From Zero to Hero: Winning Big with TikTok Ads

Vinh Jacker avatar
Jacker Last updated: May 01, 2024

Key Lessons

  • TikTok's still fresh for selling stuff, and it's buzzing with new shoppers. You should dive in now before it's packed with every seller under the sun.
  • To win at TikTok, we should get down with how it works and who’s watching. 

TikTok Ads Review: Pros & Cons

Pros of TikTok Ads

  • They're Budget-Friendly: You don't have to spend a fortune to get noticed on TikTok. Your money seems to go a lot further compared to other big names like Facebook and Google.
  • Everyone's on TikTok: It's not just for kids. In fact, more than half of TikTok users are over 30, so your ads can reach all sorts of people, whether they're in the US, the UK, Australia, or Canada.
  • People Actually Pay Attention: It's not just about getting your ad out there; it's about getting people to interact with it. TikTok can really get people talking and engaging with what you're selling, which is great for business.
  • Custom Ads for Your Audience: Think of TikTok as a smart assistant that helps you show your ads to the people who are most likely to be interested in them based on what they search for in the app.
  • Super-Specific Targeting: You can get really specific about who sees your ad. Whether you're a small coffee shop or a trendy store, you can make sure you're catching the eye of the people you want as customers.
  • Check Your Progress Easily: Want to see how well your ad is doing? TikTok makes it super easy to see all the important numbers, like how many people are clicking on your ad and how much you're paying for those clicks.
  • Flexible Budgets: You can start small, with as little as $50 a day, and then adjust how much you spend based on how well your ads are doing.
  • Simple Ad Set-Up: You don't need to be a marketing expert to get your ads up and running on TikTok.
  • Sneak a Peek at Your Rivals: Tools like Minea and PiPiADS let you see what your competitors are doing, which can give you some great ideas and keep you on your toes.

Cons of TikTok Ads

  • Gotta Keep It High-Quality: Your ads need to look good and grab attention. This might mean spending a little extra time and possibly money on making them.
  • Could Get Crowded: As more businesses jump on the TikTok bandwagon, it might get harder to stand out, and the cost of advertising could go up.
  • Watch Your Wallet: Even though TikTok is flexible with how much you spend, if you're not careful with how you set things up, you could end up spending more than you planned, especially if you're trying to let TikTok decide the best way to use your budget.
TikTok Ads

Different Kinds of Ads You Can Use on TikTok

In-Feed Ads

When I was checking out TikTok’s "For You" page, much like flipping through stories on Instagram, an ad popped up and really caught my eye. That’s when I realized the potential of in-feed ads. These are short videos, between 9 and 15 seconds long, that appear right where people are scrolling. To maximize the impact of your in-feed ads, it's essential to Boost Your TikTok Views by creating compelling and relevant content that resonates with your target audience, encouraging them to engage with your ad and take action.

The tricky part is you've got to be quick to get their attention—you've got like 2-3 seconds before they might swipe away. And a little insider advice: teaming up with influencers can give these ads an extra edge and help them stand out.

TikTok Ads

Brand Takeover

Picture this: someone opens TikTok and boom, there’s your ad, front and center. It’s like putting up a huge online sign for everyone to see. With a brand takeover ad, for one whole day, you’re the only ad of your kind on TikTok, so it’s hard to miss. However, because it's such a spotlight moment, it can cost a bit more, so it might be better for those who have a bit more to spend on advertising.

TikTok Ads

Top View Ads

These are a step up from brand takeovers. Instead of popping up right away, they appear after a brief moment, becoming the first video post people see in their feed. They can be up to 60 seconds long and take up the whole screen, complete with autoplay and sound. I found these ads to be perfect for telling a more in-depth story.

Branded Hashtag Challenge

Now, this is where things got really fun. Starting a branded hashtag challenge on TikTok was like throwing a virtual party, and everyone’s invited. The goal? Get people to create content around your brand, boosting your visibility quickly. It’s not just an ad; it’s a whole event that gets people involved and talking.

Branded Effects

Playing with TikTok’s branded effects was a blast. Think of things like special stickers or augmented reality filters that people can use in their videos. Big brands love this stuff because it’s a unique and dynamic way to get people engaged with their products while staying on top of the latest social media crazes.

How Much Do Tiktok Ads Cost?

So, how much does it cost to advertise on TikTok? Let’s break it down. 

TikTok uses something called CPM, which basically means the cost for every 1,000 views of your ad. On average, you might spend about $10 to have a thousand people see your ad.

If you’re just getting started, the idea of spending a minimum of $500 to get your ad out there might seem a bit much. And then you see these really cool but expensive branded hashtag challenges that can cost a hefty sum, like up to $150,000.

But here’s the interesting part: TikTok ads can actually fit a wide range of budgets. You’ve got big-ticket options that can run between $50,000 and $120,000, sure. But there are also more budget-friendly choices, like shorter video ads, designed for small businesses that don’t have much to spend.

TikTok Ads

The really good news? As TikTok becomes more and more popular, the cost to advertise there is still pretty reasonable compared to other places. In fact, it can be a lot cheaper. I found that TikTok's prices were quite a bit lower than what I would have paid for ads on Facebook or Google—less than half of Google's costs and even less compared to Facebook.

So, if you're an up-and-coming business owner or someone who's grown up in the digital world, here’s the deal:

  • TikTok’s CPM, or cost per 1,000 views, starts around $10.
  • The smallest budget you can start with for a campaign is about $500.
  • Your overall budget could be as little as $500 or as much as $50,000 to $120,000, depending on what kind of ad you’re running.

No matter if you’re serving coffee in the US, selling fashion in the UK, or providing services in Australia or Canada, TikTok could be a smart and affordable way to get your business in front of more people.

Why Choose TikTok Ads Over Other Platforms?

Boosting Sales Directly

Like many small business owners, I wanted to see if I could increase my sales numbers. I gave TikTok Ads a shot and was really pleased with how they helped me turn views into sales.

Testing Products Quickly

One week into my TikTok ad campaign, I rolled out a new product. TikTok was amazing because it let me see pretty quickly if people liked it, which helped me figure out if I should keep selling it or think about changing things up.

Finding the Right Customers

The targeting on TikTok is impressive. I could make sure my ads were seen by specific age groups, making sure I was talking to the people most likely to be interested in what I was selling.

Flexible Spending

I began with spending just $50 a day. What I liked about TikTok Ads was that I could change how much I spent based on how well my ads were doing.

Saving Money

Budgets are tight when you're starting a business. Compared to the big costs of advertising on platforms like Facebook or Google, TikTok Ads were a lot more affordable, so my money went further.

Reaching Different People

TikTok isn't only for young folks—more than half of its users are over 30. This was great for me because it meant I could talk to a broader range of potential customers.

Getting People Involved

I followed some smart advice on creating ads and ended up with ones that didn't just get seen; they got people involved.

Making the Most of Searches

As TikTok started being used more like a search engine, especially by younger users, I was able to create ads that felt more personal because they were based on what users were already looking for.

TikTok Ads

My Step-by-Step Journey into TikTok Ads

1. Finding the Ideal Product

The key to TikTok advertising is not just a great product but one that makes people stop and watch. It should be something they can quickly love and afford, priced at about $20-$30. But most crucially, it should come with a story because we all love to be captivated by stories—they make us interested and convince us.

Using PiPiADS for Market Insights

I stumbled upon PiPiADS, a tool TikTok offers that changed the game for me. It let me peek into what ads and products were hot at the moment, giving me a clearer idea of what TikTok users were into.

TikTok Ads

2. Setting Up My TikTok Business Account

The first order of business was switching my TikTok account to a business profile. This was an easy leap to make, and it didn't cost me a thing.

If you're ready to take this step and unlock the world of TikTok ads, here's where you can get started with your own TikTok Business Account. This change immediately gave me access to valuable analytics and the ability to add a direct link in my bio, opening up a new world of possibilities.

3. Integrating Shopify with TikTok

Since I had a Shopify store, I connected it with my TikTok. This made setting up ads and a shopping tab on my TikTok profile really straightforward.

4. Mastering TikTok Ads Manager

For the actual ad work, TikTok's desktop Ads Manager became my command center. There, I found everything I needed to get my ads up and running.

5. Defining My Ad Campaign Goals

Inside the Ads Manager, I could choose specific goals for my ads, like getting more website visitors, engaging with my TikTok community, gathering potential customer information, or driving sales.

6. Selecting the Perfect Audience

One of the best features was being able to create a custom audience. I could fine-tune who would see my ads by selecting users’ demographics, interests, and even behaviors on TikTok.

7. Managing My Budget

I loved the affordability, starting from just $5 a day. I had complete control over how much I spent and how long the ads would run.

8. Creating the Actual Ad

Now the creative part! I could use an existing TikTok video or upload a new one just for the ad. A catchy caption and a strong call-to-action, like "Shop Now", were vital. Success on TikTok hinged on staying true to the platform's vibrant culture and trends.

9. Launching the Ad

After submitting my ad, the wait began. It went through a review process before it went live. Once it was up, I monitored its performance closely, ready to tweak and improve for next time.

My Achievements Thanks to TikTok Ads

Before TikTok Ads:

My entrepreneurial journey before TikTok Ads was challenging. My business, much like others in various regions, including the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, was grappling with visibility issues. The Shopify statistics were disheartening, with click-through rates barely touching 0.6%. Sales were rare, profits were non-existent, and the virtual shopfront was quiet, with significant traffic being a rarity.

TikTok Ads

The TikTok Ads Transformation:

The pivot to TikTok Ads was nothing short of a revolution for my business.

  • Dramatic CTR Improvement: My click-through rates leaped to 5%, a tenfold increase from the previous numbers.
  • Outstanding ROI: The return on investment with TikTok Ads was incredibly high, with every invested dollar quintupling in returns.
  • Diverse Clientele: Against the common perception, TikTok introduced me to an unexpected demographic, with many customers being over 40.
  • Boost in Traffic and Conversions: The store sessions surged, displaying numbers like 61, 80, and 107 on various days. More visitors were adding items to their carts and reaching the checkout phase, with a total of 5 sales bringing in $202, which was a cause for celebration.

Despite the uptick in traffic and sales, the ad spend was significant, and the profit margins weren't as high as I’d hoped. Nevertheless, I gleaned valuable insights, identifying an ad group that was particularly profitable, laying the groundwork for future strategy.

The Peak of Success:

The zenith of my TikTok Ads journey was observing a single campaign bringing in three orders within a day, accumulating $74.85 in revenue. On several occasions, the daily revenue hit the $5,000 milestone, marking a substantial turnaround from the pre-TikTok days.

TikTok Ads

What I Have Learned from My TikTok Ads Journey

Crafting Irresistible Ad Content:

My journey with TikTok Ads involved diving into analytics to enhance messaging and visuals. The transformation resulted in content that wasn't just visually striking but also featured a call-to-action that viewers found irresistible.

Honing in on the Target Audience:

Tweaking my target audience parameters had a profound impact. Zeroing in on those genuinely interested in my products propelled engagement rates. The mantra was clear: target not everyone, but the right someone.

TikTok Ads

Budgeting Smarts and Bidding Tactics:

While the article omits the specific budget details for day 8, it's implied that a well-thought-out budget and bidding strategy were crucial elements in the campaign's success.

Striking When the Iron's Hot:

Identifying the optimal times when my audience was most engaged was key. Understanding and capitalizing on user habits and seasonal trends ensured maximum impact for my ads.

TikTok Ads

The Art of Testing and Optimization:

I adopted a hands-on approach to ad management, tweaking and refining to ensure the success wasn't a one-off event. This relentless pursuit of optimization was instrumental.

Decoding the TikTok Algorithm:

Playing to the tunes of the enigmatic TikTok algorithm meant enhanced visibility for my content. It's essential to understand and adapt to the platform's nuances.

Showcasing a Unique Product:

The sandals I sold proved to be more than just footwear; they were a fashion statement. Pinpointing and showcasing what made them unique helped them stand out in a crowded market, especially during the summer season.

Strategic Ad Placement:

Careful ad placement ensured my content was seen by potential customers while avoiding any potential negativity or distractions.

Leveraging Automation:

Utilizing TikTok's Automated Creative Optimization tool allowed me to experiment with various text options to discover what resonated best with my audience.

Precision in Targeting:

My ad targeting was meticulously focused, honing in on specific regions and age groups to ensure my ads were seen by the intended demographic.

Making Data-Driven Choices:

Daily analyses of ad performance guided my decisions, enabling me to channel funds into the most profitable segments.

TikTok Ads

The Power of Video:

Today, compelling video content reigns supreme. Investing in high-quality, engaging video content was a non-negotiable priority to captivate my audience continually.

My Challenges & Suggestions

1. Crafting Quality Video Content:

The first hurdle was creating content that resonated with my audience. I turned to platforms like Minea and PiPiADS for inspiration, analyzing what worked for others in my niche. These insights allowed me to craft videos that were not only high quality but also strategically aligned with market trends.

2. Counteracting Negativity:

Negative feedback was a concern, potentially affecting the perception of my ads. To maintain control over the ad environment, I disabled comments, downloads, and shares. This helped keep the focus squarely on the product and its merits without external distractions.

3. Fine-Tuning Ad Performance:

The challenge was distinguishing the high performers from the low. By implementing Automated Creative Optimization for my text, and diligently tracking the performance of each ad group, I refined my approach daily. This informed decision-making process ensured that I invested more in the ads that were performing and cut off the ones that weren’t.

4. Intelligent Spending:

Budget management is crucial for startups and small businesses. By dividing my campaigns into separate ad groups, I allowed the TikTok algorithm to identify and prioritize high-performing ads. This strategic segmentation provided clear insights into which ads deserved more of the budget.

5. Capturing Attention:

With attention spans shrinking, I embraced "pattern interrupts" in my content. By incorporating regular cuts, diverse shots, and unique sound effects, I was able to keep my viewers engaged and interested in the message being presented.

My Tips for New Sellers on TikTok

When venturing into TikTok advertising, I suggest you do a deep dive into your audience demographics. Originally, TikTok captured the hearts of the under-18 cohort, and as the platform evolved, its user base did too, growing older alongside the app. Nevertheless, the youth still dominate the scene.

This skew towards a younger audience is pivotal for businesses targeting that demographic, particularly as the platform also boasts a substantial female presence. If your products or services are tailored to young women, TikTok stands out as a prime advertising medium.

Image Description
Hello, I'm the Chief Technology Officer of Mageplaza, and I am thrilled to share my story with you. My deep love and passion for technology have fueled my journey as a professional coder and an ultra-marathon runner. Over the past decade, I have accumulated extensive experience and honed my expertise in PHP development.