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Beginner's Guide to Using TikTok Ads in 2024

Herd 1 profile
Jack Shepherd
Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Updated on 26 Feb 2024

Launched in 2016, TikTok has been the latest social media platform to grow in popularity and has become the sixth-largest platform when it comes to users, giving them the ability to create short-form entertaining videos.

Due to its popularity, there are many brands jumping on board and using it as a way to promote their products organically and through paid ads, as it has several ad formats that are more appealing to the users.

In this post, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to using TikTok ads.

Factors that influence the cost, ad types, how to optimise them, and boosting organic posts, as well as some examples from the TikTok ad accounts we run for our clients.

Sounds good? Let’s get started.

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Why advertise on TikTok?

TikTok has become the latest social media platform to experience rapid growth and position itself as the sixth most popular social media platform (monthly users), with more than one billion active users since September 2021.

What brings people to the app is the ‘For You’ page, which is completely personalised to each user and it’s powered by the algorithm, which takes around one or two days to learn what you’re interested in seeing.

And that’s what brings marketers to advertise on TikTok: its ability to understand exactly what each user wants to see, which increases the chance of interaction, brand recall and conversion.

Also, ads are seamlessly integrated into the feed, and come across as organic posts (although they have clear CTAs to drive traffic and sales), so they have enough time to grab the viewer’s attention before swiping again.

Minimum Spend on TikTok Ads

TikTok ads start with a minimum daily budget of £50 for a campaign when doing Campaign Budget Optimisation, and a minimum of £20 per ad set when doing Ad-set budget.

Factors That Influence the TikTok Ads Cost

Now that we have properly introduced TikTok and explained the differences with its biggest competitor Meta, let’s go through the different factors that influence the cost of TikTok ads:

Ad objective

Depending on which stage of the funnel you want to focus on and which objective you want to choose.

  • Awareness (TOF): Reach

  • Consideration (MOF): Traffic, App installs or Video views

  • Conversions (BOF): Conversions

TikTok Ads Campaign Objectives

Bidding method and amount

TikTok offers 5 different bidding methods.

  • Cost per Mille/Thousand Impressions (CPM)

  • Optimised Cost Per Mille/Thousand Impressions (CPM)

  • Cost per Thousand Views (CPV)

  • Cost per Click (CPC)

  • Optimised Cost per Click (oCPC)


Ad cost is also influenced by the audience you’re trying to target. Same way as some industries might be saturated by many brands, some audiences might also be too popular.

  • Based on gender

  • Location

  • Age

  • Language

  • Interests

  • Connection types

  • OS versions

TikTok Ads Interests and Behaviours

Your industry

    The more brands competing for a particular interest, category or search term, the higher the CPC and CPM are going to be. For example, financial services businesses will probably pay for higher ads since the competition for specific keywords is much higher.

    Ad Formats

      All ads on TikTok are video format (of course), but there are several display options to choose from depending on how organic a brand wants to come across.

      Types of TikTok Ads

      In-Feed Ads

      These ads appear when users are scrolling down the FYP, in between organic posts. They can easily blend in, which is both an advantage and disadvantage in itself.

      Advertisers have to add clear CTAs, so users stop and watch the video and take action.

      “In-stream video ads are the most impactful TikTok ad formats I’ve used. This format allows advertisers to create ads that appear in between videos while users are watching content on the app itself; this helps them stand out from other ads which may appear before or after the video itself (or both).” - Daniel Barrett, CEO of Adwords Nerds

      Brand Takeover

        ‘Brand Takeover’ ads show up right when users open the app, so it’s a great option if you’re looking to generate awareness.

        Also, you can get quite good value from them, as they might also show up on the FYP.

        To put a cherry on top, these Brand Takeovers are exclusive to their category so that users won’t see more than one brand a day per category.

        Of course, you can expect this ad type to be the most expensive.

        Branded Hashtag Challenge

          This ad type is a great way to encourage users to create UGC (user-generated content) and raise awareness for a brand.

          It’s all about creating a fun campaign that will get users involved and creative!

          Branded Effects

            Stickers, AR Effects and branded lenses.

            TikTok allows brands to create their own branded effects so that users can create videos with them.

            However, we think that, although it’s a fun idea, it needs another supporting campaign that encourages users to use them.


              TopView are the plan B for ‘Brand Takeovers’.

              To avoid users being bombarded with ads right when opening the app, TopView ads show up 3 seconds after the users have been scrolling down the FYP.


                Did you know that 93% of marketers have used Influencer Marketing?

                Brand collaborations with influencers and content creators are a great way to reach out to niche audiences to raise awareness about a brand/product or drive conversions.

                Branded Missions

                  TikTok has recently introduced a new program that allows creators to join branded content challenges.

                  Brands can set up a mission with all the campaign requirements, and creators can submit up to 3 videos. Then, the platform’s algorithm will recommend the top-performing brand-safe videos that the brand will be able to boost as sponsored ads.

                  This ad format drives community engagement and increases brand visibility.

                  Boosting Organic Posts on TikTok

                  We’re currently boosting organic content for some of our clients. These are Spark Ads that will show up as In-Feed Ads when users are scrolling down.

                  For example, we’re running a middle-of-funnel campaign with a lead generation objective. For it, we’re retargeting anyone who’s engaged with an organic video.

                  TikTok Ads Guide Boost Organic Posts

                  How to optimise content

                  Spending some time optimising your content can make a big difference in performance.

                  • Make it native to the platform: Use native colours and even fonts, but don’t forget to add branded details such as logo and iconography, so your brand is recognisable.

                  • Display the Message Upfront: People might scroll past your ad, so make sure that the key message is shown at the beginning so users can easily see it before scrolling again.

                  • Share Entertaining Video: The type of content that performs the best on TikTok is entertaining, so you can create entertaining ads while showcasing your products/services.

                  Want to take your brand to the next stage with TikTok ads?

                  Although the TikTok ad platform is still relatively young and still not at the same level as Meta’s offering, we think that it’s a great opportunity to reach your target audience, and there are several TikTok agencies in the UK that can help you achieve your marketing goals.

                  At The Social Shepherd, we have a team of Paid Social, Organic Social, Influencer Marketing and Creative experts that offer a holistic approach to TikTok ads.

                  However, we know TikTok is focused on developing its advertising offering, so more marketers start spending their budgets on the platform.

                  Herd 1 profile
                  Written by
                  Jack Shepherd
                  Hi! I'm Jack, Co-Founder of Social Shepherd. I didn't choose the name of the agency, but now you can see where it's from...
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