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How to Run Ads on TikTok: Step by Step Guideline For Beginners

How to run ads on TikTok

Advertising on TikTok is now one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness, stay connected with massive audiences and win sales. Unlike other platforms, TikTok makes your ad feel like native content so it attracts more engagement, thereby driving higher conversions.   

In this article, we will give you a comprehensive guide on how to run ads on TikTok in just 5 steps. Let’s dive right into it now!

Introducing TikTok Ads

TikTok Ad is a powerful, yet easy-to-use platform to help businesses of all sizes advertise their products or services to over a billion users worldwide. It has all you need to make a successful ad campaign – from targeting, ad creation, insight reports, and ad management tools.

Whether you want to sell something or drive targeted traffic to your website, TikTok advertising can give you good returns on your ad spend.

Highlight TikTok statitics

Numbers don’t tell lies. Here’re some important TikTok statistics that you should know. 


  • TikTok hit 1 billion active users from more than 150 countries in the world. 
  • According to Statista, 52.38% of TikTok users globally are between the ages of 18 and 24.
  • An average TikTok user spends approximately 90 minutes per day on the app.
  • 68% of TikTok users say videos using popular songs help them remember brands better.
  • 2 out of 3 users are likely to make a purchase while using TikTok.

TikTok advertising 

  • In 2021, TikTok got 4 billion dollars in advertising revenue and is expected to double by 2024 and more than triple by 2026. 
  • In-feed Ad is the most used ad format in TikTok.
  • 43% of heavy TikTok users feel that the ‘advertising’ on TikTok blends in with the content.
  • The use of a product in a TikTok ad leads to a 23% increase in ad likeability.
  • Even three weeks after exposure to an ad on TikTok, 62% of users accurately recalled the brand when aided. Conducted partially in an in-person setting.

How to run TikTok Ads

Before jumping right into creating your TikTok Ad, make sure you’ve understood the structure of TikTok and how it works.

Like other advertising platforms, ads run on TikTok Ads Manager are structured into 3 parts: “Campaigns”, “Ad Groups“, and “Ads“. 

TikTok ad structure
TikTok ad structure

An ad campaign can include one or multiple ad groups, which will enable you to optimize your ads and measure performance. 

An ad group can contain a single ad or multiple ads (maximum is 20), which helps to compare the delivery of different ads and optimize them based on their performance.

Step 1: Create a TikTok Ad Manager account 

1. Sign up for a TikTok Ad Manager account

Create a TikTok Ad Manager account 
Sign up for a TikTok Ad Manager account

First things first, go to and create a login using your email address or phone number. Then you need to verify your login information, click “Agree” to the terms and conditions of TikTok Ads, and click “Sign Up”.

2. Open your account

Once done creating your login, you need to open your account by filling in some basic details about your business, such as Country/ Region, Time Zone, Business Name, and Currency. 

Once you’ve finished all this information and checked it carefully, click “Register”.

Open your account
Open your account

3. Set up your TikTok Ad account

Next, you need to access your account setup. To do that, from the Dashboard, go to Account Settings > Account Info.

Set up your TikTok Ad account
Set up your TikTok Ad account

4. Fill in business details

Now that you’re on the “Account Setup” page, you have to complete the “Business Information” module, which includes: Company website, Industry, Street Address, State/ Province, Postal code, and Business verification.

Although it is not necessary to do the business verification to complete your account, doing so will enable you to apply for ad credit programs and use extra TikTok For Business features like the TikTok Creator Marketplace.

Fill in business details
Fill in business details

5. Choose your payment method

There are 2 payment methods that you can choose from:

  • Manual Payment
  • Automatic Payment.

Please take note that not all markets currently support automatic payment.

Choose your payment method
Choose your payment method

6. Submit your account information

Once you have filled out all the necessary details on the “Account Setup” page, just simply click “Submit” at the bottom of the page. After receiving your submitted information, TikTok will review your account. It may take up to 24 hours for the account review to be completed since TikTok has to carefully check your information with its industry and account-related policies.

And that’s how you create your TikTok ad account step by step.

Step 2: Create an ad campaign

Now it’s time to actually start creating your ad campaign. To do that, simply go to the “Campaigns” tab, you need to click on the “Create” button.

Create an ad campaign
Create an ad campaign

1. Choose the right objective 

Everything happens for a reason and so does your advertising campaign. 

Before running an ad, you have to choose the ad objective – whether you want to boost reach, drive traffic, increase video views, collect more leads or drive conversions.

TikTok ad objective breaks down into 3 main categories: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Remember that you can select only 1 objective per ad campaign.

Choose the right objective 
Ad objective

If you’re still wondering which objective best matches your goals, you can take a look at the below table for reference. 

Ad objective comparison
Ad objective comparison

2. Set up campaign name & budget

After choosing the ad objective, it’s time to set up Campaign Name & Budget. 

TikTok will auto-generate a campaign name right after you choose the ad objective. However, you can edit that name as you want within 512 characters. 

Regarding Campaign Budget, it is a specific amount that you are willing to spend for running ads. Based on the budget you set, your campaign will stop running when it hits that amount. Below are 2 types of budget you can choose from.

  • Daily budget: The maximum money you are willing to spend on this ad campaign.
  • Lifetime budget: The maximum amount you are willing to spend on this ad campaign during the entire defined period you run an ad.
Set up campaign name
Set up campaign name & budget

Besides, TikTok offers “Campaign budget optimization”, which automatically and smartly optimizes your budget allocation.

Once done naming and setting campaign budget, click “Continue” for the next step.

Step 3: Create an ad group 

The next step is to create an ad group within your ad campaign. You can create one or multiple ad groups in a campaign. Please keep in mind that the number of ad groups per campaign is limited to 999.

Below are some elements that you need to define at the ad group level. 

1. Name your ad group

Give your ad group a name to easily distinguish between different ad groups within an ad campaign. Ad group name is limited to 512 characters so keeping it short and clear is the best. 

Name your ad group
Name your ad group

2. Set up TikTok Pixel (optional)

If you choose your ad objective is App Promotion or Website Conversion, you will need to set up TikTok Pixel to better track the ad impacts on your app/website. 

Basically, TikTok Pixel is a snippet of code on your website that gathers information about site events (such as which section they interact with on your site, what device they’re using and where they’re located, etc).

3. Choose placements 

Placements determine where your ads appear on TikTok and its partner platforms. Note that the placement setting cannot be changed after an ad group is created.

  • Automatic placement: If you select Automatic Placement, TikTok will optimize delivery across all placements under TikTok Ads Manager. 
  • Select placement: If you choose Select Placement, you can manually choose where your ads appear across the TikTok apps family that includes TikTok, News Feed Apps (TopBuzz, BuzzVideo, etc), and Pangle (TikTok Audience Network)
  • Block list (Pangle): To ensure Brand Safety, undesired media placements of Pangle can be added to Block List to help prevent your ads from appearing. However, this will decrease the reach of your ads as well. 
Choose placements 
 Choose ad placements

If you’re new to TikTok ads, you should choose “Automatic placement” and let TikTok optimize your ad delivery across all placements to reach more people and drive more traffic. 

4. Turn on/off creative type 

Next, you need to decide whether to turn on/ off the function “Automated creative optimization”. If this function is enabled, TikTok will automatically generate variants of your creative assets (images, videos, and ad texts) for testing, and deliver only the high-performing one. You can turn on or turn off this feature anytime you want and even upload your creative assets while creating your ad.

Turn on/off creative type
Turn on/off creative type

5. Define target audience (Targeting)

Identifying the target audience is the key to the success of any advertising campaign. So here you need to specify the target audience who will see your ads. There are two targeting modes you can choose from: custom targeting and automatic targeting.

  • For Custom targeting, you narrow your audience by Demographics, Include/Exclude Audience, Interests & Behaviors and Devices. 
  • For Automatic targeting, you enter Location and Language of target audience. Then TikTok will help you optimize your targeting
Define target audience
Target audience

6. Set up budget & schedule

Now you need to set up budget and choose the period of time for running ads.

  • Budget: Your ad spend for the ad group will not exceed the budget whether you set a Daily Budget (Minimum is $20) or a Lifetime Budget (Minimum is $20)
  • ​Schedule: Set the start and end time for your ads. You can select a date range to run your ad or continuously run your ad after the start date. 
  • ​Dayparting: This enables you to select certain time periods within the day. The selected time period lasts from half an hour to 24 hours. (*) All day means your ads will run throughout the day during the scheduled campaign time. (*) ​Select Specific Time means your ads will run at specific time periods during the scheduled campaign time.


Set up budget & schedule
Set up Budget & Schedule

7. Set up bidding method & optimization 

Set up bidding method & optimization 
Set up bidding & optimization

This is the last step of the ad group creation process. Here you need to select your bidding methods and ad optimization options for the best results:

Optimization Goals: There are three options to choose from for optimization goals: “Conversion,” “Click,” and “Reach.” Some campaign goals will automatically set this.

Bid Strategy: You can pick between two bid strategies: lowest cost (maximize the number of results you get) and bid cap (keep the average cost per result below your bid).

Billing Event: Billing event determines when you pay for your ads. Based on the “Optimization Goal,” the system automatically sets the billing event.

  • ​If your optimization goal is “Reach”, your ads will be billed as CPM (Cost Per Mille).
  • ​If your optimization goal is to “Click”, your ads will be billed as CPC (Cost Per Click).
  • ​If your optimization goal is “Conversions”, your bidding method is oCPM (optimization Cost Per Mile) and the payment method is CPM.

​Delivery Type: There are two different ad delivery strategies to determine how your budget and ad will be spent and distributed within 24 hours. You can choose either “Standard” or “Accelerated”.

  • Standard: During the campaign period, your advertising spending will be distributed equally.
  • Accelerated: The type assists you in making the most use of your ad budget while maximizing the effectiveness of reaching your audience.

Please note that the Start Date, Optimization Goal, Conversion Event and Smart Optimization cannot be changed after your ad group is created.

When you’ve completed all the steps above, simply click “Next” to move to the ad creation page.

Step 4: Create an ad 

After setting up ad group, you start creating ad creative. Each ad group can contain one or many ads (Maximum is 20 ads/ ad group). Follow some stages below to create your ad

1. Enter ad name 

Enter your ad name to distinguish between ads within your ad group. Keep in mind that the ad name is only for your reference and is not part of your ad. Ad names support 512 characters at maximum.

Enter ad name 
Enter TikTok Ad name

2. Select ad format

Here you need to choose your ad format. TikTok Ads Manager currently supports three ad formats: single video, single image, and collection ads.

If you want to experience all kinds of TikTok ad formats, you can consider renting an agency ad account to enjoy appealing ad types.

Select ad format

3. Enter ad details

Add media

First, you need to prepare your ads creative. There are 3 options to choose from:

  • Upload from your own computer
  • Add from your creative library
  • Create a video
Add media
Ads creative

Choose a thumbnail

Once done choosing/ creating your video, you need to choose a cover photo for your TikTok ad. Choosing a thumbnail is crucial for drawing attention. You have the option of uploading a custom cover photo or selecting one of the pre-selected images from your video. Up to 8 keyframes will be provided for you to choose from, depending on how long your video is.

Click “Save” to finish.

Choose a thumbnail
Choose a thumbnail

Creating your ad is super easy, upload your own videos or images, or design eye-catching ads in minutes using TikTok Ads Manager’s creative tools. 

Enter your text & destination page

Once you’ve added the media to your ad, you need to enter the following elements that will be displayed with your ad, including:

  • Display name: This will serve as the identity of your brand. This needs to be in line with the name of the company, brand, or other elements of the website or app that is being promoted.
ad display name
TikTok ads display name
  • Text: This text will be displayed to your audience as part of your ad creative to clearly explain to them what you are promoting.
ad text
TikTok ad creative – text
  • Call to Action: This is where you tell your target audience what you want them to do after seeing your ad. Some available CTAs are shown in the image below.
Call to action on TikTok
  • ​URL: Enter the URL of the website you want your ad to drive traffic. This will only be available with certain objectives. Also, you could try using interactive add-ons, which are excellent at driving deeper engagement from the audience in an innovative way.

Preview your creative

It is now time to preview your ad. The actual ads will be modified depending on the user’s device and the network settings; please be aware that these ad previews are not device-specific.

We suggest you preview all ads on your actual device to get a better idea of how they will appear after being published

This is an optional step, which allows you to add TikTok events tracking or third-party tracking URLs to keep track of your ad performance data.

After you’ve finished creating your ad, click the “Submit” button to finish the process.

Add tracking links
Add tracking link

Then, your TikTok ad will go through a review process before going live.

Step 5: Measure your ad performance

Well, the process of running TikTok ads is not over yet. You also need to measure your ad performance to determine the effectiveness of the campaign. TikTok offers native statistics so you can see how your ad is performing regarding impressions, clicks, conversions, etc. You can also test and compare the performance of various ad placements and creatives to see what is the best solution for you.

It’s time to run your first TikTok ad

No more guessing, create your first TikTok ad campaign now to see how it broadens your brand reach and drives fantastic results. Hope that this article has helped you with running ads on TikTok and gaining tremendous sales on TikTok.

New to TikTok ads? Difficult to figure out how to advertise on TikTok without wasting time and money? NestAds help you launch, optimize & scale winning TikTok ads campaigns faster & easier. You don’t need to be an ads expert to run TikTok ads successfully, let NestAds make it happen.


Meet our Author


Author at NestScale

Rachel is a Saas marketer writing about technology, digital transformation, and solutions for eCommerce businesses. When not writing, she enjoys traveling, watching TV shows, and cooking new recipes.


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