TikTok Ads Manager Review

TikTok is a powerful new force in the world of paid advertising. 

But how does the platform’s ads manager stack up against its competitors? 

Our team evaluated TikTok’s ads manager, and in this article we explain how it compares to other platforms in the ad space.

We based our analysis on three core criteria:

  1. Robustness of the platform

  1. User interface

  1. Ad aesthetics

Keep reading to learn more about TikTok Ad’s strengths and weaknesses, and how it measures up against other social media giants.

Robustness of the Platform

TikTok hasn’t re-invented the wheel. 

Because they aren’t the first in the social media ad space, TikTok hasn’t had to construct their manager from scratch. Instead, they’ve built on the work already done by other companies, including Facebook. 

TikTok drew heavily on Facebook’s platform when it designed its own ads manager. Specifically, TikTok implemented similar features and functionalities in their own beta ads manager that can also be found on Facebook’s software. 

With this head start, TikTok launched their ads manager in virtually no time.

That said, TikTok’s ads manager isn’t without its problems. Thankfully, these aren’t macro-level functionality issues, just micro-level inconveniences that more mature, experienced companies like Facebook have already had the chance to smooth over. 

We predict that it won’t be long before TikTok fixes these minor issues. For now, however, some of the platform’s (small) problems include: poor campaign duplication, unspecific geo-targeting, and weak custom audience capabilities.

  • Poor campaign duplication

If you want to duplicate a TikTok ad campaign and also change the campaign objectives, you have to completely build out a new campaign from scratch. You can’t just duplicate the original campaign and change the objectives, like you can in Facebook ads. Overall, the UX for Facebook’s ads manager is more mature and more developed than TikTok’s.

  • Geo-targeting

TikTok’s geo-targeting capabilities aren’t as granular as Facebook’s. The most detailed level of targeting on TikTok is state level; on Facebook you can drill down your targeting to within a 5 mile radius of a given location. Geo-targeting directly affects the reach and effectiveness of your ad campaigns, and it’s an important feature that we expect TikTok to improve in the near future. 

  • Custom audience capabilities

TikTok’s custom audience platform is rudimentary. Because the platform doesn’t collect user’s emails, it’s much harder for advertisers to create a custom audience. Although you might be able to engineer a custom audience with phone number information, that strategy is rarely as effective as creating custom audiences from email. 

Bottom line: TikTok’s ads manager does virtually everything that Facebook’s ads manager does. With a solid foundation in place, Tiktok just needs to work out some minor kinks to further establish themselves as the premier platform for paid advertising. 

User Interface

TikTok represents a new social media platform in a post-social world.

TikTok isn’t like Facebook. Why? Because Facebook didn’t disrupt the social media industry—it created it. TikTok is the company that's disrupting that same industry.

While it weathers the classic growing pains of a burgeoning social network, TikTok also possesses the unique advantage of coming of age within a pre-defined space. 

For instance, in its beta ads manager, TikTok implemented many features that Facebook’s ads manager didn’t originally support—lookalike audiences, automated creative optimization, etc. 

The user interface of TikTok’s ads manager isn’t as robust as Facebook’s simply because it hasn’t received a huge amount of feedback from users. Repeated, extended use of the platform is the only way that TikTok will improve its ads manager. And that takes time.

Right now, the biggest most glaring UX problem for TikTok’s ads manager is lack of easy duplication

While you can “copy” on the ad set level, you can’t duplicate at the campaign level. Moreover, you can’t bulk copy and paste or bulk edit on TikTok’s ads manager, which places scaling limitations on the ad buying side. 

Simply put, the lack of bulk editing features means that it takes longer to complete the same amount of work on TikTok ads as compared to Facebook ads. 

That’s the biggest drawback to TikTok’s current ads manager: mass edits take longer because you’re required to operate on a much smaller scale. 

Ad Aesthetics

TikTok’s ad manager aesthetics are second only to Instagram's. 

Additionally, because TikTok perfectly lends itself to user-generated content, it’s easy for advertisers to create ads that look just like other user-made videos. This makes TikTok ads the perfect cross between Snapchat and Instagram.  

Scroll through TikTok, wait until you see an ad, then stop. The caption, the text, the nature of how you scroll, etc. all lend itself to seamless ad integration onto the platform. 

Why? Because on TikTok literally all you have to do is scroll. It’s that simple.

You don’t have to search for content, so the user experience becomes seamless—whatever you’re watching is right in front of you, right now, and that’s it. That’s all you see. And when you get a (well-designed) ad, truthfully, it’s often hard to realize its actually an advertisement!

Why ad agencies?

It’s vital that you choose the right ad agency to help create your brand’s TikTok ad campaign.

Only a select number of ad agencies are whitelisted on the platform (i.e. already approved to run TikTok ads), and there’s various nuances around creating TikTok ads that only the best ad agencies can help you work through.

Pixel installation is a great example. 

While creating a pixel on Facebook is a simple process—you simply copy and paste a code snippet into a given box—managing pixels on TikTok ads is a much more involved process. 

First, you have to manually define what’s called an “event rule,” then you define the parameters of your conversion event, and finally you select the tracking method for your ads. 

Overall, TikTok requires you to monitor and “massage” your ads along much more than Facebook does. Moreover, it's easy to get lost in the more technical weeds of creating TikTok ads as opposed to spending time focusing on making great creatives and ad copy.

If you aren’t tech savvy, or if you don’t have a super extensive Facebook ads manager background, navigating the intricacies of TikTok’s ads manager can be confusing. 

This is where quality ad agencies come in. 

Ad agencies allow you to outsource the creation of your ad campaigns while still maintaining complete control over the most important part of your ads—your copy and creatives. 

If you don’t have the time to master the details of TikTok's ads manager, work with professionals who can help you sift through the technical details to create quality ad campaigns that drive traffic and increase conversions for your brand.

Let’s Chat: hi@slope.agency