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12 expert TikTok advertising tips for 2024

Published Jan 23 2024 8 minute read Last updated May 30 2024
TikTok advertising tips
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  • Sean Dougherty
    Written by Sean Dougherty

    A copywriter at Funnel, Sean has more than 15 years of experience working in branding and advertising (both agency and client side). He's also a professional voice actor.


Over the past few years, TikTok has emerged as one the great social media giants. Far outpacing the growth of competitors like X, Reddit, and Snapchat, the platform currently boasts more than 1 billion users.

To put this into perspective, that means TikTok reaches roughly 23% of the 5.3 billion internet users worldwide. This includes valuable access to over 150 million American users, nearly half of the country's population. The average user is estimated to spend about 55.8 minutes per day on the platform, highlighting the app's high engagement levels. 

TikTok as an advertising platform

The advertising trajectory of TikTok mirrors its exponential user growth. The platform’s revenue has ballooned from a modest $11 million to a remarkable $3.54 billion within seven years. By 2024, TikTok’s slice of the digital ad spend pie in the United States is projected to be a notable 3.5%.

TikTok's edge in advertising lies beyond its vast user base; it's in the intrinsic way ads are woven into the user experience. Unlike its predecessors, TikTok's ads are subtly integrated, resonating with organic content, largely due to its algorithm’s powerful ability to align ads with user preferences and behaviors. 

Tips from Tom

tomprofile-600x600To successfully navigate advertising on TikTok, we've sought advice from Tom Meulders, a seasoned expert in social advertising and co-founder of Collab Digital. Tom brings a wealth of experience and innovative strategies to the table, helping you unlock the full potential of your TikTok advertising campaigns.

Continue reading for twelve insightful tips from Tom on enhancing your ad performance on TikTok.

Tip 1: Use the campaign objective that best fits your desired result.

Kickstarting your TikTok ad campaign begins with selecting the suitable campaign objective. TikTok gives you three main objective categories to choose from: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. 

  • Awareness: This objective is about growing awareness for your product and reaching an audience that is most likely to view and remember your ad. The 'Reach' objective aims for maximum impressions at an efficient price.
  • Consideration: Consideration focuses on getting people to think about your business and seek more information. It includes 'Traffic' to drive people to a URL, 'Video Views' to maximize video ad plays, and 'Community Interaction' to engage more with your TikTok account.
  • Conversion: The conversion category encourages actions such as product purchases or app installations. It includes objectives like 'Product Sales,' 'Website Conversions' for specific actions on your site, 'Lead Generation' for collecting leads, and 'App Promotion' for app usage and re-engagement.

When selecting your objective, consider what you want to achieve with your campaign and choose the one that aligns best with your goals. For example, if you're launching a new product, 'Awareness' or 'Conversion' would be suitable objectives to consider. 

Tip 2: Consider User generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a key element in TikTok advertising. Tom Meulders highlights its importance: "Be authentic. Preferably use user-generated content in advertisements. Users are not waiting for slick videos and overly commercial expressions." He also recommends partnering with notable users, suggesting, "Collaborate with creators. Add their content to your campaign or advertise from the creators' accounts."

tomprofile-600x600 "Be authentic. Preferably use user-generated content in advertisements." 

UGC's power lies in its authenticity. People tend to trust content made by other users more than branded content. In fact, ads featuring customer photos see higher engagement, as users perceive this content as more genuine and relatable. UGC encourages customer participation and fosters a sense of community, making it a valuable asset for brands. Additionally, collaborating with content creators can provide diverse perspectives and enhance the appeal of your campaign.

Using UGC is about harnessing the creativity and authenticity of your audience and creators to build a more relatable and trustworthy brand image.

Tip 3: Place ads as organic posts - or vice versa

Another effective strategy is to blend the lines between organic content and advertisements. This involves using ad content as part of your organic profile posts or promoting your organic content as paid ads.

Initially, you might think that a robust TikTok profile is essential to run effective ads. However, as Tom Meulders points out, this isn't necessarily the case. He explains, "You don't need a TikTok profile to run ads. If you want to fill your profile, you can also directly post advertised content on your profile." This method allows businesses that might not have a large following or regular content on TikTok to still engage with the platform's audience through strategic advertising.


1st Drop | Meet the new Oxblood Red Bold Case, a limited edition that blends classic elegance and bold style.

♬ original sound - Nudient

Nudient posted this video as a organic post as well as used it as an ad.

The reverse approach — promoting organic content as Spark Ads — is equally impactful. The Spark Ads feature enables you to leverage your most successful organic posts by boosting their visibility beyond your existing followers. This is particularly beneficial for content that has already proven to resonate well with your audience, extending its reach and enhancing engagement. On a platform with hazy boundaries between organic and promotional content, blurring those lines can be a powerful tool for amplifying your brand message and connecting with your target audience.

Tip 4: Use the full screen and add music/sound to fully grab attention

Fully utilizing the screen space and incorporating sound are key tactics to engage TikTok audience's effectively. TikTok ads are primarily full-screen, offering a distraction-free environment for your content to shine. This format not only allows for creative expression but ensures that viewers focus entirely on your ad .

Adding music or sound to your TikTok ads can dramatically enhance their impact. Research suggests that custom-made music can significantly boost brand recognition and recall, with unrecognizable, custom music achieving up to 34% higher brand recognition and 78% higher aided recall compared to familiar tunes. Furthermore, TikTok content featuring original audio has shown to result in a 52% increase in awareness compared to ads using well-known tracks. This suggests that unique audio elements help your ad to stand out and become more closely associated with your brand .

Voiceovers also play a pivotal role in TikTok ads, offering higher recall and recognition than other audio formats. Ads incorporating voiceover audio have been shown to drive 71% higher recognition than those with ASMR audio. This indicates the power of voice in creating a memorable and effective ad experience .

Tip 5: Test different audiences

Testing different audiences is a crucial aspect of optimizing your TikTok advertising campaigns. Meulders recommends, "Test with lookalike audiences in addition to your own custom audiences. Aim for 3 to 5 unique audiences per campaign with 2 to 3 unique creations per group." This tactic helps identify which audience segments are most responsive to your ads.

"Test with lookalike audiences in additomprofile-600x600tion to your own custom audiences. Aim for 3 to 5 unique audiences per campaign with 2 to 3 unique creations per group."

Custom audiences are created based on your existing customer data, providing a personalized approach to reach people who have already interacted with your brand. Lookalike audiences, on the other hand, extend your reach by targeting new users who share similar characteristics with your current audience. This method is beneficial for expanding your customer base.

Aiming for 3 to 5 unique audiences per campaign allows for a comprehensive understanding of different market segments. Meanwhile, creating 2 to 3 unique ad variations for each group helps in identifying the most effective messaging and creative strategies for each audience segment.

tiktok ads

Some TikTok ads examples. Flattered shows the product front and centre in the ad. Levi's does the same, while also showing their logo for branding purposes. Adidas takes another approach, using storytelling and specific lighting to catch attention.

Tip 6: Don't just repurpose your Instagram video ads

While it might seem convenient to repurpose content from other social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube, it's important to remember that TikTok has its own unique culture and audience behavior. What resonates on Instagram or YouTube might not have the same impact on TikTok.

TikTok's user base is highly engaged with content that is authentic, creative, and often less polished. The platform encourages spontaneity and originality, traits that are not always the focus in content created for other platforms.  For instance, TikTok users often appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at brands and products, or humorous and relatable content that reflects their own experiences. This can be contrasted with the more curated and aspirational content often seen on Instagram.

To maximize engagement on TikTok, focus on creating content that aligns with the platform's distinct style. This might include leveraging TikTok's various features like filters, effects, and music. Additionally, consider the storytelling aspect and how your content can be adapted to the short, engaging format preferred by TikTok users.

Tip 7: Don't make changes too quickly

Patience is key when it comes to optimizing TikTok ad campaigns. As Meulders advises, "Give the campaign some time after starting. TikTok itself indicates a minimum of 1 day or 50 conversions (events) before making adjustments." This guidance is will allow your campaign to gather enough data to provide meaningful insights.

Rushing to make changes can prevent you from seeing the true potential of your strategies. TikTok's algorithm, like many digital ad platforms, goes through a learning phase where it optimizes ad delivery based on initial user interactions. Making early changes can disrupt this process, leading to skewed results and potentially less effective optimization.

It's recommended to let your campaign run for at least a day or wait until it achieves a significant number of conversions or interactions before evaluating its performance. This period allows the algorithm to adjust and optimize ad delivery based on actual user behavior and interaction patterns.

Tip 8: Use the TikTok pixel on your website

Implementing the TikTok Pixel on your website is essential for tracking conversions and user behavior linked to your TikTok ads. The TikTok Pixel is a small piece of code that provides valuable insights into how users interact with your website after viewing your ads, enabling more targeted and effective marketing strategies. For example, you can track conversions, page views, and user behavior such as add-to-cart or sign-ups.

The Pixel also facilitates the creation of retargeting lists and audience segmentation, improving the personalization and relevance of your ads to potential customers. 

Tip 9: Find inspiration in TikTok's Creative Center

Meulders suggests leveraging the wealth of resources in TikTok's own advertisement library. He says, "Use TikTok's creative center for inspiration. Like the top ads per country and industry," and points out the center's showcase of trending hashtags, music, and creators. This platform offers a deep dive into what's currently popular and effective, helping you align your ad content with the latest trends, audience preferences, and tiktok ad formats. ad creative

For direct access to these resources, explore the Top Ads and Trending Elements on TikTok's Creative Center. tiktok ads manager ad group

Tip 10: Don't try to create the ultimate TikTok ad

The pursuit of the perfect TikTok ad should be replaced with a strategy of creating and testing multiple ads. Data-driven marketing thrives on experimentation and learning from the results. By testing various ad formats, messaging, and creative elements, you can gather valuable data to understand what resonates with your audience. This iterative process allows for continuous improvement and adaptation of your advertising strategies, ensuring more effective campaigns over time.

Tip 11: Ask for feedback from TikTok users

Seeking feedback directly from TikTok users is a valuable strategy for enhancing your ad campaigns. Engage with your audience through comments, polls, or direct messages to gather their opinions and suggestions. This approach not only helps in fine-tuning your content but also fosters a sense of community and involvement among users. User feedback can provide unique insights that are not always apparent from quantitative data, allowing you to adjust your strategies based on real user preferences and experiences.

Tip 12: Track your ad spend and measure success

Keeping track of your advertising expenditure and closely monitoring the results of your campaigns is crucial in any form of advertising. Ad spend tracking involves comparing your actual spending against your budgeted amounts. Look at metrics such as cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), and cost-per-impression (CPM) to evaluate the effectiveness of your ad campaigns in relation to your financial investment. 

Effective ad spend tracking helps in maintaining budget discipline, enabling you to make informed decisions on where and how much to invest in future campaigns. For a comprehensive understanding of why ad spend tracking is a must for every digital marketer and how to effectively manage it, read more in Funnel’s detailed blog post on ad spend tracking.

TikTok marketing: organic vs. paid

While TikTok ads provide a powerful tool for reaching a targeted audience, don't underestimate the potential of organic content. Building an organic presence on TikTok involves consistently creating engaging, authentic videos that align with the platform's trends and culture.

Here's a quick comparison:

Organic TikTok

  • Pros: Free to implement, builds brand loyalty over time, fosters community engagement.
  • Cons: Growth can be slower, success relies on understanding the platform's nuanced algorithm and audience preferences.

TikTok Ads

  • Pros: Precision targeting, faster reach and results, access to analytics and insights.
  • Cons: Requires budget allocation, can be perceived as less authentic if not done well.

The best strategy: a hybrid approach

Ultimately, the most effective approach is often a combination of organic and paid strategies. Organic content helps establish your brand voice and build a dedicated following. TikTok ads amplify your best performing organic content, introduce your brand to new audiences, and drive specific conversions.

Whether you're a smaller business with a limited budget or a large corporation seeking maximum reach, understanding both organic and paid options within TikTok empowers you to tailor a strategy that meets your unique marketing goals.

Hitting the trend in stride

In order to run successful TikTok marketing, you need to be authentic. That means remaining true to yourself as a brand, and true to the style of the platform. In the fast-moving world of the TikTok feed, obvious ads are swiped away in a millisecond. However, ads and content that resonate with your audience in that particular moment stand a much greater chance for being consumed. 

By following these twelve tips, you should be on your way toward TikTok advertising success. 

Disclaimer: The featured image for this article was created using generative AI.

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