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How To Target Your Ideal Customer With TikTok PPC


Imagine a platform teeming with over one billion active users every month, a diverse audience hungry for engaging content. That’s the reality of TikTok, a social media juggernaut where trends explode overnight and brands have the potential to connect with a massive audience. 

But with such a vast user base, cutting through the noise and organically reaching the right people can be daunting.

This is where the magic of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising comes in. Unlike organic marketing, which relies on creating content that resonates with the algorithm, PPC allows you to actively target your ideal customer on TikTok. Instead of waiting for users to discover you, place your brand directly in front of the people most likely to be interested in what you offer.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the world of TikTok PPC. We’ll explore how to identify your ideal customer, unlock the different targeting options available, and set up winning campaigns. 

From crafting ad creatives to optimising your strategy for maximum impact, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to get your ads in front of the right people.

Targeting Your Ideal Customer With TikTok PPC

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of targeting options, it’s crucial to understand who you’re trying to reach. This is where creating a buyer persona for your TikTok campaigns comes in.

A buyer persona is a detailed profile of your ideal customer, encompassing their demographics, psychographics, and online behaviour. By fleshing out this persona, you can tailor your targeting strategies and craft ad creatives that resonate deeply with your audience.

Why is this important? Imagine creating an ad for high-end skincare products targeted towards teenagers. While the product might be fantastic, the audience mismatch would likely result in poor campaign performance.

Here’s a breakdown of what to consider when building your ideal customer profile:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, income, and education level are crucial starting points.
  • Psychographics: Interests, hobbies, values, and lifestyle choices paint a picture of who your ideal customer is beyond basic demographics.
  • Online behaviour: What kind of content do they engage with on TikTok? What devices do they use? Understanding their online habits helps you reach them in the right places.

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Here are some examples of buyer personas for different businesses on TikTok:

  • Sustainable clothing brand: Ideal customer: Eco-conscious Gen Z female (18-24) residing in urban areas, interested in ethical fashion, social activism, and healthy living.
  • Educational app for learning languages: Ideal customer: Busy professional (25-45) seeking to learn a new language for work or travel, interested in self-improvement and online learning platforms.
  • Gaming hardware manufacturer: Ideal customer: Tech-savvy male (13-35) interested in gaming consoles, esports, and PC hardware, actively follows gaming influencers and subscribes to relevant online communities.
Woolworths Shopping Ad on TikTok

Once you have a clear picture of your ideal customer, you’re ready to leverage the power of TikTok’s targeting options.

TikTok PPC Targeting Options

Now that you know who you’re aiming for, let’s explore the tools at your disposal:

  • Demographics: This fundamental layer allows you to target users based on age, gender, location (down to city or zip code), language, and device type (mobile or desktop).
  • Interests: TikTok offers a vast library of pre-defined interest categories. You can target users based on their browsing behaviour, past video interactions, and app usage. For example, target users interested in ‘Beauty & Skincare’ or those who frequently watch videos about ‘Fitness & Wellness’. Additionally, you can create custom audiences based on website visitors or user behaviour on your app.
  • Behaviours: Take targeting a step further by honing in on user actions on the platform. This includes targeting users based on their app usage (frequency, time of day), how they interact with videos (liking, commenting, sharing), or if they’ve previously created content themselves.
  • Lookalike audiences: This powerful feature allows you to expand your reach by creating audiences similar to your existing customer base or those who have interacted with your high-performing videos. By leveraging existing data, you can target users with similar characteristics who are more likely to be receptive to your brand.
  • Custom audiences: Take control by uploading your existing customer email lists or website visitor data to create custom audiences for targeted advertising. This allows you to retarget existing customers or website visitors with personalised ad messages.
TikTok Audience Targeting on Ads Manager

Optimising Your Targeting for Success

Having a diverse toolbox is great, but knowing how to use it effectively is key. Here are some strategies to refine your targeting and maximise your campaign results:

  • Combine targeting options: Don’t be afraid to combine multiple targeting parameters for a more precise audience reach. For example, target users within your ideal age range who are interested in ‘Fitness & Wellness’ and have previously liked videos featuring workout routines.
  • Start broad, refine gradually: When launching a new campaign, it can be helpful to start with broader targeting to gain insights and identify high-performing audience segments. As you collect data, gradually refine your targeting based on campaign performance.
  • A/B testing: A/B testing allows you to compare different targeting parameters and see which combination yields the best results. Test different demographics, interests, and even ad creatives to identify the most effective approach for reaching your ideal customer.
  • Utilise TikTok analytics: Don’t leave valuable data untapped! TikTok Ads Manager offers comprehensive analytics tools that allow you to track key metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions, and cost-per-acquisition (CPA). By analysing this data, you can identify which targeting options are performing best and refine your strategy for continuous optimisation.



‘TikTok’s rapidly growing user base and high engagement make it a great platform for ad investment. To get strong results, focus on authentic, engaging content that resonates with your audience. Staying on top of TikTok trends can turn casual viewers into loyal customers. Use analytics to understand audience behaviour and keep refining your campaigns. Consistent A/B testing is key to finding what works best and maximising performance’– Milena Morganti, PPC Specialist

5 Types Of TikTok Ads

When it comes to crafting your TikTok PPC strategy, understanding the different ad formats available is crucial. Each format offers unique benefits and caters to specific campaign goals. Let’s get into the most popular TikTok ad formats to help you choose the right one for your brand:

1. In-Feed Ads

Imagine your brand’s video seamlessly blending into the organic content users scroll through on their For You Page (FYP). That’s the power of In-Feed Ads. These full-screen video ads appear just like regular TikTok videos, offering a native and engaging experience. Users can like, comment, share, and follow your brand directly within the ad, fostering interaction and brand awareness. 

In-feed ads are highly versatile and can be used to achieve various goals, from driving website traffic to promoting app downloads or showcasing new products.

2. Spark Ads

Why reinvent the wheel when you can leverage existing success? Spark Ads capitalise on the power of organic content by boosting the performance of your top-performing videos or those created by relevant TikTok creators with their permission. 

This allows you to amplify the reach of content that already resonates with your audience and build brand trust through authentic storytelling. Spark Ads seamlessly blend into the user experience, appearing with a ’Promoted’ label to indicate their sponsored nature.

3. TopView Ads

Looking for a guaranteed premium placement for your brand message? Look no further than TopView Ads. These exclusive ads take centre stage, appearing as the first video users see upon opening the TikTok app. TopView Ads offer a brief window (typically 3-6 seconds) of guaranteed video completion, ensuring maximum impact and brand recall. 

While their reach is limited compared to In-Feed Ads, TopView Ads guarantee a captive audience for your high-impact message, making them ideal for product launches, brand awareness campaigns, or promoting exclusive offers.

4. Playable Ads (Limited Availability)

For a truly interactive ad experience, consider Playable Ads (currently only available in select countries). These ads function as mini-games within the TikTok platform, allowing users to engage with your product or service in a more immersive way. 

Playable Ads are a fantastic way to boost engagement, generate excitement, and potentially capture valuable user data based on gameplay interactions.

5. Shopping Ads

Looking to convert your TikTok audience into paying customers? Shopping Ads offer a suite of solutions specifically designed to drive sales. Here’s a breakdown of the three main types:

  • Video shopping ads: These shoppable videos appear on users’ FYPs, allowing them to discover and purchase products directly within the ad.
  • Catalogue listing ads: Promote your entire product catalogue with Catalog Listing Ads. These ads showcase a curated selection of your products, allowing users to browse and explore your offerings.
  • Live shopping ads: Take advantage of the interactive nature of live streaming with Live Shopping Ads. These ads highlight products featured during your TikTok Live stream, allowing viewers to easily purchase them without leaving the platform.
L’Oreal TikTok Shopping Ad

Setting Up A TikTok Ad Campaign In 7 Easy Steps

Now that you know all about targeting and ad formats, let’s get into setting up your first TikTok Ad Campaign!

  1. Create a TikTok Ads Manager account:

The first step is to create a dedicated account for managing your TikTok advertising. Here’s how:

  • Visit the TikTok Ads Manager website
  • Enter your email address.
  • Set a strong password and agree to the terms of service.
  • Click ‘Sign Up’
  • OR: Sign up directly with your existing TikTok account
TikTok Business login landing page
  1. Set & define your campaign objectives:

Before you jump into ad creation, defining your campaign objectives is crucial. What do you hope to achieve with your TikTok ads? Here are some common goals:

  • Brand awareness: Increase brand recognition and reach a wider audience.
  • Consideration: Drive website traffic, app downloads, or video views to generate interest.
  • Conversion: Encourage users to take a specific action, like purchasing or signing up for a service.
  1. Decide on a campaign budget & bidding strategy:

Once you know your goals, it’s time to determine your budget and bidding strategy.

  • Budget: Set a daily or lifetime budget for your campaign. This dictates the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per day or for the entire campaign duration.
  • Bidding strategy: 
    • Cost Cap: With Cost Cap bidding, you set a maximum cost per action (CPA) you’re willing to pay. This strategy helps you achieve your campaign goals while keeping your average cost per action in check.
    • Maximum Delivery: The Maximum Delivery bidding strategy prioritises getting you the most conversions possible within your set campaign budget. This option is ideal if your primary goal is driving a high volume of conversions, and you’re comfortable with some flexibility in your cost per conversion.
  • Bidding options: Choose how you want to pay for your ad impressions.
    • Automatic bidding: TikTok optimises bids for you based on your campaign goals. This is a good option for beginners.
    • Manual bidding: You have more control over your bids, setting a maximum cost per click (CPC), cost per view (CPV), optimised cost per mille (oCPM) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) you’re willing to pay.
TikTok Bidding Control on Ads Manager
  1. Targeting & audience selection:

Here’s where the magic of laser-focused targeting comes in! Utilise the options discussed earlier to define your ideal customer.

Pro tip: Start by creating a narrower audience based on your buyer persona. As your campaign progresses, you can broaden your targeting or create additional ad groups with different targeting parameters to test and optimise performance.

  1. Ad creative development:

This is where your brand story comes to life! Here are some key points for crafting compelling TikTok ad videos:

  • Keep it short & sweet: Attention spans are short – aim for ads between 15-60 seconds.
  • Hook them early: Grab viewers’ attention within the first 3 seconds with a captivating scene, a question, or humour.
  • Native look & feel: Make your ad feel organic and non-intrusive. Maintain high-quality visuals and audio, but avoid overly polished or ‘salesy’ content.
  • Strong call to action (CTA): Tell viewers what you want them to do after watching your ad. Whether it’s visiting your website, downloading an app, or following your brand.
  • Trending sounds & hashtags: Capitalise on trending sounds and relevant hashtags to increase discoverability. Identify relevant and trending hashtags related to your niche and target users actively searching for them.
Apple Music TikTok Ad
  1. Optimise your landing pages and set up conversion tracking:

Imagine a user clicks your ad and is excited about your product. But they land on a generic homepage – a missed opportunity! Create conversion-optimised landing pages that seamlessly continue the user journey from the ad. Ensure your landing pages are mobile-friendly and communicate the value proposition.

Pro tip: Set up conversion tracking to measure the success of your ads. TikTok Ads Manager allows you to track website visits, app downloads, and other key actions users take after interacting with your ad. This data is crucial for analysing campaign performance and optimising your strategy.

  1. Campaign launch & monitoring:

Once you’ve completed all the above steps, you’re ready to launch your campaign! Review your settings, budget allocation, and targeting parameters before hitting the ‘Launch’ button.

Don’t stop there! Monitor your campaign performance closely through the TikTok Ads Manager dashboard. Track key metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions, and cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

  • Analyse the data: Identify what’s working well and what needs improvement.
  • Refine your targeting: Based on performance data, you can adjust your targeting parameters to reach a more receptive audience.
  • Test different creatives: Experiment with various ad formats and creative approaches to see which resonates best with your audience.
TikTok campaign performance dashboard

6 Tips & Best Practices For TikTok PPC

  1. Authenticity & storytelling: Be real, be engaging, tell a story. Focus on genuine content that connects with your audience – show users behind the scenes.
  2. Ride the trend wave: Leverage trending sounds, hashtags, and challenges to gain organic reach and position your brand authentically.
  3. High-quality production: Production isn’t everything, but it maintains a level of quality that reflects professionalism. Clear audio, good lighting, and engaging visuals keep viewers hooked.
  4. Influencer power: Partner with relevant TikTok influencers to reach a wider audience and leverage their established trust with followers. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and target audience.
  5. Branded lenses: Create AR filters for users to interact with and share, boosting brand awareness and generating organic reach.
  6. Hashtag challenges: Launch a branded hashtag challenge to fuel user-generated content and engagement. Offer incentives for the most creative entries to generate organic reach and brand buzz.
Cadbury TikTok Shopping Ad

TikTok PPC Vs. Organic Growth

Organic Growth TikTok PPC
Cost Free Paid
Reach Slower, relies on content discovery Faster, targeted to a specific audience
Measurability Limited data on reach and engagement Detailed data on impressions, clicks, conversions, ROI
Control Limited control over who sees your content Complete control over targeting, budget, and ad creatives
Brand authenticity Can foster trust and authenticity May be perceived as less genuine
Potential for virality High, but unpredictable Lower, but targeted reach helps content gain traction

Choosing Between PPC And Organic Growth

The battle between PPC advertising and organic growth is a constant struggle for marketers. Both strategies offer distinct advantages, and the optimal choice depends on your specific goals and resources.

Here’s a breakdown to help you navigate this decision:

Consider your budget:

  • PPC: Requires upfront investment. You’ll need to allocate funds for your ad spend, which can vary depending on your campaign goals and targeting parameters.
  • Organic growth: Cost-effective. You can create and publish content without direct advertising costs. However, keep in mind that organic success often requires investment in high-quality content creation and audience engagement strategies.

Define your goals:

  • PPC: Ideal for achieving faster results. PPC allows you to target a specific audience and get your brand in front of them immediately. This is perfect for time-sensitive campaigns, launching new products, or driving quick website traffic.
    • Measurable goals: PPC offers detailed campaign data, allowing you to track performance metrics like clicks, conversions, and ROI (Return on Investment). This data-driven approach helps you optimise your campaigns and maximise your return.
  • Organic growth: Focuses on long-term brand building. Organic growth takes time and consistent effort, but it can yield significant benefits in terms of brand awareness, audience loyalty, and trust.
    • Building relationships: By creating valuable and engaging content, you connect with your audience on a deeper level, fostering trust and loyalty.


Leverage both strategies:

The most effective approach often lies in a hybrid strategy. PPC can be a powerful tool to jumpstart your initial audience reach and build a follower base. Once you’ve established a presence, organic content creation becomes crucial to nurture engagement and cultivate long-term brand loyalty. 


Unveiling the secrets to your ideal customer on TikTok is the key to unlocking successful PPC campaigns. By leveraging the powerful targeting options available, you can craft laser-focused campaigns that reach the exact audience most receptive to your brand message.

Remember, your buyer persona is your north star. Understand their demographics, psychographics, and online behaviour to tailor your targeting and create deeply resonating content.

But the journey doesn’t stop there. The beauty of TikTok PPC lies in its dynamic nature. 

Continuous optimisation is crucial for maximising your return on investment. Utilise the data provided by TikTok Ads Manager to analyse campaign performance, identify what’s working well, and adjust your targeting, budget allocation, or even ad creatives to continuously refine your strategy.

With a data-driven approach and a commitment to optimisation, you can transform your TikTok PPC campaigns into powerful engines for brand awareness and engagement. Ultimately, they’ll drive conversions and help you achieve your marketing goals.

Ready to unlock the vast potential of TikTok PPC for your brand? Our team of paid social media advertising experts can help you navigate the platform and craft winning campaigns that reach your ideal customer.

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Samantha Hops
Article by

Samantha Hops

Samantha Hops is an SEO Executive at Digivate and has been working in Digital Marketing for over four years. She has experience in SEO, Affiliate, Content and Email Marketing as well as Social Media. She completed her Master's in Marketing at King's College London and holds certificates in Digital Marketing & Data Analytics from the University of Cape Town. When she isn't working to boost your organic traffic, she is cooking up a storm in the kitchen and filling her house with as many sunflowers as possible.

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