TikTok Ads: Types, Examples & How to Set Up Your Campaign

Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia
Business Development Manager at Insense

It’s no secret that TikTok has seen exponential growth over the last few years, with the milestone of hitting 1 billion users on the platform being its biggest one so far.

With such a large audience, brands couldn’t possibly miss the opportunity to target them with paid ads.

What does that entail, exactly?

Well, our guide will outline this. We’re going to cover:

  • What TikTok ads are
  • How much TikTok ads cost
  • The types of TikTok ads
  • How to create TikTok ads

We’ll also provide some examples of companies that have created their own TikTok ad campaign for you to get inspired.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

What are TikTok Ads?

TikTok ads are sponsored video ads that companies create in order to reach their target audience and achieve a certain objective.

Some of the most prominent TikTok campaign objectives are…

  • To raise brand awareness
  • To drive sales
  • To increase app installs

…and the TikTok ad formats available (more on these later on) seem like a great choice for brands.

To give you a better idea, H18 Hair - a newly launched haircare brand - saw the potential of TikTok ads and decided to launch its own on the platform.

By partnering with influencers like Heidi D’Amelio, Mikayla Nogueira, and Molly B Sims, short tutorial videos were created which were then promoted as Spark Ads.

Image Source: TikTok

The result?

By the end of K18’s month-long campaign, they saw a 70% lift in daily average sales and grew their profile following from 2,000 to 20,000.

From this example alone, it’s clear why brands use TikTok for business as an effective advertising method.

But how effective are TikTok ads, exactly?

Let’s have a look.

Are TikTok Ads Effective?

The short answer is that yes, TikTok ads are effective.

However, we need to take into account factors that exist on other advertising platforms, too.

For instance, using the right creative assets, partnering with the proper content creators, and targeting the right audience are all crucial for a campaign’s success.

On the other hand, if you promote TikTok videos that are low-quality and not relevant to your business, and target the wrong kind of audience, it’s only natural for your ads to not reach your desired goals.

Just to give you an example, Isle of Paradise - which is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand - decided to drive demand through TikTok ads.

More precisely, the company found the right content creators to work with and gather user-generated content, which was then repurposed for Spark Ads.

Image Source: TikTok

The result?

Over 45M views for videos using the hashtag #wakeupandglow, a 500% ROI, and a 68% increase in weekly revenues.

Impressive, right?

All this was done by taking advantage of TikTok ads the right way and sourcing high-quality creatives from key content creators.

Another important factor to consider as a brand is your available ad budget, so let’s have a look if TikTok is the right option for you. 

How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost?

Like other social media platforms, there isn’t a standard price that all TikTok ad types will cost since you can pay as much as you want for better results.

You should know however, that TikTok requires a $500 minimum ad spend for short native video ads, and there are some other floor prices, too.

For example, hashtag challenges have a flat fee of $150,000 for one week and when it comes to brand takeovers, TikTok will guarantee five million impressions with this advertising strategy, but it comes with a cost of $50,000 per day.

According to a report by Adage, TikTok’s cost of advertising can be between $50,000 to $150,000 depending on the ad format and duration, but this doesn’t mean that a business with a smaller budget can’t advertise on the platform.

Since the CPM (cost per mile) begins at $0.50 and the CPC (cost per click) at $0.02, you can always use in-feed ads which are more affordable than hashtag challenges, for example.

Let’s move on to the next part, where we’ll analyze the difference between TikTok and Facebook ads.

TikTok vs Facebook Ads

TikTok and Facebook have their own ad platforms where companies can run and track promotional campaigns.

Although each has its own benefits and capabilities, comparing the two isn’t a binary question.

Ideally, you can use both since they facilitate a different kind of audience.

For example, 25% of US TikTok users are between the ages of 10-19 and more than half are under 30 years old, meaning that Gen Z and millennials are dominating the platform.

Image Source: Statista

On the other hand, Facebook is slightly used more by older ages, with people between the ages of 25-44 representing almost half of the user base.

Image Source: Statista

Author’s Note: We should also take into account the fact that Facebook ads can also be displayed on Instagram at the same time.

Apart from the audience, another important metric are impressions.

TikTok tends to offer more organic and paid impressions. According to an experiment run by JungleTopp, the platform’s ads generated 235% more impressions and spent $11,000 less than the Facebook and Instagram ads.

Image Source: JungleTopp

While this is an interesting conclusion, we can’t take it for granted for every case out there.

Factors like the ad type, the industry, and the audience can play a huge role in a campaign’s performance.

However, when it comes to small and medium sized businesses, the audience and the ad formats have more weight.

Based on the demographics you can select whether Facebook or TikTok ads are the right ones for you, as well as whether your ad creatives are images or videos; consider that Facebook can support both, while TikTok focuses on short-form video content.

So far, we’ve mentioned the different TikTok ad types a few times, but haven’t covered them in detail yet.

Let’s get into it.

The 7 Types of TikTok Ads You Must Know

In this part of our guide, we’re going to cover the 7 TikTok ad types you can use for your own paid TikTok campaigns.

To be precise, they’re the following:

  • TopView Ads
  • Spark Ads
  • In-feed Ads
  • Brand Takeover
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge
  • Branded Effects
  • Collection Ads

Each has its own features and benefits; let’s review them one-by-one.

Type #1: TopView Ads

TopView ads are an awesome way to get your brand noticed from as many people as possible.

It’s basically the first video users will see on their for you page, as soon as they enter the TikTok app.

If that doesn’t capture their attention, then what will?

TopView ads drive awareness, boost engagement and conversion rates, and are excellent for delivering your message effectively.

According to a study by Kantar, 72% of users say TopView grabs their attention due to its more natural ad placement within the platform.

For example, German beauty brand Gitti produced a TikTok TopView in collaboration with one of Germany’s top creators, giving the brand a chance to reach a large audience in a format that’s impossible to miss.

Image Source: TikTok

Type #2: Spark Ads

The next type is TikTok Spark ads.

To be precise, they’re not a separate type per se, since they’re combined with TopView or In-feed ads, but they’re definitely worth mentioning.

They basically let brands boost their own organic posts or the videos of creators as TopView or In-Feed Ads.

Spark ads are great because they give brands a boost even if they don’t create the content themselves.

So, if a brand comes across a video of someone using its product, it can reach out to them and ask permission to use the content as an In-feed or TopView.

Quite simple, right?

JamesAllen, which is an online diamond bridal jewelry retailer, created a TikTok video showcasing their engagement rings that was based on a popular trend.

This video was then promoted as an In-feed ad in order to increase conversions.

Image Source: TikTok

As we mentioned, Spark ads can work when leveraging both organic posts, as well as user-generated content.

Type #3: In-feed Ads

In-feed ads are the “classic” ads that appear in someone’s TikTok news feed.

They allow you to embed your video, which will then play automatically and capture users’ attention when scrolling.

Actually, according to a study, TikTok’s In-feed ads are 23% more memorable than TV ads.

Interesting, right?

This is why so many brands choose to take advantage of them, including Curiously Cinnamon

Image Source: TikTok

…who achieved a 15.6% engagement rate and reached 9.8M views through these types of ads.

Type #4: Brand Takeover

A brand takeover is a full-screen ad which is displayed when the user first opens Tik Tok.

The ad can be linked to a brand’s landing page or a hashtag challenge (more on this next up) within TikTok. 

These takeovers are exclusive to different categories each day – so only one specific brand can take over a category each day. 

By using full-screen mode, the brand draws the users’ attention, so this format is perfect for maximum exposure and reach.

Author’s Note: The difference between brand takeover and TopView is the fact that the former appears as a full-screen video as soon as the app opens, while the latter is the first in-feed video shown.

For instance, Samsung brought together nine of Israel's top TikTok creators to stay together, eat, and create awesome content using the new Galaxy Note 20.

To promote the “AllForYou” project the company used the brand takeover ad for maximum exposure in a minimum amount of time.

Image Source: TikTok

The result was a staggering 30% engagement rate and 6.8M views!

Based on that, this type of ad is an excellent choice for brands wanting to really put themselves out there.

Type #5: Branded Hashtag Challenge

The branded hashtag challenge is a unique way for brands to raise awareness.

This allows them to initiate various trends and challenges by creating unique branded hashtags.

With those, they can capitalize on both organic and sponsored opportunities because they encourage their followers to create their own content based on them.

This type of ad can be perfectly combined with UGC (user-generated content)!

What’s more, according to TikTok, branded hashtags have a median engagement rate of 17.5%.

Have a look at the following hashtag challenge by beauty brand, L’Oreal:

Image Source: TikTok

By creating the hashtag #dreamlongchallenge it encouraged creators to get creative and show their best dance moves.

It’s such a simple yet great idea, sourcing 161K user-generated videos resulting in over 520M views.

Impressive, right?

Let’s keep going.

Type #6: Branded Effects

Branded effects give companies the chance to show their creativity through customized effects.

By creating a fun filter or sticker, brands can then incentivize creators to use it in order to raise brand awareness, meaning that this ad can also be perfectly combined with UGC!

Author’s Note: Branded effects can easily be integrated into a branded hashtag challenge for more exposure.

To give you an idea, oral care company Colgate created a gamified branded effect to drive sales and traffic during World Smile Day.

Image Source: TikTok

By prompting users to give the effect a try and use the hashtag #winwithasmile, it generated over 2M video creations and 2.2B views!

You can just imagine the amount of awareness and traffic raised through this campaign.

Type #7: Collection Ads

Collection ads are TikTok’s newest ad format.

They are a type of in-feed video ad that leads customers to an Instant Gallery Page, where they can browse products without leaving the app; similarly to how Instagram shopping works.

According to TikTok:

“Compared to regular ads that require your customers to leave TikTok and visit a website - Collection ads allow retailers to promote a branded video that features a few key product tiles at the bottom that lead to an Instant Gallery Page. This makes it an engaging browsing and shopping experience”.

Brands need to create a catalog where their product will be displayed before moving on to setting the campaign up.

Author’s Note: Collection ads are currently in testing mode and not available for all markets.

Overall, TikTok offers a wide variety of ad types, so make sure to choose the right one for you based on your budget and goals.

As promised, let’s now see some examples of TikTok ads for you to get inspired!

4 TikTok Ads Examples to Inspire You

In this part of our guide we’re going to briefly show you some examples of TikTok ads done the right way.

You can simply get an idea of what they’re all about, or even get inspired for your next campaign.

Either way, let’s start with the first one.

Example #1: Fabletics

Fabletics is a fitness brand, offering affordable and high-quality clothing for men and women.

In order to drive sales for its products, it partnered with various TikTok influencers in the fitness niche, including the Pitman sisters, and promoted the content as paid ads.

Image Source: TikTok

This is a great example of how a brand can identify suitable creators in its industry (who have a relevant audience) and collaborate with them in order to promote something.

Let’s continue with our next example.

Example #2: Primal Kitchen

Primal Kitchen offers unique products that can’t be found in ordinary grocery stores.

From dressings and oils, to mayo and dips, the company is a great choice for food lovers, especially vegan.

Image Source: TikTok

This is exactly why it partnered with Violet Witchel, a cooking influencer with over 2M followers on TikTok.

By showing how it used one of the products for a recipe, brand awareness is raised and users can even visit the brand’s profile page and purchase the same product.

Example #3: Crumbl Cookies

As the name suggests, Crumbl Cookies offers a wide variety of delicious cookies; but not only that.

With the company expanding like crazy around the US, it decided it needed fresh ways to spread its message, so TikTok’s in-feed ads were a great choice.

Image Source: TikTok

Through high-quality videos showing how the products are made, people are tempted to try them themselves.

Makes sense, right?

Raising brand awareness using TikTok can be as simple as that.

Example #4: Moncler

Moncler creates stylish clothes for men and women, with an emphasis on keeping them warm and comfortable.

In order to increase awareness for its collections, it decided to run a branded hashtag challenge called #moclerbubbleup posing the question, “How do you get into your bubble?”

Users were prompted to create their own videos responding to the question by wearing Moncler’s products.

Image Source: TikTok

The result was over 7B views generated from 2.6M videos created from various TikTokers.

This makes it clear that TikTok can be used by all kinds of brands and in all sorts of ways to increase brand awareness, drive sales, and achieve whatever their goal is.

If you wish to create your own TikTok campaign but don’t know how, no need to worry!

We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step in the following section.

How to use TikTok Ads Manager to Create Your TikTok Advertising Campaign

In this part of our guide, we’re going to show you how to set up your own campaign through your TikTok ads account.

We’ll try to make things as clear as possible, by presenting the steps one-by-one.

Let’s begin.

Step #1: Set objectives

The first step is to set your campaign’s objectives.

TikTok separates them into three categories:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

Notice how each one represents a different stage of the sales funnel.

Each objective then has its own categories, such as…

  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App installs
  • Lead generation
  • Conversions

…which you can choose in order to build your TikTok ads around.

After all, without a clear objective in mind how will you know if your campaign will be successful or not?

Let’s assume we want to choose traffic as our goal and continue to the next step.

Step #2: Specify your target audience

It’s now time to specify your desired ad group.

This means telling TikTok what your custom audience is in order for your ads to be shown to them and not the wrong people; something crucial to your campaign’s success.

First of all, you need to decide your promotion type. This will be to drive installs for your app or website visits. You can also choose whether or not you want to use TikTok Pixel to track results.

tiktok ads set up

You should then define your audience’s demographics.

This means choosing their location, language, age, and gender.

Assuming we have a beauty product, it would make sense to choose the UK as our audience’s location, English as their language, ages between 18-34, and female as the gender.

Plus, we can define our audience’s interests and behaviors.

This means choosing:

  • What interests our target audience should have (such as what kind of videos they’re interested in)
  • With what kind of videos they’ve interacted with and how (liked, commented, or watched until the end)
  • With what kind of creators they’ve interacted with
  • With what hashtags they’ve interacted with

Author’s Note: You can also choose to target lookalike audiences; new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers.

Based on the above, TikTok’s algorithm will give an estimate of how many people your ads can reach.

In our case, it’s somewhere between 8.2M to 10.1M.

Let’s move on to the next step.

Step #3: Set your budget

The third step includes setting your available budget.

This means how much money you’re willing to spend on your ads and on which basis.

Assuming we’re willing to spend $100 as a daily budget, TikTok gives us the chance to define that.

On the other hand, if we don’t want to spend money on a daily basis, we can select “lifetime budget” where we can pay once upfront.

tiktok ads set up

After that, you can select bidding & optimization practices.

This means defining your optimization goals (such as clicks) and the bidding method (lowest cost or bid cap).

The former maximizes your results and the latter keeps your average cost per results lower than your bid.

Simple, right?

After that, let’s upload our creatives.

Step #4: Upload creatives

As you know, an integral part of TikTok ads are the creatives.

In other words, what kind of videos will you upload as ads?

This is something vital whether you’re a small business or a large corporation.

First of all, the platform gives you the chance to to enable Spark ads and what the display name will be; whether you'll use a creator's organic post as a paid ad and which one.

The next step is to specify your ad details; will your creative be a single video, an image, or a collection of ads?

Most of the time it will be a single video due to the platform’s nature, but TikTok allows brands to have more flexibility and control over what content format they promote.

Next up, you need to choose if you want to upload brand new creatives, choose existing ones from your library, or even create ones within the platform with the use of templates.

Plus, don’t forget to add ad text; this will be your ad’s caption and should be as descriptive and attention-grabbing as possible.

Author’s Note: Add a CTA to your ad text for better results.

Last but not least, you should specify how you want to track your campaign’s results.

You can do that through:

  • An impression tracking URL
  • A click tracking URL

Both are optional, but with the help of TikTok Pixel, tracking URLs and other 3rd party services, tracking your campaign’s metrics is easier than ever.

Needless to say that’s it’s important for monitoring your progress.

Overall, those are the basic steps of creating a TikTok ads campaign.

Simply click submit and your ad should be live in no time!

As you can see, the process is quite easy and straightforward, as long as you know what you want to promote and who to target.

As a bonus section, let’s give you some extra information on which TikTok ad specs you should know.

Bonus: TikTok Ad Specs you Should be Aware Of

As you can imagine, you can’t upload any file type or format on TikTok and other platforms.

There are always some technical specifications you need to be aware of, in order for your campaign to be as optimized as possible and, of course, accepted by TikTok.

For example, the available file formats are…

  • MP4
  • MOV
  • MPEG
  • AVI
  • GIF

…while the required aspect ratio is…

  • Horizontal (16:9)
  • Square (1:1)
  • Vertical (9:16)

…and when it comes to other specifications, keep in kind that video duration should be between 5 to 60 seconds.

All in all, those are the most important ad specs to be aware of when creating your TikTok ads.

Let’s wrap things up with some final words.

Now Over to You

So there you have it.

That was our full guide on TikTok ads.

We covered what they are, how much they cost, the different types, and even shared many examples of brands using them as an advertising method.

Plus, we showed you how to create your own TikTok ads so we hope that your journey will be a successful one.

Nevertheless, if you feel like you need some extra guidance in leveraging them and growing your brand, feel free to book a free demo with Insense and we’ll guide you step-by-step.

Thanks for reading!

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Jose Garcia

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