Let’s say you run a business based in Hong Kong but you have a app or website that is ideally suited (or even explicitly targeted) for an American or European market. Naturally, you want to use your TikTok Ads Manager account to target American or European users with your ads. Unfortunately, you find out that since you’re based in Hong Kong, you can’t create a TikTok Ads Manager that targets the US or Europe. Or, even more frustratingly, you might be based in India, where TikTok has faced a ban since 2020. This makes it impossible to use the TikTok app or create an Ads Manager account at all.
Being one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, TikTok provides a highly coveted ad space for businesses of all sizes. However, depending on their location, some businesses find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to advertising on the platform. TikTok ad placements can only be purchased through a TikTok Ads Manager account. Your access to global audiences will be restricted according to your location. This leaves businesses based in certain countries at a disadvantage if they want a location further afield. Luckily, there is a solution. Read on to find out more.
Help, My Country Has Banned TikTok!
TikTok is widely used across the entire world. However, there are a few places where advertisers can’t even access the platform at all. This is the case in India, where TikTok was banned in 2019 during a high-profile court case. The Madras High Court requested that the government banned the app. It was due to what they saw as TikTok’s “encouragement of pornography” and a variety of data security and child safety concerns. TikTok was quick to respond, claiming that they would “comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law”.
“In 2020, under the Trump administration, TikTok also faced the possibility of being banned in the USA. TikTok was declared a national security risk, with accusations of the platform allegedly sharing user data with the Chinese government.”
Despite this, in February 2020, the app was officially banned in India. ByteDance — TikTok’s parent company — was initially able to persuade the Indian government to lift the ban temporarily. But they were unsuccessful in the long term. The TikTok ban has now been widely enforced within India. The app has been removed from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store there. 58 other Chinese-owned apps have also been banned by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. They cite national security and public order concerns. This means if your business is based in India, you won’t be able to create a TikTok Ads Manager account at all.
The Great US Escape
In 2020, under the Trump administration, TikTok also faced the possibility of being banned in the USA. TikTok was declared a national security risk, with accusations of the platform allegedly sharing user data with the Chinese government. TikTok has repeatedly denied these claims, stating that it would never share US user data with the Chinese government. Despite these denials, TikTok was given a deadline to divest its US TikTok operations or face a total ban. TikTok eventually agreed to a deal where it would partner with Oracle to manage TikTok’s US user data. Narrowly avoiding a TikTok ban in the USA, this deal eventually saw TikTok’s US user data being stored and managed on Oracle’s secure US-based
Other Close Calls
Other countries have imposed and lifted multiple TikTok bans in the past too. TikTok was briefly banned in Bangladesh in 2018 after a Court order, but the ban was lifted just a few days later. TikTok was also banned and unbanned in Pakistan four times prior to 2021, before the bans were all eventually overturned. The Pakistani government states that it continues to monitor TikTok usage. The also state that they may ban the app again in the future if it feels TikTok is being used inappropriately.
Which Countries are Eligible for TikTok Ads?
If you open a self-serve Ads Manager account on TikTok, you’ll be asked to select the country where you’re located. TikTok will use this information to determine what ad regions you have access to. For example, if your account is registered in Canada, then you can advertise in nine countries. These are Canada, Egypt, Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. However, if you’re based in Australia, then you’ll have access to a slightly different list of countries. This includes places like New Zealand and Australia (but does not include Canada).
If your account is registered in Europe, you’ll likely have access to the entire EU and UK for advertising purposes. However, if you’re based in the US or Japan, you won’t have access to this market. Each country has its own specific list of countries which it can target with TikTok ads and for some countries, this list is more limited.
“You might be tempted to lie about your location to gain access to TikTok ad placements in other countries. However, this is not likely to work. Apart from the logistical issues involved in fooling TikTok into thinking you are based somewhere you are not; you also risk an account ban if TikTok discovers what you’re up to.”
Some countries do not permit users to run self-serve ads at all. In these cases, for example in countries like Pakistan and Nigeria, the only way to access TikTok advertising is through a registered TikTok marketing agency. A TikTok marketing agency will be able to help you implement your TikTok ad campaign as part of their services. They also have access to TikTok user data and insights into your target market which will be extremely valuable.
Access a list of 14 of the Best TikTok Marketing and Advertising Agencies here.
Don’t Try to Deceive TikTok
You might be tempted to lie about your location to gain access to TikTok ad placements in other countries. However, this is not likely to work. Apart from the logistical issues involved in fooling TikTok into thinking you are based somewhere you are not; you also risk an account ban if TikTok discovers what you’re up to.
The platform is very strict about this. If they detect that you’re lying about your location or trying to access ad regions you’re not supposed to, your account will be blocked. Therefore, it’s always better to partner with a TikTok marketing agency that’s based in the country or countries you’re targeting since they’ll have the necessary TikTok ad access for those regions. This way, TikTok is happy, you’re happy, and everyone gets what they want out of the partnership.
How Can I Run TikTok Ads in the USA if I’m based in Asia?
There are a few reasons why you might want to target TikTok users in the USA even if you’re based in another region. Maybe you have a product or service that would be popular with TikTok users in the US, or maybe you’re testing the waters to see if your brand could be successful in that market. Whatever the reason, if you’re based in a location that doesn’t have access to American or European markets and you want to run TikTok ads targeting users in these regions, there are ways to do it. You may have tried to simply pretend to be based in the US or Europe by using a VPN and setting your TikTok Ads Manager account location to one of these regions. TikTok is pretty hip to this tactic, though, and will eventually catch on.
As we mentioned, if you really want to target TikTok users in the US or Europe (or any other region for that matter), your best bet is to partner with a TikTok marketing agency based in that country. TikTok marketing agencies have TikTok Ads Manager accounts registered in the country of their choice. This means they can target TikTok users in any region without issue. Many TikTok marketing agencies have offices and teams based in multiple countries, allowing them to target TikTok users worldwide. And since these agencies have globally distributed teams, they also have access to local TikTok influencers. They’re also privy to the latest TikTok trends in each region. This means they can create more effective ad campaigns that are tailored to local TikTok users.
You Can’t Wrong With House of Marketers
House of Marketers (that’s us!) is a TikTok marketing agency that regularly helps brands run ad campaigns in the US, Europe, and other regions they would not be able to access on their own. We have a team of TikTok specialists based in each region we serve. As such, we can create TikTok ads that are truly tailored to your target market.
Our agency was founded by some of TikTok’s early employees and partners. This gives us an inside scoop on how TikTok’s algorithm works and which content performs best on the platform. We also have a network of thousands of global TikTok influencers that we work with. As such, we can easily connect you with the TikTok creators that are the best fit for your brand.
Our senior team has worked with over 100 top global brands, including HelloFresh, Apple, boohooMan, Ancestry, Kaspersky, Barclays, Jodel, Paris Saint German, Groupon and lots more. For example, we worked with one of our clients, Airalo (premier eSim marketplace) to deliver a viral campaign with tremendous results. We achieved a 12.3% engagement rate with an incredible $0.23 cost per install.
We support every client with TikTok creative resources, strategic guidance, and detailed reporting. This allows brands to see the impact of their TikTok ad campaigns in real-time. Our TikTok marketing services are ideal for brands cut off from TikTok Ads Manager due to their country of residence. They’re also for brands that want to take their TikTok marketing outside of their home region.
If you’re interested in working with House of Marketers on your TikTok advertising campaign, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’d be happy to have a chat about your TikTok marketing goals and how we can help you achieve them.
How Do I Set Up a TikTok Ads Manager Account?
If you want to start your own self-serve ad campaign, but you’re struggling to set up a TikTok Ads Manager account, we’ve put together this handy step-by-step guide to help.
- To get started, you need to register with TikTok for Business. You will be asked to provide either an email address or phone number to set up your account.
- You will need to input your details (including your location), create a password, and then wait to receive the verification code on your phone or email.
- Once TikTok has verified your account using the code, you can log in.
- You may be asked to provide your VAT number, company name, and other identifying information to TikTok at this stage. However, if you don’t want to do it straight away, you can simply leave that to later. Just go straight to the Ads Manager dashboard.
- From the dashboard, you can set up your TikTok pixel, create ad groups, add targeting criteria, set your budget, and more. If you run into any trouble along the way, TikTok offers extensive support resources to help you get the most out of your ad campaigns.
Troubleshooting TikTok Ads Manager
If you’re having trouble setting up your TikTok Ads Manager account, there are a few things you can try.
First, make sure that you’re trying to set up your account from a TikTok-supported region. TikTok Ads Manager is not available in all countries. So if you’re trying to access it from a country that isn’t supported, you won’t be able to create an account.
Are you sure you’re in a TikTok-supported region and still having trouble? Try clearing your cookies and cache and trying again. Should that not work, TikTok recommends contacting their support team directly for further assistance.
If you’re already registered with TikTok for Business but you’re having trouble logging in, you can simply select “forgot password”. TikTok will then send you a link to reset your password.
Once you’ve reset your password, you should be able to login again and access TikTok Ads Manager without further issues.
Need Help from a TikTok Marketing Agency?
If you’re struggling to set up a TikTok Ads Manager account or you want to run a TikTok marketing campaign in a country which is not available to you, the best solution is to partner with a TikTok marketing agency like House of Marketers.
At House of Marketers, we have a team of TikTok marketing experts with years of experience running successful TikTok ad campaigns for brands all over the world. We can help you reach your TikTok marketing goals, regardless of location. Contact us today to learn more about our TikTok marketing services and how we can help you break into TikTok advertising.
House of Marketers (HOM) is a leading TikTok Marketing Agency. Our global agency was built by early TikTok Employees & TikTok Partners, which gives us the insider knowledge to help leading brands, like Redbull, Playtika, Badoo, and HelloFresh win on TikTok. Want us to convert more of Gen Z and Millennials with TikTok? Get in touch with our friendly team, here.