How To Design TikTok Ads That Convert

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Like every platform that runs ads, TikTok has its own algorithm that regulates its operation. While its ranking algorithm does not serve up the ads with the highest bidder, it takes into account the ad quality and the potential of interaction with users. Knowing how to create and design TikTok ads that are short, compelling, and appealing is a huge plus for any digital marketer.

What is TikTok?

TikTok, one of the most popular social platforms, is a mobile app with short-format videos and built-in editing options. With over 800 million active monthly users in 2020, its popularity is on a steady ascent. Known for a variety of content such as dances, challenges, lip-sync, and funny meme-like videos, TikTok stands out from other platforms with its average engagement rate (of more than 51%) and huge organic reach.

Source: Sensor Tower

How to design ads on TikTok

To publish ads that convert, the ad design will have to effectively conform to the platform’s profile and requirement. Therefore, here are a few tips on creating TikTok ads that convert:

1. Work with templates

One of the easiest ways to design TikTok ads is to begin working with templates. Several apps and platforms like Boosted, Biteable and Bannersnack are useful tools. To this end, you can use the Story Templates available in the app to find a design and customize it right away.

2. Adhere to TikTok ad formats and specs

There are specifications, like video and image sizes and formats suitable for a TikTok advertising video campaign. According to the official guidelines, you can create two types of ads on TikTok: video ads and image ads.

  • Video ads specifications

You can upload a video file that’s up to 500 MB, 5 to 60 seconds in length, and a format of 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9.

Source: TikTok

  • Image ads specifications

When it comes to image ads, there are no specific restrictions regarding the file size. However, TikTok suggests keeping them at a maximum of 500 KB. There are no restrictions for the image resolution either, although ≥1200*628px is recommended.

3. Get inspired by other brands

When in need of some design inspiration, you can reference the ads of lots of companies running successful advertisements on TikTok. While this is a viable creative option, make sure:

  • Your ad is genuine and realistic
  • You don’t make it look like an ad
  • You create for your audience

These will make your ads genuine, appealing, and targeted.

4. Create TikTok video ads

When it comes to the creative part, you need to be brief and clear in conveying your message in under 15 seconds. Regardless of the style you choose, use of templates, or personalized creation, the only thing to keep in mind is that your ad should reach your targeted audience and convert these leads to sales.

  • Sign up for a TikTok ads account

Begin by visiting the TikTok Ads homepage and click Create an Ad. Advertisers on TikTok have to go through a TikTok advertising representative, so you’ll need to fill out a form requesting your business details.

Source: TikTok

After that, a representative will reach out to you within 48 hours to set up your TikTok advertising account.

Note: If you’re in India, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Thailand, you’ll be able to sign up for a TikTok ad account directly.

  • Create a TikTok advertising campaign

Once your TikTok advertising account is ready, you’ll have access to the TikTok Ads dashboard.

Source: TikTok

From the TikTok Ads dashboard, select the Campaign tab from the top of the page and click Create.

Source: TikTok

Next, choose your campaign objective. You can choose from:

  • Traffic
  • Conversions
  • App Install

Source: TikTok

  • Create a TikTok ad group

After setting up your TikTok ad campaign, you’ll need to create an ad group. This is where you choose ad placements, define ad details, choose a target audience, and refine your budget, schedule, bidding method, and delivery type.

Select Placement and Ad Details.

Source: TikTok

Placements are the places where your ads show up. TikTok recommends choosing Automatic Placements so its system optimizes your ad delivery across placements to reach more people.

Choosing Select Placement will let you manually select where your ads will appear. Next, you’ll need to fill out details in the Ad Details section about what it is you’re promoting.

Source: TikTok

Here are the details you’ll need to include:

  • Promotion Type: Depending on the campaign objective you chose for your TikTok ad, you can choose from two promotional types, app install, and website.
  • Display Name: Add a brand or app name to display to your audience.
  • Profile Image: Upload a profile image to be shown to your audience as part of the ad (no more than 50KB, the aspect ratio of 1:1).
  • Category: Choose an ad category that best describes your promotion. This will help TikTok’s advertising optimization model run more effectively.
  • Ad Tags: Add keywords to describe your App/Website (up to 20 tags). TikTok’s algorithm will use the tags to match your ads with the right audience.
  • User Comment: Enabling this feature lets your audience comment on your TikTok ads.
  • Set Creative and Targeting

TikTok has an Automated Creative Optimization feature that will automatically generate combinations of your creative assets (images, videos, ad copy), delivering only the high-performing combinations. After you’ve uploaded your ad creative, it’s time to set a target audience.  TikTok Ads gives you several targeting options so you can reach the perfect audience for your ads.

In TikTok, you can create or exclude a custom audience or lookalike audience, similar to Facebook. You can also target users based on demographics and devices to narrow your audience by age, gender, interests, operating system, and even mobile carrier. There are also demographic and device options for you to narrow your audience, including age, gender, interest, operating system, and carrier targeting.  Again, if you have a list you want to target, you can upload a CSV, TXT, or ZIP file here.

5. Set a Budget and Schedule

After you’ve chosen your objective, you’ll need to set an advertising budget and schedule. Under the Budget & Schedule tab, you can set the budget for your ad group by choosing either Daily Budget or Lifetime Budget from the dropdown.

Source: TikTok

Next, set the duration for your ads. In addition to choosing the dates you want your ad to run, you can specify certain times of the day or week.

Source: TikTok

Now, you need to set the pacing for your budget. Here, you have two options:

  1. The Standard delivery method spaces your budget evenly over the duration of your ad push.
  2. The Accelerated delivery method spends your ad budget as quickly as possible.

Source: TikTok

Retailers can then choose an optimization goal (impressions, clicks, conversions). Bidding will then be fine-tuned based on those goals.

Although different optimizations will be billed in different ways, if you optimize for impressions, for example, you’ll be charged on a CPM basis. When optimizing for clicks, however, you’ll be billed based on CPC.

Charges for conversions are based on an optimization cost per click (oCPC) basis. This ensures that ads are served to the people most likely to convert. For conversion goals, you’ll bid on the expected conversion cost but will pay per click.

If you choose to optimize for conversions, you’ll need to create conversion events in the Library section by tapping on Conversions and setting up conversion tracking with a pixel.

Source: TikTok

  • Set up a TikTok Ad

Creating a TikTok ad is really easy. Just upload your edited videos or images, or design eye-catching ads right in the ads platform with its easy-to-use video creation tool.

  • Add Your Creative

You can choose an image or video ad format on TikTok’s ad platform. To upload your media, you can upload from your computer, add from your library, create a new video, use a video template, or choose the Smart Video feature that analyzes your media to create great videos.

Source: TikTok

  • Publish your ad

Once you’ve got your ad creative uploaded, choose a cover photo and preview your TikTok ad. You’ll also need to enter a name for your ad, add text to your ad, and finally add a call-to-action. When you’re all done, click Submit.

TikTok Advertising Best Practices

  • Review TikTok inspiration studies. Get to know your target audience on TikTok. To create the best native ad content, you have to recognize the best native content.
  • Browse the discover page. Browse TikTok like your target demographic. Use the Discover page to see the trending content.
  • Connect with TikTok influencers. In the User tab, you will be able to scroll through the list of search results to see how many followers each user has and how many videos they have posted. While verified TikTok users have a blue checkmark next to their name, the unverified influencers can still help a brand, assuming they have strong engagement.
  • Hashtag your favorite videos and users. This will help you build a more personalized For You and Following experience. Those will allow you to get inspiration from other advertisers.