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How to Create a TikTok App Advertising Campaign

Tips for Creating Successful Campaigns

TikTok offers mobile app marketers both high volume and high-quality sources of advertising traffic through App Advertising. Advertising allows users to install your app directly from your ad. Based on where your ad appears, any original content may be added to, dropped, or modified during the ad serving process. TikTok App Advertising does this to help make sure that users get a great experience from your ad, no matter when and where they see it.

Here’s how you can get started creating a TikTok App Advertising Campaign for your next mobile app or game launch: You can create mobile app advertising through the Advertising Manager or a TikTok Marketing Partner, like us, who can help you build and optimize your advertising as well as to measure their success.


How to Create a TikTok App Advertising Campaign


  1. Make sure you’re logged into an ad account that has the right permissions to run a mobile app install.
  1. Select Create Ad from the top right corner of the Advertising Manager.
  1. Select your objective.
  • Mobile App Installs: If you want people to install an app, select the advertising objective.
  • Mobile App Engagement: If you want people to open your app, select the Traffic objective. If you want people to take a specific action in your app, like make a purchase or achieve a new level in a game, select the Conversions objective.
  1. Select your app from the drop-down menu under the App section.

Note: You have to register the app for it to appear in the drop-down menu. TikTok recommends that you always register an app before running advertising for it, but you can still run advertising for unregistered apps simply by entering the URL to the App Store or Google Play store.

  1. Choose your target audience in the Audience section of the Ad Set level. Learn more about targeting your advertising to audiences.
  1. Set your budget and choose when your ad will run under the Budget & Schedule section at the Ad Set level. Learn more about how TikTok spends your budget.
  1. Under the Show Advanced Options section, choose your bidding type.
  • Automatic Bidding: Lets TikTok set a bid that will optimize delivery for your ad.
  • Manual bidding: This Lets you set your own cost per mobile app installs.
  1. Click Next to finish with the Ad Set level.
  1. At the Ad level, choose the creative format for your ad.

You can choose from 3 different ad formats to showcase your ad’s creative. A carousel, single image or video, or collection. Learn more about creative formats.

  1. Connect a TikTok Page and Instagram account to your ad, choose a headline and write in your ad copy. You can preview your changes on the right-hand side.
  1. Click Confirm to finalize your ad.

All finalized advertising goes through a review process to ensure it adheres to TikTok’s Advertising Policies. If approved, your advertising will start delivering on the dates you specified above. You can monitor the progress of your ad’s review in Advertising Manager.

How to Optimize TikTok App Advertising

TikTok’s App Advertising does take some campaign management tasks away from user acquisition managers, but there are still many areas within your control that can be optimized.

Here’s a list of best practices for optimizing App Advertising, based on what’s working now for our clients. (For a more in-depth review of app ad testing best practices, visit our AB Testing guide.)

Targeting and Budgeting

  • Use target CPA (tCPA). If you haven’t tested this bidding strategy yet, start now. We’ve found it to be a very efficient use of ad budget.
  • Use target return on ad spend (tROAS). This feature isn’t out just yet, but it will be available in June for App Advertising on iOS and Android. Once it’s live, you’ll be able to, say, specify that you want TikTok to find users who will spend three times what it cost you to acquire them. What advertiser wouldn’t want to do that?
  • Set your daily budget caps at least 50X target of CPI or 10X of target CPA.
  • Don’t change target CPI/CPA bids by more than 20% in 24 hours until your campaign is generating 20-30 targeted in-app events per day.
  • Target CPI campaigns’ bids should start at least $4-5, even if your CPI goal is lower.
  • Target CPA campaigns’ bids should start at least 20-30% higher than the goal.
  • Don’t wait until your app has launched to start building your user base: Pre-launch campaigns are available, and they work.


  • Be generous with creative assets. TikTok App Advertising works best with a variety of creative – creative formats and messaging approaches. The algorithm will figure out how to mix and match your images, text, and videos… but you’ve got to give it enough assets to find the ideal combination.
  • Always include video creative. We’ve found that if a campaign hasn’t been using videos, adding just two videos to their creative asset mix can increase the campaign’s conversions by 25%. So yes, maybe videos are a bit more expensive. Maybe they do take a bit longer to create. But they punch above their weight when it comes to ROAS. And besides – if you don’t want to make videos, we can do it for you.
  • When you get your videos made, make sure they can “flex,” as in that they can appear in different views and devices and still look good.
  • Think beyond user acquisition. We’re seeing some really nice returns with retention campaigns. If done right, it absolutely pays to advertise to all those people who downloaded your app but then either didn’t use it or never bought from it. They’ve already done the hard part of installing the app – often they just need a little nudge to activate or to make their first purchase.



TikTok App Advertising is one of the best tools a user acquisition manager has for growing a user base and monetizing it. If you aren’t squeezing every drop of opportunity out of App Advertising, it’s time to up your game.


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Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.

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