TikTok’s Back-to-Business Program: Everything Small Business Owners Need to Know

Last month, TikTok launched an initiative aimed at giving a hand to a sector that’s been especially hard-hit by the recent economic crisis: small and medium-sized businesses.

The initiative, called Back-to-Business, involves setting aside $100 million in ad credits to give out to owners of these businesses — for free.

TikTok ads are relatively new, and relatively expensive. They can charge more because there is less competition, which means that an ad on TikTok can go a lot farther than an ad on a more saturated social media platform.


Still, many small businesses have been wary of making that investment. This makes Back-to-Business an especially excellent opportunity for small businesses to give TikTok ads a try and tap into the power of TikTok to grow their brands risk-free. As a related aside, check out our guide on how to get verified on TikTok.

Here’s how it works:

Who is eligible for Back-to-Business?

Small and medium-sized businesses that are registered in the following countries can apply:

  • The United States
  • The United Kingdom
  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain
  • India
  • Australia
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Egypt
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Japan

You will need to submit documentation, such as your business ID, the legal name of your business, your company phone number, the name of your legal representative and (if relevant) your business license. TikTok will review these materials and determine whether your business meets their criteria.

Do I need to have an existing TikTok account to apply?

You can apply as a new TikTok user — no need to have a pre-existing account. Registering for a TikTok account will be part of the application process if you are a new user.

How much money in ad credits will I get?

Once you are verified, you’ll be able to claim $300 USD (or the equivalent in your local currency) in ad credit. You’ll also be able to “top up” your credit by investing additional funds that are matched 1-to-1 by TikTok — up to $2000. That means that you get $300 free ad credit, plus a matching amount of whatever additional money you invest.

So if, for example, you decide to top up your credit by investing an additional $1000, you’ll have a total of $2,300 in ad credit ($300+the $1k you invested+the $1k TikTok matched to your investment) — and $1,300 of it will be free.

So if you have $2k to invest, you could receive as much as $2,300 in free credit!

How far will this free credit get me?

TikTok ad costs start at around $10 CPM (cost per impression), but you have to make a minimum investment of at least $50 for an ad group or $500 for a campaign. Businesses may spend as much as $50k–$150k on TikTok advertising altogether.

So your initial $300 may not get you that far. But it will at least give you a taste of how this strategy works for your business.

Keep in mind, though, that if you take the $300 credit and try only the least expensive options for TikTok ads, the results may not accurately reflect the results you’d get with a more costly campaign. It may be worth investing a few hundred dollars to top up your credit and get a more complete picture of your ROI.

Is it worth it to apply for TikTok’s Back-to-Business program?

Given that applying for the program requires no investment beyond a few minutes of your time, there seems to be little reason not to — especially if you’re already a TikTok user. If you’re new to TikTok, check out our previous post, How to Use TikTok for Business, to learn more about the advantages of TikTok as a platform for promoting your brand.

It could be that TikTok isn’t the best match for your brand for whatever reason. Maybe the younger, more casual vibe doesn’t quite jive with your target audience, and you already have a respectable following on other social media platforms. Even so, it can’t hurt to give TikTok a try and see how it goes. We’re talking zero risk here, after all!

How do I apply?

To apply for your free ad credit, visit the Back-to-Business section of TikTok For Business and click “Get Started.” If you’re a new user, you’ll need to register for a TikTok account first. Then, you’ll be asked to submit documentation that will help TikTok verify your business. This process usually takes just a few days.

tiktok back to business

Once you’ve been verified, you’ll be able to claim your $300, and then choose whether to top up your credit.

How do I create a good TikTok ad at minimal investment?

If you’re going to give TikTok ads a try, you might as well make sure you have a great ad to put out! TikTok is all about the short, punchy video, and Boosted can help you craft an ad that will really stand out. With a huge collection of on-trend, top-quality templates optimized for engagement, and great customization options including filters, colors, music, and more, you can put together a fantastic TikTok ad for your business in just a few minutes.

Action Items:

TikTok's Back to Business Program

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