TikTok Ads for eCommerce [How to Start, Types, Best Practices]

Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia
Business Development Manager at Insense

Do you remember your first attempt at using TikTok?

Was it something like this?

Image Source: Giphy

If it was, we’ve got you. 

Getting started with TikTok isn’t so complicated and the same applies to running ads for your eCommerce business. 

“So, how do I start running ads on TikTok?”

Well, that’s what we discuss in this guide. 

At the end of this piece, you’ll have learned:

  • How to create TikTok ad campaigns
  • What ad types can be used for your brand
  • Best practices for running successful ads

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Is TikTok Advertising Good for eCommerce?

The short answer is yes!

In the past few years, TikTok has taken the world by storm. 

It’s become the go-to social media platform for many people and the number keeps increasing. 

During the first quarter of this year, TikTok was the most downloaded app surpassing Instagram.

In January 2022, the video-sharing app was said to have had over 30 million monthly active users.

What does that mean for eCommerce businesses?

You have the opportunity to place your ad in front of millions of people who will most likely engage with it

Now, who doesn’t like that?

Here are more reasons to advertise your eCommerce brand on TikTok:

  1. It has a high engagement rate

Engagement rate is a metric that keeps track of how involved your audience is with your content

Considering the number of active users on TikTok, you can be certain that there’ll always be people willing to engage with your ad content.

If your content is authentic, it makes it even easier for them to interact with your brand.  

Also, following trends such as Amazon finds and #TikTokmademebuyit can improve your engagement rate and give your ads more views.

The Amazon find hashtag has over 27 billion views on TikTok so imagine how much engagement it can bring to your ad when added. 

  1. TikTok has a unique audience

The kind of audience on TikTok is another reason to market your brand on the app.  

You have the opportunity to market to a younger audience

More specifically, millennials and Gen Z.

Guess what? They make up 86% of TikTok users.

This younger generation is reported to make up a large percentage of the global workforce. 

Targeting them in your ad campaigns will ensure that your marketing efforts pay off.

  1. TikTok can grow brands

As stated earlier, TikTok has a high potential for engagement and, as such, can help you grow your brand.  

You have more freedom to try different strategies even if you’re just starting.

Alright, let’s show you how you can set up a TikTok ad campaign.

How to Start a TikTok Ads Campaign

Now that we’ve shown you why advertising on TikTok is worth it, let’s talk about how you can set up an active campaign for your business. 

It’s alright if you don’t have a TikTok business account, you only need a TikTok ads manager account to get started. 

At the same time, it would be nice to create one as you’ll be able to:

  • Partner with creators
  • Run paid ads
  • Track ad performance in real-time
  • Drive traffic to an external site
  • Observe spot trends 

Here’s how to open one:

  • Download the app and sign up or log in
  • Go to the Me/Profile tab at the bottom 
  • Click on three dots (...) at the top right corner
  • Select Manage account > Switch to Business Account 
  • Tap Next beneath the Business option
  • Follow the on-screen prompts and complete the set-up

Alright, let’s begin!

Step #1: Create a TikTok Ads Manager account

While a TikTok account gives you detailed information on your account, the TikTok ads manager account lets you create and run ads for your eCommerce. 

You can follow the steps below to create an account.

  • Visit this page to sign up 
  • Create an account by inputting some information about your business such as the business name
  • Access account set-up

Go to your Dashboard > Account info > Account settings

  • Next, enter your business information
  • Choose a payment method
  • Then, submit Account Information

We’ve included a video to guide you through the process. 

Step #2: Set up TikTok Pixel

The next step is to set up TikTok Pixel. 

“Pixel? Is that for my videos or images?”

According to TikTok, it’s a line of code you can place on your website allowing advertisers to share website visitor events to the social media platform. 

If you’re looking for a web attribution solution that’s pre-built and easy to set up, TikTok pixel might just be the answer. 

Why do you need to set this up?

For starters, it helps you understand your customer behavior on an eCommerce website. 

Other uses of the TikTok pixel include:

  • Optimizing ad delivery
  • Creating events
  • Building custom and Lookalike audiences
  • Tracking campaign performance

Now, how do you set up TikTok pixels?

You can set it up manually or by incorporating TikTok’s partner integrations.

Here’s how to do it manually:

  1. Create a pixel by assigning a name to your pixel and selecting Manually Install Pixel Code 
  2. Copy the code to your website
  3. Track visitors’ actions on your website with Click/ URL events or using code
  4. Test events with the Pixel checkers or Pixel helper
  5. Lastly, link the pixel to your ad and choose an event as the optimization goal. 

When your ad campaign is launched, you’ll have access to the event’s data within the Events Manager environment.

To install it using integrations:

  • Create a pixel by assigning a name to your pixel and selecting Automatically Install Pixel Code 
  • Select a partner and connect your account to the partner’s account

We’ve added a video to show you how to set up TikTok Pixel. 

Step #3: Create your catalog

As an eCommerce business, you need to have a product catalog so you can advertise your products.

A catalog is an asset that helps you store information about your product including price, size, availability, and more.  

It’s a great option if you want to feature multiple products in your ad.  

Creating a catalog will help you:

  • Add information about your products to the Ads manager
  • Create custom videos for the different products with TikTok’s video template and dynamic video generator tool.
  • Create product sets to manage your products

Here’s a step-by-step process on how to create your catalog and you can also watch this video to help you get started.

Step #4: Create your campaign

With all the previous steps in place, it’s time to create a TikTok ad campaign.  

How do you do that?

Head over to the TikTok ads manager and select Campaign.

Then, click the Create button to start creating the campaign.

Step #5: Choose your campaign’s objective

The next step is to select an objective for your campaign. 

Why do you need it?

So you can instruct TikTok’s algorithm on what you want users to do when they see your ad.  

These are some of the objectives you can choose:

  • Traffic: Drive more people to your website and the system will give you the lowest cost per click.
  • Video views: Your ad will be shown to more people so it gets more views
  • App installs: It will help you target users who will most likely install your app
  • Conversions: Optimizes your campaign so users can make valuable actions on your site

…and all of them are grouped into three categories—reach, conversions, and consideration.

Step #6: Set a budget

Your budget is how much you want to spend on running ads and it’s a great way to control your overall ad cost. 

The budget can be set for either campaigns or ad groups.

It can also be set to a Daily or Lifetime budget.

The daily budget refers to how much you’re willing to spend on your ads in a day while the lifetime budget is the amount of money you’re willing to spend during the duration of your ad campaign

In any case, the minimum budget you can input is $20.

Step #7: Create your ad groups

Ad groups are a part of your campaign and help define your: 

  • Ad placements 
  • Target audience 
  • Bidding method/optimization 
  • Creative type
  • Budget & schedule 

Here’s how to create ad groups:

  1. Define ad placements 

This means choosing where you want the ads to appear.  

You have two options to choose from: 

  • Automatic placement: TikTok shows your ad across every available placement
  • Select placement: You will decide and select where the ads will appear

Also if you don’t want your ads showing on certain platforms, you can use Block List to ensure your brand’s security.

  1. Select your creative type.  

For this section, you can toggle the Automated Creative Optimization (ACO) button for this section. 

That means, the system will automatically generate different combinations of your creative assets and deliver only the best performing combinations. 

  1. Set a target audience

You can do this by creating a custom audience based on demographics, devices, interests, gender, age, and more. 

Another option is to create Lookalike audiences based on your custom audience. 

  1. Set budget & schedule

Next, choose the budget and timing of your ad. 

Input the amount you want to spend on your ad (min. $20 for the Daily or Lifetime budget).

Then, set the start and end date for the ads. You can also decide to run the ads continuously or on selected days

  1. Choose a bidding process and optimization options

For your optimization goal, you can set it to conversion, click, or reach

The billing event is then set based on the optimization goal

That means, your ads can be billed as cost per mile (CPM), cost per click (CPC), or optimization cost per mile (oCPM).

You’ll get the Standard Bid as your Bid Strategy by default and this allows the system to control your cost per result more strictly

As a result, your average cost per result will be within your bid in the delivery process

For Bidding, select how much you want to pay per click, conversion, or thousand impressions so TikTok’s algorithm delivers your ads based on that amount. 

With regards to the delivery type, you can choose Standard or Accelerate options

Standard spreads your budget evenly during the already scheduled campaign time while Accelerate spends it quickly. 

With the ad group setup complete, you can now go on to create an ad. 

Step #8: Create your ad

The last step is creating your ad. 

To do this, you’ll need to select an ad format suitable for your eCommerce business. 

What are these formats?

We’ll talk more about this in the next section.

Let’s continue!

7 Great TikTok Ad Types for Your eCommerce Brand

Brands have access to different ad formats that can be used for TikTok marketing campaigns. 

…and guess what?

TikTok has added new eCommerce ad types to help brands that want to create shopping ads.

They include:

  • Video shopping ads: This allows you to create shoppable videos for the For You page (FYP). It creates different combinations of video creative and product cards. 
  • Catalog listing ads: This ad type uses product images from your catalog and promotes them in a shoppable placement.
  • Live shopping ads: It helps you drive traffic from the FYP to the live TikTok shopping event where users can shop for your products. 

You’ll find more TikTok ad formats you can use for your small business below.

Type #1: Branded effect ads

The branded effect ads are a great way to create awareness for your brand in a fun way.  


By creating branded filters, stickers, lenses, and effects for your users to create their content.

This ad format comes with different benefits including: 

  • Raising awareness for your brand 
  • Providing an immersive experience for users 
  • Increasing engagement
  • Promoting user-generated content (UGC)    

You can run branded effect ads alone or integrate them with branded hashtag challenges if you want more exposure

Indomilk, an Indonesian milk brand, wanted to introduce a new milk product on TikTok and launched a branded effect campaign. 

Image Source: TikTok

By getting users to virtually dress up as an iconic Tobot character, the campaign got over 63 million impressions, 68k video creations, and over 22 million views. 

Type #2: Collection ads

TikTok’s collection ad is still relatively new and as such, isn’t available for every market. 

It’s a great option for eCommerce marketers as it leads users to an Instant Gallery Page so they can access your products without leaving the app. 

That means you need to create a product catalog and gallery page before using this ad format. 

Image Source: TikTok

Collection ads are a combination of swipeable product cards and in-feed ads.

Author’s Note: Collection ads are being tested and are not currently available for all users or markets. 

Type #3: In-feed ads

These are classic ads that show up in users’ feeds.

In-feed ads are great for brands that want to grow their follower count or engage with their audience

If you want an ad that captures a user’s attention when scrolling, you should consider using in-feed ads. 

Users have said they find them 23% more memorable than TV ads.  

San Saru, an eCommerce website, wanted to increase its sales and boost brand awareness so it went on TikTok and launched a campaign using in-feed ads. 

Image Source: TikTok

The campaign saw a 175% return on ad spend (ROAS) and a 346% increase in sales.  

Type #4: TopView ads

The TopView ads are full-screen video ads lasting up to a minute that users see on their FYP when they open the TikTok app. 

They’re designed to capture people’s attention from the moment they log on to the app with sound, narrative, and visuals. 

The beauty brand, Maybelline, leveraged TopView ads in its marketing strategy to improve its brand image and create long-lasting engagement with users. 

They got a 20% increase in sales and a 7.1% market share. 

Type #5: Brand takeovers

This ad format like TopView ads appears when users open the app but takes over the user’s screen for several seconds. 

You can link it to your landing page or a hashtag challenge. 

Brand takeovers are designed in such a way that one particular brand can run takeover ads for a category each day. 

Type #6: Hashtag challenges

It’s a unique engagement format that leverages users’ creativity and desire for expression.

The hashtag challenge is designed to boost engagement and awareness

You’ll basically be inviting users to create content (UGC) around your campaign theme. 

This UGC makes campaigns using hashtag challenges look more authentic.

Moncler, a French-founded Italian fashion brand, wanted to boost product awareness and increase their followers. 

Image Source: TikTok

They went ahead to use TikTok’s branded hashtag challenge. The campaign garnered over 7 billion views and 2.6 million video creations. 

Plus, they got 170k paid followers. 

Type #7: Spark Ads

Last but not least, Spark ads let you boost a creator’s post or your organic posts as TopView or In-feed ads

Boosting a creator’s posts projects your brand as authentic to users and increases their chances of engaging with branded content.

Cardinalfilm, a car film production company, launched a campaign using spark ads and got 6.2k paid followers, 14k paid profile visits, and 0.8% click-through rates (CTR).

5 Best Practices for Your eCommerce TikTok Ads Campaign

Aside from knowing how to set up ad campaigns on TikTok or the ad formats you can use, you want to ensure you can consistently get the expected results. 


By using the practices we include in this section.

1. Work with influencers and creators

As stated earlier, TikTok has a unique audience and this audience loves authenticity.

So, you want to make sure the ads you put out are authentic and relatable

To do that, you need to partner with TikTok influencers and creators to promote your brand

This practice is also known as influencer marketing

There are two ways this partnership can work. 

  • Get them to create UGC and use it in your ads. 
  • Promote the branded content from their TikTok handles

Now, how do you find creators or influencers to work with?

Through creator marketplaces such as Insense

With this platform, you can easily find creators who can also provide whitelisting options.    

Here’s how to use Insense:

First, register on Insense by clicking the Get started button shown below or Log in if you already have an account.  

Insense's website

Then, you’ll be directed to a new page where you can generate a creative brief

The brief will be used to match you with high-quality creators you can work with

Communicate with them using the chat feature on our platform and receive the video content. 

If the creators are open to it, they can let you use their handle to boost your brand’s reach (enable spark ads).

2. Refresh your ad creatives

Creative refreshing is key when it comes to TikTok ads. 


To ensure TikTok keeps spending on your creatives and to avoid ad fatigue

People are always uploading fresh content on this social media app so promoting the same creative over and over will bore people out.  

If that happens, your engagement rates will drop and we’re pretty sure you want to avoid that. 

3. Tell your story

People love a good story; as such, it should be part of your social media marketing campaign. 

When you create video content in the form of a story, you’ve piqued their interest and they naturally want to know what’s next. 

 Using this strategy will keep your brand in their mind.

 Here are some tips to keep in mind when telling a story:

4. Keep track of the latest trends

TikTok trends are always changing and you need to keep up with them. 

How do you do that?

  • Observe viral TikTok content 
  • Look out for frequently used hashtags
  • Pay attention to what popular creators and influencers are doing

Why should you stay on top of trends?

So you can make the most of that marketing opportunity and let your brand go viral.

A good example is the Amazon finds’ hashtag we spoke about earlier on. 

5. Keep your videos short and sweet

While you’re encouraged to tell a story, it’s also important to keep it short. 

TikTok recommends a maximum of 60 seconds. 

It will be even better if you can make it less than that.

Short videos increase watch time and can most likely lead to increased awareness. 

…and it’s a wrap, let’s tie this up!

Now Over to You

So, we understand that all of this information can be overwhelming and we want to help you avoid that.

Here’s what you can do:

Take a break from your screen and come back to this piece (we’re not taking it down).

Feel free to book a demo session with Insense to leverage TikTok ads to grow your brand. 

Sounds like a plan, right?

Well, thanks for reading and we hope to hear from you soon!

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Jose Garcia

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