October 31, 2023

TikTok ads: How to advertise on TikTok successfully

Learn how to advertise on TikTok by discovering the secrets of crafting engaging ads to improve your brand’s visibility and revenue.
October 31, 2023

TikTok ads: How to advertise on TikTok successfully

Learn how to advertise on TikTok by discovering the secrets of crafting engaging ads to improve your brand’s visibility and revenue.
October 31, 2023
Vivian Tejeda
In this article
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This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
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What type of content do you primarily create?

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Transcriptions

Social media video ads are a great way to make money online. And nowhere is this more true today than on TikTok. 

As one of the most popular social platforms worldwide, TikTok has mastered the blend of organic content and in-feed ads in a way that helps marketers and video creators grow their brand. 

TikTok ads are effective if you know how to create content that fits the platform well. This guide breaks down how to make money on TikTok using ads, with a step-by-step guide on how to set them up and get the most value from your campaigns.

What are TikTok ads?

TikTok ads are promotional content that businesses pay to display on the TikTok platform. They show up in a user's feed and through Pangle, TikTok’s ad network. You can use TikTok ads to encourage sales, visitors, app installs, or just improve the reach of your content. 

Much like Facebook ads, TikTok ads have proven to be effective for brands across the board. According to TikTok for Business, about 68% of users think TikTok's advertising content is unique. They’re also 1.5x more likely to make a purchase after discovering a product on the social media platform. 

Not only that, but TikTok ads reach online audiences where they hang out the most. eMarketer reports that users spend more time on TikTok than on any other social media platform. So if you can reach those users with ads (and good content), you’re likely to get more conversions. 

Bar graph on average time spent on social platforms
Source: eMarketer

Types of TikTok ads

The ads that Tiktok users see are tailored to their behavior and preferences, so marketers can run highly targeted advertising campaigns. TikTok also has a variety of ad formats to suit different marketing goals.

Here are the ad types to consider: 

  1. In-feed ads: These video ads appear right on the For You page and blend in with organic content.
  2. Topview ads: Previously known as brand takeover ads, these full-screen ads are seen by users as soon as they open the app.
  3. Spark ads: These ads let you boost organic TikTok content or user-generated content to use as creative in your campaign.
  4. Playable ads: These are highly interactive and designed to encourage specific actions. They're great for encouraging users to check out your app or game before downloading. 
  5. Image ads: TikTok also supports static image ads in case you’re not up for video production. 
  6. Pangle ads: Businesses can advertise outside the TikTok platform with Pangle ads, the exclusive ad network for TikTok for Business. 
  7. Branded hashtag challenge: Create a hashtag challenge that encourages people to produce user-generated content. These ads are best suited to large brands due to the high investment required. 

How to set up an ad campaign on TikTok

More than 1 billion people have active TikTok accounts. You can easily target a diverse audience for brand awareness, conversions, or building an audience. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start running video advertisements on TikTok: 

  1. Create a TikTok business account
  2. Setup ad groups and configure the TikTok Pixel
  3. Define your target audience and budget
  4. Design and customize your TikTok ads
  5. Submit your ads for review
  6. Monitor and optimize your campaigns

1. Create a TikTok business account

Before you even think about ad creation, you need a TikTok for Business account. This is the only way you can run advertisements on the social media platform. Create a login with either an email or a phone number as well as a password. Set up billing information when prompted. 

Once you’ve created a business account, head over to the TikTok Ads Manager to set up your TikTok ad account. Log in and:

  1. Click on the Campaign button at the top of the page
  2. Choose whether you want to create an ad campaign in Simplified mode or Custom mode
  • Choose Simplified mode if you’re interested in creating a campaign in five minutes or less and you don’t want to spend too much time refining your TikTok marketing strategy. 
  • Choose Custom mode if you want to take complete control of your ads so that you can set more complex configurations for your ad campaign. 
Choosing between simplified or custom mode to create TikTok ads

2. Setup ad groups and configure the TikTok Pixel

Next, you’ll be prompted to set an optimization goal. Decide whether your ad will achieve traffic, interactions, lead generation, or conversions. Here’s how to choose: 

  • Traffic: if you’re looking to send more visitors to your website. 
  • Interactions: best for accounts looking to get more page follows or profile visits. 
  • Lead generation: if you’re looking to gather your audience’s contact information like their email. 
  • Conversions: best for driving sales on your website. 

Once you’ve chosen your goal, tap Continue at the bottom of your page. Select your audience and install the TikTok Pixel—a piece of code that allows TikTok to track website activity and pair it to TikTok users. From the dropdown Pixel menu, click on Create New and follow the installation instructions. Then choose the event you’d like to track from the dropdown menu. 

3. Define your target audience and budget

Next, it’s time to specify which types of TikTok users you want to reach with your campaign. Select your own custom audience based on specifics like location, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Or you can let the TikTok algorithm find the most receptive audience. 

Your audience size will change in the right-hand panel if you decide to enter a custom audience. Use this as a general guide to estimate potential audience reach.  

Tap Continue once you’re happy with your audience settings. For this example, we’ll go the automatic audience route. 

Defining audio and budget for TikTok ads

Once you’ve defined your target audience, set your TikTok ad budget at a rate that fits your marketing goals. TikTok offers two budget settings: 

  • A daily budget: Great for when you want to spend a certain amount per day on ads, automatically.  
  • A lifetime budget: Sets one specific amount TikTok will spend on your ads before it stops displaying them, rather than going by a daily limit.

If you’re unsure of how much to spend, studies show that the average cost per mille (CPM) for TikTok ads is $10 per 1,000 views. The average cost per click is $1. But bear in mind that if you’re using the daily budget model, there’s a minimum budget of $50 per day. If you’re using a lifetime budget, it’s $20 per day. The total budget for any campaign must be at least $500. 

Finally, set the start and end times for your campaign. If you’re launching a Black Friday advertising campaign on TikTok, for example, you might have the advertisements run from November 20 to November 25.

4. Design and customize your TikTok ads

At this point, the basics of your campaign are ready. Now comes the fun part: creating your TikTok ad creative.

On the next page of the TikTok ad creation process, you're able to choose from different types of TikTok ads and ad formats—including in-feed video, TopView ads, or even interactive Spark ads. Upload a single video, up to 20, or convert images into video. TikTok’s recommended format for video is .MP4, .MOV, .MPEG, or .AVI. 

Take your TikTok ads to the next level with branded effects, stickers, and a compelling call to action (CTA) to encourage users to engage. Make sure that your ad directs users to a well-optimized landing page that aligns with your campaign's goals—whether that’s leads, conversions, or engagement. 

Image of screen where you can design TikTok ads

5. Submit your ad for review

Finally, preview your ad as you put it together so you know what your audience will see. When you’re happy, click Submit at the bottom of the page. The creatives will go to TikTok for approval. It generally takes up to 24 hours to approve a new advertisement. 

6. Monitor and optimize your campaigns

You’ve created your TikTok ad campaign, defined its target audience, and it’s now live. But that’s only half the battle. 

Monitor your ad campaign performance with TikTok’s Ads Manager analytics. Look at metrics like CPM, CPC, and actual conversions. Prioritize campaigns that are performing best. Adjust your bidding strategy, target audience, or even your ad placement to get the most bang for your buck. 

3 inspiring TikTok ad examples

One of the best ways to craft winning creative for a TikTok ad is to check out what’s already resonating with users. Here are three incredible TikTok ad examples to use as inspiration for your own campaigns. 

1. Amazon

Amazon Ad on TikTok
Source: TikTok

Amazon knows its target audience spends a lot of time on TikTok, which is why they’ve been running TikTok advertising campaigns to promote its partnership with Discovery+. This ad, in particular, highlights the sporting events available through the Prime subscription. The video has appearances from football stars like Rio Ferdinand—someone its audience (the men aged 18 to 34 living in the UK) likely know, like, and trust.

2. Nissan Australia

We briefly touched on the fact that a branded hashtag challenge is a superb way to build brand awareness through TikTok ads. Nissan Australia, for example, encouraged TikTok users to take part in the #improvisewithJUKE challenge. Creators had to use the brand’s hashtag and music in their own videos to be in with the chance of appearing in the brand’s TV commercial.

TikTok says the campaign was one of the most successful Australian campaigns ever, with 129.4 million views and 34,000 user-generated videos for Nissan to use in its commercial. This led to a 92.9% increase in brand awareness for the car brand. 

3. BlendJet

BlendJet is a small business that sells portable blenders and smoothie accessories. It used the Discover page to find fitness and food influencers who could create user-generated content. This outreach campaign resulted in videos from real people who used the BlendJet to create new recipes—content the brand used to advertise on TikTok using Spark Ads. 

The campaign was a roaring success. TikTok reports that the Spark Ads had a total of 28 million impressions and a 1.43% click-through rate. The campaign drove over 12,000 conversions and a ton of video content it could repurpose organically. 

TikTok advertising: 4 tips and best practices

Optimization is the name of the game. You can’t just set your ads and forget them—you’ll need to monitor them to see what’s working, adapt accordingly, and improve them over time. To help round out your social media marketing plan, here are four crucial tips to elevate your TikTok advertising strategy.

1. Create short, attention-grabbing content

Research suggests our attention spans have gotten smaller over the past few decades. That fact also applies to TikTok users. People are scrolling through a sea of videos, which means you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. 

It’s why you need to craft your video ads to be short, impactful, and engaging from the first second. Make sure you always start with a good hook to keep viewers engaged. 

With Descript, you can use video templates that make the TikTok video creation process easier. Shoot as many takes as you need—keep the camera rolling—then edit by quickly searching your transcript for your key moments. Then clip them, add text, and upload your ad to TikTok in just a few clicks.

Collage of video editing images using Descript

2. Optimize for mobile viewing

TikTok is a mobile-first social platform, so any video ads you’re creating need to look good on a phone screen. From text size to graphic placement, every detail counts. 

Descript's intuitive design features can help you optimize your content for mobile viewing effortlessly. You can convert your video’s aspect ratio to TikTok-friendly vertical format for iPhone or Android in one click. Plus you can quickly add visual effects like:

  • Animated text
  • Slow motion
  • Blur 
  • Keyframe animation
  • Transitions

3. Use with TikTok's creative tools

TikTok offers a plethora of creative tools, including branded effects and stickers that make your ad interactive and encourage users to engage with it. Customize your TikTok videos with background music, voiceovers, and other sound effects using the native video editor.

If TikTok doesn't have an element you want for your video, drag and drop it with Descript. You can also add professional-grade captions, auto-transcribed transcriptions, and even call-to-action overlays to make your ads more interactive and engaging.

🧠 Read more: How to go viral on TikTok: What works and what doesn't

4. Take advantage of trending topics and hashtag challenges

Jump on trending topics or create your own branded hashtag challenge to spur user-generated content and increase brand awareness. These strategies help you get in front of the right audience at the right time using content proven to stop their scroll.

To find trending topics on TikTok, use the TikTok Creative Center where you can sort your search by hashtags, songs, videos, or creator. You can also:

  1. Open your TikTok app and tap Discover at the bottom of your screen
  2. Navigate the list of current trends, popular sounds, effects, and hashtags
  3. Save your favorite finds to add to your videos when editing
Searching popular songs to add to ads on TikTok

Create incredible TikTok video ads with Descript

The campaign goal, budget, and targeting you’ve selected for your TikTok advertising campaign are important. But it might all go to waste if you’re throwing money into video ads that don’t engage your audience on the platform. 

Descript’s AI video editing features allow you to create high-quality videos that stop users from scrolling. With Descript, you can:

  • Create realistic-sounding audio with text-to-speech
  • Build an AI clone of your voice to fix audio mistakes
  • Remove background noise with the click of a button
  • Remove filler words like “um” and “uh”
  • Adjust your gaze and make eye contact with the camera 

Take a free tour today and see why thousands of brands use Descript to create incredible social media video ads. 

TikTok ads FAQs

How much do TikTok ads cost?

TikTok ads pricing can vary depending on your ad format, targeting, and campaign objective. Studies show that the average CPM is $10, but there’s a minimum campaign spend of $500 across any TikTok ad. 

Can you advertise on TikTok for free?

It’s free to create a TikTok Business account, but it’s not free to run ads on the platform. There’s a minimum campaign spend of $500 that applies to anyone running advertising campaigns on TikTok.

Is TikTok a good way to advertise?

With over 1 billion active users, TikTok ads are a great way to reach a large and diverse audience. The TikTok Pixel also allows you to track website activity from TikTok ads, making it easier to track your return on ad spend.

Vivian Tejeda
Vivian is a content marketer who loves writing, creativity, and is obsessed with the art of storytelling. Her free time is taken up by learning golf, reading books, and touching grass.
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TikTok ads: How to advertise on TikTok successfully

How to advertise on tiktok

Social media video ads are a great way to make money online. And nowhere is this more true today than on TikTok. 

As one of the most popular social platforms worldwide, TikTok has mastered the blend of organic content and in-feed ads in a way that helps marketers and video creators grow their brand. 

TikTok ads are effective if you know how to create content that fits the platform well. This guide breaks down how to make money on TikTok using ads, with a step-by-step guide on how to set them up and get the most value from your campaigns.

Descript makes it easy to create great-looking audiograms and to share them on social media.
Promote your podcast as easily and effectively as you produced it.

What are TikTok ads?

TikTok ads are promotional content that businesses pay to display on the TikTok platform. They show up in a user's feed and through Pangle, TikTok’s ad network. You can use TikTok ads to encourage sales, visitors, app installs, or just improve the reach of your content. 

Much like Facebook ads, TikTok ads have proven to be effective for brands across the board. According to TikTok for Business, about 68% of users think TikTok's advertising content is unique. They’re also 1.5x more likely to make a purchase after discovering a product on the social media platform. 

Not only that, but TikTok ads reach online audiences where they hang out the most. eMarketer reports that users spend more time on TikTok than on any other social media platform. So if you can reach those users with ads (and good content), you’re likely to get more conversions. 

Bar graph on average time spent on social platforms
Source: eMarketer

Types of TikTok ads

The ads that Tiktok users see are tailored to their behavior and preferences, so marketers can run highly targeted advertising campaigns. TikTok also has a variety of ad formats to suit different marketing goals.

Here are the ad types to consider: 

  1. In-feed ads: These video ads appear right on the For You page and blend in with organic content.
  2. Topview ads: Previously known as brand takeover ads, these full-screen ads are seen by users as soon as they open the app.
  3. Spark ads: These ads let you boost organic TikTok content or user-generated content to use as creative in your campaign.
  4. Playable ads: These are highly interactive and designed to encourage specific actions. They're great for encouraging users to check out your app or game before downloading. 
  5. Image ads: TikTok also supports static image ads in case you’re not up for video production. 
  6. Pangle ads: Businesses can advertise outside the TikTok platform with Pangle ads, the exclusive ad network for TikTok for Business. 
  7. Branded hashtag challenge: Create a hashtag challenge that encourages people to produce user-generated content. These ads are best suited to large brands due to the high investment required. 

How to set up an ad campaign on TikTok

More than 1 billion people have active TikTok accounts. You can easily target a diverse audience for brand awareness, conversions, or building an audience. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start running video advertisements on TikTok: 

  1. Create a TikTok business account
  2. Setup ad groups and configure the TikTok Pixel
  3. Define your target audience and budget
  4. Design and customize your TikTok ads
  5. Submit your ads for review
  6. Monitor and optimize your campaigns

1. Create a TikTok business account

Before you even think about ad creation, you need a TikTok for Business account. This is the only way you can run advertisements on the social media platform. Create a login with either an email or a phone number as well as a password. Set up billing information when prompted. 

Once you’ve created a business account, head over to the TikTok Ads Manager to set up your TikTok ad account. Log in and:

  1. Click on the Campaign button at the top of the page
  2. Choose whether you want to create an ad campaign in Simplified mode or Custom mode
  • Choose Simplified mode if you’re interested in creating a campaign in five minutes or less and you don’t want to spend too much time refining your TikTok marketing strategy. 
  • Choose Custom mode if you want to take complete control of your ads so that you can set more complex configurations for your ad campaign. 
Choosing between simplified or custom mode to create TikTok ads

2. Setup ad groups and configure the TikTok Pixel

Next, you’ll be prompted to set an optimization goal. Decide whether your ad will achieve traffic, interactions, lead generation, or conversions. Here’s how to choose: 

  • Traffic: if you’re looking to send more visitors to your website. 
  • Interactions: best for accounts looking to get more page follows or profile visits. 
  • Lead generation: if you’re looking to gather your audience’s contact information like their email. 
  • Conversions: best for driving sales on your website. 

Once you’ve chosen your goal, tap Continue at the bottom of your page. Select your audience and install the TikTok Pixel—a piece of code that allows TikTok to track website activity and pair it to TikTok users. From the dropdown Pixel menu, click on Create New and follow the installation instructions. Then choose the event you’d like to track from the dropdown menu. 

3. Define your target audience and budget

Next, it’s time to specify which types of TikTok users you want to reach with your campaign. Select your own custom audience based on specifics like location, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Or you can let the TikTok algorithm find the most receptive audience. 

Your audience size will change in the right-hand panel if you decide to enter a custom audience. Use this as a general guide to estimate potential audience reach.  

Tap Continue once you’re happy with your audience settings. For this example, we’ll go the automatic audience route. 

Defining audio and budget for TikTok ads

Once you’ve defined your target audience, set your TikTok ad budget at a rate that fits your marketing goals. TikTok offers two budget settings: 

  • A daily budget: Great for when you want to spend a certain amount per day on ads, automatically.  
  • A lifetime budget: Sets one specific amount TikTok will spend on your ads before it stops displaying them, rather than going by a daily limit.

If you’re unsure of how much to spend, studies show that the average cost per mille (CPM) for TikTok ads is $10 per 1,000 views. The average cost per click is $1. But bear in mind that if you’re using the daily budget model, there’s a minimum budget of $50 per day. If you’re using a lifetime budget, it’s $20 per day. The total budget for any campaign must be at least $500. 

Finally, set the start and end times for your campaign. If you’re launching a Black Friday advertising campaign on TikTok, for example, you might have the advertisements run from November 20 to November 25.

4. Design and customize your TikTok ads

At this point, the basics of your campaign are ready. Now comes the fun part: creating your TikTok ad creative.

On the next page of the TikTok ad creation process, you're able to choose from different types of TikTok ads and ad formats—including in-feed video, TopView ads, or even interactive Spark ads. Upload a single video, up to 20, or convert images into video. TikTok’s recommended format for video is .MP4, .MOV, .MPEG, or .AVI. 

Take your TikTok ads to the next level with branded effects, stickers, and a compelling call to action (CTA) to encourage users to engage. Make sure that your ad directs users to a well-optimized landing page that aligns with your campaign's goals—whether that’s leads, conversions, or engagement. 

Image of screen where you can design TikTok ads

5. Submit your ad for review

Finally, preview your ad as you put it together so you know what your audience will see. When you’re happy, click Submit at the bottom of the page. The creatives will go to TikTok for approval. It generally takes up to 24 hours to approve a new advertisement. 

6. Monitor and optimize your campaigns

You’ve created your TikTok ad campaign, defined its target audience, and it’s now live. But that’s only half the battle. 

Monitor your ad campaign performance with TikTok’s Ads Manager analytics. Look at metrics like CPM, CPC, and actual conversions. Prioritize campaigns that are performing best. Adjust your bidding strategy, target audience, or even your ad placement to get the most bang for your buck. 

3 inspiring TikTok ad examples

One of the best ways to craft winning creative for a TikTok ad is to check out what’s already resonating with users. Here are three incredible TikTok ad examples to use as inspiration for your own campaigns. 

1. Amazon

Amazon Ad on TikTok
Source: TikTok

Amazon knows its target audience spends a lot of time on TikTok, which is why they’ve been running TikTok advertising campaigns to promote its partnership with Discovery+. This ad, in particular, highlights the sporting events available through the Prime subscription. The video has appearances from football stars like Rio Ferdinand—someone its audience (the men aged 18 to 34 living in the UK) likely know, like, and trust.

2. Nissan Australia

We briefly touched on the fact that a branded hashtag challenge is a superb way to build brand awareness through TikTok ads. Nissan Australia, for example, encouraged TikTok users to take part in the #improvisewithJUKE challenge. Creators had to use the brand’s hashtag and music in their own videos to be in with the chance of appearing in the brand’s TV commercial.

TikTok says the campaign was one of the most successful Australian campaigns ever, with 129.4 million views and 34,000 user-generated videos for Nissan to use in its commercial. This led to a 92.9% increase in brand awareness for the car brand. 

3. BlendJet

BlendJet is a small business that sells portable blenders and smoothie accessories. It used the Discover page to find fitness and food influencers who could create user-generated content. This outreach campaign resulted in videos from real people who used the BlendJet to create new recipes—content the brand used to advertise on TikTok using Spark Ads. 

The campaign was a roaring success. TikTok reports that the Spark Ads had a total of 28 million impressions and a 1.43% click-through rate. The campaign drove over 12,000 conversions and a ton of video content it could repurpose organically. 

TikTok advertising: 4 tips and best practices

Optimization is the name of the game. You can’t just set your ads and forget them—you’ll need to monitor them to see what’s working, adapt accordingly, and improve them over time. To help round out your social media marketing plan, here are four crucial tips to elevate your TikTok advertising strategy.

1. Create short, attention-grabbing content

Research suggests our attention spans have gotten smaller over the past few decades. That fact also applies to TikTok users. People are scrolling through a sea of videos, which means you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. 

It’s why you need to craft your video ads to be short, impactful, and engaging from the first second. Make sure you always start with a good hook to keep viewers engaged. 

With Descript, you can use video templates that make the TikTok video creation process easier. Shoot as many takes as you need—keep the camera rolling—then edit by quickly searching your transcript for your key moments. Then clip them, add text, and upload your ad to TikTok in just a few clicks.

Collage of video editing images using Descript

2. Optimize for mobile viewing

TikTok is a mobile-first social platform, so any video ads you’re creating need to look good on a phone screen. From text size to graphic placement, every detail counts. 

Descript's intuitive design features can help you optimize your content for mobile viewing effortlessly. You can convert your video’s aspect ratio to TikTok-friendly vertical format for iPhone or Android in one click. Plus you can quickly add visual effects like:

  • Animated text
  • Slow motion
  • Blur 
  • Keyframe animation
  • Transitions

3. Use with TikTok's creative tools

TikTok offers a plethora of creative tools, including branded effects and stickers that make your ad interactive and encourage users to engage with it. Customize your TikTok videos with background music, voiceovers, and other sound effects using the native video editor.

If TikTok doesn't have an element you want for your video, drag and drop it with Descript. You can also add professional-grade captions, auto-transcribed transcriptions, and even call-to-action overlays to make your ads more interactive and engaging.

🧠 Read more: How to go viral on TikTok: What works and what doesn't

4. Take advantage of trending topics and hashtag challenges

Jump on trending topics or create your own branded hashtag challenge to spur user-generated content and increase brand awareness. These strategies help you get in front of the right audience at the right time using content proven to stop their scroll.

To find trending topics on TikTok, use the TikTok Creative Center where you can sort your search by hashtags, songs, videos, or creator. You can also:

  1. Open your TikTok app and tap Discover at the bottom of your screen
  2. Navigate the list of current trends, popular sounds, effects, and hashtags
  3. Save your favorite finds to add to your videos when editing
Searching popular songs to add to ads on TikTok

Create incredible TikTok video ads with Descript

The campaign goal, budget, and targeting you’ve selected for your TikTok advertising campaign are important. But it might all go to waste if you’re throwing money into video ads that don’t engage your audience on the platform. 

Descript’s AI video editing features allow you to create high-quality videos that stop users from scrolling. With Descript, you can:

  • Create realistic-sounding audio with text-to-speech
  • Build an AI clone of your voice to fix audio mistakes
  • Remove background noise with the click of a button
  • Remove filler words like “um” and “uh”
  • Adjust your gaze and make eye contact with the camera 

Take a free tour today and see why thousands of brands use Descript to create incredible social media video ads. 

TikTok ads FAQs

How much do TikTok ads cost?

TikTok ads pricing can vary depending on your ad format, targeting, and campaign objective. Studies show that the average CPM is $10, but there’s a minimum campaign spend of $500 across any TikTok ad. 

Can you advertise on TikTok for free?

It’s free to create a TikTok Business account, but it’s not free to run ads on the platform. There’s a minimum campaign spend of $500 that applies to anyone running advertising campaigns on TikTok.

Is TikTok a good way to advertise?

With over 1 billion active users, TikTok ads are a great way to reach a large and diverse audience. The TikTok Pixel also allows you to track website activity from TikTok ads, making it easier to track your return on ad spend.

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