TikTok Advertising Guide for Beginners [2023 Edition]

TikTok Ads
April 23, 2024

It's official: TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social channels in the game. And in case you missed the memo, TikTok hit a major milestone in October of 2021 and has reported that it now has 1 billion active users on the app—a 45% increase since July 2020. As of 2022, TikTok is the 6th most used social media platform.

In this article, we will cover how TikTok Advertising work, which niches do well with TikTok ads, TikTok Advertising formats (and when to use each), and lastly, how much it cost in 2023.

Why Advertise on TikTok?

Despite what you might think, TikTok is not mainly catered to Gen-Zs. One of the strongest growing demographic on TikTok is actually 30-39 year old females, whom have solid acquisition power.

This underrated advertising platform is still a blue ocean opportunity for advertisers. We are seeing some of the cheapest cost per clicks across multiple niches (compared to other ad platforms like Facebook and YouTube), as the competition is currently as low as it can get.

Is My Audience on TikTok?


According to Statista: as of April 2022, 24% percent that made up TikTok's global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years, followed by users aged between 25 and 34 years old.

Statista report on 2022 TikTok Demographics
In 2022, females aged 18-24, and 25-34 make up TikTok's major demographics audience. (Source: Statista)

Evidently, the majority of TikTok’s demographic fall within the young-adult spectrum. This brings us to a very important question to ask yourself: does your target audience belong to this age group?

Another very important thing to consider is: 

Which Niches Work Well with TikTok Advertising?

We all wish there is a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy—heck, that would be every marketer’s dream! But that, my friend, does not exist. 

Based on tests we have conducted with our clients, brands that are in the info-product (for example, online mentorship, coaching, courses) and ecommerce space tend to perform really well when it comes to TikTok advertising.

If you are wondering whether or not TikTok advertising can work for your business, we highly recommend doing some competitor research. Find out whether or not your competitors are running TikTok Advertising, and perform an analysis on how effective these TikTok advertising campaigns are.

There are 2 TikTok ad spy tools you can use to spy on your competitor's ads:

1) TikTok Creative Center: This completely free ad spy tool from TikTok itself is essentially a "TikTok ads library" where you can see the top ads on Tiktok, with filter options by campaign objective, industry, and date.

2) BigSpy: This is a subscription based ad spy tool for all paid networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok).

Watch our video below to see the pros and cons of each TikTok ads spy tool.

TikTok Ad Types

When you choose to advertise on TikTok, you can choose where end-users can view your ad(s) which—of course, has an impact on your ad cost. Depending on what you choose, your self-serve newsfeed may come in any of the following ad types: 

In-feed Ads

These appear in between user videos as you scroll through your For You page. If you do not know what For You page is, picture this: In-feed Ads are identical to the ads you’d see when going through Instagram Stories.

TikTok Ads In feed
Examples of In-feed TikTok Ads (Source: TikTok)

This is where it gets super fun. As you can see on the sample images above, you can be as creative with In-feed Ads as you’d like, include multiple call-to-actions,  and have it run anywhere between 9 to 15 seconds!

Pretty sweet, eh? But just like any other ads out there (well—at least, for now), In-feed Ads are skippable and can be scrolled-past. This leaves you a good 2-3 seconds to really grasp your audience’s attention so make sure your ad(s) are top-notch!

Here’s another important one: do not skimp on the texts!

Imagine the ‘right’ viewer watching your video sound off. What story can you tell?

Linx recommends if:

  • If you want your ads to blend naturally in with the native content feed (versus being totally in-your-face).
  • e-Comm brands — perfect for showing-off products in action
  • Anyone looking to try TikTok advertising  given it’s the easiest to create.

Check out our list of the best TikTok In-feed ad examples

Spark Ads

TikTok Sparks Ads are essentially the organic version of the In-feed Ads that you see on the "For You" Page.

tiktok spark ads example
Example of a TikTok Spark Ad shown on the right side. Compared to organic TikTok videos, Spark Ads have a call-to-action button.

Spark Ads vs. In-Feed Ads: What's the Difference?

Spark Ads are TikTok videos that are initially organically uploaded onto the TikTok platform. Advertisers can take an organic video (from any TikTok Account), and turn it into a Spark Ad by adding a call-to-action button.

Compared to In-Feed Ads, Spark Ads tends to convert a lot better. This is because Spark Ads leverages the power of social proof in the form of organic likes, reactions, and comments.

Spark Ads Best Practices:

Step 1: Create a TikTok for Business Account.

Step 2: Start posting organic TikTok videos.

Step 3: Evaluate which one of your TikTok videos perform the best.

Step 4: Turn your best-performing organic TikTok videos into Sparks Ads. One major benefit of spark ads is the ability to test your creatives (organic TikTok content) for free before running them as an ad.

Linx recommends if:

  • If you want to increase reach with organic TikTok content
  • Anyone who is on a small budget and want to test their organic videos on TikTok's audiences before turning their top videos into a TikTok ad.

Check out our video tutorial below to learn how to setup a Spark Ads campaign on TikTok.

Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Takeover ads are the kind you see upon opening the app that typically run for three to five seconds. These also appear on the For You Page (FYP) on full-screen which may be as a still image, GIFs or videos which may include a clickable link to drive users to a landing page or a hashtag challenge within TikTok. 

brand takeover ads on TikTok
Brand Takeover Ads on TikTok - Source: TikTok

This type of ad is (kinda) exclusive to their category since TikTok only allows a brand to take over a category once per day—meaning, users can only see one brand takeover ad per day. That’s plenty of airtime with little competition!

While this type is super effective, it also comes at a hefty price tag. That said, you may want to leave this for later especially if you are just starting out with TikTok ads.

Linx recommends if:

  • If you are interested in creating a ‘buzz’ for events or getting a TikTok hashtag trending.
  • Looking to drive a large surge in traffic for product launches, etc.
  • If you have a big budget and are looking to maximise ad exposure (with less competition).


Unlike Brand Takeovers which appear upon launching the app, TopView ads are the first in-feed post you see after 3 seconds. This is also considered to be the most  ‘traditional’ of TikTok’s video ads because they feel like commercials.

TopView TikTok Ads Example
TopView Ad on TikTok - Source: TikTok

What’s great about these is that these ads are played full-screen and auto-plays with sound. It also allows advertisers to include a call-to-action button within the ad. 

And while these bad boys feel less ‘organic’ and may interrupt user experience, 71% of TikTokers say TopView ads grab their attention.

Linx recommends if:

  • Companies with HUGE ad budgets — here’s a hint: 7.4 million impressions cost $65,000 per day in 2020 for TopView ads.

Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads

These types of ads are featured at the top of TikTok’s Discover Page. Because it encourages user-generated content, this form of TikTok ad typically results in greater engagement which averages on average 8.5%.

Branded Hashtag Challenge TikTok Ads Example from Simmons
TikTok Advertising Example from Simmons: Branded Hashtag Challenge

In addition, Branded Hashtags Challenges offer both organic and sponsored opportunities for brands, similar to regular hashtag trends and challenges on TikTok. 

Here’s the thing though: while using Branded Hashtag Challenges ads may give you maximum exposure, it may still cause a dent on your bank account. We read that it may cost up to $150,000 per day to be featured  on TikTok’s Discover banner. That being said, partnering with popular TikTokers may be a great alternative to help you achieve the same results at a fraction of the price. 

Linx recommends if:

  • If you want to engage with users and promote more user-generated content.
  • Want to focus on creating more brand awareness and grow engagement among TikTok users.

Branded Effects Ads

This ad type offers branded AR filters, shareable stickers, and lenses to allow you to design an ad that is custom-made by you. 

Think Snapchat and Instagram! Similarly, Branded Effects allow brands to create sharable stickers, filters and special effects on TikTok for self-promotion, and often combine it with other TikTok ads.

Example of Banded Effects Ads on TikTok
Branded Effects TikTok Ads Example - Source: TikTok

Linx recommends if:

  • You’re a brand who’s looking to establish a strong identity on TikTok.
  • You have an awesome creative team and want to show-off their talent in creating digital effects. 
  • Brands looking to maximise the exposure of an existing TikTok promotion.

How Much Do TikTok Advertising Cost?

The answer is: it varies depending on your niche, the TikTok ad type you choose, and your budget.

You can start by setting up a free TikTok Ads account. As other types may be on the pricier side, begin with In-Feed ads and set a budget and schedule that works for you.

At present, TikTok’s minimum campaign budget is $500 and the minimum ad group budget is $20 (this means that you must set your minimum daily budget to at least $20 USD).

If you are (however) a more established brand and are looking to dabble on TikTok ads to see  what returns it can bring you, you have the advantage of choosing whichever ad type because advertising on this platform has been reported to cost anywhere between $50,000 to $120,000, depending on the type and duration.

TikTok Advertising is a massive blue ocean opportunity for advertisers right now. We are noticing some of the lowest ad costs so far (compared to other paid platforms such as Facebook and YouTube).

By the way, we published a TikTok ads case study on our client in the Make-Money-Online niche. Find out how much did TikTok ads cost for our client in 2022 (cost-per-click, CPA).

If you curious about TIkTok ad costs for the information product niche, check out our case study here. (For context, this case study is conducted in June of 2022 for our client in the Online Education space)


Is TikTok Advertising Worth it?

Understanding the average spend or ROI can be a bit of a challenge since TikTok Ads are relatively new. That being said, you may assume that businesses are very well still in the experimentation stage — and while that may be the case, do not let it shoo you away from giving it a go!

We think it is ‘the’ space to watch out for—and dare we say start sooner rather than later.

If you want to find out more about what TikTok Ads could do for your business, jump on a free strategy call with us so we can advise how we can help you grow your company!

Want to learn how to achieve great results with TikTok Ads yourself? Enroll in our TikTok Ads Masterclass where we show you our exact methodology for success with TikTok Advertising.

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