How Brands Can Use TikTok Advertising to Reach Young Audiences

tiktok advertising

There’s always something new in social media. Sometimes, that simply means new features or ad types that we can use to better engage or connect with our target audience. Sometimes, though, it means new platforms all together.

TikTok meets that criteria, as the new-ish, up-and-coming platform for Gen Z users. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s ok; it probably means you’re over the age of 24. 

For those who don’t know, it’s a video creation app that’s used to create short, entertainment-oriented videos. Think lip syncing, talent show, and sketches or bits created to make people laugh. It’s probably most similar to Vine, but it’s taken on a bit of a new life of its own.

If Gen Z users are your target audience, then advertising on this platform may be something that you want to consider. TikTok advertising is still in early stages of development and is only in beta testing as of now, but in this post we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about advertising on the platform, including some valuable best practices to test for yourself.

What Is TikTok?

For those who aren’t familiar with TikTok, it’s a video creation app that’s used to create short, entertainment-oriented videos. Think lip syncing, talent show, and sketches or bits created to make people laugh. It was formerly known as Musicall.ly, and it used to be focused entirely on lip sync videos.

This platform probably most similar to Vine, which was popular several years ago; the idea is for anyone to create and share short videos, which are typically around 15 seconds long or less.

TikTok advertising


Tik Tok is easily most popular will Gen Z users, but young Millennials are also catching on to the trends. More businesses and influencers are starting to catch on, too, resulting in comedians performing stand-up, athletes showcasing their skills, and even influencers sharing their favorite products through videos they’re sharing here.

Brands can absolutely get in on this, creating and uploading their own brand-centric content, whether they’re working with influencers or not. You can do this organically, or choose to invest in the paid ad system if you’re granted early access. 

We do want to note that TikTok is still in the early days of their ad platform, and there really isn’t a market for these ads yet quite like YouTube or Facebook, but the platform is rapidly becoming more popular, which can make it a good fit for select advertisers.

TikTok Ads: The Pros and Cons  

TikTok Ads, as we mentioned, are still in beta and aren’t widely available yet. You have to apply for access, which we’ll look at more in a minute.

That being said, early results from TikTok are relatively promising. The platform has more than 500 million monthly active users worldwide, and users spend an average of 52 minutes every day on the platform. Ads will play automatically, and can be identified by a “Promoted” or “Sponsored” tag.

tiktok sponsored ads

As a note– TikTok Ads aren’t cheap. Some of their premium ads are particularly pricey; think preliminary Snapchat Ad prices. Regardless, you’re looking at a $500 minimum ad spend, and around a $10 CPM cost minimum. According to Wallaroo Media, the price breakdown includes:

  • $20,000-200,000 for Brand Takeover Ads,
  • $100,000-200,000 for Hashtag Challenges 
  • $600-1000 per post from Influencers with 2.5 million followers or more.

Full-service ads are rolling out, but you still need to apply to gain access and work directly with a rep.

Types of TikTok Ads

There are a few types of TikTok Ads, which we’ve referenced above. These include:

  • Brand Takeover Ads. These ads will appear as soon as someone opens TikTok, which can then redirect users to the advertiser’s site.
  • In-feed Native Videos. These videos may be shown underneath an organic, native video, or appear in the queue of content that they’ll watch next. They can also redirect traffic to your site.
  • Hashtag Challenges. Partner up with TikTok’s marketing team to create a “sponsored hashtag challenge.” These challenges typically last for 6 days and encourage users to share your branded content. An example is pictured below:
types of tiktok ads

In-feed native ads will be the most affordable as of right now, so those will be what many small- and medium-sized businesses will want to focus on.

How to Create Ads on TikTok

Interested in starting with TikTok advertising for your business? Start by applying here. It typically takes about 48 hours to receive an ad account if you’re approved for the beta program.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll have the choice of focusing on one of three different objectives: Traffic, Conversions, or App Installs.

how to create tiktok ads

Like other ad platforms, you’ll be able to target users by factors like age, gender, location, languages, interests, and whether or not they’re connected to you. There are also some saved audience options, so carefully consider how you could best reach your audience by narrowing things down without excluding too many people.

targeting tiktok advertising

During campaign creation, you’ll be asked to set a budget, which requires that $500 minimum ad spend (though you can, of course, go all out with that lovely “no limit” option– I’m sure they’d love that!).

tiktok ad campaign

Finally, choose your media and your placements. You can have your ad appear on TikTok directly, or show up in news feed app stories on apps like News Republic and TopBuzz; this is similar to the Audience Network on Facebook.

tiktok ad placement types

Conclusion: Is TikTok Right For Me?

When you’re considering running TikTok Ads, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • It likely isn’t right for you if you’re on a strict, tight budget, since the platform is not only expensive but new; there aren’t a ton of well-known best practices or case studies about the value, ROI, and impact of these ads yet. It would make more sense to invest in tried-and-true and more cost effective ad platforms.
  • It’s also not for you if your audience is over 30 years old; the demographics just aren’t there to get you results.

If, however, you’ve got a larger ad budget to play with and you’re going all in on younger audiences, this can be a great platform to focus on. Just make sure you’re being as strategic as possible and watching your campaigns daily, comparing them to campaigns on other platforms to see what works best for you.

What do you think? Would you dive into TikTok advertising? Which ad campaign type would you be most excited to test? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.