TikTok, like any other ad-supported platform, has an algorithm that determines which ads are shown to which users and when.
Fortunately, TikTok followed in the footsteps of Facebook and Google’s ad ranking algorithms and did not simply serve up the ads with the highest bidder. TikTok’s algorithm also considers the ad’s quality and the likelihood that TikTok users will interact with it. All platforms—TikTok, Google, Facebook, and others—love to keep their algorithms under wraps, but we still know how TikTok ranks ads.
In this article, we’ll explain how the TikTok ad rank algorithm works and walk you through getting started with TikTok advertising, from TikTok advertising options to creating a TikTok video.
TikTok Advertising Structure
Campaigns, ad groups, and ads are part of TikTok’s advertising structure.
Doesn’t this sound similar to Google Ads? This section will walk you through how to use this structure to create a successful advertising campaign that your TikTok fans will engage with.
When you understand how your campaigns are structured, you can create better target audiences, design better creativity, and spend your advertising budget more effectively. Finally, this enables you to broaden your ad reach, improve ad performance, and meet your TikTok ad campaign objectives.
Creating a Campaign is the first step in creating a TikTok ad. Setting a campaign objective, or what you want your ads to do for your brand, is part of this.
TikTok offers a variety of objectives to choose from, such as traffic (increasing traffic to your website) and App Install (increasing the number of people who install your app), among others. You’ll choose your objective and budget before creating your ad group for your TikTok ad campaign (daily, lifetime, or limitless).
You can have multiple ad groups within each campaign, allowing you to optimize your ads and track their performance.
TikTok lets you choose specific ad placements, set campaign budgets, target specific audiences, set optimization goals, and bid for each ad group.
Here’s how to set up your ad group:
- Choose your TikTok ad placements
- Fill out the ad details
- Choose your target audience
- Set up a budget and schedule for your TikTok ad
- Choose optimization goals and a bidding method
From there, you start creating ads!
Each ad group can house a single ad or multiple ads. This means you can compare different ads and optimize your TikTok ads based on their performance.
Here’s the part that’s the most fun for us creative types—creating your TikTok ad! Ads are what your target audience will get to see as they use TikTok.
Setting up your TikTok ads involves just two steps:
- Uploading images or videos that will be used in your TikTok ads
- Add ad copy and call-to-action buttons
TikTok’s advertising platform gives you basic video creation tools, making it easy to create engaging ads without a production team or video editing experience.
Once you’ve created your ad, that’s it! You’re ready to run.
TikTok Advertising Options
TikTok is still a relatively new platform, as are advertisements on it. TikTok, on the other hand, has a few mobile advertising techniques that brands will appreciate.
To run promotions on TikTok, you must currently work with a TikTok advertising representative. This isn’t ideal when you’re used to using a self-service bidding platform and managing your advertisements.
This is likely to change as the platform develops. TikTok has a self-serve ad platform in beta testing, and the consensus is that it’s simple to use and helps increase brand awareness, but targeting, interface, and metrics are still lacking.
TikTok offers a variety of advertising options even without a self-service advertising platform.
In-feed video ads are TikTok’s only biddable ad option. These are the ads that appear in TikTok users’ video streams.
In-stream biddable ads aren’t as disruptive as other ad formats, but they can also be easily overlooked.
You can buy biddable ads using the following models: CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions), or CPV (cost per view) (cost per view, 6 seconds).
The following audience targeting strategies are available for TikTok’s biddable ads:
- Device type
You can use your targeting lists if you have them. TikTok also intends to broaden its targeting capabilities to include more demographics and behavioral components.
Biddable ads have a $500 minimum campaign spend requirement, but TikTok encourages advertisers to invest the amount necessary to collect enough data to produce results. This appears to imply that ad spend should be significantly higher than the $500 minimum.
TopView is a TikTok ad format that uses video to reach and engage a large audience through visually appealing ads. These audio-on, full-screen ads can last up to 60 seconds and maximize visibility and brand exposure by appearing when a user opens TikTok.
TopView advertisements can be linked to either an external or internal landing page.
Brand takeover ads are the advertisements that appear as soon as you open the TikTok app. Because the ad appears as soon as you open the app, you can be confident that your ad reaches its target audience.
These ads are limited to a single advertiser per day, which makes sense given that they can be used to send paid traffic out of the app immediately.
Brand takeover ads have a high entry barrier and are significantly more expensive than biddable ads.
TikTok thrives on difficulties.
Brands collaborate with TikTok advertising representatives to create a unique and engaging hashtag challenge, encouraging TikTok users to participate in the campaign by creating related TikTok videos and including the hashtag in the content.
These advertisements will run for six days.
Because TikTok users are naturally drawn to creating and sharing videos, hashtag challenges are an excellent way to increase engagement with user-generated content.
There is also a Hashtag Challenge Plus for eCommerce retailers. Users can browse and even buy products related to the sponsored challenge using this ad type.
Kroger was the first company to try TikTok shopping. The retailer’s #TransformUrDorm campaign yielded several positive results:
- A large increase in ad recall
- An increase in those associating Kroger as a back-to-school shopping destination
- An increase in users’ likelihood to shop at Kroger in the next three months
- KPIs of views and engagement rate above the brand’s benchmarks
TikTok, like Instagram and Snapchat, provides branded filters and lenses.
Brands create their filters, 3D objects, and other interactive elements. The elements are then made available to TikTok’s users. TikTok users then use the elements, increasing brand awareness.
Shoppable TikTok Videos
Shoppable TikTok videos are one of the advertising options available for TikTok influencers to test.
Similar to Instagram’s Shoppable posts, these ads allow brands to add a URL to their TikTok advertising videos and direct traffic to their eCommerce site and product pages.
This advertising option is highly sought after by eCommerce brands and retailers, but there is no set date for Shoppable videos to become available, if at all.
How TikTok Ranks Ads
Now that you’ve learned more about TikTok’s advertising structure and options let’s look at how TikTok ranks ads.
While TikTok prefers to keep the details a secret, we can learn about TikTok’s ad ranking system from the experiences of ad buyers familiar with the platform. TikTok ad rankings are determined at a high level by ad relevance, ad quality, and bid price.
This is similar to many other advertising platforms in that, while the bidding is important, higher quality, more relevant ads will be displayed more frequently. The idea is that better ads will generate more engagement and generate more revenue for the advertising platform.
Now that you better understand TikTok’s advertising structure and options let’s look at how TikTok ranks ads. While TikTok prefers to keep the details a secret, we can learn about TikTok’s ad ranking system from the experiences of ad buyers who are familiar with the platform. TikTok ad rankings are determined at the most basic level by ad relevance, ad quality, and bid price.
This is similar to many other advertising platforms in which, while the bidding is important, higher quality, more relevant ads are shown more frequently. The idea is that better ads will elicit more engagement and thus generate more revenue for the advertising platform.
As TikTok expands, we can expect to see the launch of a self-serve advertising platform open to all and new ad formats and measurement tools.
Increased competition for ad rank will result from this expansion.
How to Create a TikTok Advertising Campaign Step-by-Step?
Sign up For a TikTok Ads Account
Begin by going to the TikTok Ads homepage and clicking on the Create an Ad button. TikTok advertisers must go through a TikTok advertising representative, so you’ll need to fill out a form with your company’s information.
Following that, within 48 hours, a representative will contact you to set up your TikTok advertising account.
Create a TikTok Advertising Campaign
You’ll have access to the TikTok Ads dashboard once your TikTok advertising account is ready.
Select the Campaign tab at the top of the TikTok Ads dashboard and click Create.
Next, decide on a campaign goal. You have the following options:
- App Install
Create a TikTok Ad Group
You’ll need to create an ad group after setting up your TikTok ad campaign. This is where you select ad placements, define ad details, select a target audience, and fine-tune your budget, schedule, bidding method, and delivery method.
Placement and Ad Details Placements are the locations where your ads will appear. TikTok recommends using Automatic Placements so that its system can optimize ad delivery across placements and reach more people.
Select Placement allows you to select where your ads will appear manually.
TikTok also provides a block list option for Japanese advertisers (Pangle). You can add unwanted placements to your block list to prevent your ads from appearing there.
Next, you’ll need to fill out details in the Ad Details section about what it is you’re promoting.
Here are the details you’ll need to include:
- Promotion Type: Depending on the campaign objective for your TikTok ad, you can choose from two promotional types, app install, and website.
- Display Name: Add a brand or app name to display to your audience.
- Profile Image: Upload a profile image to be shown to your audience as part of the ad (no more than 50KB, aspect ratio of 1:1).
- Category: Choose an ad category that best describes your promotion. This will help TikTok’s advertising optimization model run more effectively.
- Ad Tags: Add keywords to describe your App/Website (up to 20 tags). TikTok’s algorithm will use the tags to match your ads with the right audience.
- User Comment: Enabling this feature lets your audience comment on your TikTok ads.
Set Creative and Targeting
TikTok has an Automated Creative Optimization feature that will automatically generate combinations of your creative assets (images, videos, ad copy), delivering only the highest-performing combinations.
After you’ve uploaded your ad creative, you’ll need to define your target audience. TikTok Ads provides several targeting options to help you reach the right audience for your ads.
TikTok, like Facebook, allows you to create and exclude a custom audience or lookalike audience. You can also narrow your audience by age, gender, interests, operating system, and even mobile carrier by targeting users based on demographics and devices.
You can also target your audience by demographic and device, such as age, gender, interest, operating system, and carrier.
Again, if you have a list you want to target, you can upload a CSV, TXT, or ZIP file here.
Set a Budget and Schedule
After you’ve decided on your goal, you’ll need to set a budget and a timetable for advertising. You can set the budget for your ad group under the Budget & Schedule tab by selecting Daily Budget or Lifetime Budget from the dropdown.
Set the duration of your ads next. You can specify specific times of the day or week and the dates you want your ad to run.
You must now establish a budget pacing strategy. You have two options here:
- The Standard delivery method distributes your budget evenly throughout your ad campaign.
- The Accelerated delivery method uses your advertising budget as quickly as possible.
The retailer can then select an optimization goal, and bidding will then be fine-tuned in accordance with those objectives.
Various optimizations will be billed in various ways. For example, you will be charged on a cost-per-impression (CPM) basis if you optimize for impressions. When optimizing for clicks, however, you will be charged on a CPC basis.
Conversion fees are based on an optimization cost per click, ensuring that ads are only shown to people who are most likely to convert. You’ll bid on the expected conversion cost for conversion goals but pay per click.
If you choose to optimize for conversions, you must first create conversion events in the Library section by tapping on Conversions and setting up conversion tracking with a pixel.
You’ll also be able to enable TikTok’s Smart Optimization feature. If you enable this feature, TikTok will constantly optimize your video.
Set up a TikTok Ad
It is extremely simple to create a TikTok ad. Simply upload your edited videos or images, or use the ads platform’s simple video creation tool to create eye-catching ads.
Add Your Imagination
On TikTok’s ad platform, you can select an image or video ad format.
You can upload media from your computer, add media from your library, create a new video, use a video template, or use the Smart Video feature, which analyses your media to create great videos.
Once you’ve got your ad creative uploaded, choose a cover photo and preview your TikTok ad.
You’ll also need to enter a name for your ad, add text to your ad, and finally add a call-to-action.
When you’re all done, click Submit.
TikTok’s user base continues to outpace all other social media platforms, creating a huge opportunity to generate sales and boost your brand via the platform.
Do your homework before diving into TikTok advertising, but if your target audience is already on the platform, there’s no reason not to get in early.
Are you looking for more ways to leverage this rising star? Our ultimate guide to marketing on TikTok (we can link one of TikTok Advertising blogs here?) will teach you everything you need to know.