January 5, 2023

How to Grow Your Business Using TikTok Ads

TikTok Ads

The rise of TikTok is one of the most amazing stories of the past decade.

The app was released in 2016 by ByteDance, a Chinese company, in 2016. By 2017, the app was available globally on both iOS and Android, and in 2018, they merged with Musical.ly.

In the years since its inception, TikTok has become a mainstay in internet culture.

More and more companies are using TikTok ads, especially as more and more adults in the 18-34 demographic use the platform.

It’s become one of the key tools for social interaction amongst GenZers and Millenials alike.

Its all-time download count has surpassed 3.5 billion times and has 1.5 billion monthly active users.

It also blows away the competition in terms of the average hours per user spent on popular social apps.

daily tiktok usage 2022

Needless to say, as a business owner, it would be foolish to ignore the rise of TikTok.

To help advertisers learn how to leverage this increasingly dominant social platform, we’ve put together this guide to TikTok Ads.

Jump to a section…

The Rise of TikTok – Why Use It for Advertising?
How to Use TikTok for Business
Curate User-Generated Content
TikTok Advertising – How Can You Advertise on the Platform?
TikTok Influencer Marketing is a Great Option
TikTok Demographics – What’s Your Audience?
TikTok Advertising Cost – Getting Started
TikTok Ads Examples
How to Advertise on TikTok
Wrapping Up

The Rise of TikTok – Why Use It for Advertising?

TikTok’s unbelievable rise to the top of the charts can be linked to its merger with Musical.ly, which took place in August 2018. Musical.ly had already become a pretty popular app, allowing people to record and share 15-second lip-syncing videos.

It was like Vine, but with lip-syncing. Since the merger, TikTok took off. In the US alone, the company has established its office with more than  8,424 US employees. ByteDance says it has 60,000 employees around the world. Many call it China’s Facebook, since it sports several social networking apps.

Due to its music-centric approach, TikTok has become a popular growth platform for musicians and artists who create viral trends for their songs. One of the first to do this was Lil Nas X with his breakout hit Old Town Road, which was featured heavily on TikTok before it managed to rise to the top of the Billboard charts.

It has also led to a slew of new influencers, such as Charli D’Amelio. Since the pandemic started, its popularity grew to new heights, which eventually led to its aggregate downloads to cross the $2-billion mark in 2021.


How to Use TikTok for Business

There are several ways by which you can use TikTok for business growth. If you know that your audience is on TikTok, or a significant portion of your demographic falls in its user base, you might want to consider investing in the platform and using it for growing your company.

If you are wondering how to use TikTok for business, here are a few strategies that you can employ.

Create Your Own Content

As mentioned above, TikTok is all about going viral. Even if your brand is not well-known, you can use TikTok for marketing by creating authentic content or taking part in viral challenges. When creating content on TikTok, your primary aim should be to create original content.

Remember, most social media users don’t really have expensive equipment available. Most of the content they create is through their phones, and your business should follow a similar approach. It’s a great way to give your brand a personality.

For instance, many brands use children and pets in their videos, because it helps the average user relate to their videos. You have to understand that you are targeting a younger demographic, and Generation Z has a thing for pets.

Use Effects and Music

Many businesses that use TikTok marketing strategies prefer to add sounds and music in their videos, an using a trending sound in the mix is definitely a good idea!

To add one, just tap on Sounds near the recording button. You can browse through a litany of genres and artists and select suitable music. Select one and let it load.

Once it’s loaded, you can then add effects from the right side of your display. You can alter the frame speed, flip the camera, or choose from hundreds of filters. The more you customize your videos, the more they are going to stand out.

Share on Multiple Platforms

TikTok integrates really well with other social marketing platforms, allowing you to easily share your videos on different pages and profiles. If your business has a social footprint, one of the best ways to grow your following on TikTok is to share your videos simultaneously on other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

TikTok mashups and compilations are also some of the most popular videos on YouTube.

Using some of these tips can create an effective TikTok marketing strategy that will increase your following and brand reach.

Learn more about how businesses make money on TikTok

Curate User Generated Content (UGC)

User Generated Content, or UGC, is one of the most effective TikTok marketing tactics out there.

One of the best examples of this is from Nike, the sportswear giant, which shares User Generated Content on its profile.

However, if you search for #nike on the platform, you’ll be amazed at the results. There are millions of TikTok posts with the hashtag, and it’s been viewed by over 929 million users.

This can be a great way to build authenticity and trust, whether it’s through natural UGC or UGC-Style ads that look native to TikTok (as we’ll discuss next).

TikTok Advertising: How Can You Advertise on the Platform?

TikTok marketing is on the rise, and it’s really not something that you can ignore anymore.

Businesses are always looking for fun and creative ways to market their products, and TikTok gives you the ultimate playground to come up with interesting content.

There are four distinct ways by which you can advertise on the platform:

Native UGC Ads

Native UGC TikTok ads are perhaps the most common. The ads will play between the videos, and usually vary in length between 9 and 15 seconds. Users have the option to skip these ads, but if it’s done well, they’ll keep watching and hopefully follow the CTA too!

Brand Takeovers

This is one of the best methods for advertising on TikTok. Brand takeovers are basically ads that appear in a user’s feed before they can view other content. You can link them to your landing pages, and then divide them into different categories.

This will allow you to laser-target your audience for the best results. Keep in mind that you can only show one ad for a category in one day.

Brand Lenses

Another common TikTok marketing method is to create a brand lens. You can create one related to your company. It will remain live for 10 days and allow users to select it from the Filters option. It will also be added to the top 10 trending list. However, you will have to generate some hype if you want users to start adding the lens.

Hashtag Challenges

Hashtag challenges are taken very seriously on TikTok. When a new challenge shows up on the Discover page, it becomes visible to millions of users on the app.

They can join in easily. You can sponsor a challenge and then design a custom banner that will be shown on the Discover page. As soon as a user taps on it, they will be redirected to your page with videos that explain the challenge.

Samsung has used Hashtag challenges to great effect, advertising their Galaxy A smartphones to a worldwide audience when they first launched. The #GalaxyA campaign generated more than 158 million views and loads of user-generated content.

TopView Ads

These are quite similar to the Branded Takeovers, though they appear after a 5-second interval once a user launches the app. The reason why TopView ads are so highly recommended is because of their length: you can create one as long as a minute.

They autoplay videos with sound, allowing you to drive traffic with maximum effect.

By adding a UTM link, you can track the CTR of your ads and gauge the success of your TikTok marketing strategy.

TikTok Influencer Marketing is a Great Option

Influencers have also realized the potential that TikTok has to offer, and your brand can use TikTok influencer marketing in order to grow its following as well. Influencer marketing is already quite popular on other social media networks, so TikTok gives you the unique potential to get ahead quickly.

You can approach an influencer directly and negotiate a deal. Make sure you find a relevant influencer in your niche. The bigger their following, the higher they will charge. For instance, if you want to promote a new mobile game, it might be a wise idea to approach an influencer big in the video game niche.

In most cases, the influencers will:

  • Talk about your product or review it
  • Add a video description of it
  • Add a link to your brand in their description

The case for TikTok has already been made. It’s definitely here to stay and, as a business owner, you should not miss out on this marketing opportunity!

TikTok Demographics: What’s Your Audience?

There are 1.5 billion monthly active users on TikTok. That is an obscene amount of active users, which results in more than 1 billion video views each day.

However, you can’t market to all those users. Before you decide to post ads on TikTok, it’s important to get a better idea of your demographic.

  • 49.3% of US TikTok users are between the ages of 18 and 34 (a big change from 2019 when the 16-24 demographic made up 41% of users).
  • Almost 80% of the US audience on the app is under the age of 34. 60% of these users are between 16 and 24.
  • 68% of social media users in China use Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
  • There are 1.5 billion monthly active users on TikTok.
  • In 2022, TikTok’s revenue was around $13 billion.
  • The average engagement rate on TikTok sits at 6.7%.

TikTok Advertising Cost: Getting Started

Larger brands like Nike or Samsung have seemingly endless pockets when it comes to marketing. They have used interesting marketing strategies to drive up impressions. However, for smaller businesses, the TikTok advertising cost might be a bit steep.

How Much do TikTok Ads Cost?

Ads on the platform are generally rare and new. As a result, they cost a bit more than you would expect. The average TikTok CPM is around $10, and it can rise to exorbitant heights.

For large-scale campaigns, this can balloon to a maximum of $300,000. You also need to invest a minimum of $500 before you can launch your TikTok campaigns.

If you are looking for a more affordable platform, this might not be it. However, when done correctly, TikTok marketing can yield benefits that are well worth the cost you pay upfront.

TikTok Ads Examples

Now that you understand the potential that TikTok has to offer, here are some excellent TikTok ads examples to inspire you to create your own.

Smile Direct Club

This ad by Smile Direct Club was one of the top-converting TikTok ads of 2022, promoting a Cyber Monday Deal, according to the TikTok creative center.

smile direct tiktok


Gushers is a popular candy brand that’s been making quite a few waves on TikTok with their funny advertising. Most of their videos get millions of views and generate lots of responses. Their first ad was actually hilarious and garnered them more than 5 million views. Not bad for a start!

Gushers TikTok ad

Source: @therealgushers on TikTok

Red Bull

Red Bull is no stranger to new marketing formats. Remaining consistent with its content on social media platforms, the energy drink maker often posts unbelievable stunts from its sponsored athletes and players. If you want to see the amazing things humans can do, this is the account to follow. Since its inception, it’s garnered more than 4 million followers!

Kung Fu Tea

The Boba Challenge was all the rage on TikTok in the past few months. Created by Kung Fu Tea, this is a master class in how to create a unique and impactful Hashtag Challenge. It’s easy and inclusive, and it doesn’t require a lot from its participants. Anyone can do it! More importantly, all the videos are personalized. It went viral and even celebrities participated in it!

How to Advertise on TikTok

There are several steps you need to follow when creating a TikTok ads campaign. Here they are:

Step 1: Creating an Ad

Go to the TikTok Ads homepage and then select the “Create an Ad” option. It’s located at the top right, just beside the Log In button.

TikTok create an ad

Source: TikTok

Once you open the dashboard, you will see four tabs at the top: Campaign, Library, Reporting and, finally, Insights.

From here, click on Campaign.

The first thing you will have to choose is the advertising objective. What’s your purpose for the ad? TikTok gives you three options:

  • Conversions
  • App installs
  • Traffic generation

Once you select the objective, the next step is to define your budget. Your budget cannot be under $50.

Step 2: Creating an Ad Group

Now, it’s time to create an ad group. This is the section where you choose the placement for the ad, the scheduling, targeting, and delivery options.

Placement: You can decide the placement for your ads and see where they will show on the app. If you want, you can also choose to place them automatically.

TikTok placements

Source: TikTok

Category: Depending upon the ad, you must select a relevant category.

Name: In this field, you must add your brand name.

Tags: The tags you add will be used by the algorithm to match your ad with an appropriate audience. You can choose a maximum of 20 tags, so make sure you add relevant keywords for maximum effect.

Profile Image: This is the thumbnail that a user would see for your ad. It should be under 50 KB, and the aspect ratio must be 1:1.

Comments: If you want to give users the option of commenting on your ads, you can enable this option.

Step 3: Targeting

This is the part where you define your audience. You can choose from a list of parameters, such as:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Connections
  • OS version
  • Languages
TikTok targeting

Source: TikTok

Step 4: Budgeting

TikTok budget & schedule

Source: TikTok

Now, you must define your daily budget or a lifetime budget for the campaign. You will then have to schedule the duration for which the ad is going to run. You can also specify the times during the day for which you want to run the ad.

Step 5: Optimization Targets

TikTok Bidding & Optimization

Source: TikTok

Finally, you have to specify your optimization targets. These underline the core purpose behind your TikTok marketing campaign.

When selecting the ad goals, you can choose from Impressions, Clicks, or Conversions. The bidding will obviously be dependent on your objectives. For instance, if you select Clicks as the Optimization Target, the ad will be optimized by the TikTok algorithm to get as many clicks as possible.

Similarly, if you choose Conversions, the ad will be shown to people most likely to convert. If you select Conversions, you will have to set up a tracking pixel as well. Go to Library, and then tap on Conversions to get started with the pixel.

It’s usually recommended that you activate Smart Optimization for your ads. The ads will be automatically optimized to maximize conversions.

Wrapping Up

TikTok is one of the most popular social networks right now, and it’s only going to grow. The app is poised to grow even more in the coming years. If you use it right, TikTok could easily become the most profitable advertising platform for your company!

Want to hear how our User Acquisition team can help you grow your business on TikTok? Contact us!

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