TikTok Launches Smart Performance Campaigns

As TikTok continues to cement its place in the global social media landscape, its ad offerings are evolving to match its competitors. The latest addition to TikTok’s ad suite is Smart Performance Campaigns, their “first end to end automation solution that leverages machine learning to optimize for best performance and marketing goals”. In short, the campaigns automate as much as possible and apply machine learning to drive maximum results. Following the trend of other companies to steer advertisers towards more fully automatic algorithmically-driven campaigns, TikTok both reduces the barrier to entry and potentially increases returns for advertisers.

The core offering of Smart Performance Campaigns is minimal setup and maximum output. In order to set up, advertisers simply have to select very basic targeting (just location, language and 18+ or not), upload creative (up to 30 video variations, up to 5 text variations), set budget and flight, and launch. From there, TikTok algorithms determine both the best users to target based on goals as well as the optimal creative.  We have seen this offer in similar form on other platforms whether it’s Meta’s Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA) or Google’s Performance Max campaigns. Generally this approach can be effective at driving results if ample conversions are available to optimize.

Smart Performance Campaigns are not without their current limitations however. Most notably for TikTok, these campaigns are currently only able to be run for the app promotion objective, significantly limiting the number of advertisers this is immediately applicable for. Moreover, campaigns will only run on TikTok (not any other ad networks) and only on Android for now.

Compare this to Google, where Performance Max campaigns can run across Display, YouTube, Search, Maps, and Business Listings and serve multiple advertiser objectives, and TikTok’s offering leaves something to be desired. But it is worth noting that automated solutions such as Google’s can frustrate advertisers when there is limited insight into the breakdown of these omnichannel offerings so that is something to look for as TikTok evolves this product. For its part, TikTok has already indicated more devices and objectives are forthcoming.

Ultimately, TikTok Smart Performance Campaigns as currently constituted have some noteworthy caveats but certainly lay the groundwork for strong future additions to the product. Smart Performance Campaigns will be instantly appealing to app advertisers and especially small to medium sized businesses of the sort. And given TikTok’s typically strong algorithms this should be a useful ad product for many advertisers in the long term, especially as the platform continues to develop it.


“Smart Performance Campaign is our first end to end automation solution that leverages machine learning to optimize for best performance and marketing goals. In order to reach the right people and maximize results, Smart Performance Campaign is designed to run performance campaigns at scale, while reducing the number of manual steps to drive results.”