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TikTok Advertising

Tap into the youth market with creative video advertising

Nothing’s quite taken over like TikTok. The meteoric rise of highly engaged users means TikTok ads are definitely something to consider in your marketing mix. It’s still very much a new platform compared to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – and with this comes strengths and weaknesses.

How does TikTok work?

The platform is changing rapidly. Here’s what you need to know:

TikTok is a self serve ad platform

TikTok entered the biddable ads space in 2019, however, it was initially a managed service and required reps to run the ads. The lack of control put a lot of advertisers and agencies off, however self-serve ads are now available, along with Business Accounts, Pixels, and most key features you’d expect from a paid social platform.

Targeting Options

TikTok’s advertising targeting options are getting more complex as the service grows. The targeting filters allow you to include/exclude by age, gender, location, interests and lookalikes. You can also use your own targeting lists (e.g. email database) if you have these assets. The TikTok pixel is available to build an audience of website visitors, and monitor post-click website interactions like purchases.

TikTok Advertising Costs

TikTok haven’t disclosed CPMs outwardly – advertiser costs will be influenced by type of ad run and targeting options.

They do have a minimum budget requirement, which is $20 per day at the ad group level. For campaigns, they must either total $50 for the day OR the entire campaign.


Who uses TikTok?

TikTok users can be found across the globe, with the Chinese-owned app currently available in 150 markets across the world and in 75 unique languages.

TikTok’s popularity has spread to teenagers across the globe, with its user base increasing by 85% in 2019. TikTok users are typically aged 16-24. TikTok ads may be worth considering if you’re looking to reach Gen Z – as teens can often be difficult to reach through traditional advertising or even other social media channels (see also – Snapchat advertising).


The benefits

Which businesses benefit from TikTok advertising?

If your business wants to reach young audiences with paid media, TikTok ads should be on your radar. There is less competition for ad space compared to Facebook or Instagram, and exciting formats available for advertisers to want to push the creative envelope. The app is still maturing, the options aren’t as tried and tested as those offered by more established social media platforms. If you have a limited budget, we’d gladly discuss your objectives and advise if another platform, such as Facebook Ads, is more suitable at this time. Any brand that wants to conduct a TikTok advertising campaign has to take extra care to create the best campaigns and most relevant content possible.

Ad Formats

TikTok allows businesses to run ads in the following formats:


In-feed ads

This is the equivalent to Facebook’s In-Stream Video. You can use one of three available action models: CPclick, CPM and CPView. In order to count for CPView, a user has to watch your ad for more than 6 seconds. Users can like, comment, share, and interact with the videos. So, if you want to increase engagement on your content, In-Feed Ads are a great choice.


Ads can be seamlessly inserted into a user’s feed without being disruptive. Can support lower-funnel activities (e.g. product sales).


Ads need to align with TikTok’s quirky, experimental style – you’ll almost certainly need to design new content. The format also doesn’t allow for campaign flexibility.


Branded Effects:

TikTok’s effects are similar to ad products offered by Instagram and Snapchat. Filters range from face filters to motion effects and Augmented Reality.


Encourages user-generated content and drive brand engagement.


Again, costly. Difficult to tie to lower-funnel activities.


TopView and Brand Takeover Ads:

Branded Takeover ads are TikTok ads that appear immediately when a user opens the app, making it virtually unmissable. Ads can also appear in the For You page as videos, GIFs, or still images. Once opened, the brand has the option of directing users somewhere else, whether it’s their TikTok profile or website.

TopView Ads are very similar to Brand Takeover Ads. The only difference is that TopView Ads appear 5 seconds after the user opens the app.TopView is TikTok’s longest video ad format. TopView videos can be as long as 60 seconds. The videos are full-screen with sound and auto-play, and like Brand Takeover it allows you to add links to internal or external pages.


Disruptive ads like this are proven to be hard to ignore.


This ad type is not for the faint-hearted, as it’s much more expensive than the biddable ad – as only one advertiser can leverage this ad per day.


Hashtag Challenge:

TikTok’s user-generated content is irreverent, clever and inherently shareable – the Hashtag Challenge ad format takes full advantage of this for advertisers.

Users are asked to participate in a challenge campaign that lasts for six days, where TikTok users create videos based on the advertiser’ theme.

An early example was Samsung’s #GalaxyA challenge. German teenagers were targeted and asked to play with TikTok’s transition features to draw the letter “A” on the palm of their hand and ‘teleport’ it to the hand of another.

TikTok’s also released “Hashtag Challenge Plus,” which allows users to shop for products featured in a Hashtag Challenge without leaving the app.


If designed well, the Hashtag Challenge can create viral content for brands.


High barrier to entry due to the cost. The idea needs to be brilliant otherwise it’ll be a flop.

Get in touch to find out more

Content is Key

Content is always key on paid social, of course. But TikTok advertising offers a truly new challenge, as users are behaving differently on this app compared to any other platform: with fewer inhibitions, the fast pace of content, and extremely active users. Check out some of our top content tips.

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