TikTok is taking the social media by storm and advertisers are jumping on the bandwagon to get their marketing campaigns on the platform. Being a new platform many advertisers would have questions like which types of tiktok ads should they choose, what are the limitations and how best to run an ad campaign on TikTok effectively?

The platform’s advertising allows you to target specific audience based on given parameters. While audience targeting on TikTok is not as robust and profound as that of Facebook ads, it does allow you to filter who see your ads based on the following filters:

  • Geo-location
  • Age brackets
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Custom audiences: This allows you to whitelist or blacklist certain user profiles

This way you can ensure that your ads are reaching the right people who can help grow your brand and boost sales of your products.

Types of TikTok Ads That You Need to Know

To know which ad format is right from your business, continue reading. I discuss the 6 ad formats that TikTok is offering to advertisers at the moment.

1.  In-feed TikTok Ads

tiktok in-feed ads

First on my list is the most common social media ad format; in-feed ads. These ads appear on the feeds or timeline of the users as they scroll through the videos. If you use Instagram then this term should sound familiar.

These ads nicely blend with TikTok’s User Generated Videos making them appear native within the platform. They are however still marked as sponsored. If you are creating ads for in-feed ads, then make sure you borrow heavily from the platform’s branding that skews towards unprofessional, casual fun videos.

TikTok users interact with in-feed ad videos as they would normal videos. This means, they can like, comment and even share your ads. If your video is engaging enough then running the ad can easily make your video go viral resulting in thousands of new followers of your account and even boost the views of your past videos.

Feed ads are available for most users while the rest are more suitable for big brands with big advertising budgets.

If you are looking to increase your brand awareness, get more followers and grow your reach, then this type of TikTok ads is a great way to get started. You do however need to ensure that the content you are promoting is quite engaging and has great potential of going viral.

2.  Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Take Over Ads

These are full-screen video ads that appear immediately when a user opens the TikTok app. Thus, brand takeover ads are more direct than the in-feed ads discussed above.

Your brand is basically taking over brand categories. These brand categories include fashion, food, fitness etc. each with millions of impressions.

Since only one brand can take over a category per day, these ads are super expensive, starting from$50,000 per day.

These ads have a tendency of reaching millions of people and thus great for growing your brand on TikTok that may translate to followers and clicks. The goal of these ads is to prompt users to click on the CTA button to go to the brand’s website where they can then take desired action such as signing up or making a purchase.

Brand Takeover ads may also appear on the For You page. Being featured here guarantees wider reach.

You can also use brand takeover ads to drive people to your branded hashtag challenge page to boost participation. Simply enter the URL of your challenge page in the CTA button section when creating your ad.

3.   TikTok Hashtag Challenge Ads

Hashtag Challenge Ads

You can actually sponsor hashtags on TikTok, just as would on Twitter, except that, with TikTok, you are actually sponsoring a challenge that users can enter by submitting a video tagged with a branded hashtag, instead of the hashtag itself.

Hashtag challenges are the bread and butter of TikTok. Call it crème de la crème. Even normal challenges have a great tendency of going viral and completely overhauling most brands overnight.

With Hashtag Challenge Ads, you get to give that challenge a boost, and as a result start a movement that others would want to join. Challenges are great for enhancing one’s brand and for amassing followers on the platform.

Think of these ads as ‘challenge culture given a boost.’ On clicking the ad, users are directed to an internal challenge page with details such as:

  • Sponsor’s logo and website link
  • Challenge description and participation instructions
  • Most popular videos submitted by other users using the branded hashtag

These types of TikTok ads’ pricing can be as high as $150,000, thus not really an option for small business owners and solopreneurs. That said, you can still promote your branded hashtag challenges by working with influencers. Since you get to select the influencers and negotiate your spending, this may be way cheaper and yet still gets you quite an attention on the platform.

4.   TopView Ads

top view ads

TopView Ads are very similar to the Brand Takeover ads, the only difference being the time of rendering. While Brand Takeover ads are shown immediately the user opens the app, TopView ads only appear 5 seconds later.

Running TopView ads means that you can create video ads up to 60 seconds long, unlike other ad formats that limit you to the platform’s signatory length of 15 seconds.

The videos are full screen with sound and auto-play functionality. You can add a call to action to point to any page either internally (e.g. your profile link, challenge landing page etc.) or externally.

5.   TikTok Shopable Ads

Of all the different types of Tiktok Ads, this is probably the newest offering and has been referred to as Hashtag Challenge Ads plus. This is because they are basically hashtag challenge ads with just a shopable component added to the process.

Thus, users are able to not only explore the video content of the challenge but also the products as well.

On clicking the promoted hashtag, users are taken to a challenge page where they can either click on the Video tab or the Explore tab. The video tab features videos submitted to the challenge by the users, while the Explore tab highlights the products by the advertiser.

The ‘Shop Now’ button takes the users to the external page where they can complete the check-out process.

6.   Branded Effects

TikTok is big on AR filters. You can bring this to your advertising strategy by creating unique use-worthy filters that others would love to use on their videos. With enough interest, you can easily boost your brand awareness. Think of TikTok Branded Effects are almost similar to Snapchat’s Branded lenses.

Branded effects on TikTok can be live for up to 10 days a time

How much does it cost to advertise on TikTok?

TikTok advertising is not lucrative for small businesses and solopreneurs in that, most of the ad formats that do well on the platform come with steep pricing that only established brands can afford.

That sad, there are other ad formats that are relatively cheap, for instance in-feed ads. The only disadvantage is that, unlike advertising on other social media networks where you can get started with advertising with just $1, TikTok requires that even for in-feed ads, that you have a minimum of $500 campaign budget.

Minimum ad group starts at $50. If you are running ads optimized for impressions, then you need to know that pricing starts at $10 per CPM (cost per thousand impressions)

Other types of TikTok ads may cost between $50,000 to 120,000 depending on the ad type and the duration that you gonna be running the campaign.

TikTok’s Ads Optimization Goals

When creating any type of TikTok ads, you will be required to choose your optimization goal for each of your campaigns. Thus, it’s important to understand what each of these goals mean to your advertising strategy.

Currently, there are three main optimization goals to choose from:

Conversions: If you choose this mode, TikTok will optimize the display and rendering of your ads in such a way that it gets as many conversions as possible. Be sure to set up a tracking pixel before running ads powered by this mode. You will be charged based on oCPC (optimization cost per click). Perfect for making sales

You are charged on a CPC (Cost per click model)

Impressions: Here you are charged on a CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) basis. The system optimizes your campaigns so as to reach as many people as possible. This goal is perfect for building brand awareness.


Ready to get started with advertising on TikTok? Simply choose the type of TikTok ad format that is most likely to give you great returns for your brand. Start off with in-feed ads as these are more affordable. Try different approach your ad videos until you find one that many users are appreciating. Then invest more money on it.

Once you start seeing results with in-feed ads, you may want to diversify to the other ad formats.