How Do TikTok Ads Work?

So, you want to try out TikTok ads.

Understandable. TikTok is the newest addition to the social media landscape. It’s the “in” social media app, the place where all the kids want to be. And so it should come as no surprise that you might want to try it out for your brand. Or, perhaps, you have already decided you’d rather not pursue it for your brand—but you recognize the value that advertising on TikTok might bring to your brand. What’s more, maybe a CEO or Founder has decided you absolutely have to be connecting on TikTok, much to your chagrin.

However you found yourself in this situation, you deserve a path to success. So that’s what we’re here to provide.

TikTok may provide some unique challenges to those looking to advertise on it, but it provides equally unique opportunities to create success. And that success may just translate to new customers, a brand pivot, or simply greater brand awareness.

Whatever your specific case may be, read on to learn the basics about TikTok, its content, and how best to leverage its ads to your benefit. TikTok isn’t just for dancing and lip-syncing. You might just find it’s also there to hand your direct response budget a win.

Should You Advertise on TikTok?

Make no mistake. “Should I have a presence on TikTok?” and “Should I run ads on TikTok?” are two very different questions.

And for right now, we’re inclined to answer no to the first one. TikTok makes a ton of sense for some brands, from the fitness industry to health and beauty, sports and outdoors, and travel. However, as a local auto body shop, you might find your budget better spent on YouTube videos and a blog.

But should you advertise on TikTok? Well, maybe! TikTok ads can reach a youthful and engaged audience. Most brands successfully advertising on the app understand its demographics, which tend to skew younger (while growing older all the time) with more expendable income.

Local brands without any online sales opportunities will likely not see the best ROI for TikTok spends, which is why we’d advise against local businesses. And double that if your business is overly technical, in the B2B space, or doesn’t cater to a younger audience. TikTok isn’t the place to rebrand your business; your website is.

How to Use TikTok Ads Effectively

When you decide to run an ad on TikTok, you’ll either need to use the self-service platform or get in touch with a TikTok ad manager. Below, we’ll walk you through the basic TikTok ads available to you.

In-Feed Video Ads

In-feed video ads are the most common and recognizable of the paid advertising options on TikTok. That’s because they resemble the most common video ads on basically every other platform, ranging from Facebook and Instagram to YouTube.

These TikTok ads include short-form videos either in your newsfeed or in your “For You” page. Because they’re so similar to regular TikToks in presentation and length, they feel relatively organic to the feed.

TopView Ads 

TopView ads are also videos. And they can also pop up in your “For You” feed. However, their primary distinction from in-feed video ads is around when TikTok serves these ads to your viewers.

Rather than these videos, which can be up to 60 seconds in length, showing up in your feed, they will come up on a delayed play some amount of time after your app start up. (But importantly, they don’t display right when you start your app.) You can also add a website link or a clickable hashtag to your ad.

Brand Takeover

As far as TikTok ads go, brand takeovers are probably most similar to TopView ads in that they display on the full screen, show up in your “For You” feed, and allow you to add clickable hashtags or website links.

However, brand takeovers are only 3-5 seconds in length—and they open right when a user opens the app. Not on a delay after.

Branded Hashtag Challenge & Effects

Want to try to get users to engage directly with your brand? You may look to a branded hashtag challenge. In these challenges, you can ask users to record themselves in any sort of challenge—a dance, a scene, or otherwise—and post it with a hashtag.

On the branded effects side of things, you can deploy custom stickers, lenses, or AR filters that users can utilize with their videos. Your branded effect will be available for 10 days, and it can help put your brand’s name in front of users.

Getting Started with TikTok Ads

TikTok ads really aren’t for everyone, but they could be for you. As a component of your direct response marketing, you may find that TikTok ads offer an opportunity for your brand to reach new customers. Hopefully, now you’ll have a better understanding of what’s on the table should you choose to pursue TikTok for your advertising. Now, only time is stopping you. TikTok, TikTok, TikTok…

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