TikTok has been downloaded a whopping 3.5 billion times globally, and the app has 30.8 million active daily users on the iOS version alone. That all adds up to a ton of consumers eager for consumable content — your brand’s content included.
If you’re ready to take advantage of TikTok trends and expand your business’s reach, you’ve come to the right post. We’re going to dive into 12 best practices for advertisers on TikTok, and provide some actionable tips to help get your strategy started today.
Ready for Better TikTok Ads? Follow These 12 Best Practices
Creating a TikTok ad that users genuinely enjoy will require you to think outside of what tends to perform on other social media channels. TikTok’s audience is young, casual, and eager to swipe away if your content doesn’t catch their interest – to keep them watching, try following these best practices:
1. Set measurable performance goals
A strategic TikTok ad push starts with setting performance goals that are specific and measurable. You can find potential advertising objectives in your TikTok Ads Manager account, with goals like driving traffic to a specific URL, maximizing ad impressions or collecting leads.
Beyond the platform’s built-in performance goals, remember to measure the performance of your creative assets. TikTok is a highly visual platform, so ensure you have the analytical capabilities to understand which videos, filters, or sounds are most appealing to your audience.
2. Stay aware of trends and subcultures
From popular dances to the most-used sounds and filters, TikTok is all about trends. In addition to piggybacking off movements, like getting your team to do that unforgettable Meghan Trainor Gucci routine, you should also use hashtags to appeal to the TikTok algorithm and increase the likelihood your ads will end up in front of new audiences.
The importance of staying on trend is one way that advertising on TikTok differs from other social media platforms. While Facebook has traditionally relied on pay-for-play models with hashtags and trending content having little to do with where and how often ads show up, TikTok is all about user-generated content (UGC). You’ll be better positioned for marketing success if your content builds on existing trends while encouraging your audience to join in.
3. Partner with creators
Your marketing potential will grow exponentially if you join forces with a TikTok influencer. They can help you get traction in a new-to-you niche or dip your toes into content types that aren’t in your arena of expertise. You can research and evaluate individual influencers via TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, or connect with an influencer marketing agency to quickly find your perfect match.
4. Create videos for full-screen vertical viewing
TikTok’s feeds are all vertically oriented, and your videos should be too. TikTok users aren’t going to rotate their devices or find a magnifying glass to take in your visual masterpiece. And this bit of advice isn’t just for aesthetic purposes, either — vertical videos have 40.1% more impressions compared to videos shot using a square or horizontal aspect ratio.
5. Keep variety and visual appeal top of mind
While a one-shot ad spot may be the easiest type to film, it’s not what TikTok users want to see. Videos that use a variety of visually appealing set-ups, including B-roll and transition footage, see over 40% more impressions. For brands, variety is even more important: 99% of top-performing ecommerce videos on the app use multiple video settings and angles.
6. Create short and sweet videos
Size matters, but maybe not in the way you think. With TikTok videos, less is more. Viewers need to be hooked immediately – and if your video begins to bore them, they’re going to swipe in search of their next dopamine rush. For that reason, TikTok (and Tinuiti) recommend shorter videos, with important messaging presented up front.
7. Center your brand and CTA
Don’t get lost in the sauce. As fun as TikTok trends and influencer partnerships are, you still need to keep your brand and CTA center stage. Viewers should have a clear next step in mind after watching your ad. TikTok’s clickable CTAs help move things along by giving you the ability to lead consumers to a shopping deal, special offer, location finder and more.
8. Always add captions
Adding captions to support visual and auditory messages allows users who can’t have their sound on to understand what you’re trying to convey. It also builds on the story you’re telling by adding facts and expanding the narrative and makes room for hashtags, user tags and pithy language that users can easily connect to.
9. Balance entertainment and promotion
Entertainment-related content accounts for some 535 billion hashtag views on TikTok, but ads are about sales. How can you reconcile the two? It’s all about balance. Use entertaining elements to get audiences engaged, then sprinkle in promotional content that soft sells users on your product or brand. If you’re new to TikTok, you might kick-start your account with more entertainment-based ads, then ramp up the useful promotional content (think how-tos and interactive videos) once consumers are more familiar with what you offer.
10. Keep things lighthearted and fun
Your content should focus on being fun, engaging, memorable and relatable. If consumers enjoy engaging with your brand, the TikTok algorithm will show your content to them more often – increasing the likelihood that they’ll follow your account or take a desired action.
If you need some ideas, here are some examples of TikTok content that can help you connect in a lighthearted way:
- Play with green screen capabilities
- Do a TikTok challenge
- Show a fast-forward “day in the life” at your company
- Test out a viral life hack related to your niche
- Duet or live react to user-generated content about your products
11. Include catchy sounds
TikTok is full of sound snippets you can leverage while making your own content. Two popular options are licensed music tracks (used with permission, of course) and voiceovers from other content creators that you can lip sync to while adding your own spin. Over 93% of top-performing videos use audio — just remember to add captions for those viewers sneaking a peek at their FYP during quiet time.
12. Engage in creative testing
The only way to know whether you’re running the best ads for your business is to continually test new creative approaches. Mix up content styles, production techniques, sounds and influencer contributions. If you’re just getting started, try TikTok’s Automated Creative Optimization to get ideas of which creative assets are driving engagement on the app. However, if you want to understand how your videos impact behavior throughout your entire marketing agency, you should work with a performance creative agency.
Budgeting Best Practices for TikTok Ads
Now comes the big question: How much does it cost to execute on all these tips and best practices? Well, it depends.
Like many other paid media channels, TikTok ads are purchased through an auction process. Brands can set a budget, choose an audience, select a bidding strategy, and TikTok will automatically serve advertisements based on those parameters. This is why it’s so important to clearly define your audience – if you can reach an audience that’s relatively untapped by other advertisers, using TikTok ads won’t break the bank.
However, if you’re looking to estimate how much a TikTok ad will cost, here’s a general idea:
- Most campaigns require a minimum daily or lifetime budget of $50, but specific ad groups only require a daily minimum budget of $20
- Conversion-focused or app install campaigns require a minimum budget of $100
- Your initial budget should be about 20 * your target CPA
- Using “Promote” on an existing post starts at a $10 CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
- A Brand Takeover, which shows your ad to a large group of users when they open the app, costs about $50,000 to $100,000 per day
Frequently Asked Questions About TikTok Ads
Before you start crafting your TikTok ads, here are some questions that clients tend to ask:
What video ad specs does TikTok use?
TikTok prefers videos that fit the following specs:
- Aspect ratio of 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9
- Resolution of 720 x 1280, 640 x 640, or 1280 x 720
- Length between 5 and 16 seconds
- MP4, AVI, MOV, or MPEG file type that’s less than 500 MB
Which TikTok ad formats can I use?
Two of the most popular TikTok ad formats are Spark Ads and in-feed ads, but you can also take advantage of TikTok’s Brand Takeovers, Branded Hashtag Challenges, TopView ads (these videos can be up to a minute long and appear at the top of user’s FYP feeds), and other promotional options like Branded Effects.
Which is better: Paid or organic TikTok ads?
Both paid and organic TikTok ads can deliver big results. Which avenue you choose depends on your goals. Organic reach is better for long-term objectives, such as building a community and forging relationships with consumers. Paid ads are more effective when you want to push time-sensitive information and boost sales quickly
Can I repurpose content from other channels for TikTok?
It’s not a best practice to repurpose video content from other channels like YouTube or Instagram. The user interface of TikTok is different, meaning that important information might be obscured by buttons or captions. Additionally, users are looking for different types of content on either platform. While an ad on Instagram should look sleek and professional, it’s better if your TikTok ads are a little more scrappy.
TikTok is massively popular, which means it has similarly massive potential as a marketplace for advertisers eager to reach out to trend-hungry consumers. While resonating with TikTok’s volatile (but discerning) audience can be challenging, these best practices should help you take steps in the right direction.