How to Run a TikTok Ad Campaign

March 31, 2023
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With 689 million global active users as of January 2021, TikTok is now the 7th most used social media in the world, just behind social giants Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube and Weixin / WeChat. Of these users, 1 in 4 can’t be found on any other platform, meaning advertisers have the chance to target an almost exclusive audience on the app.

TikTok's intelligent algorithm also allows users to discover fresh content based on their viewing preferences and habits, helping brands to achieve maximum visibility and fast growth as a result.

Indeed, TikTok has become known as a tool for genuine self-expression (with co-creation at its heart) that allows advertisers to authentically connect with their audience. Whether it's through an idea, tool or the hashtag challenge, brands can convert users into ambassadors through the power of shared experience on the platform — pushing the boundaries of traditional advertising in ways previously unimaginable.

“Users can come together with brands to authentically narrate stories and bring them to life with unrivalled creativity,” (TikTok for Business, 2021).

Not to mention TikTok has a huge cultural impact; content is regularly posted across all major social channels, far beyond the platform itself, with “trends” and creative movements now defining much of what we understand to be the mainstream. 

“92% of users globally have taken an action after watching a TikTok.” Marketing Science Global Time Well Spent, Kantar (2021)

And the results speak for themselves. Little Moons saw a 1300% Increase in Sales, 6.7M Impressions and 137K Followers after setting up their TikTok Business Account.  For these reasons amongst others, a TikTok Ad Campaign is fantastic for your business

To run a TikTok Ad Campaign, 

  1. Choose your goals.
  2. Set your budget and bidding options. 
  3. Target your audience.
  4. Determine a TikTok ad type.
  5. Design and create your ad.
  6. Track and evaluate your campaigns.

Once you have signed up for the TikTok Ad platform, you’re ready to get started. 

1. Choose Your Goals 

As with all marketing campaigns, you need to determine your goals. Do you want to increase conversions or brand awareness? Drive app installs or lead generation? These goals will inform the rest of your campaign, so spend a good amount of time on this. 

Within the TikTok Ads Manager, there are seven ad objectives to help you decide what your goals are.

  1. Reach: Show your ad to the maximum number of people.).
  2. Traffic: Drive traffic to a specific URL.
  3. App Installs: Drive traffic to download your app.
  4. Video Views: Maximize video ad plays.
  5. Lead Generation: Use a pre-populated Instant Form to collect leads.
  6. Conversions: Drive specific actions on your site, like a purchase or subscription.
  7. Catalog Sales: Dynamic ads based on your product catalog.

2. Set Your Budget & Bidding Options 

Now that you have determined your goals, set your budget. 

TikTok ads are based on a bidding model. You can control costs through daily and lifetime budgets for campaigns and ad groups. 

  • The lifetime budget is the maximum amount you are willing to spend on a campaign or ad group during the entire defined period you run an ad.
  • The daily budget is the maximum you are willing to spend on a campaign or ad group per day.

As it stands, both the daily and total budgets must exceed 50 USD (or the equivalent). 

Within budget, you can select your bidding process & optimization options, as well as put third-party tracking links to monitor ad performance.

You can choose from "Conversion", "Click" and "Reach” optimisation goals, as well as determine your Bid Strategy and Delivery Type. The latter decides how your ad budget will be spent. You can choose either Standard or "Accelerate.

  • Standard: Your ad budget will be spent evenly during the scheduled campaign time.
  • Accelerate: Your ad budget will be spent as fast as possible during the scheduled campaign time.

3. Target Your Audience

TikTok allows you to show your ads to your specific target market. You can use a lookalike or custom audience, or target your ads based on:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Device 

You can set a budget for each specific ad group (and you can have up to 999 of these per campaign). 

3. Determine an Ad Type

TikTok has four ad types for businesses to choose from. 

Top View

A video first format that presents your brand in an unmissable placement at the top of the feed on TikTok, capturing full user attention with sight, sound and narrative.

In-Feed Ads

Integrating video content into users' "For You" feed. This content is often indistinguishable from non-ad content. As a result, 83% of users say that ads on TikTok are enjoyable.

Branded Hashtag Challenge

This is a one-of-a-kind engagement format that taps into user passion for creation and expression by encouraging them to engage with your brand.  Branded Hashtag Challenges have a median engagement rate of 17.5%.

Branded Effect 

Tailor-made sharable stickers, filters, and special effects that incentivize high-quality organic content creation related to your brand. 

5. Design and Create Your Ad 

Once you have determined your ad type, turn to its creation. For Top View and In-Feed Ads, you should consider outsourcing your content to a specialised Ecommerce Ad Service like Aura Ads. Through fresh direct response creative, ready to use on all paid social platforms, we have helped to drive growth for some of the world’s leading eCommerce brands.

Huel partnered with Aura Ads to accelerate performance creative production and drive better performance on paid social with direct response video ads. This led to a 10:1 return on investment, a 34% higher click through rate and 50M global views. 

It’s crucial that you execute a high-quality, attractive and engaging video ad campaign. If you don’t feel confident, you’ll get a much higher success rate and ROI when you work with the experts who know how to produce this. 

6. Track and Evaluate Your Campaigns

The work doesn’t end once the ad is live. Keep an eye on your campaigns and evaluate them to determine their performance over time

Two key metrics you can measure on TikTok are click-through rate, which shows how often people click on your ad, and cost per click, which shows how much you’re paying for each click on your ad. This will help you to determine your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), which tells you if you’re bringing in more revenue than what you’re spending on ads. 

As with all campaigns, the metrics you need to track will depend on your goals. Whatever these are, the information should help you make informed decisions about future budget allocation and the wider campaign.

We are Aura Ads, a unique performance creative agency designed for D2C eCommerce brands. We help clients sell more online and grow at scale with our bespoke video and static creative, delivered on a monthly basis. Find out more about how we can help on our website, and book a 30 minute chat about how one of our content plans can help your business grow.

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