How to use TikTok ads in 2024

Advertising is a crucial element of social media, and TikTok is no different. Here’s everything your brand needs to know about TikTok ads, including what they are, how and why you should use them, how much they cost, and more.

Using TikTok ads

Advertising is a crucial element of social media, and TikTok is no different. Here’s everything your brand needs to know about TikTok ads, including what they are, how you should use them, why you should use them, how much they cost, and more.

Does TikTok have advertising?

TikTok introduced a beta version of its advertising model in 2019. Quickly, massive brands like Nike started advertising on TikTok, and ads have since become an essential part of the platform.

Why is TikTok full of ads?

In 2021, just two years after the platform launched ads, TikTok had more than one billion active users worldwide. It’s an entertaining, engaging way of promoting your brand – if you run ads on that puppy, you’re going to be seen.

What is TikTok Ad Manager?

TikTok has its own ads manager, handily called…TikTok Ad Manager. It’s similar to Facebook’s advertising system, but offers fewer targeting options. However, most brands are willing to take that hit, as the reach is immense.

What kind of ads does TikTok offer?

If you use TikTok ads as part of your digital marketing efforts, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Check them out below.

The different types of TikTok ads are:

  • In-feed ads, which you can create in-house thanks to TikTok’s own Ad Manager.
  • Image ads, which run across TikTok’s associated News Feed apps – these are Babe, BuzzVideo, and TopBuzz. You can include text, an app or brand name, and an image in these ads.
  • Carousel ads, which run in TikTok’s News Feed apps. These can include up to ten different images, with unique captions for each.
  • Video ads, which run in users’ For You feed and across TikTok’s News Feed apps. These ads can stretch from five seconds to one minute, and can include video, ad text, a brand or app name, and an ad display image.
  • Pangle ads, which are distributed through the TikTok Audience Network.
  • Spark ads, which let you boost organic content either from your account or another user’s. TikTok revealed that Spark ads are 142% more engaging than regular in-feed ads, which isn’t too shabby.
Browsing TikTok ads

How to create a TikTok ads account

Here’s how you can start advertising on TikTok:

  1. Head over to TikTok Ad Manager, which is part of the broader TikTok for Business site. You’ll need to create an account, which includes all the usual verification and financial information, along with the terms & conditions and privacy policy. For a full rundown, click here.
  2. You’ll be asked to add a balance to your TikTok Ad Manager account. Only use what you’re comfortable with, and if you’re just experimenting, start small and see how you go. You can always top it up later.
  3. You’re done! Your TikTok ads account is now ready to roll.

How do I create a TikTok ads campaign?

Once you’re set up and logged into TikTok Ads Manager, click on the ‘Campaign’ section. You’ll be asked to use ‘Simplified’ or ‘Custom’ mode. We’d recommend the former – especially if you’re just getting a feel for things – as TikTok removes a lot of the guesswork. However, if you become a TikTok ads pro, you can switch to Custom mode at any point.

Once you’ve sorted that out, you’ll be presented with three main categories, split into seven core campaign objectives. You need to choose the most relevant one to your goals, so pay attention!


  • Reach: This shows your ad to the most people.


  • Traffic: This drives traffic to a specific URL. There are some super helpful tools to complement this, too – you can install the TikTok Pixel code into your desired URL, to track nitty-gritty details like IP addresses, timestamps, and more.
  • App Installs: The focus here is encouraging people to download an app you’re promoting.
  • Video Views: Does what it says on the can – prompts users to watch video content and maximize video ad plays.
  • Lead Generation: This uses an Instant Form for users to fill out and submit, aiming to widen your net and generate new customers.


  • Conversions: Drive people to your URL with a specific action in mind, like subscription, purchase, and so on.
  • Catalog Sales: These are dynamic TikTok ads based on your product catalog.
Looking at TikTok ads

When advertising on TikTok, it’s important that you pick the right objective for your campaign. However, if you’re playing with a smaller wad of cash and want to dip your toes in, the Traffic option is the most stripped-down option.

Next, name your campaign and set a budget

Call it something your teammates will understand, to avoid any confusion. Then, set your budget. You can let TikTok Ad Manager optimize your budget automatically, or enter a lifetime or daily budget (this has to be at least $50).

Name your ad groups and confirm their placement

Each of your campaigns can feature between one and 999 ad groups, which you should name just as clearly as your campaign. You can hit ‘Automatic Placement,’ letting TikTok determine where your ads are best suited. Otherwise, you get to choose where you’d like to place each ad group, either in:

  • TikTok, which pops them in the For You feed.
  • News Feed App Series, sending your ads to TikTok’s News Feed apps.
  • Pangle, which sends your ads to TikTok’s premium global publisher network.

You can also choose whether people can comment on and download your ads in this section.

Decide whether to use Automated Creative Optimization

You can’t upload the creative for your ads just yet, but this section is worth thinking about. If you turn on Automated Creative Optimization, TikTok will automatically generate combinations of your images, videos, and ad text into something it considers ‘good.’

At the end of the day, you know your brand better than TikTok does. But if you’re new to advertising on TikTok and want a shot at success, it might be worth letting the platform handle this.

Reviewing TikTok ads

Pick out your target audience

TikTok can make sure your ads get shown to the right people. You can create your own custom audience, choosing between demographics based on age, gender, location, language, behaviors, device details, and interests.

Decide your ad group’s budget, then schedule it

You set your campaign’s budget earlier, but now you need to set budgets for your individual TikTok ad groups, and when they’ll run. If you want the ads to run at a specific time, you can sort this out with the ‘Dayparting’ feature – don’t forget to base it on your intended audience’s time zone, though, rather than yours! It’s an easy mistake to make.

Solidify your bidding strategy and goal

Your TikTok ad group’s optimization goal will be based on clicks, reach, or conversion. This may have already been chosen for you, depending on what you selected for your overall campaign goal. Next, confirm your bidding strategy:

  • Bid Cap: Settle on the maximum cost per click (CPC), per view (CPV), or per 1,000 impressions (CPM).
  • Cost Cap: This sets an average cost per result for your optimized CPM. It usually goes up and down, but should average out around the set bid.
  • Lowest Cost: TikTok Ad Manager uses the ad group’s budget to project the highest number of results possible at the lowest cost per result.
  • Delivery Type: You can choose between standard or accelerated. The former spreads your ad group’s budget over a set number of days within the campaign timeline. If you go for the latter, it burns through your budget for the selected TikTok ad group as fast as possible.

Create your ads

You can include up to 20 ads in one TikTok ad group, which should be named clearly like everything else. Next, choose what kind of ad you’re creating: Image, Video, or Spark.

Add your images or videos, or create a video within the Ad Manager. Then choose a thumbnail – or create your own – and enter your ad text and link. Watch the preview on the right-hand side of the screen, make sure no links are broken or missing, then click Submit.

Filming TikTok ads

How do I optimize an ad for TikTok ads?

Like any social media platform, TikTok has specific format and file preferences. These are the specifications you should follow when creating content for TikTok ads:

  • An aspect ratio of 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9. Given TikTok is a vertical video platform, 9:16 tends to perform best. Spark ads allow any aspect ratio.
  • A minimum resolution of 540 x 960 px or 640 x 640 px. However, videos with 720 px often perform best. Spark ads have no minimum resolution.
  • MP4, MOV, MPEG, 3GP, or AVI files, with a maximum size of 500MB. Spark ads have no maximum file size.
  • Video length between five seconds and one minute. TikTok themselves have said that anything between 21 and 34 seconds is the sweet spot. This doesn’t apply to Spark ads.
  • An ad description between one and 100 characters, with no emojis unless they’re Spark ads.
  • A square profile image smaller than 50KB.
  • An app name between four and 40 characters, or brand name between two and 20 characters.

How much do TikTok ads cost?

The cost of TikTok ads isn’t public knowledge. The daily and lifetime campaign budgets are set to a minimum of $50 per day. When you get down to the cost of TikTok ad groups, you’re looking at a minimum daily budget of $20. The lifetime budget for ad groups can be calculated by multiplying the daily budget by the number of days the ad group is scheduled to run for.

However, the platform has dished out some advice about setting budgets and limits for advertising on TikTok.

  • If you choose Cost Cap or Bid Cap as your bidding strategy, select ‘No Limit’ for your campaign budget, and ramp up the daily budget for your ad groups to at least 20 times your CPA.
  • If you’re running a Conversion campaign using the Lowest Cost bid strategy, use a budget of either a minimum of $100, or 20 times your CTA. If you’re unsure, go with whichever number is highest.

Can I use TikTok Pulse for TikTok ads?

In 2023, TikTok introduced TikTok Pulse. It’s an advertising tool that places your ads alongside the best-performing, trending content in the For You feed. The top 4%, to be precise.

There are 12 content categories on which TikTok Pulse runs, including:

  • Beauty & personal care
  • Fashion
  • Cooking & baking
  • Automotive
  • Gaming
Shooting for TikTok ads

TikTok Pulse splits your ad revenue 50/50 with creators, ensuring they’re fairly paid for their cooperation. On your end, TikTok Pulse provides insightful, transparent campaign measurement tools, including third-party brand suitability and viewability verification.

It also verifies content before placing your ads anywhere, so your brand won’t end up next to something inappropriate. To qualify for TikTok Pulse, creators and publishers must have at least 100,000 followers.

Can I use TikTok Branded Mission for TikTok Ads?

TikTok Branded Mission is an ad product that allows creators to connect with brands and receive rewards for their videos.

The mechanism behind Branded Mission is this: advertisers launch branded campaigns and encourage creators to participate, outlining a brief and essentially crowdsourcing content from TikTok’s creator community. The best-performing videos from this process are turned into ads, for which the creators are paid.

TikTok Branded Mission is available for creators over the age of 18, with more than 1,000 followers. Like TikTok Pulse, TikTok Branded Mission offers transparency for creators – they can clearly see how much money they’ll make if their video is selected to run as an ad.

And there you have it. How to use TikTok Ads in 2024. It’s a competitive, fast-paced space, but if you want to get your brand in front of the right people, the TikTok Ad Manager can help.

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