How do TikTok Ads Work for Brands?

TikTok ads can work for your brand, but should they? 

If you’re considering venturing into the world of TikTok ads for your brand or business, there are a few things you should consider before taking that leap. 

From driving traffic to your website and converting more sales, to launching a new product or event, whatever your goals, TikTok offers a host of valuable advertising tools for brands willing to get a little creative and venture into somewhat unchartered territory. 

Before you jump in and try to take TikTok by storm, you should first play around with the platform as a user. If you want to craft effective ads on the platform, it’s crucial to understand what content works and how people are using the platform.

Getting started with TikTok ads

The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for a TikTok For Business account. Don’t stress here or get overwhelmed. While you may be hesitant or unfamiliar with TikTok as a platform, its advertising platform is pretty much in line with most other social media platforms.  

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Types of TikTok ads

Those of you familiar with Instagram Ads Manager, will take to TikTok ads with relative ease. Every step in creating your ad is fairly straightforward, with the platform automating much of the leg work for you. 

While you may be used to a multitude of ad types on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, TIkTok offers just five types of ads:

  • Brand takeover
  • TopView
  • In-feed ads
  • Branded effects
  • Branded hashtag challenges 

TikTok ads: Brand Takeover 

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If you’ve ever used TiKTok before, there’s a high chance you’ve opened the app and been greeted by a full-screen ad. That’s a Brand Takeover ad. 

Brand Takeover ads are a great option for businesses looking to build brand awareness and drive sales. 

Where do Brand Takeover ads appear? 

Brand Takeover ads appear when users open the TikTok app and on users’ For You pages (as images, videos, and GIFs).

You can even include clickable links or hashtag challenges in your Brand Takeover ads. It’s important to keep in mind that users won’t see more than one Brand Takeover ad per day.  

Who should use Brand Takeover ads?

Brands with cash to spend who want to grow fast. 

Features of Brand Takeover ads:

  •  Capture user attention through a full-screen visual experience.
  •  Multiple creative format options with static or dynamic display.
  •  Both 3 second JPG and 3-5 second video supported.

TikTok ads: TopView


TopView Ads are similar to Brand Takeovers but with a slight twist. 

Instead of popping up immediately after a user opens the app, TopView ads appear as the first in-feed post at the top of a user’s For You page. Imagine that: an ad type called TopView that appears at the top. 

Where do TopView ads appear?

At the top of the For You page. It’s absolutely prime real estate.

Who should use TopView ads?

Brands looking to capture users’ attention without feeling overly invasive. 

Features of TopView ads:

  •  Leading access to user attention – showcase your brand on TikTok’s most premium real estate.
  •  Up to 60 seconds of full-screen and long-form video, with auto-play and sound.
  •  Distraction-free viewing grabbing 100% user attention.

TikTok Ads: In-feed ads

tiktok ads

You might have guessed it already, but in-feed ads appear, well, in users’ feeds. Think about Instagram stories here. As you tap or swipe through Instagram stories, you’ll see ads in between the stories posted by the people you follow. And that’s essentially how TikTok In-Feed ads work.  

Where do In-Feed ads appear?

Between user videos on the For You page.

Who should use In-Feed ads?

Honestly, everyone. 

Features of In-Feed ads:

  •  Appear in “For You” feed with up to 60-second of auto-play video with sound.
  •  Users can ‘like’, ‘comment’, ‘share’, ‘follow’, ‘shoot videos with the same music’ etc.

TikTok Ads: Branded Effects


Just like Instagram, TikTok offers branded stickers, AR filters, and lenses. These are creative and highly-shareable options for brands looking to engage with their community and get their fans sharing their brand. 

If you have the capacity, creating your own Branded Effects is a fantastic way to make your brand stand out and turn your fans into brand advocates. 

Keep in mind: Branded Effects only last for 10 days at a time. 

Where do Branded Effects appear?

TikTok users have access to Branded Effects when creating their videos.

Who should use Branded Effects?

Brands looking to have a bit of fun with their fans. 

Features of Branded Effects:

  •  A creative and fun visual experience that engages with the camera-first generation.
  •  Uniting users around the world with visual languages that can span time, place and culture.

TikTok ads: Branded Hashtag Challenges

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Who doesn’t love a good challenge? In the last few years, social media challenges have become a staple of many platforms, and this couldn’t be more true for TikTok.

While you may think that most of these challenges start organically, gathering steam on their own, you couldn’t be more wrong. You see, most social media challenges are actually started by brands looking for unique ways to reach large audiences and generate user-created content.  

Where do Branded Hashtag Challenges appear?

Depending on how successful they are, kind of everywhere. 

Who should use Branded Hashtag Challenges?

Brand looking for increased brand awareness and a high level of engagement. 

Features of Branded Hashtag Challenges:

  • Invite all users to participate and create content around your campaign theme, with all UGC (user-generated content) aggregating in the hashtag challenge page.
  •  3 to 6 day package options with supporting media placements, creative guidance and seamless setup.
  •  Average engagement rate of 8.5% through likes, comments and shares.
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Should you be advertising on TikTok?

We know you might be hoping for a simple answer here, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Whether or not you should be advertising on TikTok really comes down to what your brand is trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach. 

While TikTok may have a fairy young audience, this doesn’t mean your brand can make a connection on the platform. Obviously, there are exceptions here. Before you start thinking about investing significant time and money into TikTok, sit down and ask yourself if the platform is right for your brand. 

If curiosity is simply getting the better of you, there’s nothing wrong with dipping your toes in the water and tryin a few ads. 

Keen to learn more about TikTok? Visit our TikTok resources page.