Using TikTok Ads to Promote Your Online Course

For online course creators. 7 minutes read

Considering using TikTok ads to promote your online course? Just a couple of years ago, this might have seemed like a crazy idea, but as more and more brands are hopping on the TikTok bandwagon, course creators who want to reach a broad audience would be remiss not to dive into the possibilities of advertising with the social media giant.

Not convinced?

Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Trends Survey found that 24% of marketers considered TikTok an effective tool for reaching their business goals. While this doesn’t sound too impressive, it’s important to put this figure into perspective. When asked just one year prior, only 3% of marketers considered TikTok an effective tool for their business goals – in other words, in just one year ,there was a 700% increase in perceived effectiveness.

But the question remains, is TikTok right for online course creators?

Let’s take a look at a few success stories.


3 top course creators who found
success on TikTok

Here are three highly successful online course creators whose course marketing strategy includes regular engagement on TikTok. While it would be near impossible to determine how much of their success is attributable to TikTok alone, we can assume from the amount of TikTok content they produce that TikTok is an integral part of their course marketing strategy.


Rachel Paul

TikTok Handle: @dr.rachelpaul


Followers: 379K

Rachel Paul is a women’s weight loss expert and course creator who helps women lose weight while maintaining an inclusive, body-positive message.

She runs a highly excessive online course and membership business, to help women lose weight naturally and sustainably.


Kirstie Taylor

TikTok Handle:@kirstietaylorr


Followers: 230K

Kirstie Taylor is a dating and relationship coach who specializes in helping people have more success in the dating world. She has launched a highly successful course focusing on attachment styles, and learning to feel more secure.


Vanessa Lau

TikTok Handle: @vanessalauco


Followers: 92K

Vanessa Lau is a highly successful entrepreneur coach with a suite of online courses designed to help entrepreneurs build successful 7-figure online businesses.



While these are some examples of successful online course creators who use TikTok, the question remains – is TikTok right for your online business?


Are Tik Tok ads right for you?

But TikTok is just for teenagers doing dances and people lip-syncing to pop music; why would I advertise on TikTok?”

I hear you say.

While it’s true that yes, there is plenty of weird and wonderful user-generated content on TikTok, and yes, a lot of it is teenagers doing goofy dances, it’s important to remember that the platform is changing.

As of 2022,

  • only half of TikTok users are aged 10-29
  • Nearly 80 million are in the US
  • 37% of TikTok users have a household income of $100k per annum

In other words, the average TikTok user is older and has more disposable income than you might think. That being said, TikTok’s user base does skew young, and its content does skew silly, so it’s not always going to be right for your brand.

The best way to find out is to explore the platform and determine whether or not there is a market for your online course before you spend any of your ad dollars. It’s important to note that before beginning a paid ad campaign on TikTok that you should first to create some free content and build up a following.

This is useful to for two reasons.

First, your ads will be more effective if you already have a following and a content strategy in place.

Second, it will allow you to test the waters before spending any money on the platform, and as we will discuss below, TikTok advertising isn’t cheap.

So, if you already have a small following on TikTok, or you’re ready to commit to building one, let’s dive into our guide to using TikTok ads to promote your online course!


TikTok Ad Types

While most social media platforms have a variety of ad formats, TikTok is a video-only platform, and so the ads are no different. There are, however, different types of ads available that serve slightly different purposes.

In-Feed Ads

As the user scrolls through their “For You” feed, In-Feed ads will appear among the other videos that are recommended to the user.

As you can see above, the in-feed ad is nearly indistinguishable from a regular TikTok post, except for the clear CTA. Remember that your ad will be alongside highly stimulating content, so your In-Feed ads need to grab the user’s attention so that your audience doesn’t continue scrolling.

Brand Takeover

A Brand takeover ad appears as soon as the user opens up TikTok and presents a full-screen video to your target audience. They are usually videos or Gifs, but they also can be still images, and they include clickable links that direct users to a landing page or a Hashtag challenge within TikTok.


TikTok ensures that users do not see more than one BrandTakeover ads per day, so competition is low and exposure is high. This ad type offers marketers the chance to reach viewers exclusively, and so while it is a great way to advertise, they also come at a higher price point than any other ad type on the platform.


Like Brand Takeovers though slightly different, TopView Ads appear in the user’s feed after three seconds. As the title suggests, it appears at the top of the “For You” page which is often considered TikTok’s most valuable ad space. Depending on your budget and specifications, TopView ads can play on full-screen for up to 60 seconds.


Branded Hashtag Challenge

Unlike any other form of advertising on any other social media platform, the Branded Hashtag Challenge is an exclusively TikTok method of reaching your audience.

Branded Hashtag Challenges provide the best of both worlds in terms of both organic and sponsored reach. In terms of bang for your advertising buck, this is arguably the highest potential form of TikTok advertising.




It’s because due to TikTok’s famous viral dynamics, this form of advertising just might be the gift that keeps on giving. A Branded Hashtag challenge has the potential to inspire hundreds of thousands of TikTok users to post their own content in response to it. Each time a user posts their own content, they are sharing their own ad for you.

Given the platform’s famous viral dynamics, there is no limit to how successful these ads can be.


Branded Effects

TikTok users creating their own video content have a range of stickers, filters and lenses that they can add to their videos. TikTok offers brands the ability to design their own branded effects so that TikTok users can post them in their own content.

This method of advertising is successful as it is utilizing user-generated content and it doesn’t feel like an ad.


If you want to find a more in-depth guide to TikTok ad types and how to implement them, check out this guide here.



Let’s be entirely upfront. TikTok ads aren’t cheap, and so if you’re hoping to dip your toes in the water, the entry point is going to be cost-prohibitive for many course creators who want to promote an online course with TikTok Ads.

You can set up a TikTok ads account for free to explore, but with a minimum campaign budget of $500, and a minimum ad group budget of $50, it is difficult for small businesses to justify unless they’re absolutely sure that the platform is valuable for them.

It is still early days in the world of TikTok advertising so the data is not yet in on how effective it is. However, knowing that many brands are spending big on the platform continually demonstrates that if done right, the ROI can be spectacular.


Promoting Posts

If your head is spinning looking at the above prices, we hear you. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective advertising strategy on TikTok, it is much cheaper to pay to promote organic content than to pay for ads.

At only $0.5 cost per mile (CPM) promoting your posts is a much more cost-effective way to promote your brand on Tik Tok, and if you’re a small business with a tight budget, this is our recommendation for a paid advertising strategy on TikTok.

Some TikTok marketers find that this strategy is sufficient, while others will begin by promoting posts, and move on to paid advertising once they have some success on want to double down on the platform.


An alternative to TikTok ads: Influencer Marketing

If you’re reading all of this and you’re wondering if it’s worth all the time, effort and energy – another effective strategy to consider is influencer marketing. If the idea of diving into the high-energy, always-on world of being a TikTok creator is making you feel exhausted already, what you can do is leverage the power of influencer marketing by approaching influencers to promote your course.

By choosing the right influencer with a large and engaged audience, the returns you can get on influencer marketing can be far more effective than running your own TikTok ads.


Because you’re leveraging the trust that the influencer’s audience has with them. Building trust takes time and effort. Sometimes, it’s much easier to pay somebody who has built up this kind of capital than to build your own.

For a full guide to influencer marketing on TikTok, check out this guide here.


Final Thoughts

While TikTok may not be for every online course creator, if it’s for you, you could see massive traction on the platform and have access to a massive audience of potential students.

With the right strategy and know-how, you can utilize the power of TikTok ads as well as the platform’s viral dynamics to sell online courses like hotcakes!

So, if you’re looking to branch out into to the wild world of TikTok ads for promoting your online course, why not talk to our team of online course marketing professionals?


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