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TikTok Ads Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Campaigns

Dieter Schmidt-Finell
Dieter Schmidt-Finell
TikTok Ads Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Campaigns

Let's not kid ourselves: If government attempts to ban TikTok fail in court, no one will be able to stop this rocket. With over 1.7 billion users and an ever-expanding demographic, TikTok is no longer a youth phenomenon, but part of the three big pieces of the pie: Meta, YouTube and TikTok. This makes it all the more important to occupy this invaluable social media space with your own channel, ads and creative.

Why TikTok ads make sense

Unless you're selling luxury yachts or retirement homes, the question is moot: Why should I, as a business, use or promote TikTok? However, here are a few facts and figures that should convince you:

  • TikTok is used by 1.7 billion people in over 150 countries around the world. 35 per cent of 18-24 year olds use the popular app, with around 75 per cent of all TikTok users bring under the age of 35. This continues to reach very young people who often use TikTok exclusively. The average user spends around six hours a week on the app. Taking inactive accounts into account, the target audience uses TikTok between one and two hours per day - an ideal space to place your own advertising!
  • If you look at different data sources outside of the polished TikTok bubble, you still get more bang for your buck with TikTok: On average, you pay around $9.5 per thousand impressions. Facebook, on the other hand, has an average CPM of $14.9. However, these figures are converging year on year: TikTok becomes increasingly expensive after the first few years of cheap advertising.
  • The average CTR (click through rate) of 0.58% on TikTok is around average across social platforms. The CR (conversion rate) of 1.1% is also not significantly different. Nevertheless, TikTok ads lay the foundation for downstream purchases by making the brand better known to young buyers. And of course, the values differ significantly depending on the industry: a case study of RMS Beauty (organic cosmetic products) shows a CTR of 2.2%. So the closer you are to the interests of young people and dedicated to the topic of sustainability, the higher the chances of success.
  • And of course, CTR is only one metric that can be used. A study by Magna shows that brands that advertise on TikTok have an eight per cent higher preference than brands that do not advertise on TikTok. Likelihood to purchase increases by six percent and search on TikTok increases by seven percentage points. Search? Wait a minute. That's right. TikTok is just as important to teens as Google from an SEO perspective.
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  • According to the Nielsen Custom Authenticity Study, commissioned by TikTok itself, 68 percent of users think TikTok ad content feels special or unique compared to other platforms. Compared to other consumers, TikTok users are 1.5 times more likely to buy a product they discovered on the platform.
  • TikTok ads don't have to be in the form of a short video. Other entertaining dialogues, entire gags, shows or TED Talks can be promoted in a way that feels like a private TikTok or is more disguised as an advertisement to fit seamlessly into the feed.

    TikTok's Business Centre provides an extremely user-friendly environment. You can optimise your campaigns for clicks, reach and conversions, in addition to the tried and tested targeting settings. The emphasis is on "let" because TikTok takes care of everything else. Of course, the creative should be targeted. In addition, TikTok automatically controls the intensity of the campaign depending on the budget and time horizon.

How do the TikTok Business Center and Ads Manager work?

To answer the question that immediately arises, here are a few lines about what features and capabilities the Business Center actually offers.

The TikTok Business Center is the single point of contact for all your business needs. Once you have created your account, managed your access rights and payment information, you are ready to start creating your first campaign. Here you can silently switch to the powerful TikTok Ads Manager, define your campaign goals (traffic, community interaction, lead generation, website conversion), target audiences and budget.

The following tools are available for creating creatives: For micro businesses, TikTok offers an editing tool that allows you to edit your ads directly. Content Inspiration shows ads that are performing well and serves as a source of inspiration, while Instant Pages allows you to quickly create your own landing page, including CTA buttons, thanks to ready-made sample pages and a modular system.

This allows you to take full advantage of the seamless integration of advertising and e-commerce. Of course, you can start, stop or restart campaigns and draw conclusions from key KPIs.

But the Business Centre can do even more: Larger companies can give agencies access to the different TikTok channels, manage all campaigns and stay on top of things. A system of permissions prevents unwanted actions. Advertising accounts can also be linked here. This gives other content creators and influencers access to the same ad assets. In addition, ads can be tagged with a tracking pixel that feeds your own audience data, but can also be inserted into other influencer channels to map a customer journey.

How to act as a company

All beginnings are difficult - which is where an agency comes in. But if you have camera-savvy staff or the graphic skills (cue Canva), you can be much more deliberate and cost-saving here, so you don't waste most of your budget on an agency. If you need some basic tips on video advertising, check out our 7 tips and use them to your advantage. The following steps should be internalised first:

Step 1:
Use TikTok's Content Inspiration section to draw a rough horizon. What fits your industry? What goals do you want to achieve with your ads (views, CTR, conversion)? If you find something that fits, try to copy it. Don't stay in feedback loops for too long. The first shot is just a test to see if the sheet works at all. Alternatively, you can use existing 9:16 ads or adaptations of 16:9 ads. The following five tips will also help you get a feel for the platform.

You can also take a look at our video tech specifications infographic by following this link. It's a convenient resource for remembering the formats and details of video creation for all short-form video platforms.

Step 2:
Create a campaign and estimate a very small budget of around 100 euros to generate initial data. The time horizon should be two weeks, which is quite sufficient for the small budget. In the meantime, the next step follows:

Step 3:
Find your own style for your next ad. Think about what your brand is, what your USPs are, what your tone of voice is and work with your team to come up with the right wording or the right look. Don't try to copy anything else this time, but remember that everything you do now counts towards the 'authenticity' account. Most importantly, spend 50 percent of your resources on how you create the crucial first three seconds.

Step 4:
Create variations of your TikTok ad: use alternative ideas or different images, words, opening scenes, songs or speeds. Race these different ads with the same minimum stake and see which horse comes out on top.

Step 5:
Draw conclusions from the analysis of your KPIs and data. Was your approach better than the copy? Find out why some ads perform better than others in A/B testing. What does this mean for your overall direction?

Step 6:
Congratulations! You have reached a milestone. You've had the courage to get started. Success in this area cannot really be planned. It comes from a trial-and-error loop that you have to go through again and again, starting over at steps 1 or 2. But this time with a better sense that your arc is getting closer and closer to the goal. Defend your approach by arguing that you are in an analysis phase with minimal financial investment to generate important data.

Only then can you decide whether to hire a professional agency or production company, or to go it alone with a big budget - but with the confidence that the ads will work. Nothing is worse than approaching an agency without any concrete ideas and handing over the sceptre of corporate communications to someone else.

Modern marketing also means being fast, agile, hands-on and working closely with your content creators. This is not only cheaper, but in the long run a process that will trigger a completely different self-image in the marketing department. And related to this, because you often can't say no, there is often a fundamental debate: Is it permissible for advertising to deviate so far from the corporate identity? Because one thing is clear: anything that is shrill, loud, bizarre and entertaining is ahead of the game.

Considering ads on TikTok

Bytedance is minimising its competitors' market share with a major advertising campaign called 'TikTok for Business' - and with good reason. If you want to be a brand among the under-35s, you can't get past the Chinese giants. This is backed up not only by demographic data, but also by the fact that many young people are exclusively on TikTok - even shifting their Google searches to the short-video network. Depending on a company's size and resources, it's entirely possible to run your own 9:16 Instagram ads on TikTok and get decent results.

But those who go all out here and develop dedicated TikTok ads with a very young and entertaining tone will secure the next generation of buyers - or vice versa: no German company can really indulge in the arrogance that TikTok is just a temporary, unfounded hype. And, of course, a dedicated TikTok company channel should be set up alongside the ads. Keyword search: Where do potential young employees search to get an idea of a company? Exactly! On TikTok.

And when you add another channel to the other networks, the question arises: How do you organise it all? It's simple: With Facelift. We simplify and organise editorial planning, coordination with product managers and other stakeholders, and community management. Post scheduling is automated, our analytics give you the data you need, and our AI Lifty, is just one of many time-saving features. How about a personal demo? Discover all the features of Facelift - free and without obligation!

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Dieter Schmidt-Finell
Dieter Schmidt-Finell

More about the author

Auch wenn mein kreativer Wechsel zum Video-Segment bedeutet, dass ich nur noch am Rande mit dem Schreiben konfrontiert werde, kribbelt es freudig in den Fingern, wenn ich die Tastatur bearbeiten darf. Zehn Jahre Special-Interest-Journalismus, Soziologie-Studium, Rap und Peotry-Slam hinterlassen hier ihre Spuren. Aber auch bei der "reinen" Video-Arbeit hilft meine Text-Vergangenheit bei Inhalten, Dialogen und der Ideenfindung.
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