TikTok Ads Not Spending? Here is Why

In today's article, we're going to talk about troubleshooting your TikTok ads that are not spending and how to get your TikTok ads to spend. This is a question that comes up a lot in the TikTok advertising community.

Just wait and relax

The first thing is - how long your ads have been live and how long have they not been spending? Some people start to panic if their ads do not start spending within the first couple of hours. And then they decide that they need to make a lot of changes.

But what you have to realize is that, especially on newer accounts, before TikTok ads go live, they'll go through their review period. It then takes a little bit more time to get the ad activated. So, you can look at anywhere between 12 to 24 hours before ads start to spend. The first thing you need to do before actually worrying about your TikTok ads spending issues - is just wait.

Just wait and relax
Increase daily budget
Change your optimization event
Change your campaign objective
Bidding strategies
Start from broad targeting

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Date: Feb 7, 2022
Word count: 1175
Reading time: 5 min

Increase daily budget

The next point is checking your daily ads budget. What we see in many accounts is people set their daily ads budget (on ad set level) anywhere from five dollars to ten dollars. You have to realize that your ad group will not get out of the learning phase if you don't give it enough budget.

We always recommend giving the system enough budget to get your results. You need to be getting at least 50 conversions on the TikTok ad platform that makes it start to work and optimize your campaigns.

If your budget is too low to even get the 50 conversions in 7 days, you might spend a little, or you might spend nothing, but what will happen is your campaigns will tank out eventually.
TikTok daily budget
Be sure that your budget is healthy enough to get those numbers of conversions. It always depends on your product and market.
We normally start at least a minimum ad group budget of 100$ per day for our clients from the US.

Change your optimization event

Another quick win in terms of troubleshooting spend problems is to change your optimization event. Let's take eCommerce for example. If your conversion event is for Complete Payment and you're still seeing no spend you can go back one step up the funnel and start to optimize towards an Add to Cart event.
eCommerce purchase funnel
And if that still doesn't work you can go back one more step up the funnel. If you've only just recently installed your pixel - there's not enough data there to find the TikTok users who may be purchasing. So it's all about sending data to the platform. The more data you have, the more likely it is to spend.

For example, you're just installing the pixel, and there's not enough data for TikTok to go and optimize. If that's the case - just literally pull it back a step, and that works for any kind of niche whether the region you're in, just come back one step up the funnel, and that works perfectly.
Quick tip here is to make three Ad Groups in your Campaign.

  1. Ad Group optimized to complete payment;
  2. Ad Group optimized to add-to-cart;
  3. Ad Group optimized to view content.
From then onwards you can see which one spends and start to push more budget towards what is working and turn off what is not.

Change your campaign objective

The next troubleshooting option is changing your campaign objective completely.

If you are starting to go for conversions the other option is to start to get some more data and send some signals to TikTok. To do that, you can change your TikTok ad campaign objective from Conversions to Traffic.

But keep in mind that you're probably not going to see your end result in terms of actually getting conversions. Because when you are selecting a traffic objective, you are going to be getting more traffic rather than conversions.

If you do this for a few days, you start to send signals to TikTok to push your ads and your campaign to spend. Then you can duplicate your campaign and change its objective back to the conversions.

Run both campaigns at the same time.
Once a traffic campaign starts to spend, you might then see your conversion campaign start to spend afterward as well. And from then, just turn your traffic campaign off, focusing on conversion.

Bidding strategies

One that comes up a lot is bidding strategies. We see a lot of people straight away wanting to put a couple of so-called cost caps in place. But you've got to start to build the data foundation first.

We always recommend our clients to choose the lowest cost strategy to start to spend budget and get some data. And only then to look into setting a cost cap.
TikTok bidding strategy
So, if you are setting cost caps and your campaign is not spending, just change the bidding strategy to the Lowest Cost. But then, at the same time, if you think the Lowest Cost is not working, you can also on the flip side set a cost cap up. But this is the thing you have to watch and maintain.

I want to make sure that you're aware of that. If you do set a cost cap up, that's going to be like two to three times your CPA. You're going to need to make sure you watch that actively. Because you don't want to start spending a lot, getting no results, and then obviously waste your budget.
TikTok now has automated rules in place. So, you can set some stops there.

Start from broad targeting

Another easy win is looking at your audience size. Many advertisers tend to start too small in terms of audience size. A few interests or just try look-alikes. We tried that in the past and what we've realized works a lot better is if we have a broad audience to begin with.
TikTok audience size
Because then we're letting TikTok's algorithm go out and do the hard work for us. So you've got a broad audience depending on what your country is. Make it as wide as possible, and then you can start optimizing accordingly. But we've seen great results from a broad targeting.

So, if your ad group is not spending and you have a smaller audience, just duplicate that group, set broad targeting, and see how it goes from there.


There are many different reasons why your TikTok ads are not spending money. If this happens with your ad campaign you need to understand the basic reasons why it occurs. Some of them are pretty simple and easy to fix.

Worst comes to worst, you can reach out to the TikTok business help center, and most of the time they'll tell you why your ads are not spending.

If you make it through this whole article without finding the solution to your problem, please consider booking our Free TikTok ad account audit. We can help you to find an issue and work on it together.
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