TikTok Advertising: The Complete Guide for 2024 📱

  • Social Media
Contra Tips
· 8 min read

Learn what TikTok advertising is, the types of TikTok ads to leverage, and how to create an ad campaign. Also, discover how much TikTok ads cost.

In the social media universe, many platforms vie for attention, but TikTok has emerged as a luminous star. For businesses and Independents, it isn't merely about joining the trend  — it's about seizing a transformative monetization opportunity on the platform. Advertising on the short-form video app is key for freelance marketers and businesses to expand their reach and presence.

In this guide, we’ll explore the impact and importance of TikTok ads while also looking at ad specs, types, and TikTok advertising costs. We’ll also share the steps to set up an ad campaign on TikTok, along with best practices to follow.

How does TikTok impact social media? 🧐

TikTok has risen meteorically over the years, asserting itself as a dominant force in the social media cosmos. Beyond mere entertainment, it has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, shaping trends, music, and even social dialogues. Its user base, predominantly Gen Z and millennials, has allowed it to reach almost 2 billion active users globally, making its reach and engagement metrics enviable. For brands, this means a colossal potential audience ripe for impactful advertising.

 What are TikTok ads? 🤔

TikTok ads are paid promotional content that creators, businesses, and brands pay the platform to showcase their content to a specific target audience. The content is usually short-form videos and looks to sell a product or service or spread awareness about the advertiser.

There are three organization levels in TikTok ads:

  • TikTok ad: A stand-alone video ad
  • TikTok ad group: A cluster of related ads
  • TikTok campaign: An umbrella term covering multiple ad groups

Which brands should advertise on TikTok? 

Brands that advertise on TikTok tend to seek to tap into a younger, dynamic, and highly engaged audience, with companies such as Fenty Beauty, Guess, and Taco Bell frequently using TikTok marketing. It's especially suitable for those aiming to:

  • Boost brand awareness among Gen Z and millennials
  • Launch viral challenges or interactive campaigns
  • Showcase the brand's personality and values in a creative, less formal setting
  • Collaborate with influencers for wider reach and authenticity

TikTok ad specs 📐

Your boosted content will reach a large audience, so ensure your ad has the right format, shape, and size by using the optimal specifications for a TikTok ad. Here are the commonly used specs:

  • Video length: 5–60 seconds, although it’s recommended to wrap a video within 15 seconds for better engagement. 
  • File type: .mp4, .mpeg, .mov, .avi, or .3gp
  • File size: Up to 500 MB
  • Aspect ratio: Recommended: 9:16 (could be 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9)
  • Minimum resolution: 540 by 960 pixels, 640 by 640 pixels, or 960 by 540 pixels

6 types of TikTok ads 😍

TikTok offers diverse advertising formats to creatively connect with your audience. Whether you're aiming for brand awareness, user engagement, or conversions, TikTok provides an array of ad types tailored for various objectives. Here's a closer look at six distinct TikTok ad formats and their unique placements:

1. In-feed ads 🔥

These are native ads that you can create yourself using the TikTok Ads Manager interface. They're similar to the organic TikTok videos but come with a call-to-action (CTA) button and integrate seamlessly within the user's "For You" feed.

2. Spark ads ✨

Spark ads boost organic content from any user’s account. They seamlessly blend with your other TikToks and remain even after you no longer pay to promote them. They’re also open for duets or stitches.

3. TopView ads 🪟

This ad type captures user attention immediately upon opening the TikTok app. These offer a full-screen, sound-on experience, making it ideal for maximum impact and reach. They’re displayed as the first thing users see upon app launch.

4. Hashtag challenge ads 🎖️

As a brand, you can sponsor a hashtag challenge lasting three to six days, encouraging users to create and share content around a themed challenge. It's a powerful way to boost user engagement and viral content creation. These ads are found on the "Discover" page with other trending challenges.

5. Sound on display ads 🎧

Capitalizing on TikTok's sound-on culture, these ads emphasize music, voiceovers, or sound effects. They're tailored for brands looking to create an auditory impact. They appear within the user's discovery feed, focusing on sound content.

6. Masthead ads 🤩

These are premium ads positioned for high visibility. They occupy a prime spot at the top of the discovery feed, ensuring maximum reach. They predominantly feature at the top of the discovery or search page.

How much do TikTok ads cost? 💰

TikTok’s ad pricing operates on an auction-and-bid model, allowing you to decide and set your price per video view, click, or impression.

When you set up an ad on TikTok, you're essentially entering an auction against other advertisers who aim to reach the same target audience. Your bid, budget, and ad quality determine whether your ad gets shown. It's worth noting that TikTok has a minimum daily investment value of $50 for a campaign and $20 for an ad group. But it’s best to check TikTok’s official website for more details.

TikTok has four bidding methods: 

  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM): Ideal for brands wanting more reach. You pay for every 1,000 ad views.
  • Cost per click (CPC): Perfect for app installs, selling products, profile visits, and conversions. You pay per ad click.
  • Cost per thousand views (CPV): Best if your aim is to get more views. You’re charged when users watch your video for a set duration.
  • Optimized cost per thousand impressions (OCPM): You pay for impressions while targeting users more likely to convert. It is ideal for gaining followers, app installs, or boosting sales.

How to set up an ad campaign in 5 steps 🪜

Launching an ad campaign on TikTok, while straightforward, requires a strategic approach to truly resonate. If you're ready to tap into the platform’s vast potential, here's a step-by-step guide on how to advertise on TikTok:

 1. Get started and define objectives 🌟

Sign up for a TikTok ads account. While setting up a new campaign, choose a clear objective, whether it's brand awareness or website conversions, to guide your strategy.

2. Set a budget and target audience 🎯

Set a budget for your campaign, keeping in mind TikTok's minimum spend. Next, detail your target audience using criteria like age, interests, and location.

3. Craft your ad content 📹

Design your ad adhering to TikTok's specifications. Incorporate compelling visuals, captions, and a clear CTA to engage viewers.

4. Decide on ad placement, bidding, and optimization 🥳

Choose where your ad will appear (e.g., TikTok or sister apps). Select a bidding method that aligns with your budget and goals. For enhanced performance, consider integrating the TikTok Pixel into your website to track and optimize results.

5. Launch and monitor 💻

Review your campaign settings and, once satisfied, launch your ad. Regularly check your campaign's performance via TikTok's analytics and adjust as necessary for optimal outcomes.

TikTok advertising best practices 💯

TikTok videos demand a unique approach to advertising. To truly resonate on the platform, you need to blend authenticity with creativity, ensuring your ads feel as organic and engaging as user-generated content. Here are a few best practices to follow to ensure your campaigns captivate and convert:

  • Review and refine: Track your analytics, and adapt and tweak your content strategy based on what’s resonating among your target audience.
  • Embrace platform tools: Tap into trending filters, effects, and music. Consider engaging with or creating branded challenges.
  • Authenticity is key: TikTok favors genuine content over polished ads. Aim for a natural feel, and shift from hard selling to storytelling. 
  • Keep things short: Short-form videos are crucial on TikTok, so keeping your ads between five and 60 seconds is best to garner a solid viewer base. 

Craft the best adverts with Contra 🚀 

As the world of digital advertising continues its swift evolution, platforms like TikTok are more than just trends. And the TikTok Business Center serves as a testament to the platform's commitment to helping brands and advertisers thrive. But, behind this digital ecosystem, the real magic often lies in the hands of talented professionals.

If you're a freelancer with expertise in TikTok advertising, showcase your talent by joining Contra, connecting with potential clients, and promoting your freelance services commission-free. And if you’re a business looking to hire top-notch content creators, Contra simplifies the journey by matching you with top-tier TikTok ads experts who can elevate your campaigns to new heights.

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