How to Optimize Paid TikTok Campaigns

How to Optimize Paid TikTok Campaigns

Since 2018 TikTok has amassed over 500 million active users worldwide and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. In 2020 the app had over 800 million downloads within a single year and now it’s the world’s fastest-growing social media platform. Whether you’re watching a 15 second or 60-second clip, influencers, brand ambassadors, and businesses have begun to understand how a few short seconds can capture a customer’s attention. Once you have the customer’s attention, what are you going to do with it? Like most social media platforms, TikTok provides a unique ability for advertisers and marketers to get their ads in front of their target audience using TikTok Ads to create and optimize paid TikTok campaigns. As TikTok continues to gain popularity, build followers, and drive engagement in light of the pandemic, we’re seeing it become the premier platform for brands to tell their stories.


One of TikTok’s greatest strengths is the visual appeal that puts control in the hands of the user to edit and share their videos by using various effects, popular music clips, audio from their favorite TV show characters, and more. For the marketing world, the possibilities for creation are endless. The advanced target and creation features make the TikTok Ads platform unlike any other social advertising tool because you promote production in original and visually stunning campaigns. Investing your time and efforts into TikTok advertising doesn’t come just from creating a fun campaign, but understanding how to create ads that are creative, engaging, and support campaign goals. We’re going to discuss how to optimize your TikTok campaigns to get the most bang for your buck.

Change How You Create Ads

Change How You Create Ads

Using the TikTok Ads platform has changed the way marketers create ads because TikTok doesn’t play by the traditional ad creation approach. The platform focuses on the audiences and storytelling, so using a static image and a caption isn’t going to be the go-to method for creating ads on this platform. It’s time to consider what is right for the TikTok platform which means getting creative and paying attention to what is trending and relevant. No single month of popular content is the same on TikTok because original and reactionary content is rewarded and engaged with highly on the platform. Whether you’re thinking about hopping on a hashtag challenge, partnering with an influencer, or using a sound effect, TikTok is going to challenge your marketing tactics to be out of the box.

8 Ways to Optimize Paid TikTok Campaigns

Now that your wheels are spinning and you are changing how you view the ad creation process, it’s time to talk optimization. Optimizing is a term that marketers know all too well because it allows them to get the most ROI out of a digital campaign. In order to help drive brand performance and get the maximum return on your ad dollars, being strategic about how you create and market your TikTok ads is crucial to its success. Below you’ll find eight ways you can optimize your paid TikTok campaigns that blend the familiar skills of strategy and creativity.

Utilize Trends

Monitoring and keeping your eye on trending content can feel tedious since it is always changing. But in the world of TikTok, trends equal viral content. Whether it was the savage dance challenge, roller-skating, or charcuterie boards, you can always count on TikTok content to be random. Adapting your ads to include the latest trends like music, effects, dance, or challenges will give you a leg up on your competition and improve the visibility of your ad. Part of identifying the trends best suited for your ad comes from knowing your target audience and understanding what type of content your prospective customer will engage with.

Use a Creative Visual or Engaging Hook

Using creative visuals or an engaging hook will help keep viewers interested in your Ad. The TikTok audience can range from ages 13-40 and the videos can play on multiple social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat so the scope of success is endless! Discover what motivates your audience and incorporate that into the ad. We’ve seen many successful campaigns use high-quality visuals, wordsmithing trending catchphrases, or even putting a playful spin on a song. For example, in 2019 Chipotle used TikTok to showcase a behind-the-scenes look at their latest menu item (quesadillas) including a new twist on the smash hit “Senorita” by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes.

@chipotleTesting, testing (new quesadilla in Cleveland and Indianapolis) 👀 #foryou #chipotle♬ QUESADILLA PARODY – Kyle Shaffer

Create Ads Using Vertical Videos

Video ratio is everything for ad campaigns. The vertical platform was designed to maximize user and brand experience so creating ads with the correct specifications is important to your campaign. Make sure you are planning to create and film your ad with the ratio aspects so your ad doesn’t get rejected by the Ads Manager. In addition, focusing on creating the post vertically can allow for creative branding elements like text or product images. Here are a few examples of ad specs to get you started!

Specs for the ad video: 

  • The recommended aspect ratio is 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9. 
  • Resolution options include 720 x 1280 px,  640 x 640 px, and 1280 x 720 px. 
  • You can use MP4, MPEG, MOV, or AVI files in your ads. 
  • Video duration should be between 5 and 16 seconds. 
  • The video file size should be less than 500 MB. 

Specs for the ad display image: 

  • The prescribed aspect ratio is 1:1.
  • File size is less than 50 KB.
  • File type should be PNG, JPEG, or JPG.

Specs for brand/app names: 

  • TikTok allows 2-20 English characters for displaying the brand name on ads. 
  • Do not include Emojis. 
  • Punctuation marks and spaces are also counted as characters. 
  • App names should have 4-40 English characters. 
  • The name character limit varies with language, operating system, and device model.

Get Musical

One of the strengths of TikTok is that it’s a musical platform where most of the videos play with the sound automatically “on” which is a signature feature for content creators. If you’re unfamiliar or unaccustomed to creating video ads featuring music, sound effects, or voiceovers, this is a great opportunity to get creative. Matching your videos with the right music and sound can help increase your engagement and bring more attention to your ad. TikTok users love clever and fun videos so take the time to write out an ad strategy that will allow you to showcase more of your brand personality and tone.

Keep it Short and Simple

Ads have become a part of our daily online experience. Every social platform and streaming network has its own set of ads and after a while, we all end up tuning out. This flood of ads means that people’s attention and patience are very short, so TikTok can work to your advantage. Whether you’re creating a 15 second or 60-second ad, you have a very limited time to make an impact and impress the viewers. Be intentional and thoughtful when creating your ad and understand that this is a big show from the minute your ad runs across someone’s feed. The message, story, visuals, and effects all determine if a customer stays engaged or ends up swiping up.

User-generated Content Dominates

User-generated Content Dominates

TikTok would be nothing without the people, brands, marketers, and companies who are putting their best creative feet forward and becoming the face of the latest trends, challenges, and viral moments. As a marketer, your ads are competing with the user-generated content on TikTok so how you position your products, services, business, and brand requires thoughtful content. Collaborating with influencers, interactive content, and hopping onto viral trends requires strategic planning and the ability to act quickly. Remember as you are creating your campaign strategies that what makes TikTok so unique is the people and the bite-sized stories they’re able to tell. 

Don’t Forget to Use Hashtags

Search engine optimization has continued to be a tried and true method for helping ads convert and rank higher in search engines, and TikTok is no exception. Identifying and targeting hashtags using “TikTok SEO” is a great way to help your videos get discovered by new users. Just like with any other social platform you’ll want to use hashtags that are relevant to your business or industry and include them in the post. You can use specific and generic hashtags to target a broad audience and incorporate them into your ad before it’s published. Don’t forget if you’re participating in a challenge or trending topic to include those hashtags so the ad isn’t lost in the feed.

Work With Influencers

Influencers have been the ringleaders of ushering new people into the features, trends, and most viral moments happening on social platforms. As TikTok grows we’re seeing more brands partner and collaborate with top influencers in order to capitalize on their built-in audience and creative content. In a short amount of time, we’ve seen TikTok influencers like Addison Rae make the jump from the platform to music and even spots on popular late-night talk shows. The bankability of influencers is undeniable and choosing the right influencer for your next campaign takes time and research.


Using any of these tips and applying them to your next TikTok ad strategy will greatly improve your optimization efforts and brand awareness on the platform. Now that we’ve broken down how you can optimize your ads, it’s time to start creating your ads on TikTok!

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