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How to Get Started with TikTok Advertising


TikTok. It’s just another silly social media channel for kids to post dance moves and lip-synching videos of each other, right?

Think again.

In just a few short years after its launch in 2018, TikTok has seen exponential growth, amassing approximately one billion active monthly users, and if you look back on social media trends of the past few years, it really isn’t that surprising as to why. Audiences – particular those in the younger demographics – are much more geared to readily consume short-form video content, having their interests piqued by bite-sized snippets that can lead them through to landing pages and other forms of digital marketing.

In fact, users are simply ravenous for this content, as well as creating it for themselves, establishing a global community built on varying perceptions of entertainment and value-sharing. Thanks to the ease of making quality videos using affordable technology and software, it has now been adopted as the ‘new favourite’ in the social media landscape.

While organic results provide healthy returns on investment, there has been a lot of chatter of late on the unprecedented gains made on TikTok advertising. Given the higher cost per acquisition attached to many Facebook & Instagram marketing campaigns, this is definitely something all brands should consider – not necessarily as a replacement, but simply as a new facet to their wider digital marketing strategy.

So, if you have previously written off TikTok in your estimations as a rewarding social media channel, it’s likely you are missing out on some serious potential for brand awareness and audience engagement. Don’t fall behind any further. In this article, the team at Clearwater have put together a simple guide that will explain how to use TikTok advertising to increase your reach.


Is It Worth Advertising on TikTok?

In short, yes.

If you’re after the longer version, it is best to look at the statistics surrounding TikTok’s recent performance.

Perhaps most notable is that, in 2022, TikTok has surged in popularity across Australia, with users spending approximately 23.4 hours per month on the platform, which is an increase of 40% on 2021 figures. In advertising within our national borders alone, TikTok ads will be able to reach 7.38 million users.

It is true, however, that the platform does have a large youthful audience, with 43% of users aged from 18 to 24-years-old, with the women of that age category alone making up 24.7% of TikTok’s total advertising audience.

Simply put, if your target audience is women aged between 18 and 24, then you have hit the jackpot with TikTok.

With that in mind, if you are after a global reach, TikTok ads offer mounds of potential, with millions of users sharing diverse demographics spread throughout the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


How to Set Up Ads on TikTok

If you have experience creating business accounts in Facebook Ads Manager, then it is likely you will have a breeze setting up your account on the TikTok Ads Manager.

  1. Begin by selecting your billing country or region, as well as your intent to use the account for business purposes (as opposed to individual promotion).
  2. You will then be prompted to complete a generic questionnaire asking for an email address and/or a phone number, password, as well as verification codes.
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions and hit ‘Sign Up’.
  4. You will have to wait a short while until your brand is approved, but you can then log into your new dashboard and complete the final account set-up requirements (follow the instructions provided).
  5. You are now ready to begin creating TikTok Ad campaigns!


How to Create a TikTok Ad Campaign

Before we begin, it is important to note that if you are just looking to boost your existing organic content, Ads Manager will not be required, as you can simply use TikTok Promote. If not, follow these simple steps to get started with your new campaigns:

 1. Create an Objective for Your Ads

Once inside TikTok Ads Manager, select ‘Campaign’ and review the ad objectives offered to you. These will be separated into three different sections, being:


  • Reach: Show your ad to as many users as possible


  • Traffic: Tailored to direct traffic towards a URL
  • App Installs: Tailored to encourage downloads of your app
  • Video Views: Maximise the number of plays received by a video ad
  • Lead Generation: Utilise pre-populated Instant Forms to capture leads


  • Conversions: Encourage designated actions to a landing page, such as purchases or enquiries
  • Catalogue Sales: Dynamic ads that will be influenced by your product catalogue


Name the Campaign & Allocate a Budget

Campaigns can be named anything you like up to 512 characters, so make sure it is clearly distinguishable to all of those involved in its management and review.

In terms of budget, you can either set ‘No Limit’, should you have a large amount of resources to allocate (or prefer to set budget limits for specific ad groups). Alternatively, you can allocate a Daily or Lifetime budget.

Name the Ad Group & Select Placements

A campaign can hold up to 999 ad groups, also with names capped at 512 characters. Once these are created, you will want to choose the appropriate placements for them, being:

  • TikTok: In-feed ads found in the For You feed.
  • News Feed App: Ads will appear across TikTok’s other available applications, such as TopBuzz, BuzzVideo, Babe, and NewsRepublic.
  • Pangle: Ads available across the TikTok audience network
  • Automatic: This allows TikTok to optimise ad delivery automatically


Decide on Using Automated Creative Optimisation

Uploading your creatives will happen later, but you can first choose whether you would like for TikTok to automatically generate a mix of your existing videos, images and ad text based on their performance. This is a recommended feature for new advertisers.

Establish a Target Audience

Audience targeting is nothing new when it comes to social media advertising, and TikTok has a variety of features to let you either create a custom audience, or utilise lookalike capabilities. The demographics these ads will target range from gender and age, location, language, interests, behaviours and devices.

Apportion the Ad Group Budget & Confirm Schedule

With your budget allocated for your wider campaign, it is now time to set one for your ad group, as well as the schedule it will run on. Again, you can choose between a daily or lifetime budget, and select the start and end times. You can also choose to run your ad between certain hours throughout the day with the ‘Dayparting’ feature.

Establish & Optimise Your Bidding Strategy

Like most marketing elements, your bidding strategy needs to have a clear optimisation goal. This can be conversion, clicks or reach.

From here, decide on your bidding strategy. Choose amongst:

  • Bid Cap: Either the max amount per view, click, or 1000 impressions.
  • Cost Cap: Work with an average cost per result that is optimised per 1000 impressions. This will naturally fluctuate around your bid amount.
  • Lowest Cost: This offers the ad group a budget that is set to produce the greatest possible results at the lowest cost per result.

You can then select your delivery type. There is ‘Standard’, which will divide your budget across the scheduled dates, or ‘Accelerated’ which will utilise the entirety of your budget as fast as possible.

Develop Your Ads

Now for the fun part. Your ad group will be able to hold up to 20 ads, and each ad will be able to hold up to 512 characters with its name (only for your own internal use, not appearing anywhere on the ad itself).

Begin by selecting your desired ad format:

In-Feed Ads

These can be created yourself within the Ad Manager interface

  • Image ads: These can take the form of a brand, image, or app name with some added text, but will only run on TikTok’s News Feed apps.
  • Video ads: These run on the TikTok platform and its associated apps, lasting 5 to 60 seconds, and including videos, display images, brands, and text.
  • Spark ads: This allows you to select some organic content from your account or others and repurpose it as an Ad (recent data from TikTok suggest these have a 24% higher completion rate, and an incredible 142% higher engagement rate in comparison to other In-Feed ads). In order to use someone else’s content, you will need to follow the specific instructions laid down by TikTok and receive an access code from the creator.
  • Pangle ads: Similar ads that are placed across the TikTok Audience Network
  • Carousel ads: These include a maximum of 10 images and captions that will appear in the News Feed apps.


Formats Exclusive to Managed Brands

If you wish for your brand to have a TikTok sales representative and become a ‘Managed Brand’, you can make a request and then, upon approval, receive access to a selection of extra ad formats:

  • TopView ads: These are like video ads, but will instead play full-screen once users first open the TikTok app.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge: These ads run over three to six days, and are designed to encourage engagement through user-generated content
  • Branded Effects: These ads allow you to create custom, branded filters, stickers and effects that encourage other users to engage with your brand

Once you have selected your ads, you can then begin to add your photos or videos, or start creating within the Ads Manager itself thanks to its variety of templates and tools. In fact, further research conducted by TikTok posits that the use of the video editor actually decreases your cost per action by amounts of up to 46%.

In addition, you can select a default thumbnail, or opt to upload one of your own. From here, input your desired text and link, go over the preview of your ad, sprinkle in some tracking links as necessary, and then finalise by hitting ‘Submit’.

It will now be live for your growing audience to enjoy and engage with!


How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost? 

As mentioned above, there is a rising cost to many alternative social media advertising platforms, causing users to greater leverage their creativity and be more stringent with their budgets.

These are terrific attributes to bring to TikTok ads campaigns. In asking how much they cost to run, however, is like asking how much a piece of string might be – it depends on how much you want to pump into your campaigns.

With that being said, there are some minimum budgets to be mindful of, including:

Campaign Level

  • Daily budgets must be over $50 USD
  • Lifetime budgets must be over $50 USD

 Ad Groups

  • Daily budgets must be over $20 USD
  • Lifetime budgets will be subsequently calculated using the daily budget minimum across the number of days scheduled within the campaign

Some ‘best budget practices put forward by TikTok include:

  • When opting to use Bid Cap or Cost Cap bidding strategies, it pays to have your initial campaign level set at ‘No Limit’, as well as the daily ad group budget to be over 20 times your goal cost per action.
  • When completing App Event Optimisation, it can prove beneficial to introduce a budget of at least 20 times your goal cost per action.
  • When using conversion campaigns, the Lowest Cost bidding strategy at an initial budget of 20 times your target cost per action is advised.


Go & Experiment with Creating Your Very Own TikToks!

Now that you are familiar with how to get started using TikTok ads, you can begin experimenting with different creatives and campaigns to see which deliver the best results for your brand.

This can take a bit of time to master, so experiment with mixing and matching your creative styles, cutting out the fluff and utilising every second you have available to engage audiences, take advantage of sounds and captions, and remember to have fun with a positive and authentic outlook.

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