Advertising on TikTok: what you need to know

By Hide and Seek, 9 September 2021

TikTok Ads

TikTok has been making a lot of noise these past few months. The new social medium by the Chinese company Bitedance is taking over the western market at an impressive rate. TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times so far and was the most downloaded application on the App Store in 2020. Saying that there is a new player in town would be an understatement.

This rapid penetration into the social market means that advertisers need to adapt and start developing some curiosity towards this novel platform. So, here is what you should know about TikTok and what it might mean for your business.

Young and international 

In a very short period of time, TikTok has become the 7th most-used social network in the world with 689 million active users. According to statista, 62% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 29; and according to Adweek, 71% of American Gen Zers use the app. Does it matter? Well, if you’re advertising for retirement homes it probably doesn’t but if you’re selling anything else it does. Why? Because Gen Z, Aka the digital natives, are slowly entering the global workforce and gaining purchasing power by the day. If you still aren’t convinced, here’s a finding that might make you change your mind: According to the same Adweek report, almost half of the users said they bought from a brand they saw on the platform.

TikTok is like no other platform, the feed is composed of a stream of short (60 seconds max) videos made by other users. TikTok users will often tell you that the app is extremely addictive and that it is easy to spend long periods of time scrolling from video to video. In fact, the average TikTok user spends 52 minutes a day on the app.

A statistic that says: 49% of TikTok users reporting buying a product or service they saw on TikTok

Advertising on TikTok

In-feed Video Ads 

As you will see, TikTok offers many different ways to advertise on its platform but in-feed video ads are the most common. In-feed video ads are short video ads that appear on the “for you” page. These ads appear at random moments when the user is scrolling through the feed which makes them blend organically within the rest of the content. 

Brand Takeovers 

The Brand Takeover is a format that enables advertisers to show ads to users before they can access their feeds. This format ensures visibility as the ad takes up the totality of the screen and are shown anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds. 


Topview is very similar to Brand Takeovers with the only difference being the time for which they are shown. While Brand Takeovers only allow the ads to show for a couple of seconds, the Top View format enables advertisers to show ads for an entire minute. Both the Brand Takeover format and the Topview format enable brands to have a  strong visibility and powerful scalability across all users. These formats present CPMs between 6 to 9 euros.

Een voorbeeld van een TikTok brand takeover, te zien als screenshot op een telefoon

Branded Hashtag Challenge (HTC) 

Another interesting way to advertise on TikTok is through something called the branded hashtag challenge. The branded hashtag challenge is not an ad format but rather a social activation created by the advertiser which can be reinforced through paid advertising (e.g. In-feed Ads, Brand Takeovers ect). These social activation models allow brands to engage their audience by making them part of the campaign. Users can use these branded hashtags and create content in response to the branded hashtag challenge either for fun or through an incentive set by the brand (e.g. winning a prize). This strategy not only allows brands to engage users but also enables them to spark organic visibility on the platform.

Een voorbeeld van een hashtag challenge op TikTok


Ten slotte laat TikTok merken hun eigen merkeffecten creëren die gebruikers kunnen gebruiken bij het maken van inhoud. Deze effecten omvatten stickers, AR-filters en lenzen die gebruikers aan hun eigen video’s kunnen toevoegen. Merkeffecten duren 10 dagen.

Tips en best practices


Wees authentiek met uw inhoud. Wees niet opdringerig en probeer op te gaan in je merk terwijl je in lijn blijft met je merkimago. Probeer niet te hard om relevant te zijn door TikTok-trends in uw advertenties te kopiëren. Deze trends duren niet erg lang en gebruikers zullen niet veel waarde halen uit merken die gebruik maken van rages. Vertel uw merkverhaal eerlijk, eenvoudig en creatief.

Influencers zijn een troef

Influencers zijn individuen met een grote aanhang die merken kunnen integreren in hun content. Dit maakt de reclame vaak natuurlijker en betekent dat u wordt blootgesteld aan een zeer betrokken publiek. Influencers zijn zo belangrijk dat de app een service heeft gelanceerd met de naam “Creator Marketplace”, waar merken en influencers kunnen samenwerken.

Muziek is de helft van de reclame

TikTok staat erom bekend geluid een integraal onderdeel te maken van de platformervaring. De app heeft ervoor gezorgd dat verschillende artiesten snel aan populariteit winnen door fragmenten van hun nummers viraal te laten gaan. Gebruikers kunnen fragmenten van nummers of geluiden van andere TikToks gebruiken die ze vervolgens aan hun video’s kunnen toevoegen. Hoewel dit misschien een heel klein aspect lijkt, is het de belangrijkste manier waarop TikTok zich onderscheidt van zijn concurrenten. Adverteerders moeten zich bewust zijn van de geluiden of liedjes die ze in hun advertenties gebruiken, aangezien dit een factor is die de advertentie kan maken of breken. TikTok heeft een tool genaamd ‘Smart Video Soundtrack’ die je video automatisch koppelt aan de beste soundtrack. Het gebruik van deze tool kan leiden tot meer exposure.


TikTok is nieuw, maar digitale advertenties niet. Merken en adverteerders moeten experimenteren om te zien wat voor hen het beste werkt. De advertentiekant van TikTok (ook bekend als TikTok voor bedrijven) is zeer uitgebreid en stelt u in staat uw campagnestatus, uw advertentie-uitgaven en vele andere statistieken zoals CPM, CPC, CPA, CTR, conversies en meer bij te houden. Als u deze statistieken gebruikt en leert van andere succesvolle casestudies, bent u op de goede weg om TikTok voor u te laten werken.

Branded Effects 

Finally, TikTok lets brands create their own branded effects users can use when creating content. These effects include stickers, AR filters, and lenses users can add to their own videos. Branded effects last for 10 days.

Tips and best practices


Be authentic with your content. Don’t be salesy or pushy, try to blend in while staying aligned with your brand image. Don’t try too hard to be relevant by copying TikTok trends in your ads. These trends don’t last very long and users won’t gain much value from brands leveraging fads. Tell your brand story honestly, simply and creatively. 

Influencers are an asset 

Influencers are individuals with a large following who can integrate brands within their content. This often makes the advertising seem more natural and means that you will be exposed to a highly engaged audience. Influencers are such a big deal that the app launched a service called “Creator Marketplace” where brands and influencers can collaborate. 

Music is half of the ad

TikTok is known for making sound an integral part of the platform experience. The app has made several artists rapidly gain popularity by having snippets of their songs go viral. Users can use snippets of songs or sounds from other TikToks that they can then add to their videos. Although this might seem like a very minor aspect, it’s the primary way TikTok differentiates itself from its competitors. Advertisers need to be mindful of the sounds or songs they use in their ads as this is a factor that can make or break the ad. TikTok has a tool called “Smart Video Soundtrack” which automatically  pairs your video with the best soundtrack. Using this tool can lead to more exposure. 


TikTok is new but digital advertising isn’t. Brands and advertisers need to experiment to see what works best for them. The advertising side of TikTok (aka TikTok for business) is very comprehensive and allows you to track your campaign status, your ad spend and many other metrics such as CPM, CPC, CPA, CTR, Conversions and more. If you leverage these metrics and learn from other successful case studies you will be on the right track to make TikTok work for you. 

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