TikTok Ads: how to advertise on the TikTok video-sharing network

Advertising on social media is becoming an increasingly effective way to reach certain target audiences. Over 70 percent of all Internet users are active on social media, and that percentage continues to grow. Along with Facebook and Instagram, TikTok is an important advertising platform with mass appeal, especially for younger audiences.

In this article, you’ll learn what TikTok is, which advertising options the platform offers and how you can place ads on TikTok.

What is TikTok?

In 2018, TikTok replaced the former music video platform musical.ly, which was launched by the Chinese Internet technology company ByteDance. TikTok is one of the most popular apps in China. Five-hundred million of TikTok’s 800 million monthly active users are from China. However, TikTok also has an estimated 60 million regular users in the USA.

TikTok’s reach makes the video-sharing network attractive for brands and companies, which is why TikTok marketing is becoming increasingly attractive in some industries.

You can watch videos containing a wide variety of content on the TikTok app which is available for Android and iOS devices. Most of these videos feature music or other audio entertainment. The clips are between 3 and 60 seconds long, loop automatically, and are largely produced using the app itself.

To create a clip, users simply select the background music from an extensive library and then record the actual video. You can add different effects or text. If you want to record and share your own TikTok clips, you need a free user account. If you just want to watch videos, you can do so without signing up.

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Other apps in TikTok’s advertising network

The ByteDance advertising network lets brands place ads on TikTok and on the company’s other apps:

  • TikTok: Platform for short, creative smartphone videos, mostly in portrait mode. This app is a good place to advertise trending brands since most are Gen Z or Millennial users who live in big cities around the world.
  • TopBuzz: All-in-one discovery platform offering breaking news, regional events, weather forecasts, and entertaining content in a wide range of formats, such as articles or videos. Especially popular in the United States and Brazil.
  • BuzzVideo: Mobile video platform powered by an artificial intelligence algorithm that shows users the most widely shared, viral videos, and animated GIFs.
  • News Republic: News platform with a focus on reliable, trustworthy international content from renowned media partners. The site attracts an engaged, well-educated, professional audience aged 25 years and older from Europe, the US, and Taiwan.
  • Helo: India’s leading social media platform for everyday life, also available in 14 regional Indian languages.
  • Vigo Video: Short-video platform where users can show off their talent to a community of like-minded people by recording and sharing exciting moments. 70 percent Indian language content, different cultural communities, and lifestyles.
  • BaBe: Indonesia’s leading news platform with content from over 1,500 regional and international authors. Most content is checked by AI as well as humans.
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Advertising on TikTok: What options does the social networking service offer?

TikTok has been displaying ads marketed by advertising agencies in some regions of the world since early 2019, but these ads have been sparse. The company previously announced that it would launch a self-serve ad platform similar to Google Ads and Facebook Ads soon.

Marketers will be able to sign up for this service and run ads themselves. However, the platform is not up and running yet. When you create an account, a short message appears once you’ve entered your information: “Submitted successfully. We will contact you as soon as possible.”

The TikTok Ads platform provides powerful tools to help you launch campaigns, manage ad resources, monitor data, and optimize your TikTok advertising. The ad structure has three parts: Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Ads.


Campaigns are the basis for multiple ads. When you set up a campaign, first select the campaign objective, and set the desired budget. The budget can be either “daily” or “lifetime”. You can choose different campaign objectives (conversions) such as getting more people to visit your site or getting potential customers to download your app.

Ad Group

You define one or more Ad Groups within a campaign. At the level of these Ad Groups, you can set specific ad placements, key target audiences for advertising on social media, campaign budgets, schedules, optimization goals, and plans. You can select one or more ads within each Ad Group. If necessary, you can compare the delivery of different ads and optimize them based on their performance.


Ads are the content that is presented to the target audience. Ads can be images or videos. TikTok Ads also offers video creation tools that allow marketers to easily create video ads without special video-editing skills.


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Placing ads on TikTok - how it works

The TikTok Ads dashboard provides an overview of the number of clicks ads attracted alongside other details about your ads. The overview reveals campaign metrics and measurement data. Criteria such as active campaigns, budget spend, user-friendly charts that track real-time ad performance, and much more can be viewed.

The Campaign page shows you all your campaigns, ad groups, and ads, and allows you to manage them. Click the “Create” button to go directly to the ad creation page.

The Library provides an overview of your ad resources. This is the place to go when you want to manage third-party trackers, website pixels, creatives, custom audiences, and other third-party tools to optimize ad delivery and reach new customers.

You create ad reports on the Reporting page. TikTok Ads automatically creates the reports according to your needs. You can customize the columns for each report, or you can use one of the predefined templates. Export only the data you want to use. You can also specify when you want the reports to be delivered.

On the Insight page, you can generate graphs for a clear visualization of how your ads are performing according to target audience, location or other variables.

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