikTok sets a minimum budget of $500 at the campaign level and $50 at the ad group level. This minimum spend is meant to ensure that your ad has enough budget to spend to reach your ad objectives.

Advertisers with smaller budgets should wait to see if the cost of advertising on TikTok will decrease. This has happened on other social networks as more advertisers join the platform. Most businesses, no matter what their size, can afford social media advertising through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

TikTok advertising best practices

The best place to start for advertising best practices is TikTok’s Inspiration section. While home to only a dozen case studies, they highlight some of the most successful advertising campaigns on the platform so far.

Review TikTok inspiration studies

Clean & Clear in India ran a Hashtag Challenge campaign to introduce a new limited-edition design to a teen audience. It ultimately generated 2.62 million user-generated videos and over 10,400 new fans for their brand on TikTok.

TikTok ad for Clean & Clear

Too Faced ran a Brand Takeover campaign to introduce a cruelty-free lip-plumping gloss. It ultimately generated 7.6 million impressions and 1.3 million clicks—an 18.38% click-through rate that exceeded expectations.

TikTok ad for Too Faced

As you browse through their current sample of successful ad campaigns, the big takeaway is this: get to know your target audience on TikTok. To create the best native ad content, you have to recognize the best native content.

Browse the Discover page

Browse TikTok like your target demographic. Use the Discover page to see the trending content. As you browse this section, you will also see the advertisers running Hashtag Challenge campaigns.

TikTok discover page for #BeatTheZombieFunk

You can use the search box at the top users, videos, sounds, and hashtags related to your business.

TikTok videos that show up when you search "Gardening"

Connect with TikTok influencers

You can look for TikTok influencers under Users. You will be able to scroll through the list of search results to see how many followers each user has and how many videos they have posted.

searching for "Gardening" under "Users" with results

Verified TikTok users have a blue checkmark next to their name. Unverified influencers can still help a brand, assuming they have strong engagement.

Finding verified influencers in your niche can be a plus if you want to create a viral influencer ad campaign. Follow them to get to know their content and see if they’re a good fit for your brand.

As you engage with videos and users, add hashtags to your favorites. You will build a more personalized For You and Following experience. Those will allow you to get inspiration from other advertisers, like the ones you’re going to see in your news feed and in the examples below.

Examples of effective TikTok ads

You can’t create a successful TikTok advertising campaign if you don’t know what TikTok audiences like. Here are some businesses that are advertising their products, services, and apps on TikTok and what you can learn from them.

You can get an idea of how well each ad was received by audiences based on the engagement metrics shown. Just keep in mind that some ads may be newer than others, so don’t compare one ad’s number of likes to another.

Facebook Messenger

Let’s start with this ad from Facebook. They use an arrow to draw TikTok users’ attention to their call to action.

@sponsoredcontent1541Messenger is free for all devices and available internationally.♬ original sound – sponsoredcontent1541

Apple Music

Apple Music highlights a favorite feature of their service in their ad: ad-free music streaming.

@sponsoredcontent7592Try Free For 3 Months -Terms Apply♬ original sound – sponsoredcontent7592


Experian uses a friendly-text message conversation to get people to think about working on their credit score.

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Experian TikTok ad


TurboTax reminds you that you can file for free and get a sizeable refund, just by downloading their app.

Turbo Tax TikTok ad

Easy Auto Savings

Easy Auto Savings shows you how quickly you can find a way to save more on your auto insurance.

@sponsoredcontent84134Car insurance at a Wal-Mart price! Isn’t this amazing?♬ original sound – sponsoredcontent84134


The Postmates app uses brightly colored backgrounds and high-definition visuals of tasty treats. Best of all, they have a high-value coupon code!

@useriro0xwgernIs a lobster roll a sandwich?♬ original sound – useriro0xwgern

Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile keeps its advertising simple. Keep your phone, lose your contract, and save money.

@sponsoredcontent33296No contracts. No Mystery Fees. Truly Unlimited. $45/mo♬ original sound – sponsoredcontent33296

The Voice

The Voice uses clear messaging to ensure that people know when the show will premiere in their area.

The Voice TikTok ad


The Ninilook massager uses their ad to demonstrate how their product provides deep muscle relief. It also shows their target demographic: people who like to workout.

Ninilook TikTok ad


Manscaped uses its ad creative to introduce new product imagery. The next time you go shopping, you won’t forget what to look for.

Manscaped TikTok ad


The Robinhood app shows how someone with zero experience in investing can become an investor instantly. By downloading their app, you get your first stock for free.

Robinhood TikTok ad

Scanner PDF

Scanner PDF shows how easy it is to turn a handwritten note into a PDF in just 15 seconds using their app.

ScannerPDF TikTok ad


Bumble gives you a feel for who might be using their service and how easy it is to find other users of the service.

Bumble TikTok ad

My Talking Pet

My Talking Pet used clips of celebrities talking about their app from the Ellen Show and other talk shows. It’s an excellent example of how to use social proof in your advertising.

My Talking Pet TikTok ad


Homeymore uses its In-Feed Video ad to show how a product solves a major pain point for dog lovers.

In addition to the In-Feed Video ads, you’ll also see influencer marketing campaigns. You can find them by using the Discover tab and searching for #ad.

Homeymore TikTok ad

Cash App

For example, @princezee with 1.9 million followers did an ad for Cash App, resulting in 3.8 million views.

Cash App TikTok ad


@avani, with 10.8 million followers, made a video showing how quick and easy it is to order a burrito bowl and get it delivered from the Chipotle app.

@avaniWell that @chipotle came quick???????? ##tiktoktimeout ##ad♬ Yummy – Justin Bieber

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

@zachking, with 34.7 million followers, introduced Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk with a milk mustache.

@zachkingI mustache you a question: Is your favorite part of Cinnamon Toast Crunch the cereal or the milk at the end?Get ##CTCCinnamilk at MilkBarStore.com ##ad

As you can see, the best way to create effective TikTok ads is to get on TikTok and familiarize yourself with the type of content that is trending. That will make your ad stand out to your target audience and help you achieve your TikTok ad campaign goals.

Not quite ready to advertise on TikTok? That’s ok. Don’t miss our guide on TikTok basics and how to integrate it into your social media marketing plan for 2020.

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to inform your social strategy in 2021.