How TikTok’s Automated Creative Optimization (ACO) Works

Automated Creative Optimization

TikTok is a social media platform that has taken the world by storm. With over 805 million daily average users and activity in over 150 countries, this app deserves proper brand advertising.

Other frontrunners like Facebook and Instagram haven’t been able to keep up with TikTok’s capabilities recently, the reason being lack of engagement or the others. To keep engagement active with an opportunity for improved sales, TikTok offers automated creative optimization with proven results.  

Automated creative optimization is a display ad technology that creates personalized ads based on data about the viewer during the moment the ad shows. TikTok has practically mastered this, so we’ll demonstrate the methods they used and why they’ve proven successful to so many brands. 

TikTok Offers an Ad Exclusive Audience 

The TikTok platform is the leading social media platform today, so it’s a wise decision to create digital advertisements with the capability of high engagement there. In fact, the platform has proven they have users that aren’t subscribing to others: 

  • 31% of TikTok users can’t be found on Snapchat  
  • 40% of TikTok users can’t be found on Instagram

These are the Features of TikTok’s Automated Creative Optimization

With “Automated Creative Optimization“, you can upload images or videos, write some ad text, and select your call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Our system will then automatically combine your creative assets into multiple ads for your campaign. These ads get continuously explored, evaluated and optimized to find the optimal combination of variables. The system will then present the best creative to your target audience based on the tested combinations.


TikTok has a rationale for its success in advertising. Without some of their key features, the platform wouldn’t be able to compete in the ad market. These are the four main advantages TikTok offers for automated creative optimization: 

No Need for AB Testing: There’s no data or testing needed. Their system automatically creates ad combinations based on pictures, videos, texts, and call-to-action buttons. 

tiktok split testing

Save Time:  Automated ads are expert time savers. Once up and running, no time is spent monitoring or altering the ads based on their performance. If they’re performing well, they’ll receive more impressions; the ones that aren’t successful will simply stop running.

Add Life to Ads: TikTok offers a feature with multiple ads in an ad group. The platform monitors the ad groups’  and will form the best combination for you. The mechanism ensures there is constant new exposure with different additions to keep each ad fresh and engaging. 

Increase Quality Ad Traffic: Instead of searching everywhere for your target market, the platform will help match the target audience and creatives, improving traffic quality

The Platform Utilizes Auction Advertising 

Tiktok ACO

Auction advertising lets advertisers select which ads appear, and determine how much can be earned from them. In an ad auction, advertisers can state the price they’re willing to pay for clicks and impressions that result in engagement. These are a few of the benefits: 

  • Short Timeframes 
  • Delivery at Scale 
  • Fixed Pricing 
  • Always Turned On 
  • Targeted Markets 
  • On Demand Pricing 
  • Flexile Creative Testing

There Are Targeting Capabilities

When it produces advertising, TikTok gathers data from users, and uses it for effective targeting in different marketing campaigns. These are examples of different attributes you can target:

  • Gender: Looking at gender profiles users and see which gender identities are interested in certain products. 
  • Location: Determine where in the world the target audience shops for these products. 
  • Age: Determine the age range interested in the products. 
  • Language: Since TikTok is accessible on a global scale, this determines which languages are being used to communicate. 
  • Carrier: Determines what cell phone carrier is being used, such as Verizon or Sprint. This also helps to profile the target market. 
  • Operating System: Determines which operating system the device is using. This will show how the target market functions with different technology systems. 
  • Custom Audience: Creatives using TikTok are creating their own audiences. Accessing this information tells us where else the ads will be well-received.  
  • Network Type: Identifies the Wi-Fi to which the device is connected, if any.  This adds to the user’s profile. 
  • Interests: TikTok tailors every video to match user interests, and tries to present what they are likely to enjoy. 
  • Device Price: The cost of the device being might give clues about the spending budget of the user. 

Ads are Then Delivered in the Ways Needed 

After all of the above is gathered, the selected advertisements will be published and sent out to the target market. If the target market is women aged 20-25 in California who primarily use an iPhone, the ads will show on the feeds of those in that demographic.     

TikTok Offers Creative Tools

To create content for advertisements, TikTok has advertisers covered with their easy-to-use creative tools. This allows ad communication to work efficiently, to obtain engagement with minimal margin for error. 

These are some of the advantages to the creation kit, making the content and ads easier to use:

  • Save Money: Avoid the need for freelancers or professional video editors to create content. The video toolkit will walk any user through on how to shoot the content they need without compromising quality. 
  • Avoid Copyright Issues: Don’t worry about using music that isn’t allowed. TikTok offers a selection of over 300 free background music tracks without copyright. 
  • Reduce Time:  With the simple process to make a video, there’s no additional time needed for editing the finished product. In fact, some TikTok users have produced content in one take. 

Steps to Create an Ad

  1. Click on the “Campaign” page.
  1. Click on “Create” to start creating your campaign.
  1. Finish selecting your details and objective, then click “Next“.
  1. Toggle the switch on for “Automated Creative Optimization” under the “Creative Type” section in your ad group settings.
  1. Enter the rest of the details for you ad group, then click “Next“.
  1. On your ad settings page, you can start to upload your videos or images.
    1. The more images or video you upload, the more combinations it will create. 
    2. For videos, you can click on “Customize Video Thumbnails” to change the cover image.

Source: TikTok

  1. Add an “Ad Name” or use the default name that appears. 
    1. Click the “Auto Generated” box if you want the system to take care of the naming.

Note: The ad name is only for your reference and is not part of your ad. If you choose to use the default name, the system will use a string of numbers to indicate your ad. If you add an ad name yourself, the system will add a digital suffix to your custom ad name to identify the creatives under the “Automated Creative Optimization“.

  1. Enter your ad text.
    1. You can click “Add” to enter up to five different text options to test.

Note: “Ad Text” will be shown to your audience as part of the ad. We support 12-80 English characters (6-50 Chinese / Japanese characters). The display of the text will vary according to different models and operating systems, and long text can be at risk for not showing completely on the screen display. Emojis, “{ }” and “#” cannot appear in the ad text. Punctuations and spaces will also occupy characters.

  1. Select your call-to-action text.
    1. You can click “Add” to enter up to three different text options to test.

Note: Call-to-Action” buttons will be part of your ad. You can choose the call to action text based on what you want people to do when they see your ad. There are currently 7 options to be chosen from, “Download Now“, “Learn More“, “Shop Now“, “Sign Up“, “Contact Us“, “Apply Now” and “Book Now“.

10. Preview your ads.

Note: The ad preview box on the right will start to combine your different media with the text and call to action text. You can scroll through the ads to view how each combination looks on different apps and placements.

11. Once you have created your ads, click “Submit“.

Viewing the Creative Combinations

After you’ve submitted your ad using “Automated Creative Optimization”, you can your find your creative combinations by doing the following: 
  1. Click on the “Campaign” page.
  1. Click on the “Ad Group” tab.
  1. Find the name of your ad group. You can look for the ones with a folder icon next to it. image.png
  1. Click the ad group to view all the combinations of creative.
Note: All the creative media you used in your ad using “Automated Creative Optimization” will need to be reviewed first before the ad combination is created. Only media that passed review will become components in your creative combinations.

Understanding the Performance of the Creative Combinations

Your ad creative combinations will display the following status at the ad level based on its performance: “Exploring“, “Best“, “Good“, “Poor“. 
New creative combinations will automatically enter the “Exploring” state, and the system will begin an uninterrupted dynamic model assessment of all creative combinations simultaneously. 
Good creative combinations will show as “Best” and automatically get more ad impressions. 
Average performing ad creative combinations will show as “Good“.
Poorly performing ad creative combinations will automatically stop after running for a while, the status will show as “Poor“.
You can navigate to an Automated Creative, click on “Report” to view the image/video, text, call-to-action text and related delivery data for that specific combination. 

Best Practices in Automated Creative Optimization

Here are some of our recommendations for creative, delivery, and optimization to help you get the most out of this awesome tool:
  1. Creative
  • Prepare sufficient images, videos, texts, and button texts for creating ads.
  • The number of ad creative combinations should be no less than 10.
  • Use previous media and texts that have been historically high-performing.
  1. Delivery
  • Set a sufficient budget and give enough time for “Automated Creative Optimization” to work.
  • Place a daily budget of no less than 10 times the target cost per acquisition (CPA). 
  • Run your ads for no less than 7 days.
  1. Optimization
  • The system will optimize your creative automatically. Do not change anything manually.
  • If the results are not as expected after the exploring stage, you can try changing the media and texts used in the creative to generate new combinations. This will restart the exploring stage.


  • There is no on/off options at the ad level that turns off the “Automated Creative Optimization“. This is to ensure that it continuously explores, evaluates, optimizes, calculates, and delivers the best creative combinations automatically. 
  • You can generate new creative combinations by updating the pictures, videos, texts, and call-to-action buttons. 
  • To suspend “Automated Creative Optimization“, you must manually pause the ad group.
  • When you create an ad group, you can choose to create an Automated Creative Optimization ad group or a regular ad group. Once the ad group is created, you can not change the ad group from one to the other.