How to Make a Killer TikTok Ad

how to make a tiktok ad, tiktok advertising
how to make a tiktok ad, tiktok advertising

TikTok has taken the world by storm in recent years and is a hot spot for digital marketing as well. If you want to build your brand in the short video space, Business Warrior is breaking down the essentials so you can learn how to make a TikTok ad that actually boosts your sales and followers. 

TikTok’s Advertising Structure

TikTok’s advertising structure is a lot like Google’s in that it includes campaigns, ad groups, and ads.

When you understand how TikTok campaigns are structured, you can set up better target audiences, design better creative (images, videos, graphics), and spend your ad budget effectively. 


Your TikTok ad starts with creating a campaign. This includes figuring out what you want your ads to do for your brand – do you want them to boost sales or signups, gather information or inform the masses, or just get your brand’s name out there? 

TikTok gives you different campaign objectives to choose from. These objectives are: 

  • Reach (shows your ads to the maximum number of people possible)
  • Traffic (get more clicks on your URL to drive traffic to it)
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation (get potential customers into a sales pipeline)
  • Community interaction (higher engagement, more followers, more traffic to your profile)

Ad Groups

TikTok lets you choose specific ad placements, set campaign budgets, target specific audiences, set optimization goals, and bid for each ad group. This is almost exactly the same as Google’s structure. The more specific you are, the better optimized your ads. However, we recommend testing out some different target audiences, bids, and optimization goals to find the ones that work best for you. 

You can have multiple ad groups within each campaign. This helps you optimize your ads and measure performance.

How TikTok Ranks Ads

TikTok is not very forthcoming with how it ranks ads – that is to say, how it shows ads to people. The company has released statements saying TikTok ad rankings are determined by a combination of ad relevance, engagement, ad quality, and bid price, but not much beyond that. 

Because TikTok is based on swiping through video content with the option to not have sound on, the rankings are a lot harder to determine than static ads. This isn’t always a bad thing, though. TikTok is still a relatively new platform that boasts less competition and therefore, lower bid prices than other platforms. 

Type of TikTok Ads

As you probably guessed, TikTok has a few different types of ads as well. There’s the…

Top view ad: 

Top view ads are those that users see as they open the platform.

Brand takeover ad: 

Brand takeover ads are viewed as the user opens the app, but they don’t have a CTA, or the option to like or comment on the ad. 

In-feed ad: 

These ads appear in your feed as the user is swiping through content. They appear organically, based on their ranking. 

Branded hashtag challenge: 

These ads give viewers the ability to participate in your campaign and create content around your niche. They can often be duets or challenges. We’ll go into more detail about these types of ads in the next section. 

Branded effects ad: 

Branded effects are another fun way TikTok drives advertising. They are when an ad uses any filters, stickers and special effects built by the advertising brand. 

Fun Ad Content: Hashtag Challenge

TikTok isn’t like other platforms – it thrives on interaction, which means you have to think of new ways to advertise to your audience. One fun way to do this is with those branded hashtag challenges we mentioned above. 

The first thing you need to know about TikTok is that its users thrive on humor, challenges, and cool content. Branded hashtag challenges easily allow you to combine all three of those without it feeling like an ad. 

The important thing to know though is that these ads only last six days. You can’t build a month-long campaign around them – they need to be short, sweet, and most importantly, fun. 

Hashtag Challenge Plus

There’s also a Hashtag Challenge Plus that’s designed for eCommerce retailers. This ad type lets users browse and even purchase products related to the sponsored challenge.

Making a Killer TikTok Ad

Alright, so you’ve picked your objectives, the type of ad you want to make, and you know all of the logistics to make the ad work, including the target audience and the budget. Now, all you have to do is make the ad. 

It’s harder than it looks. If you’re new to the platform we recommend looking through current TikTok trends, popular memes, popular music choices on the app, and trying to put your own spin on something that already works. 

If you’re more of a TikTok aficionado, then you can start paving your own path on the platform. You likely already know what resonates with your audience and what the app responds to, so have some fun! Just stay on brand. 

No matter what, though, the best two things to remember are 1) to hook your audience in the first 3 seconds and 2) to make it memorable. No one wants to see a rotating image of your product and, unless your services are extremely satisfying like power washing or have an element of ASMR, viewers likely won’t respond to seeing them in action. So be creative and have fun! 

If you’re not sure that TikTok is right for you, you can check out our blog that breaks down if Facebook advertising is worth it for your business, or learn how to make your existing ads stand out.

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