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Mastering TikTok Ads for Dropshipping: A Step-by-Step Guide

Profile picture of Nedina Gjorgjieva
Nedina Gjorgjieva
26th January, 2024
9 minutes

TikTok has rapidly evolved from a trending social media platform to a crucial advertising hub, quickly becoming an indispensable tool for many dropshippers looking to promote their products to a wider audience and reach out to new customers.

With over 800 million active users worldwide and ad revenue that is expected to soar to over $18 billion in 2024 (Statista), TikTok offers great opportunities for creative and impactful advertising, far beyond the realms of traditional digital marketing.

Statistic: Number of TikTok users worldwide from 2020 to 2025 (in millions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

This guide will delve into everything you need to know about running TikTok ads for your dropshipping store.

We’ll walk you through:

  • the cost of TikTok ads
  • the different types of TikTok ads
  • how to create TikTok ads.

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What are TikTok ads?

TikTok ads are paid promotional content that businesses create to reach a larger audience on the TikTok platform. 

They come in various formats and allow you to target specific user demographics. The ads typically last up to 60 seconds, aligning with the quick-paced content consumption habit of TikTok users. 

You can define your target audience based on factors like age, gender, location, and interests. This way, you ensure your ads are shown to potential customers who are more likely to be interested in your dropshipping products.

Are TikTok ads still worth it?

Absolutely. For dropshipping businesses looking to increase brand visibility and product sales, TikTok provides a unique opportunity to reach those goals. 

The platform offers innovative ad formats that allow you to create interactive and engaging content.

What’s more, TIkTok’s vast and diverse user base allows you to reach a wide range of audiences, particularly the younger demographics who are highly active on the app. 

How expensive are TikTok ads for dropshipping?

The cost of TikTok ads for dropshipping can vary, depending on several factors such as ad format, bidding method, and campaign duration.

Unlike traditional advertising, TikTok’s pricing structure is relatively flexible, catering to various budget scales. TikTok uses a bidding system similar to other social media platforms.

You can choose from four bidding methods: cost per mile (CPM), optimized cost per mile (oCPM), cost per click (CPC), and cost per view (CPV).

These allow you to set your own budget, so you can start with as little as $10 or as much as $100

How many types of TikTok ads are there?

TikTok offers a diverse range of ad formats, each designed to engage users in unique and interactive ways. Understanding these options is crucial for creating a successful ad strategy for your dropshipping business. 

Here’s a breakdown of the various TikTok ad types that you can use:

In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads are the staple of TikTok advertising. They show up on the user’s “For You” page, which functions as the app’s main feed and typically lasts up to 60 seconds.

This ad type supports multiple call-to-actions, such as website clicks or app downloads, making them versatile for various marketing objectives. 

They’re ideal for creating engaging, narrative-driven content that resonates with the TikTok audience.

TopView Ads

TopView ads are a special type of advertisement on TikTok that ensures your dropshipping store’s ad is the first thing users see when they open the app. 

This prime advertising spot allows you to instantly grab attention and make a strong impression with a video ad up to 60 seconds long.

They are especially effective for launching new winning products or major campaigns that require immediate and wide-reaching attention.

Collection Ads

The collection ads are similar to an in-feed ad with one main difference – when clicking on them, users are led to your storefront where they can immediately shop for your products.

This format is designed for eCommerce brands to showcase a variety of items, making it easier for customers to browse and purchase directly. 

Spark Ads

Spark Ads allow brands to promote organic posts (either their own or content from other creators) as ads. 

Spark Ads are particularly effective for capitalizing on viral trends or content that has already proven to resonate with the TikTok community.

Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Takeover Ads deliver a strong visual impact by appearing immediately once users open the app. 

These ads are limited to a few seconds and can be static images, GIFs, or videos

Due to their prominent placement and limited duration, they are highly effective for brand awareness and reaching a broad audience with concise, impactful messaging.

Branded Hashtag Challenges

Branded Hashtag Challenges on TikTok are an innovative way for dropshipping businesses to engage with audiences and promote products in a fun, interactive manner. 

These challenges leverage user-generated content by encouraging TikTok users to create videos around a branded hashtag that you introduce. 

This format is particularly effective for dropshipping businesses looking to increase brand visibility.

Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus

Building upon the standard Branded Hashtag Challenge, the Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus allows users to shop for products directly within the TikTok app.

For dropshipping stores, this means instant conversion from viewer to customer without leaving the TikTok app. 

It simplifies the customer journey and makes it easy for them to purchase your products while they’re actively engaged with your content.

How to create TikTok ads for dropshipping?

Creating TikTok ads for your dropshipping business involves several strategic steps. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can start crafting your campaign:

STEP 1: Create a TikTok account

  • Visit the TikTok homepage and sign in or create an account.
  • You can sign up by using your email address or Facebook, Google, or Twitter account.

STEP 2: Create a TikTok ad account

STEP 3: Create your campaign

  • Choose ‘Campaign’ at the top of the page.
  • Click the ‘Create’ button.
  • Select a campaign objective that aligns with your dropshipping goals, such as ‘Traffic’, ‘Conversions’, or ‘App Install’.

STEP 4: Set up your ad group

  • Continue to the ‘Ad Group’ section within your campaign.
  • Choose your ad placement — you can let TikTok automatically place your ads or manually select placements.
  • Define targeting options based on demographics, behaviors, and interests to reach your ideal audience.

STEP 5: Design your ad

  • Click on ‘Create’ under the ‘Ads’ tab.
  • Upload your images or videos. 
  • Add text and choose a call-to-action button.

STEP 6: Budgeting and scheduling

  • Set a daily or total budget for your ad group.
  • Schedule your ad run time according to when your target audience is most active.

Tips on running effective TikTok ads for dropshipping

Running TikTok ads can be a game-changer for your dropshipping business. However, to harness their full potential, you need to employ specific strategies. 

Here are a few tips that could make your journey smoother.

Use TikTok’s creative toolkit

Take full advantage of TikTok’s built-in editing features

Experiment with features like filters, music, and interactive elements to enhance the appeal of your ads, making them stand out in a user’s feed.

Target specific audiences 

Use TikTok’s advanced demographic targeting to reach your ideal customer. 

Consider factors like specific interests, purchasing behaviors, location, and even the type of devices used. 

Create multiple ad sets for different audience segments to see which resonates best.

Build lookalike audiences

Put to use TikTok’s lookalike audience feature to reach new users who share similar characteristics with your existing customers

This strategy expands your reach to a broader yet targeted audience likely to be interested in your products.

Diversifying content types

Do not stick with a simple ad type. Experiment with a variety of ad content formats

Mix up your approach by implementing TopView, In-Feed, and Brand Takeover ads and the many other types of ads the platform offers. 

This variety maintains interest and caters to different viewer preferences.

Strong and clear call-to-action (CTA)

Ensure your ads have a clear CTA

Whether it’s visiting your website, availing of a discount, or checking out a new product line, your CTA should be straightforward and compelling.

For instance, if your ad showcases a product feature, the CTA could be “Experience it yourself.”

Leveraging data for strategic decisions

Dive deep into TikTok’s analytics to understand your ad performance.

Analyze ad metrics such as views, engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversions to understand what works and refine your future campaigns.

The value of testing and learning

Continuously test different elements of your ads – from the messaging and visuals to the targeting parameters. 

Use A/B testing to determine the most effective strategies, and be ready to adapt based on what the data tells you. 

Turn on the Automated Creative Optimization Feature

Opt for TikTok’s Automated Creative Optimization to test multiple variations of your ad. 

This tool automatically combines your images, videos, and ad copy to create different versions of your ad, optimizing for the best-performing combinations. 

This not only saves time but also provides insights into the most effective elements of your ads.

TikTok ads for the win 

By creating TikTok ads, you can connect with customers, increase brand awareness, and generate sales. 

Make use of the various ad formats and focus on creating content that fits your customers’ desires. 

Don’t forget to continuously test different ad strategies and optimize them based on performance data to get the best possible results.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to success with TikTok ads—it’s about being adaptable, innovative, and prioritizing your audience. 


Yes, TikTok ads can be highly effective for dropshipping. Having a large user base and engaging content format, TikTok allows businesses to reach to a wide and diverse audience. 

The app’s algorithm tailors content to user interests, making it easier to connect with potential customers who are likely to be interested in your products.

Absolutely. You can advertise your Shopify store on TikTok by creating engaging ads that link directly to your Shopify products or store page.

To run TikTok ads for Shopify dropshipping, start by:

  • Setting up a TikTok Ads account.
  • Linking your account to your Shopify store. 
  • Creating your ad campaign by choosing your objective.
  • Defining your target audience.
  • Setting your budget.
  • Designing your ad creative. 

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