What is TikTok Ads and How to Optimize It

Written by Emma Natasha
May 12, 2022

What was once not a big thing back in 2019, but is now one of the biggest social media? Say hello to TikTok! Starting off as a simple video-sharing platform, TikTok has now grown rapidly with over 1 billion monthly active users, according to this statistic. It does not stop there, TikTok was the most downloaded non-game app in the first six months of 2021, with 383 million installations from January to June of that year alone. With more and more people spending their time on TikTok, you should not miss the business opportunity that TikTok Ads offers. 

If you are clueless about TikTok Ads, here is what you need to know about it, including how to best optimize it.

About TikTok Ads

TikTok Ads provides a powerful, yet simple-to-use feature for businesses and brands to communicate to millions of people worldwide, including targeting, ad creation, insight reports, and ads management systems. TikTok’s ad platform, like Instagram Ads Manager, automates the process of developing, deploying, and optimizing your ads. In addition, similar to Facebook and Instagram’s Ad Manager, you may set up “Custom Audiences” and “Lookalike Audiences” to target new audiences who are similar to your current ones. You can also categorize your audience based on gender, region, age, hobbies, and other parameters. Currently, TikTok Ads offers two budget options: daily and lifetime, which you can choose and change preference at any time during your ad campaign. 

There are five types of TikTok Ads available to choose: In-Feed Ads,  TopView, Brand Takeover, Branded Hashtag Challenge, and Branded Effects. 

In-Feed Ads

In-Feed Ads are video ads that run between user videos as users navigate through their For You page. This looks a lot like a sponsored story you typically see on Instagram. Despite the fact that the ideal duration is only 15 seconds, In-Feed ads can last up to 60 seconds, playing with sound, and look a lot like organic TikTok videos. TikTok’s In-Feed ads are available for purchase directly via TikTok’s Ad Manager and may be used for many campaign objectives. 

One general strategy to maximize In-Feed Ads is creating vertical In-Feed video ads to ensure that your key visual elements are not blocked by TikTok’s user interface overlay. In-Feed Ads, like any other video on your For You Page, may be easily scrolled over or ignored. You only have around 2-3 seconds to capture your audience’s attention before they scroll away, therefore add repeated call-to-actions and keep your video between 9 and 15 seconds long before they scroll away!


TopView Ads are the first in-feed post after users open the app in their first 3 seconds. This is why TikTok users aren’t swamped with ads as soon as they start the app. It appears at the top of the For You page with up to 60 seconds of full-screen video with auto-play and sound. TopView is ideal for brand awareness campaigns because of its exceptionally broad reach and a high number of impressions. Brands could take advantage of this recognizable placement by creating an engaging video that has a lasting impact. Similar to In-Feed Ads, brands should maximize their call-to-actions in the first few seconds of their captivating content, so users can grasp the main objective of the ad. 

Brand Takeover

When users launch TikTok app, Brand Takeover Ads appear. It presents a full-screen video to your targeted users. Brand Takeover ads are quick and to-the-point, consisting of a 3-second image or a 3-5-second video.  These ads not only appear when users open TikTok, but they can also appear on the For You page as a clickable link leading users to a landing page or a Hashtag Challenge. TikTok. TikTok ensures that users view no more than one Brand Takeover each day. 

With Brand Takeover Ads, you can anticipate a large number of people to see your content with very few competitors. While Brand Takeover may seem like the most tempting type of Ads TikTok offers, its pricing is quite expensive. So, if you are just starting out a business with little budget, maybe this option can be saved for later use, but not as your primary choice. Yet, if your main objective is to amplify the brand awareness of your rather renowned business, give this a go.

Branded Hashtag Challenge

The Branded Hashtag Challenge is a mode of engaging audiences by promoting content co-creation. This form of ad is similar to TikTok’s common hashtag trends and challenges. Branded Hashtag Challenges provide brands with both organic and sponsored prospects. When a user clicks on a sponsored hashtag, they are directed to a TikTok landing page that includes a business logo, a link to their website, a short overview of the challenge, and popular videos featuring the hashtag.

Similar to Brand Takeover, Branded Hashtag Challenge can cost you a lot, considering the fact that it has a dedicated hashtag featured by TikTok to attract users with your specific target audience. For established businesses, this premium type of Ad is a terrific way to encourage user-generated content and boost brand exposure.

Branded Effect

TikTok users love to get creative in making videos, such as applying various filters and effects, and there is a specific Ads type facilitating this called Branded Effect. TikTok’s branded effects enable brands to craft their own filters on the app, such as shareable stickers and AR filters. These effects can also be used in solo commercials or combined with your Branded Hashtag Challenge to provide a more immersive ad experience.

You need to have solid visual aspects if you want to use this type of Ad; the more interesting your AR Filters or effects are, the more users are going to use them. Branded Effects is available for up to 10 days at a time and is an excellent way to entice users to interact with your brand directly. The value of Branded Effects rests in the fact that they go beyond merely being an advertisement: your audience becomes engaged and interested, resulting in significantly higher levels of engagement. However, note that this is no less pricey than Branded Hashtag Challenge and Brand Takeover Ads.

Key Takeaway

TikTok provides marketers with an optimal solution to engage with a younger demographic, since over 60% of TikTok’s user-base is Generation Z, although more Millennials and older people are beginning to use this social media too. TikTok helps businesses in interacting with this audience by providing different ad formats and easily integrating with organic content while offering effective output for brands. There is so much more to explore about TikTok Ads, but most importantly, your brand’s creativity is one of the most crucial factors to consider when developing TikTok Ads. Finding the ideal creative involves trial and error until it gets the user’s attention. Good luck!

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