Advertising on TikTok—Everything You Need to Know

Advertising on TikTok—Everything You Need to Know

Cue the social platform that’s the talk of the town—TikTok. Popular amongst Gen Z and growing in popularity with those between the ages of 24 to 32, TikTok is a short-form video platform. Though TikTok has been around since 2016, it’s been gaining an enormous amount of traction this year—likely due to social isolation caused by the pandemic. The platform has 689 million users worldwide, and the average user spends 52 minutes on TikTok daily. 

While most of the content is organic and made by individual creators, advertisements are beginning to make an appearance. Upon opening the app, the first video is often an ad, which is great news for savvy marketers. Like Facebook and Instagram, ads and sponsored content also appear between organic, user-generated content (UGC). When these ads and sponsored videos appear, viewers are presented with the opportunity to click to learn more—sending them to a post-click landing page.

TikTok videos range anywhere from a couple of seconds up to a maximum of 60 seconds—and there is currently a trial for some users to create videos up to three minutes long. TikTok presents highly curated content based on user interests: The platform has targeting down to a science thanks to advanced machine learning. 

With so much user-generated content on the platform, how many advertisers are really utilizing TikTok for their brands? In our 2021 Digital Advertising Trends Survey, 25% of advertisers responded that they began using TikTok this year. And 116 marketers identified TikTok as the “next big thing in digital advertising.” 

So, how do you start advertising on TikTok? 

Getting started on TikTok

TikTok provides a step by step guide on their website to get you started with TikTok Ads Manager—but there’s much more to advertising on this video platform than just setting up an account. After creating your account, it’s crucial to generate compelling, targeted ads and post-click landing pages that tell a continuous story that will excite consumers. It’s very easy to scroll past an ad on the platform, so you want to catch viewers’ attention as quickly as possible. 

There are several types of ads you can create on TikTok:

In-feed videos. These videos appear organically on a users “For You Page” or FYP, which is the feed or stream of content users see. 

Brand takeover. Ads that appear upon opening the app are known as brand takeover ads.

Challenges. Also called hashtag challenges, these ads invite users to interact with your brand by creating relevant branded content. 

Branded augmented reality content. This type of ad is less of an ad and more of a presence. Brand AR comes in the form of stickers and other branded components that users can integrate into their videos. 

Sponsored ads. Also referred to as influencer ads, these collaborations with influencers or users have a large following on the platform. 

Now what?

Now that you’re familiar with the various ad types, it’s time to start creating personalized ad experiences. This list is not exhaustive, but here are some key best practices to follow:

Become familiar with trending content. TikTok trends are always changing, so it’s important to stay on top of them. 

Find a niche. With so many users on TikTok, you want your ads to be as targeted and unique as possible. As with general marketing best practices, you should segment your audiences and create personalized content for each. 

Use hashtags. You can incorporate trending hashtags or create your own to start a trend and encourage others to participate. Some of the most popular hashtags aren’t directly related to the content in the users’ videos, but are w ay to get content in front of a larger audience. Examples include: #viral, #trending, #foryou, #foryoupage, #fyp, and even #tiktok.

Once you start posting, keep an eye on your analytics to gauge the kinds of content and hashtags that perform best with your audience. And if you’re an adventurous brand, try creating your own hashtag. If you have a good one, it could go viral. 

How to get the most out of TikTok

TikTok does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting your advertisements in front of the right people—remember, they have a very advanced machine learning system—but there are still things you can do to increase your return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spend (ROAS).


You’re probably wondering: How can I get the most out of my TikTok ad budget? And how do ad prices compare to other platforms?

The ad type you choose is the biggest factor in how far you can stretch your budget. Ad objectives, bidding methods, audiences, and industry also play a role in how far your budget can take you. In 2019, AdAge released the statistic that the cost of many TikTok ads can range from $50,000 to $120,000, depending on the ad format and duration. While those may seem like high numbers, the reach you’ll receive is unparalleled. 

Keep in mind that the type of ad you choose will determine price—so even small businesses can still be big players in the game if they have a solid strategy and personalized content. While Facebook allows you to start a campaign for as little as $1, TikTok requires a minimum $500 campaign budget. 

Another important consideration when establishing a campaign budget for TikTok is that, unlike Facebook and Google, TikTok doesn’t use cost per click as a metric. Instead, the platform uses cost per mille (CPM), which translates into the cost per 1000 views. TikTok ads start at $10 per CPM, so it is possible to keep costs relatively low. 

However, TikTok’s main appeal is creating a huge impact, ideally going viral with either paid or organic content. For example, a Branded Hashtag Challenge may require up to $150,000 to get featured on TikTok’s Discovery banner.

In relation to platforms such as Facebook and Google, it’s clear that TikTok is more expensive. On top of that, it’s harder to calculate CPC, a foundational measurement for many marketers. When deciding whether to advertise on TikTok: 

  1. Set clear goals
  2. Define your audience for this specific platform
  3. Don’t skimp on the budget
  4. Pay close attention to trending videos and hashtags
  5. Update your content accordingly—and often 

Personalizing your TikTok ad journey

TikTok is known for being an authentic, short-form, and engaging platform. Your ads need to connect in a split second with your target audience, but your strategy and personalization can’t end at the ad—it must continue to the post-click landing page. If you don’t have a clear, consistent narrative, you’ll lose your audience right away. 

Once you know the ins and outs of TikTok, the next step is to optimize what happens after the click: The post-click experience. The best way to do this is by creating fully optimized landing pages. Postclick is here to help. We would like to offer you a complimentary analysis of your ad campaigns. We will review your campaigns to analyze your post-click health, compare your site against industry and competitive benchmarks, and identify the most effective opportunities to increase your ROAS. Request your free conversion analysis here.

Hunter Sunrise
by Hunter Sunrise

As Vice President of Marketing, Hunter’s day-to-day mission is to uncover opportunities for authentic connections and experiences. Using this lens, he has driven success across brand, content, omnichannel, GTM, and growth marketing initiatives. Outside of work, you can find Hunter analyzing the complexity of a sip of wine (he is a Master Sommelier).

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