How To Run TikTok Ads, Complete TikTok Ads Guide

How To Run TikTok Ads, Complete TikTok Ads Guide in 2023

Today TikTok is one of the most popular app and biggest social media around the world and its total audience is more than 1 billion MAU. That’s a really huge market for advertisers that gives new possibilities for selling products and promoting brands to TikTok users, especially to Gen Z audience. Sure we can make dozens of videos daily and hope that people will notice them soon, but there is a way that can bring incredible results — paid TikTok advertising.

TikTok Ads Manager is an advertising platform that allows businesses to advertise on their platform. It is a “Native” style of advertising. It is very similar to Facebook Ads platform, however, TikTok Ads platform has its nuances and peculiarities. If you want to learn how to create Facebook Ads click here.

The opportunity lies in the millions of addicted users scrolling through the app every day, often multiple times per day, so TikTok gives us an amazing opportunity to get success for advertisers in e-commerce or affiliate marketing.

How to run TikTok Ads

The running of TikTok Ads can be divided into steps:

Step 1: Create an Ad account

Step 2: Create an Ad video

Step 3: Create an Ad campaign and manage it

To create TikTok ad account click here and create a login using an email address or phone number, verify your login information, agree to TikTok Ads Manager terms and conditions, and then click ”Sign Up”. 

Create an account by providing some basic information about your business, including: 

  • Country/Region
  • Time Zone 
  • Business Name
  • Currency 

Be sure that you select the correct “Time Zone” and “Currency” as this cannot be changed later. 

Before you create an Ad Campaign you need to create an Ad video that fits TikTok Ads specifications. The examples of TikTok video ads can be found in TikTok Creative Center where Top Ads are collected. There are different ways to create ads, but the best for TikTok advertising is UGC (user generated content).

You can also scroll your “For You” feed in the TikTok app and see the TikTok ad as it’s approximately every 7-9 videos in the feed. 

Basic Ad specifications are: 

  • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9. Vertical videos with a 9:16 ratio perform best.
  • Minimum resolution: 540 x 960 px or 640 x 640 px. Videos with a resolution of 720 px perform best.
  • File types: mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi
  • Duration: 5-60 seconds. The best practice is 21-34 seconds for top performance.
  • Max file size: 500 MB

Now you are ready to create first Ad Campaign and manage it. First, click on the “Campaign” button at top of the page, then click on the “Create” button to start creating your campaign.

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Next, choose a business goal for your Campaign. What advertising goals can you achieve?

  • Awareness

By using Reach, you can show your ad to the maximum number of people for the cheapest price.

  • Consideration

Here we have a lot of goals, such as Traffic, when you send more people to a destination on your website or app. App installs to get more people to install your app. Video views to get more people to view your video content. Lead generation to collect leads for your business or brand. Community interaction to get more page follows or profile visits.

  • Conversion

Conversion drives valuable actions on your website or app as purchases, add to cart, registrations, etc.

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Having created a Campaign, you will need to set up an Ad Group. A Campaign can include one or more Ad Groups. At the Ad Group stage, you can define your ad placements, ad details, target audience, budget, schedule, bidding method, and delivery type.

Depending on your campaign objective, you can choose from two types of promotion: app install or website. Some campaign objectives set this by default. TikTok pixel is available to track your website – to learn more about this, see About TikTok Pixel.

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Then you need to choose where you want your ads to appear, or the placement. In our case, we choose only the TikTok app, not automatic placements. 

Then you can allow User Comment. If “User Comment” is turned off, your audience will not be able to comment on your ads on TikTok. And Video Download means if “Video Download” is turned off, your audience will not be able to download your video ads on TikTok. 

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Then you can choose Automated Creative Optimization. When “Automated Creative Optimization” is turned on, the system will automatically generate combinations of your creative assets (images, videos, and ad text) and deliver only the highest-performing combinations.

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Then choose your Targeting settings. Targeting on TikTok Ads Manager offers numerous demographic and device options, such as location, gender, age, language, interests, behavior, operating system, carrier and more, so you can choose your target audience. 

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Then select Budget and Schedule. Whether you set a “Daily Budget” (no less than 20$) or a “Lifetime Budget” (no less than 20$ × scheduled days), your spending for the ad group will not exceed the budget. 

Set the start and end time for your ads. You can choose a custom date range to run your ad, or run it continuously from the start date. 

By using Dayparting you can select specific time periods during the day when your ad will be run. The selected time period ranges from 30 minutes to 24 hours. If you select “All Day”, your ads will run throughout the day during the scheduled campaign time.

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Select Bidding strategy. It is best to start with Lowest Cost bidding. Click here to learn more about bidding strategies. 

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Then it’s time to set up Ad creative. There is a limit of 20 ads per ad group.

Set up Custom Identity:

  • Display Name will be your brand’s identity and should be consistent with the brand/product/company name of the website or app which is being promoted.
  • Profile Image is your brand’s image that will be shown on your ad’s creative.

There are three options for uploading your ad: 

  • Computer: You can upload your media directly from your computer. 
  • Library: You can access your media from previous ads, which will be stored automatically in the assets. 
  • Create a Video: This creation tool allows you to create video with remarkable ease.
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Then set up Text, URL, and Call to action. 

Text will appear as part of your ad creative, letting your audience know what you are promoting. Enter the URL of the website or landing page you want your ad to drive traffic to. By choosing Call to Action you will tell your audience what you’d like them to do when they see your ad.

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We can also use Spark Ads instead of regular ad creative. Spark Ads is a native ad format that enables you to leverage organic TikTok posts and their features in your advertising. This unique format lets you publish ads:

  • Using your own TikTok account’s posts. 
  • ​Using organic posts made by other creators – with their authorization. 

Click here if you want to learn more about Spark Ads and video authorization. 


Well done! You have run your first TikTok Ads! After you publish your ad it will go through a review stage if it fits all of the ad policies. Tiktok Ads will get status “not delivering” if some of the policies were violated.  Click here to check it by yourself before publishing.

Managing and Optimization 

When starting a new campaign, it is recommended to target as broad an audience as possible. This allows the algorithm to find users who are most likely to convert. Don’t start an ad group with a too narrow target market. 

Don’t modify targeting settings more than once every two days – this will hinder the learning process.

Learning phase refers to the early period of ad delivery when the system is continuously exploring new customers to help the ad group identify its most suitable audience. It’s important to stress that the learning phase is an experimental process. The CPA may fluctuate during this phase, but it will stabilize as learning data is accumulated. According to historical analysis, an ad group can expect a stable CPA after achieving 50 conversions.

If TikTok Ads are not spending the budget try to do next:

  •  Your bid or budget is not competitive

This means that other advertisers are bidding more money than you for their campaigns.
Try to increase your bid and\or budget to become competitive and start spending.

  • Targeting audience is too narrow 

When you choose some interests and behavior you limit the number of audience based on the conditions. If the audience is too small, your ad budget may not spend. Try running your campaign for a much wider audience.

  • Poor creatives

When your ad creatives are poor, TikTok algorithm will not spend your ad budget and give no impressions. Leave your ads for 24-48 hours and if it is not spending, try to upload new ads with engaging content!

To find out more about social media marketing, read our iAmAffiliate blog!

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