The Complete TikTok Rulebook to Optimizing Ad Campaigns

Francis Gary Viray

Author & Editor

Founder & CEO

Published on: Jul 20, 2021 Updated on: May 21, 2024

TikTok has changed the game in the world of social media. Soon, the TikTok advertising platform will take over the marketing world.

TikTok has become one of the most downloaded apps in the world, including in the Philippines – garnering the acclaim of most downloaded entertainment app for 2020. The app has attracted the interest of and cultivated a diverse audience, that make it an attractive avenue for brands to market and advertise on.

In fact, as a PPC agency ourselves, we have begun endeavoring on understanding this platform to help you and other organizations tap into the rich market of Millennials and Gen Z's on the platform.

The rise of TikTok marketing

Much like any social media platform, TikTok has become a place where your business can reach and connect with potential customers, particularly the younger demographics. If you’re looking to target the younger generation for your brand, engaging in TikTok marketing is something well worth considering.

With a growth rate of over 200% in a user’s daily time in the app, TikTok has spurred an exponential growth in Southeast Asia, alone – a great leverage for your next marketing campaign.

So how does one begin to advertise in TikTok?

TikTok has launched its TikTok for Business platform where brands can now generate campaigns to target a specific audience.

How TikTok Advertising works

For every advertising campaign you create on TikTok, the entire process would look like the following:

Tiktok In-Feed Ads Auction platform heirarchy
Figure 1.1. Auction Platform Heirarchy. Above, you can see the heirarchy for ads delivery on TikTok. Each level on the heirarchy can and should be customized to ensure that your campaigns are optimized for best delivery and performance. Photo by Propelrr.

Through the use of pay-per-click (PPC) best practices, or with the help of data-driven PPC specialists, you can optimize each level of your campaign and ensure success.


The campaign serves as the umbrella of all your ads. In this step, you need to decide on the objectives for your ad. Choose from the following campaign objectives:

TikTok In-Feed Ads Auction objectives at Campaign level
Figure 1.2. Auction Objectives at Campaign Level. Each specific objective has a corresponding goal, KPI, and bid. The table above provides you with a quick overview of these. Photo by Propelrr.

TikTok suggests that your campaign be aligned with your business goals. For example, if you’d like your brand to become more known to your target audience, you can choose “Reach” as your campaign objective.

Under this objective, you can also set the budget of your campaign. TikTok has set the minimum budget for auction ads at USD20 daily. If budget is a concern, you can set the budget that’s more or equal to the sum of your ad group budget.

Best practices for optimizing at Campaign level

To ensure that your In-Feed Ads, you can implement these optimization best practices at the Campaign level:

  • Match your objectives and KPIs. Make sure that you always align your objectives with your KPIs so you can effectively set your measures of success. Are you aiming for more reach, or video views? Or are you looking at redirecting your TikTok audiences to your websites? Answering these questions will help you establish your grounds for measuring campaign performance.
  • Mind your budget. You don’t want to let money just go down the drain without reason, right? That’s why at the Campaign level, it’s important that you consider your bid budget. Are your pockets deep enough to go ‘No limit’ with your budget? If not, you can always set a strict budget and optimize your ad assets so you avoid overspending.

Ad Group 

You can set your campaign’s budget and your target audience under ad groups. TikTok offers wide yet very specific targeting options that can help you optimize your audience, depending on who you want to target. This way, your ad can reach the correct audience which could help generate leads for your brand.

Dimensions for targeting at Ad Group level in TikTok For Business
Figure 1.3. Ad Group Targeting. These are the various dimensions that you can customize at the Ad Group level. Pick and select dimensions that are relevant to your target audience and business, so you can reach the right people with your ads. Photo by Propelrr.

To date, TikTok has over 1 billion users; so targeting can be quite a challenge. Good thing, TikTok’s advertising platform has an Audience Estimation which can give you an idea of the audience size you could potentially reach with your ad.

Best practices for optimizing at Ad Group level

To make the most out of your campaign, it’s recommended that you:

  • Create new Ad Groups weekly. Doing so allows you to test out the performance of varying ad groups and see which ones are working the best. Identifying the “hard-working” ads will then allow you to decide on where to redirect the majority of your bid budget.
  • Multiple Ad Groups. In similar reasoning with creating new Ad Groups weekly, having multiple Ad Groups allows you to compare the performance of various ad assets. By rolling out multiple Ad Groups, you can test more campaigns at the same time, making testing more efficient.
  • Make use of Automated Creative Optimization (ACO). This feature of In-Feed Ads was designed to help you prevent content fatigue in your audiences. With this feature, TikTok will automatically combine your ad elements like CTAs and ad texts, and create different iterations of a single asset.
  • Strategize specifically for your audiences. In-Feed Ads also allows you to program custom and lookalike audiences at the Ad Group. Programming custom and lookalike audiences will allow you to target your ads accurately, as well as help you in remarketing.


This is where you can create the ad itself for your brand. Keep in mind that TikTok is a video platform so it’s best to create videos in dimensions that make it look as native as possible on the platform.

Ideally, these should be shot vertically and optimized for both sound on and sound off playing. You’ll find our best practices for the add asset below. But for starters, you can review these tools to see what’s at your disposal for creative production:

  • Video Template - where you can add your digital assets, text, and company logo
  • Smart Soundtrack - Having a suitable audio background is key on TikTok. So make sure to choose the right background music for your ad.
  • Quick Optimization - Create TikTok-style videos using its openings, visual effects and music
  • Smart Videos - This feature helps you analyze your videos and choose clips and music to help you create a seamless video ad
  • Asset Analytics Tool - this helps you analyze the creative performance of your ads
  • Smart Text - This free TikTok feature can help you to quickly create TikTok-style ad titles and descriptions

In creating your video ads, it’s important to make sure that they’re engaging, regardless if you seek to entertain or inform your audience using them. Think of it this way: Instead of operating on the notion that you’re creating a video ad, think that you’re creating a TikTok video so your ads come out as naturally as possible.

Best practices for optimizing at Ad level

The Ad level is the last step of the process for rolling out In-Feed Ads. At this stage, don’t be too excited to pull the trigger and make sure that you optimize for the best results by:

  • Use at least one to two ads in separate Ad Groups. This is a follow-up to the best practice we established at the Ad Group level. Using more than one ad asset and placing them in separate Ad Groups is aimed at preventing content fatigue from occurring among your audiences. As an added measure, you can also develop contrasting iterations of an ad.
  • Allot a budget and time for a testing phase. Doing so allows you to lessen the costs, especially for ads that you plan to run for long periods of time. Once you set your budget and you go live, give your ad campaign about two to three days to stabilize and observe for any areas you can tweak in your campaigns. Do you see better results in a specific ad group, or particular ad? Then you can resiphon your budget to those assets, and cut your losses by pulling the plug on poorer performing ones.
  • Test out different CTA buttons. In-Feed Ads provide you with over 20 different CTA buttons. And the best way to identify which one works best (apart from its relevance to your goals, of course) is to test them out. Set different CTA buttons per ad, and see which ones yield the most conversions.

General tips for optimizing your TikTok campaigns

All-in-all, the effectiveness of your campaigns rests on four key elements. Be your ads a promotion for a product, service, personal brand, or what-have-you, remember that optimizing your campaigns is easy as ABCD.

General tips for optimizing TikTok In-Feed Ads
Figure 1.4. General Tips for Optimization. When optimizing your In-Feed Ads on TikTok, remember: ABCD. Always keep in mind your audience, bid, creative, and destination. Making sure each of the mentioned elements are optimized, and you'll be reaching your target audiences, now sweat! Photo by Propelrr.

Key Takeaways

TikTok may be a relatively new social media platform, but with how fast it swept audiences and held its grip on their attention, you can bet that advertisers will seek to grab a share of it. Eventually, you may even find your competitors bidding for that share of attention as well.

In establishing and refining your advertising endeavors on TikTok, remember these important points:

  • TikTok is a platform designed for engagement. Apart from ensuring that your ads are aligned with your goals and effectively communicate your message, design it for engagement as well. Create video ads that would entice your audience to not just share, but even Stitch or Duet them.
  • Don’t be afraid to be a bit playful. With the audience of TikTok being so young and diverse. They appreciate brands that don’t take themselves too seriously. Yes, your ads should tell them about your products or services, but inject a little personality in there, too.
  • Make your ads look as natural as possible. Above all, your TikTok audiences value authenticity above all. They’re sick of the contrived product placements and would rather see more down-to-earth and honest promotions for your products or services. Design your ads for that kind of viewing experience, or collaborate with niche influencers to craft user-generated content for your ads.

Is your brand already on TikTok and had some worthwhile results on the platform? Share your experience with us! We’d love to connect with you and discuss how you can take that further step into TikTok advertising.

Feel free to share what you think about these how-to steps with us over on Facebook, X, or LinkedIn.