How to Advertise on TikTok in 2022
TikTok ads are coming soon to Australia! Will you be ready for them? Our latest guide breaks down everything you need to know about advertising on TikTok.
A lot happened in 2020. Aside from the obvious, it was also the year that TikTok exploded on the scene and became one of the world's biggest social media apps, growing over 75% within the year.
Although two years have gone by, the app is still growing from strength to strength. In fact, TikTok has been downloaded 175 million times (and counting) in 2022!
What resulted was brands, businesses, influencers, and marketers flocking to the platform—some with more success than others.
In 2021 one of the most viral pieces of content on TikTok was filmed by a skateboarder, Nathan Apodaca.
It showed him skateboarding down a street, listening to Fleetwood Mac and drinking Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. The video got over 13.5 million shares.
While it wasn't initially branded content, it started a viral trend where other TikTokkers filmed themselves drinking Ocean Spray juice, and the company ended up sending Apodaca a new truck as a gift!
If that feels a little random, well, it is!
The chances of your brand being shown by a content creator and igniting a global trend are one in a million, but that doesn't mean you have to sit around waiting (and hoping) your brand gets organic attention on TikTok.
You can make it happen yourself with some creativity and marketing savvy.
One thing has become clear to marketers and business owners everywhere: TikTok is more than just a fun app for Gen Z. It holds infinite advertising potential for brands.
With more and more marketers rightfully looking to wrap their heads around TikTok, we've put together this comprehensive guide.
This includes how to advertise on the platform and what brands need to know before they get started.
Should Your Brand Use TikTok Advertising?
As TikTok has grown in scale and diversity, the app has emerged as a place with something for everyone.
If you're the type of person who enjoys #Zen activities like #Fishing, you're in luck too—those hashtags have 3 billion and 74.1 billion views respectively.
TikTok is a space for radical self-expression, and almost every niche and brand has a potential audience that they can tap into.
If you're still unsure about whether TikTok ads are right for your brand, here are some of the benefits that may convince you:
Ease of use: Unlike traditional or social media adverts, making a TikTok simply requires a phone with a camera. Because of the DIY ethos of the platform, you don't need a set, production budget, or a team of designers to create an effective TikTok.
Creators: There are thousands of content creators around the world who have dedicated niche followings on TikTok. Partnering with them to create a TikTok ad campaign can directly and effectively connect you to your target audience.
Advertising features: When TikTok first started gaining popularity, many marketers were at a loss on how to utilise the platform. As their advertising features have become more robust, there are countless ways for brands to harness the power of native TikTok ads.
Looking for some inspiration for your brand's TikTok account? Here are some of the brands making waves on the platform.
Ryanair is a low-cost European airline whose TikTok account is a perfect example of showing how a brand can capture Gen Z humour-driven content.
What do they post? Mostly videos of planes with human faces imposed over them.
Their captions and copy reinforce their low-cost benefit through humorous messaging that makes light of their no-frills approach to air travel.
If you think that sounds a bit ridiculous, you'd be correct—but their 1.8 million followers love it!
What you can learn: Don't take yourself so seriously. If your brand's unique selling point is that you're cheaper or offer more pared-down options than competitors, embrace it and make light of it while subtly communicating your benefits.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post regularly publishes hard-hitting journalism, but brands have quickly learnt that the kind of content that performs well on TikTok is meme-centric, humorous, and a little edgy.
Instead of posting breaking news stories, The Washington Post uploads content that makes light of current news.
What you can learn: Adapt your tone for TikTok ads. Even a serious brand can find space for humour if you approach the platform with an open mind.
@washingtonpost A study found that cattle could sequester enough carbon to outweigh their emissions but required more than twice as much land as other cattle. Replicating that could require deforestation, and could outweigh the benefits of cattle sequestering carbon. #climate #smelllikebeef ♬ original sound - Katie Ryan
Tik Tok Advertising Best Practices
Based on the examples above, you've probably realised by now that TikTok is an entirely different beast to other social media networks.
While Instagram and Facebook reward high-budget, glossy ads, TikTok users reward branded content that is, above all, authentic.
When creating TikTok content or ads, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Use Sound and Text
Although video is the star of the show on TikTok, users can also add voice-overs, music, text, and special effects.
While figuring out your brand's personality on TikTok, don't be afraid to jump on the latest trends and try out all the engagement features the platform offers.
Don’t Forget the Hashtags
Like other social media networks, TikTok uses hashtags to categorise its content and serve the right videos to the right users, at the right time.
Every time you post on TikTok, make sure you're using relevant hashtags that have a good amount of engagement and activity.
Have you noticed that the best-performing TikTok ads and content don't feature hard-sell brand messaging? That's because authenticity is the name of the game on TikTok.
Instead of telling your audience why they should buy your product, this is your opportunity to show them.
Keep It Short and Sweet
TikTok is all about bite-sized content, and you need to be able to grab your audience's attention within the first second of your video.
TikTok makes it easy for users to scroll from one video to the next, so make sure you're making a strong first impression!
Continuously Test and Optimise
If your brand is new to TikTok, it will take you some time to understand the nuances of the platform and your audience's preferences.
You might not get it right the first time, which is why it's so important to continuously test, see what works (and what doesn't), and then try again.
How Does TikTok’s Advertising Platform Work?
As the examples above show, brands using TikTok ads can pack a lot of information and brand messaging into a short video.
But both of the examples are from global brands—and they have large content creation budgets.
Brands with smaller budgets who are looking to make a big impact on the platform should take note of the TikTok for Business feature.
In essence, this is the TikTok Ads Manager and it isn't all that different from the Meta (Facebook, Instagram) suite of advertising features—although it does have some features unique to the TikTok advertising platform.
If you’ve run Facebook campaigns in the past, figuring out how to advertise on TikTok should be pretty straightforward. If not, we’ll highlight the essentials below:
How to Create TikTok Ads and Campaigns
Setting up TikTok ads for the first time can feel overwhelming. However, if you have experience setting up ads on Facebook or Instagram advertising platforms the process will feel natural to you.
Step 1: Create a TikTok Ads Manager account.
Step 2: Once you're on the TikTok ads dashboard, find the "Campaigns" tab and click "Create" to begin creating your first TikTok ads.
Step 3: Select your campaign objective.
Step 4: Choose your TikTok ad spend for your campaign.
Step 5: Create an ad group to choose your audience and ad placement.
Step 6: Choose an ad delivery type. You can choose between Standard (where your ad is shown during high-traffic times throughout the day) or Accelerated (where your ad budget is dedicated to maximising views as quickly as possible).
Step 7: Upload your ad's creative elements and ad text.
Step 8: Now that you've run your first ad campaign on TikTok, you can measure the results and use them as learnings for your next campaign.
Audience and Targeting Options
Much like Facebook Custom Audiences, TikTok ads allow advertisers to create custom audiences and serve ads to any combination of the following:
Customers on your email list (or any other sort of customer file)
Customers who have downloaded or purchased your app
Visitors to your website
TikTok users who have interacted with your content
Audiences who share similar interests to your followers
Beyond custom audiences, TikTok Ads Manager lets you drill down to target specific demographics such as location, gender, and age.
Advertisers can also set up a TikTok Pixel on their landing pages to track visitor behaviours and set conversion goals.
This includes actions such as filling out a form or adding an item to a shopping cart. TikTok’s Pixel can be set up manually or through Google Tag Manager.
Speaking of goals, TikTok's advertising platform currently focuses on the following three campaign objectives:
Traffic: This drives website traffic to your company's website and/or custom landing page.
App install: This directs TikTok users to their phone's app store, or to a download-specific landing page with the purpose of having them download your brand's app.
Conversions: These ads are created to drive sales, product purchases, and downloads from your site. Remember that utilising this feature will require you to set up and test the TikTok Pixel on your landing page or website.
TikTok's placement options are broken down into two categories:
Ad placements: This determines where on the TikTok platform your ad will run.
Location placement: This determines which countries or regions your ad will run in.
While there aren't any limitations on your ad placement, your location placement will depend on which region your TikTok Ads account is registered in.
Australian brands will only have the following location placements available to them:
United Arab Emirates
TikTok ads can be served in the following placements:
In-feed ad placement
This ad placement will appear in the “For You” feed, in between other videos. These full-screen videos play for nine seconds, and then a download card with a call to action will appear.
If you’ve ever run Stories ads on Instagram, you should already have a good idea of what this ad placement will look like.
News feed app series placement
If you want to drive app installs or traffic, you can also place your ad on one of TikTok’s news feed apps: BuzzVideos, Babe, TopBuzz, or News Republic.
These ads can appear as in-feed placements, detailed page ads (where they are placed underneath video content), or as post-video ads (they will play once the user is finished watching their current video).
Pangle is an ad network belonging to TikTok Business that allows you to advertise on third-party apps directly from the native TikTok Business manager.
If you select this ad placement, you will be able to select between the following ad formats:
Rewarded video ads: These are full-screen video ads with in-app rewards for users who watch the entire video.
Interstitial ads: These ads are displayed during transitions within the app, for example during the loading screen.
Native ads: These ads match the style of the third-party app, blending in seamlessly.
Banner ads: This ad is placed on the top banner of the app.
App open ads: This TikTok ad placement appears when a user is opening their app.
Icon ads: This ad placement type only displays the icon and name.
When setting up your TikTok ad, you can choose between Automatic Placement and Select Placement:
Automatic placement: The platform's algorithm will use all available placements for your TikTok ads in order to offer you the best results. In Automatic mode, the algorithm will continuously learn from your audience and results to tailor your ad placements across the platform.
Select placement: This enables you to choose exactly where you want your TikTok ads to be placed. TikTok recommends selecting various placements (as opposed to just one) so that their system can deliver effective results.
TikTok Ad Specs
To wrap up the technical side of how to get results with TikTok ads, here’s a quick summary of specs for the platform’s video ads.
Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 9:16 or 19:9
Resolution: 720 x 1280px, 640 x 640px or 1280 x 720px
File Type: .mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, .avi
Duration: 5 to 60 seconds (recommended 9 to 15 seconds)
Bitrate: ≥ 516kps
File Size: ≤500MB
Ad Description: 12 to 100 English characters
You can’t just slap any random landscape video on TikTok and call it a day. If you want to double-dip your video marketing content, make sure that you optimise it based on TikTok advertising best practices.
What Are the TikTok Advertising Formats?
While TikTok has become a hugely popular platform owing to the wealth of organic content users can find on it, it's also one of the most powerful social media networks for brands who want to connect to a younger, engaged audience.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat, TikTok retains a sort of “it” factor because it isn’t swarming with ads or brands at the moment.
Translation? The closer your ads are to organic content, the better. Think memes, lighthearted content, and ads that don't feel like, well, ads.
As our examples from Ryanair and The Washington Post showed, these are the types of content that are going to resonate with a younger audience.
We recommend spending some time reviewing the types of content that score high engagement rates in your industry.
Once you understand the platform's best practices, here are some TikTok ad examples and a snapshot of the current advertising options available.
The popularity and efficacy of social media influencers is well-documented and TikTok is no exception.
Denoted by an “#ad” tag, partnering with an influencer is a proven way to appeal to younger buyers and get your products in front of some fresh faces who aren’t already following you.
How to do it on TikTok: Partnering with an influencer on TikTok is similar to partnering with an influencer on any other platform.
Keep in mind that TikTok influencers have built their brands on their personality (not their looks), so it's likely that any influencer you partner with will want a say in the tonality and creative direction of your partnership.
However, this is a good thing because they already know what kind of content appeals to your audience.
Simply put, user-generated content is the cornerstone of TikTok. The platform’s audience is more than happy to boost a hashtag, especially if it means more exposure for their own personal brands.
For example, Guess’s #inmydenim challenge campaign resulted in buzz from paid influencers and organic users alike.
How to do it on TikTok: Whereas it might be difficult to get a hashtag trending on your own, the nature of TikTok encourages users to organically participate in challenges and shout-out trends.
Your brand can participate in other trending hashtag ads to join in on the fun and find new audiences.
Lenses and filters using AR are all-the-rage right now. For ads, brands can encourage followers to create content using a custom filter in exchange for a shout-out or a prize.
How to do it on TikTok: When you create a video, simply tap on "Filters" on the right-hand side of your screen and select the filter you want to apply to your video.
In-feed video ads appear as organic content at a glance, but provide a custom call to action (such as an app download).
These full-screen ads are similar to a Facebook Experience or Canvas ad, taking over a user’s screen to grab their attention.
How to do it on TikTok: Our section above on how to create your first TikTok ads will tell you everything you need to know about creating in-feed ads.
These full-screen ads are similar to in-feed videos, although they pop up when a user first logs into TikTok. These can be presented as static images or GIFs.
How to do it on TikTok: This premium placement comes with a high price tag, so it's most suitable for large brands with big budgets.
If you want to create a Brand Takeover ad for your company, you can get started on the TikTok for Business page.
If you have already uploaded content to TikTok that you want to promote, you can use Spark Ads to boost your organic content (similar to how one would on Instagram) to help it reach more audiences.
This content will appear on their For You page and look similar to other organic content they are engaging with.
How to do it on TikTok: Visit your TikTok Ads Manager, tap "Assets", then tap "Create Spark Ad" and follow the prompts.
How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost?
When TikTok first launched, it didn't offer a native advertising platform—which is why influencer partnerships became so popular on the platform.
But as time has gone on, TikTok has implemented robust advertising features that brands can take advantage of without an influencer partnership.
In the early days of TikTok advertising, it was expensive for all but the biggest brands. But as they've rolled out new features, it's become more and more accessible for brands of all sizes.
Today, TikTok ads require you to spend a minimum of $500 on a campaign, and ads start at $10 per CPM (cost per 1,000 views).
For reference, Facebook ads generally cost $12.07 per 1,000 views so TikTok is slightly less expensive.
Of course, these are just guidelines. Some brands have spent well over $100,000 on TikTok advertising, while other brands have spent very little but did an amazing job at tapping into Gen Z culture to become a viral trend.
Could TikTok Ads Be a Good Fit for Your Company?
The past few years have shown us that TikTok isn’t just a passing trend. Rather, it's a new social media staple, particularly with the younger crowd.
With TikTok’s advertising platform constantly gaining new users, there's no better time to start using TikTok.
While it is an incredibly powerful platform, it requires a deep understanding of TikTok, Gen Z, and meme culture in order to create the kind of content that resonates with its users.
If you've been out of the loop for a while it may feel challenging, difficult, and at times even absurd to try to understand what kind of content performs well on the platform.
Luckily we have an entire team of meme experts, TikTok users, Gen Zers, and marketing professionals who have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the latest trends.
If you want to take your brand to the hottest new platform (and do it effectively) get in touch with us today to start creating some TikTok magic!