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How To Run TikTok Ads: A Next-Gen Way To Promote Your Dropshipping Store

By Diana С.

How to use TikTok ads for the benefit of your business

Are you on TikTok? Even if you’re not, grandpa (kidding 😁), it doesn’t mean you should miss an opportunity to advertise your store on such an insanely fast growing platform! Read on and learn how to start making money with this channel and how to not make your TikTok ads an epic fail! 

What is TikTok? And who uses it?

Before discussing how to run ads on TikTok, let’s talk about what it is. What comes to your mind when you think about TikTok?

Going viral. Dancing. Lip syncing. Music. Hashtag challenges. That’s pretty it!

Sounds fun, huh? That’s what many users around the world thought, too, and now TikTok has over 1 billion users in 150+ countries. Are you going to miss a chance to show your products to such a big community? It’s an outstanding marketing opportunity! Let’s find out together what your first steps in TikTok advertising should be and how to create appealing TikTok ads.

Ok, you may think that for dropshipping, TikTok ads have little use because this social media is popular among school boys and girls. Well, it’s not entirely true. Only 35.5% of the platform’s US audience is aged 10-19.

So, the rest of the users enjoying TikTok’s content are 20+ years old. And these people buy things and can bring your brand considerable revenue. Of course, if you manage your marketing properly!

Here’s what you should keep in mind: TikTok’s audience is young and energetic. So, your potential revenues depend on what kind of products you sell. Gardening equipment? Forget it! Bright clothes with funny prints? Now you’re talking!

Mind, however, that TikTok is one of the most expensive advertising platforms right now. On the other hand, low competition on TikTok is definitely an advantage.

Types of TikTok ads

Here are all the kinds of ads you can run on TikTok’s ad platform and its family of apps. Not all ad types are available in all areas. Check out the TikTok ad specs for all formats further on in this post.

In-feed ads

These are self-service ads you can create yourself through the TikTok Ad Manager interface.

Image ads

Running only in TikTok’s News Feed apps, these include an image, brand or app name, and ad text.

Video ads

Video ads are available for TikTok itself or for the TikTok family of news apps. They run as 5-60 second full-screen videos in the user’s For You feed. Each ad includes a video, an ad display image, brand or app name, and ad text.

Spark ads

Spark ads allow your brand to boost organic content from your own account or from other users. TikTok research shows Spark Ads have a 24% higher completion rate and 142% higher engagement rate than standard In-Feed ads.

Pangle ads

Ads placed through the TikTok Audience Network.

Running only in TikTok’s News Feed apps, these include up to 10 images with unique captains per ad.

Sign up for a TikTok ad account & create a TikTok ad campaign

If you’ve weighed all pros and cons and decided to start advertising on TikTok, just go ahead to the TikTok ads page. If you don’t have an ad account, you can create one right away and fill in some info about yourself and your brand.

Signing up on TikTok

After you’re logged in to your new ad account, behold the almighty dashboard. This is the place where you’re going to create TikTok commercials, as well as launch and observe your marketing campaigns.

TikTok ads manager

Let’s start creating ads on TikTok already! Follow these tiny steps below:

  • Click the Campaign tab at the top
  • Click the Create button
  • Choose a campaign goal

Reach, Traffic, Conversions, Video Views and App Install goals are available. Kinda self-explanatory.

Choosing advertising objective

  • Set a name for your campaign
  • Define the ad campaign budget

Decide between Daily Budget or Lifetime Budget options.

That’s what the TikTok Business Help Center says about the budget: “To ensure that your ads have sufficient budget, the minimum budget at the campaign level is $50 and the minimum budget at the ad group level is $20.” Quite pricey, huh? But definitely worth a shot!

  • Define ad placement

Let’s decide where you’d like your ads to be shown up. You can choose the placements yourself OR let the TikTok system figure out the best placements on its own. There’s a great opportunity to access TikTok’s family of apps, so, besides TikTok, you’ll be able to show your ads in the following apps: NewsRepublic (a news app powered by AI), BuzzVideo (an app for viral and trending videos), Babe (a personalized news app) and some others that may vary depending on your location.

Setting up ad placement

  • Define your target audience

You’re supposed to choose the audience that will see your ad. Choose wisely!

Multiple targeting options are available: age groups (13-17, 18-24, 25-34, etc.), locations, gender, languages, interest & behavior, device. And, what you probably already know, it’s a good idea to focus your marketing efforts on the young audience of TikTok first as they’re representing the majority of users who consume the social media’s content.

Statista insights on this social media users by age

Distribution of TikTok users in the United States as of June 2020, by age group

  • Set up budget settings & optimization options

You can set a budget and schedule, time of day when the ad gets shown, and the optimization goal (unless it is set by default).

  • Name the ad & upload the ad creative

Note that TikTok supports both image and video ads, but it’s highly recommended to go for videos to tune to the vibe of the app.

What’s great is that apparently TikTok seems interested in your success, so they’re ready to help you even if you don’t know anything about video editing. So, you can just click Create and make use of 58 customizable templates to create your own TikTok advertising video with some visual effects and a soundtrack. Read more about how it works here (but don’t expect magic – you still need to upload a nice product video there, it won’t appear by itself).

TikTok ad details

Don’t forget about TikTok ad specs – you need to know them if you want to start advertising at ease. Read about image ads specs here and video ads specs here.

  • Enter the ad text, the link to your site (=product page), and choose a call-to-action button
  • Set up a TikTok pixel and you’re good to go!

This small piece of code is required on your website to help you optimize your campaigns and measure the performance of your ad campaigns. After you’re all set, click Submit to launch the ad.

All the data and numbers related to your ads will be available in the dashboard. Feel free to use different filters (like creative, audience demographics, device type, and placement) to learn how your TikTok ads perform.

Come on, guys: doesn’t this whole ad creation process remind you of something? Don’t we create ads in a similar way on some other platform? 🤔😁 It’s a rhetorical question. Anyway, why reinvent the wheel…

So, we hope now you got the ad creation process. But how do you make your ads stand out and convert TikTok users into customers?

Some creative tips on how not to postpone your success & rock TikTok ads from the beginning

Let’s start with advertising tips TikTok gives you right away in the TikTok Business Help Center.

#1 Mind the visuals

Use high-resolution and bright/contrasting creatives – the visual part is always important when it comes to ads!

#2 Stay buyer-oriented

Make ad creatives that would resonate with your audience and show your product in use (having people in the video/image would be great!).

An example of user-oriented TikTok ads

#3 Experiment

Sometimes, you simply can’t tell why certain ads work and others don’t. That’s why it’s a good idea to test as many creatives as possible: testing will help you discover winning creatives and ads.

#4 Say no to longreads

Do your best to squeeze all purchase-inspiring info in a short ad caption that is easy & fast to read. TikTok is a high-pace social media, so you have to adapt in order to get good results.

#5 Stay in the Safe Zone

Got scared a bit? Nope, there’s nothing to be worried about – just try to keep all the important imagery in the center of the creative (the so called TikTok safe zone template) – it is shown as green space on the screenshot:

Safe Zone explanation

Why? Because there are some more additional elements a TikTok ad consists of, so you need to make sure that the ad’s key message and media are clearly displayed. There are more aspects to take into account though, read more here.

Let’s move on to some additional advice from experienced TikTok advertisers.

#6 Stay vertical

Yes, square videos are accepted for advertising too, but vertical ads have proven to be more effective as they look more native. 9:16 ratio rules on this platform! You can try re-using Instagram Stories ad creatives which also have a 9:16 ratio if you have any.

#7 Get them on the hook

If you’re not showing anything exciting/surprising/eye-catching/shocking right away, you are scrolled down! Pay attention to the beginning of your video ad – it should motivate the viewer to keep watching.

An example of catchy TikTok ads

#8 Choose trendy music

TikTok is initially a musical social media (its former name is – apparently, for a reason). So, sound is very important to keep the audience engaged. That’s why it looks like now you’re in extreme need to use only popular sounds/songs in your TikTok video ads – to get people’s attention and make your ad blend into usual TikToker’s videos.

Don’t forget that pop music differs by location, so some research on pop songs charts won’t hurt!

#9 Be brief

When you create a TikTok ad, it’s possible to make the video up to 60 secs long, but there’s no need for that. TikTokers are used to short content, and experience shows that 10-25 seconds long videos are the most powerful and effective.

An example of brief TikTok ads

The trendier your ad looks, the more results you get. So don’t be lazy and spend some (fun!) time hanging out on TikTok to catch on some trends – music, hashtags, challenges. Try incorporating them into your ads.

#11 Lean on UGC

UGC means user-generated content. Looks like it’s on the rise on all advertising platforms! But no need to beg your customers to create TikTok videos for you – just make sure that your ads feel Tik-Tok native, like generated by a usual user. This will make your ads look more trustworthy and thumb-stopping.

TikTok main message

#12 Think outside the box

Yeah-yeah, we know it’s a pretty worn-out phrase – but it’s true that you shouldn’t keep on doing the same kind of ads you used to do. TikTok is a highly creative platform, so you’re supposed to do your best to surprise and entertain viewers with your ads. Get some ideas right from videos on TikTok and always stay on the lookout for eye-catching video concepts.

That’s it about the tips. Now it’s time to use them and promote your dropshipping store like a pro! Yes, TikTok ads might be costly, but it’s a very promising advertising direction that can help you achieve your business goals, increase brand awareness, gain some skills in advertising and boost your profits!

By Diana С.
Diana is a seasoned Internet Marketing Specialist who loves to explore new selling techniques, help customers promote their stores, and share all that experience with you!
1 Comment
Margarita García Paterson 8 months ago

Thank for your service and

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