Today, it’s all about TikTok. Yup, you read that right.
We’re going over how to run TikTok ads for beginners (which is pretty much everyone at this point).
If you’re like – why would a small business marketing blog be covering a teenager’s lip syncing app – then you need to stick around for this full post.
TikTok is so much more than that.
We’re super excited to go over TikTok ads for beginners today because TikTok is one of our favorites. We love TikTok!
There, we said it – TikTok is one of our favorite platforms.
So today, we’re really excited to share with you what businesses are doing on TikTok and how it’s changing the game.
As TikTok makes the platform more advertiser-friendly, we’ll see more and more businesses putting out content and running ads.
But there’s a right and wrong way to do TikTok ads for beginners.
If you post the same types of content and ads you’re putting on your other social channels, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the results.
What Is TikTok And Why Do People Like it?
TikTok is a social media app made up of short videos posted by creators.
Videos range from 15 seconds to 3 minutes long. TikTok is experimenting with longer viewing times.
If you remember the Vine days (RIP Vine, we miss you), TikTok is similar to that.
So before we dive into TikTok ads for beginners, let’s first discuss the reasons why people love this platform.
1. Videos are short
Users of the app enjoy the quick delivery of comedy or information that TikTok provides.
While dancing and lip sync videos are still popular on the app, creators and businesses of all interests and niches are using the app.
These quick videos give us a lil’ serotonin boost and keep us scrolling.
2. It’s easy to discover new content and creators
Once the algorithm gets used to you, you’ll constantly see new, relevant content. You have two feed options; Following and For You.
Following shows you the latest posts and live videos from accounts that you follow.
The For You page shows you a mix of content from new accounts and creators.
3. Even small creators have videos that go viral
Because of how the algorithm on the For You page prioritizes new content, videos from very small creators can (and frequently do) go viral.
The way the trends, hashtags, and sounds work on TikTok is that the more popular it is…
…the more likely you are to get a lot of views if you can join the trend (earlier is better, but not required).
If you do have a video go viral, be active in the comment section authentically engage with viewers.
This interaction is super important on TikTok. You can’t have a successful account without it.
So if you want to start with TikTok ads for beginners, you should first keep putting out content.
Don’t be shocked if your next video gets 100 views. That happens a lot on TikTok.
You have to try to figure out what about your video resonated with viewers (read the comment section for clues).
And then, test how you can recreate that element.
4. Communities are strong and supportive
While there are trolls on every platform, and they certainly exist on TikTok, most of the communities are:
- welcoming to newcomers,
- love new ideas, and
- actively engage in comments sections and on live videos.
Once you land on whatever TikTok the algorithm puts you in, those folks are likely to embrace you and follow you.
Make videos in parts to encourage more views, hone your one-line explanation of what you do, and ask for follows.
Does TikTok Work for Businesses?
Before we go and tackle TikTok ads for beginners, we know a lot of small business owners who are afraid to branch out to TikTok.
And the main reason is that they think the app is too unproven.
But TikTok marketing works for small businesses.
The app is a powerful platform for reaching new customers and going viral.
Now in order to go viral, you have to know the audience and platform well.
That means you have to spend time on the platform (or whoever is creating your ad, if you’re using an employee or agency).
Let’s look at some compelling digital marketing statistics for TikTok that you should know:
- TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times.
- TikTok is the 7th most used social network.
- TikTok is available in over 200 countries.
- TikTok has nearly 100 million monthly active users in the United States.
- The majority of people use TikTok to find funny/entertaining content.
- Ocean Spray earned 15 billion media impressions in less than a month without doing a thing.
- And Fleetwood Mac’s song “Dreams”, featured in the video, tripled sales.
It also returned to the top of the Billboard charts for the first time since 1997 because of this video. The video has over 35 million views.
It’s an excellent place for your business to find your people.
Before we go ahead and dive into TikTok ads for beginners, let’s take a look at 3 ways to market your business on TikTok.
3 Ways To Market Your Business On TikTok
If you’re starting to stress out about making dozens of TikToks for your business a week, hang in there for a second.
There are 3 different ways to market your business on TikTok. So, find a method that works for you and your business.
Those methods are:
- Create your own channel and post TikToks, looking for organic (free) growth.
- Work with influencers to promote your brand, product, business, or experience.
- Pay to run ads on TikTok (what we’re focusing on for today’s post).
Choosing the first method, creating your own channel, and posting TikToks looking for organic growth is probably going to take the longest.
Plus, it will require the most effort.
But, if you can find the right combination of strategy and luck, you can go viral in just a few hours and change your business overnight.
If you work with influencers, look for nano and micro-influencers who are in the communities your ideal customer is in.
You should learn these by living on TikTok as your ideal customer, so you see the type of content that they see and you learn how to speak to them.
If you’d like a detailed post on each of the first two methods, let us know in the comments.
Today, we’re going to focus on the third method, running paid ads. Let’s get into that now and discuss TikTok ads for beginners.
TikTok Ads For Beginners In 2022
Now that you know what the platform is and why people love it, plus how useful it is for small businesses…
…you’re ready to learn how to set up and run ads on TikTok.
We’ll show you how to create an ad account, show you around the “Business Manager” of TikTok…
…and help you figure out whether your ad is doing well or not.
After that, we want to show you a couple of examples of great TikTok small business content we’ve seen and brainstorm some other ideas with you.
Let’s get to the action!
Step 1: Create Your Ad Account
Like on other advertising platforms, you’ll need to create an ad account before you can run advertisements.
Fortunately, the process is pretty quick and simple. Let us walk you through it.
- Visit TikTok for Business web page.
- Enter your information in this form (or click any of the “Get Started” or “Create an account” buttons you see on the screen).
- Next, you’ll confirm your email or phone number by entering the security code they send you.
- After that, you’ll be automatically taken to the login screen. Yours may log you in automatically as ours did here.
- Then you’ll complete this flow, which we’ll show you next.
Now, for this TikTok ads for beginners guide, we zipped on through the Terms of Service here because we don’t have ages to go through this together.
But, you’ll want to at least scan through that before you sign up, like you would with any legal document or paperwork.
Step 2: Enter Your Business URL and Your Payment Information
- Enter your business URL (the place you want them to go to when they click on your ad).
- Enter your billing information.
- Select automatic or manual payments.
Automatic payments are nice if you’re running continuous ads or plan to do a lot of advertising on the platform.
But if you’d rather pre-load your account with a specified budget and that’s it, you can do that manually. We kind of like that TikTok gives us that option.
- Click the arrow button at the bottom of the page.
If you choose Manual Payments, you’ll be taken to this screen to add a balance so you can run ads. We’ll show you what that looks like now:
- Click the +Add Balance button at the bottom of the screen in that credit card-looking box.
- You’ll add your desired balance (you need to start with at least $10.00) and press Next.
- Review the total amount to make sure it’s correct and choose whether you’ll use a card or PayPal account.
- Enter the card information or connect to your PayPal account and click Submit.
- Click Next
If you don’t want to enter payment information yet, you can skip this step. You’ll skip steps 1 through 4 and go right to clicking Next.
A warning message will appear that says:
“Your ads can only start delivery after you’ve added a payment method or topped up. Are you sure you want to skip to the next step?”
Choose Skip and now you’re in your shiny new TikTok Ads Manager! Yay!
Now that we’re here, let’s take a tour of the Ads Manager and walk through ad setup.
Step 3: Get to Know the Ads Manager
Woo! You’re one step closer to TikTok virality! Hopefully!
Let’s take a quick tour of the Ads Manager. We’ll briefly cover each section for this TikTok ads for beginners guide. After that, we’ll set up the ads!
The Ads Manager is similar to the ad managers on other social platforms.
So if you’re familiar with any of those, you’ll just need to familiarise yourself with the layout.
Let’s start on the top left, we have:
Let’s look at these individually.
This page is your go-to for a quick look at:
- any ads that aren’t delivering, and
- other important notifications and ad performance information.
You’ll notice the bright bar across the top. This will show you any urgent news or any steps that you need to complete for your account.
Below that, you’ve got Today’s Spends (and can click Payment for more info) and Active Ad information (and can click Log for full details).
If you haven’t yet created an ad, you’ll have this Create an Ad button available. Next to that will be any ads that are not delivering.
Analytics are below this section, starting with Trends. This gives you a view of:
- How your ads are doing
- How much they’re costing
- Your cost per click
- Click-through rate
You can change the date range to visually compare data over time.
Scrolling down, you’ll have Campaign data and Gender data, including cost. Next is Placements and Operating Systems information.
This will be where you’ll create campaigns, ad groups, and ads where you’ll see all the detailed analytics for performance.
This is very similar to the Facebook Ads Manager, so you’ll probably feel pretty comfy here.
Change default columns here, you have a ton of options like in Facebook: show more campaigns per page, refresh, and export report.
We’ll go over how to create a campaign a bit later in this TikTok ads for beginners post, so we’ll just glide over that for now.
You can also bulk create and edit, change dates so you can look at trends over time, and you can filter campaigns for more detailed analytics.
When you hover over Assets, you’ll see a dropdown menu with four choices; event, creative, audiences, and comments.
Clicking Assets does nothing, so let’s click through each page from the dropdown menu and tour the tools we have available to us.
This is where you’ll set up tracking information so you can see accurate data and ad analytics.
Choose to set up your App or a tracking pixel. We’ll go over pixel setup in more detail later in this TikTok ads for beginners post.
You’ll see different tabs for Images, Videos, Playable, Spark Ad Posts, and Instant Forms.
This tab houses all the image assets you’ve uploaded to your Ads Manager.
You can upload by clicking on this blue button. After selecting ads, you can use the dropdown next to the Upload button and select Edit or Delete.
Change the date range on the upper right if you’re looking at past ad performance.
In the section below, you can:
- filter images,
- search by name or keyword,
- select analytics columns,
- change how many show per page, and
- export the information.
In this tab, you’ll manage all the videos you upload to your Ads Manager.
In the top left, you can Upload or Create and have the same Edit and Delete dropdowns like in the Images tab.
On the top right, sort videos by date when you have a larger library. You may see some TikTok help here.
We encourage you to read through those when you can.
Filter videos, search by name or ID, sort analytics columns, how many will show per page, and export these analytics.
TikTok says, “Playable Ads are interactive videos that allow you to showcase a preview of your app before someone downloads it.”
If you have a game or an app, this will be a great option for you.
d. Spark Ad Posts
To run these organic ads, you need to obtain TikTok post-authorization. You can Apply for Authentication in the Spark Ad Posts tab.
e. Instant Forms
When you run Lead Generation ads, you’ll use Instant Forms to collect the information viewers entered.
When users click the CTA, an Instant Form opens up with the information you want to collect.
In this tab, you’ll be able to upload or create a custom audience or lookalike audience. This is how it looks like.
If you want to see the comments in your TikTok ads, you can view them in this tab.
Or, you can also block words and make them automatically hidden from your TikTok ads.
This is where you’ll create and export analytics reports so you can see how your ads are performing.
You’ll be dropped onto the “create” page, where you can choose which metrics to measure and the timeframe for a custom report.
We love that you can schedule this report to run daily, weekly, or monthly, and have it sent to someone you choose.
If you want to use some templates from TikTok…
…click the reporting breadcrumb and use the dropdown to choose a custom report (what you just saw) or one of these templated options.
On the top right, you have all of your:
Starting with the dropdown on the left, let’s go over this:
1. Accounts Settings
If you have admin access to multiple TikTok ad accounts, you’ll be able to switch between them easily here.
You can also find your Ad Account ID here if you need to share it with an advertising partner, employee, or agency you may be working with.
If you want to change the display language, you can do so by clicking to the right of the accounts dropdown.
Ours says English since that’s our current default setting. You’ll choose from these languages currently available.
b. User Settings
When you click on the U icon, you’ll see a dropdown with some information and options.
- User ID and log out option
- Account Settings (there are shortcuts to account info and payment directly below)
- User Settings (click the User Settings below to visit the page)
Now for this TikTok ads for beginners guide, let’s go to Account Settings and look around.
c. Account Settings
When the new page opens, you’ll see a left-hand navigation menu with these options:
- Account Setup
This is where you can see:
- account info,
- basic info,
- business information,
- privacy contact,
- permission management (add users to your account), and
- payment info.
This is where you upload Industry Document, which are the documents needed for running ads in certain industries (like in healthcare or finance).
This is where you can see your payment type and add funds to your account, if you do manual payments.
You’ll also be able to redeem promotional codes for future advertising efforts.
This is where you can see every time TikTok has charged you for ads.
You’ll probably need these for monthly, quarterly, or year-end reporting, so it’s good to know where to find them.
- Brand Safety
This is where you can manage Block Lists to keep your content away from other content that you don’t want associated with your brand.
- User Settings
Clicking User Settings allows you to manage your personal info and notifications.
Personal info includes username, email address, phone number, and password.
Notifications are managed on the next page. Toggle topics on or off here depending on your preferences.
2. Business Center
Click the little briefcase icon to visit the Business Center (similar to Facebook Business Manager, but quite as robust).
If you haven’t yet, you’ll be prompted to create a Business Account.
Enter the Business Center Name, select timezone, and upload a profile picture (this is optional). Then select Create.
You’ll see your newly created account in My Business Center. Select the account.
You may see a welcome tour from TikTok when you get here.
This is your place to manage users, assets, and other business settings.
If you’d like to see a more detailed post on the TikTok Business Center in the future, let us know in the comments.
Hover over the notification bell and you’ll see this navigation window pop up. You can choose to view notifications from these categories;
- Business Center
- Asset Sync
You can also choose settings (the gear icon), mark all as read, or view all by clicking here.
You’ll see this tab open up, which is the first thing you see when you click the notification bell instead of using the navigation we showed you before.
Again, you can see notifications for the categories listed above. Subscriptions will help you manage notifications for your account.
4. Help Center
Hover over the question mark icon here to access detailed helpful information compiled by TikTok.
You can find any topic you’re struggling with and get the latest requirements, as well as the best practices straight from the source.
Now that you’re familiar with the Ad Manager and Business Center, let’s create TikTok ads for beginners.
How To Create TikTok Ads For Beginners
How to set up a Campaign:
- Go to Campaigns in your Ads Manager.
- Click the blue Create button to start your campaign and ad creation process.
- Choose Simplified Mode or Custom Mode. We’ll choose Simplified for this tutorial.
- Select your Advertising Objective and name your campaign.
- Click Continue.
If you want to see how to do this, then check out the video at the top of this post.
Before we move onto Ad Set details, let’s talk about advertising objectives really quickly.
Similar to other networks, advertising objectives just help you select the targeting and social media budget that will be used for your ads.
If you choose website conversions, TikTok will show your ad to people more likely to buy.
If you want traffic, they’ll show it to people who are more likely to click.
These objectives are excellent guides, so use them!
Now that you’ve chosen your objective, you’re in Ad Set and can choose your audience and budget.
How to Set-up Your Ad Set
- Choose your Ad Group Name.
- Connect the tracking pixel to the ads.
- Choose your optimization event.
You’ll set these up in the Events Manager if you haven’t already. They can be things like page view, add to cart, purchase, sign up, etc.
- Select your placement (automatic or manual) and targeting (location, demographics, interests, and behaviors.)
- Set your budget and bid optimization.
Set your cost per action cap here, or choose the lowest cost, and TikTok will do the math for you. We like this option most for beginners.
- Press Continue.
Again, if you want to see how to do this, we have a walkthrough guide on the video at the top of this post.
Now, you’re setting up the individual ad creative.
How to Set-up TikTok Ads for Beginners
You’re almost ready to publish your first ad to TikTok. We’re super excited for you!
Let’s zoom through the last few steps standing between you and TikTok virality (we would love to see it). Here are the last few steps:
- Upload an image or video, or click in either box to browse.
- You can view recommended formats below the image uploader.
- You can also use creative assets you’ve already uploaded or create something new by clicking here.
You can use some of the template options available to you.
- On the right, you’ll see a preview of your ad on every app that your objective and chosen placements allow.
- Click Publish when you’re happy with how your ad looks.
You did it! You created your first ad!
Before we go, we want to go over some best practices for creating TikTok ads, because it’s not the same platform as Instagram, YouTube, or anything else.
Best Practices In Creating TikTok Ads For Beginners
Now that you know more about the platform, how it works, why people like it, and how to use it for your business…
…let’s go over some best practices for ads on the platform.
As we mentioned before, putting the same video ad you’ve used on Instagram ads or Facebook ads is probably not going to work.
Speaking of Facebook ads, if you want to learn the Facebook ads best practices, then be sure to read this post next.
Anyway, you need to think about your TikTok ads differently. Here are some best practices you can try.
1. Don’t make ads – make TikToks
TikTok has really been pushing marketers and businesses to focus on the spirit of the platform over running ads.
What does that even mean though?
What TikTok means is this; don’t just plop a 30-second tv commercial on our platform. Make a TikTok.
A TikTok is different from 30-second Reels ads on Instagram or a 30-second television spot.
The users on the platform are different from the users on every other platform.
They’re drawn to different things. They spend time watching different content than other platforms.
So don’t go about this with the idea that you’re going to promote a product or your brand.
Go about this from the beginning asking how you’re going to entertain or engage your audience.
You should figure out how to fit your product or brand into TikTok, and not how to squeeze a TikTok out of your product or brand.
Make sense? Good!
2. Keep it short and focus on one topic or product (as your sub-goal)
Yes, you can create longer videos on TikTok now (up to 3 minutes for most creators).
But, just because you can post a longer video doesn’t mean you should.
This is especially true if you’re new to the platform, try to keep your first foray into advertising short, and as eye-catching or attention-grabbing as possible.
Now remember, you should be creating a TikTok, not a product commercial.
This means you should come up with a cool concept or catchy trick before you try to fit your product into it.
But when you do fit your product into it, you need to keep it very focused on one product or topic.
Don’t try to use it to outline every single thing you sell or service you provide. Please, for everyone’s sake.
3. Join TikTok and use it
You may feel a little behind-the-curve if you’re not already using the platform, but you don’t need to worry.
You can begin to understand the platform and the differences in the audiences after a couple of weeks of using the features and interacting with the platform.
We recommend you spend around 30 minutes a day in the app.
Now that you’re familiar with the TikTok Ads Manager, Business Center, and how to create your first TikTok Ad, you’re ready to start brainstorming ideas!
We’re interested to hear from you. Is your small business on TikTok?
Are you planning to join? Why or why not?
If you are on TikTok, have you run ads? How did they work for you?
And if you do plan to make the most of your social media campaigns, in general, let our social media management company help you!
We offer only the best social media advertising services for small businesses like yours. Get started today!