The rise of TikTok has been well documented by every man and his dog at this point. Even Grandma Lillian is in on the action with viral videos and a social following any brand would be proud of.

With its extensive reach, the power of TikTok can turn a side hustle into a million-pound business. But now brands and businesses are in on the action too. The search term ‘TikTok ads’ is up 227% over the last three months. So here I am, giving you the complete guide on how to do paid ads on TikTok.

Where to start

So you have decided you want in on the action, your business is ready for paid advertising and you want to get your message out to the masses, but where do you start? Well first things first, you need a TikTok advertising account or account manager. You can check to see if your business qualifies by contacting TikTok directly. If your business qualifies, a TikTok representative will get back to you, and normally pretty quickly.

Once you're into the TikTok advertising account you can then start your process of marketing on the social app, but you now have to decide which TikTok ad option you go with.

What are my options?

In-Feed Video

You will have seen several in-feed videos, but you may not have realised. These videos are up to 60 seconds long and can often be mistaken for user-generated content hidden in the ‘for you page’. The same rules of video ads apply -make sure you grab your viewers’ attention in the first few seconds, or your content is at risk of being scrolled on and lost within the rabbit hole of TikTok.

With in-feed video ads, you can include several CTAs so that users can download your app/head to your website straight from TikTok, a huge advantage that isn’t normally available on TikTok videos.

Brand Takeover

You know when you first open up TikTok and the very first video is an ad? Well, this is the option that gets that sought-after digital real estate. TikTok only shows one branded takeover video to a user in a day so expect to pay a premium price for this spot. These are one of TikTok’s best ad options for increasing brand awareness and driving direct conversions, as you can place your ad directly in front of your target audience.

Not only are the adverts placed as soon as the user opens up TikTok, but they can also appear throughout the For You page and even include a clickable link that drives users to a landing page within TikTok.

If this is your first rodeo with TikTok ads, Brand Takeovers may not be your first move. While being extremely effective in reaching a large number of users and for achieving fast growth, the cost may need some explaining to your finance team.


TopView ads are almost an extension of Branded Takeovers. The key difference between the two is that with TopView Ads the user isn’t bombarded with an ad straight away, but is the first in-feed post after three seconds. The ads show at the top of the For You page, the Rodeo Drive of TikTok.

Branded Hashtag Challenge

If TikTok ads were cars, this would be the Rolls Royce of the advertisement options. It has all the bells and whistles, and well, you could probably buy one for the same price. Branded Hashtag Challenges are a completely new way of advertising in the paid social world. These challenges offer both organic and sponsored opportunities and uniquely encourage user-generated content within the app.

One of the best things about a Branded Hashtag Challenge is that the brand can connect to the TikTok culture and community. Do you want to increase brand awareness within a younger community? Then this could be the option for your business. Once a user clicks on a sponsored hashtag, they are taken to a branded landing page, link to the website and the popular videos currently undertaking the challenge - encouraging more users to jump on the bandwagon. So what could a campaign set you back? According to our TikTok representative upwards of £115k. So the Rolls may have to be next year's gift to yourself.

Branded Lenses

TikTok also offers shareable stickers, AR filters, and effects within their advertising selection. Similar to Snapchat and Instagram branded lenses, brands can design their effects and encourage users to directly interact with your brand, in true TikTok fashion.

Boosted TikToks

Not widely known about, and just leaving beta phase, TikTok offers boosted content for specific videos. This can be done at a highly competitive CPM rate and will fit almost any budget. Now not every ad manager account can do this as it is still being rolled out, but if this is something you would like to know more about, contact us.

What about targeting?

The targeting options are constantly being expanded upon at TikTok. But it has some great starting points already. These include:

Audience Targeting

The ad platform will allow you to target based on interests. See the image below:

Demographic Targeting

These are pretty standard across social media platforms with age group-specific and location targeting available


Tiktok advertising is still in its experimental phase as a platform, and new options for brands are currently being rolled out to agency partners first. Through paid ads on TikTok, brands can reach huge audiences and with more brands moving on to the platform every week, first-mover advantage won’t be there for long.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me on Twitter @jjhb92 and keep me entertained through lockdown. I’ll just be waiting for the beer gardens to open.