With over 1.3 billion monthly active users on TikTok, according to Dexerto, businesses are now seeing the opportunity for setting up TikTok ads. Whilst the platform remains primarily dominated by younger generations, people from all demographics are beginning to join this highly popular social media app. For businesses and marketers, this represents a massive opportunity to reach highly targeted and engaged audiences while driving impactful advertising campaigns through setting up TikTok Ads.

However, taking advantage of the TikTok platform requires strategic setup of business accounts; compelling ad creatives optimised for short video; and continual optimisation based on performance data.

This article will be your step-by-step guide for setting up TikTok ads and campaigns. We’ll cover everything you’ll need from setting up your TikTok business account to tracking and improving your TikTok ads. Let’s get started!

Setting Up Your TikTok Business Account

Before we get started with TikTok ads, you’ll need to ensure that you create a business TikTok account; to do this, follow these steps:

  1. Download the TikTok app.
  2. Open the app and create a new account or log in to an existing account.
  3. Tap the profile icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  4. Tap the “Manage Account” button.
  5. Tap the “Switch to Business Account” button. 
  6. Enter your business name, website (if applicable), and industry.
  7. Finally, tap the “Create” button.

Having a business account on TikTok will allow you to set up ads and enable you to view additional analytics.

Image of person sitting looking at their phone
Image of TikTok app icon
You have to set up a business account to be able to create TikTok Ads

TikTok requires business accounts to be verified before advertising privileges are enabled. To verify your account:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap the menu icon.
  3. Choose “Verify account”.
  4. Follow the verification flow by adding information such as contact details.

You can also set up a Pixel on your TikTok which will enable you to track user actions across the platform for analytics and remarketing purposes. To add the Pixel:

  1. Go to Ads Manager in TikTok.
  2. Tap “Create campaign” and select the “Conversion” objective.
  3. Tap “Continue” and then “Create conversion event”.
  4. Select the type of conversion you want to track e.g. app downloads, website purchases.
  5. Copy and paste the code snippet into the <head> section of your website’s HTML code.
  6. Tap “Continue” then “Finish”.
  7. View your conversion data in Ads Manager which will help you see how your TikTok ads are performing.

We’ve got some more tips to optimise your business profile before setting up your TikTok ads:

  • Make sure you have a clear branded profile image and bio.
  • Post consistently on the app.
  • Create a hashtag strategy that can be added to your post captions.
  • Interact with your audience through comments and messages.

Determine Your Advertising Goals

Before creating your TikTok ads, it’s good practice to come up with some goals that you hope to achieve as a result. Well-defined goals enable you to make strategic choices in structuring your ads and provide metrics for optimising performance. Like other business goals and objectives, you’ll want to ensure these are SMART:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: Establish quantifiable metrics to track progress.
  • Achievable: Set realistic goals based on your budget and audience.
  • Relevant: Ensure your goals align with your overall business goals.
  • Timely: Set a specific timeframe to achieve your goals.

Before developing your goals, you’ll want to think about the audience you’re targeting too, this will include factors such as their demographics, geographic location, interests, motives. Tailor your creative choices and calls to action based on your audience

Common TikTok ads goals include:

  • Increase Brand Awareness: Improve your brand’s visibility.
  • Heighten Engagement: Foster interaction and engagement with your ads through comments, shares, saves.
  • Drive Traffic: Increase traffic to your website, e-commerce store, or app.
  • Conversions: Motivate direct conversions via purchases, signups, downloads.

Your advertising goals and your audience needs/preferences/demographics will then help you develop an ad that resonates effectively with your audience.

Image of someone sitting looking at their phone (target audience for TikTok ads)
You must ensure that you have defined your target audience before creating your TikTok ad

Configure Your Ad Campaign

Now that you’ve understood your target audience and the goals you hope to achieve as a result of running TikTok ads, let’s configure your ad campaign! Campaign settings impact everything from audience targeting to budgets and scheduling, so careful configuration is crucial for a successful ad campaign.

When you are setting up your TikTok ad campaign, you’ll have some options to select from, including:

  • Campaign Objective: Choose an objective that aligns with your goals.
  • Targeting: Define your audience in terms of demographics, interests, motives, preferences, needs, etc.
  • Placement: Choose where you’d like your TikTok ad to be placed on the platform.
  • Budget: Allocate a daily or lifetime budget for your campaign.
  • Schedule: Select your campaign’s start and end dates.

Ad Creation: Captivating Your Audience

Now that a lot of the logistical elements of TikTok ads have been sorted, it’s time to get creative. This is arguably the most important element of any ad campaign; it must be something that captures your audience’s attention and draws them in. Your ads should be visually appealing, engaging, and relevant to your target audience to drive the results you hope to achieve. Here’s a list of our top tips for optimising the creative of you TikTok ads:

  • Keep it short: TikTok users’ attention spans are not very long so get your key points across within the first 5-15 seconds.
  • Use high quality visuals: Like TikTok and other social media platforms, it’s so important to have professional-looking visuals that will be eye-catching for your audience
  • Use the right audio: Music is so important within TikTok ads; use trendy songs to show that your brand is relevant. Make sure that it fits the aesthetic of your video!
  • Adopt text and captions: Make sure to add text so that your TikTok ads are accessible to all users on the platform. 
  • Branding: Briefly feature your brand’s logos for improved recognition and recall.
  • Incorporate a strong Call to Action: You want to guide your audience in terms of what they should be doing next in relation to your goals, this could be telling them to visit your store, download your app, etc.
Image of person sitting looking at their phone
It is important to ensure that you use high-quality visuals in your ads to capture audience attention

Tracking and Optimising Your Ads

It’s critical that you monitor your TikTok ads in order to optimise them and ensure that they are reaching and resonating with your audience whilst also fulfilling the goals you have set for them. TikTok provides a range of detailed metrics for businesses to analyse and review, let’s break some of them down:

  • Impressions: The number of times your ad is shown to users.
  • Clicks: The number of times viewers have clicked on your ad.
  • Reach: The total number of unique users who have seen your ad.
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of users who interact with your ad.
  • Conversions: The number of users who take the desired action.

You can A/B test your TikTok ads; this means creating different versions of your TikTok ads, in relation to the creative aspects (images, format, messaging); audience groups; and experiment with bid strategies.

So, when setting up TikTok ads, it’s important to continually optimise them based on your ad performance outcomes; relevant and upcoming trends; and adapting to TikTok’s constant algorithm changes.

Image of man sitting looking at analytics on computer desktop screen
You should monitor your ad metrics regularly to ensure your ad is reaching the right audience and fulfilling your goals

Key Takeaways on Setting Up TikTok Ads

TikTok’s growing user base and popularity truly provides marketers and businesses with new, innovative ways to advertise on the social media platform. TikTok ads can be made highly engaging, targeted and can even fit extremely seamlessly into users’ feeds if carried out correctly. Let’s recap the key steps you’ll need to take to set up TikTok ads:

  1. Convert your profile to a business account and verify this.
  2. Define your target audience and advertising goals.
  3. Craft compelling short video creatives that stop users scrolling.
  4. Configure campaign targeting settings aligning to your goals.
  5. Track analytic data and optimise future TikTok ads based on this.

Follow the blueprint covered here for advertising success on TikTok.

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