TikTok Ads: Reasons To Try And 10 Best Practices

Why should you try TikTok Ads?

According to Hootsuite, TikTok has held the crown of the most downloaded app three years in a row: 2019, 2020, 2021, and that made up to over 3 billion downloads in total from when it first came out until now. What’s more, this champion hit one billion monthly active users in September 2021, a 45% increase since July 2020 (Reuters). TikTok made it in just five years outperforming Facebook and YouTube, which both took eight years to hit a billion users.

Source: Sensor Tower

Many people have a perception that TikTok is only a “Gen Z” or teenage platform. It is easy to understand because young people are always fast in adopting new things, new apps, and catching new trends, but it doesn’t mean it will stop there. Data from Ampere Analysis indicates that in Q1 2021, 36% of the app’s users were between 35 and 54, compared to 26% in 2020. This means that the TikTok user base is aging up and no matter what age you are, you should get on it now before being too late.

We can see that TikTok is not only growing like crazy but its growth speed is even faster than the giants Facebook and Youtube in the past. So it is highly likely that TikTok will be the next big thing in the future. TikTok has already got a big influence on our lives now. Besides being the app people open when they seek for entertaining and relaxing moments, TikTok is also where many come to find information, to see reviews before making a purchase decision. The hashtag #TikTokmademebuyit has become a phenomenon on not only TikTok but also other social media platforms.

Therefore, the sooner entrepreneurs catch on to the trend, the better chances they have to take advantage of this fresh fruitful land. That is probably why more and more businesses are running ads on TikTok. If you haven’t yet, you should start learning about this HUGE potential now starting with these 10 best practices for TikTok ads.

10 best practices for TikTok ads

1. Make vertical short videos

First, you need to make your ad in the format that TikTok users prefer watching. It should be a vertical video with the ratio of 9:16 (1080×1920), because most people use this app on their phone and like viewing a full screen video on the device in their hand. Besides, most TikToks are in this format so they wouldn’t want to rotate their phone just to see your ad. Thus, you need to shoot specific ad videos for TikTok with this format in mind so it’s easier for the editing stage and will have the best display. TikToks said Videos shot in vertical format see a 40.1% lift in impressions compared to videos using a square or horizontal aspect ratio.

Additionally, your ad video should be short and concise, which is anothing TikTok users are used to. Here is our recommended video time length for different ad types on TikTok.

Ad TypeRecommended Time Length
In-feed ads9-15 seconds
(5-60s allowed)
Top-view ads15 seconds
(5-60s allowed)
Brand takeover ads3-5 seconds

2. Have an engaging hook

Not to mention the controversy around the debate whether TikTok decreases our attention span, it’s undeniable that TikTok users are so acquainted with being fed with fast, new, and interesting content every hour they spend on the app that they could lose their patience if they don’t see anything interesting within the first few seconds of a video. Thus, if you cannot grab their attention in the beginning, you will be scrolled through. TikTok’s research shows that over 63% of all videos with the highest click-through rate (CTR) highlight their key message or product within the first 3 seconds.

3. Include music

Do you know that TikTok was formerly Musical.ly, an app that’s famous for lip-sync videos after popular songs? Then, the parent company, Bytedance, merged 2 apps together and rebranded TikTok. TikTok has has gone a long way from just a musical video sharing app to a much more diverse platform, but videos with music still has a favorable place for TikTok users. Videos with good music quickly catches the viewer’s attention and set their mood in the way you want. TikTok advises to include fast-paced tracks above 120 BPM, as these often drive higher view-through rate (VTR) than other videos.

4. Include high-impact visual and text

Visual is another important factor for the attraction of a video. Human beings love seeing beautiful things, so it will be a big plus if your video is one. You can include beautiful settings when shooting or beautiful effects when editing. Additionally, you should add brief pop-up text at key points or key words that are being talked about. This will guide the viewer through your message, emphasize your main ideas, and prevent them from getting lost or losing focus. TikTok has seen that 40% of auction ads with the highest VTR have adopted this tip.

Especially, if the visual goes well together with the sound with in-sync timing, it will double the impact for the viewer. This is the addictive element of TikTok that makes people keep coming back for it. For example, you can introduce your product by coming up with your own lyrics of a well-known song and add text of your new lyrics with visual effects or choreography that match the beat, melodies, and your content. 

5. Add CTA

You can add the clickable Call-to-action button to interactively connect your product with the audience and convert them better. Depending on your business goal, viewers can click to go to your website or landing page, shop deals, view offers, learn more, find a location, download an app, and so on. If you can clearly show your audience the next course of action they can easily take without thinking further, you will increase your conversion rate more easily.

6. Take advantage of the trends and hashtags

TikTok is driven by hashtags and trends such as new effects / editing styles, trending storylines, popular song / dance / challenge. Using these trends in your ad video and these hashtags in your caption can increase your chance to find and catch your audience’s attention and be a natural conversation starter within the TikTok community. For example, the hashtag #dance at the time of writing has over 430 billion views on TikTok, which is such a tremendous number. To ride on these trends, keep an eye on trending topics and assure fast production turnarounds.

7. Good and native content

In 2020, TikTok first launched TikTok Business with a bold mantra “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks” challenging businesses to transform the way they connect with their audiences. This is similar to an ad strategy that AweSM talked about in one of our videos: Native Ads. It means that you need to be more creative, more authentic and make your ad look like it belongs to a feed like a regular post by a creator of the community, not an ad, because our brain’s been trained to skip through ads. 

You can still present your brand, you just have to think like a TikToker. What value will the viewer get from your ad? What’s interesting about your ad that will keep them stay till the end? Is it fun, emotional, or informative? If you can stimulate emotions and thoughts for your ad viewers, like putting a smile on their face, your brand will more likely be remembered by them. It is necessary to balance between entertainment and promotion factors. Make sure that your ad has good content that can attract and relate to your target audience rather than just being a video displaying your company name and what it is about.

8. Collaborate with TikTok creators

If it’s hard for you to think like a TikToker, you can collaborate with one. Partnering with TikTok Creators who know what works on the platform and already has their fanbase is a great way to leverage your ads. Data from TikTok itself shows that letting Creators take the lead in creating amazing TikTok videos results in better performing ads. If you want to boost your ads further by collaborating with some of the best Creators, you can sign up for the TikTok Creator Marketplace.

Make sure to work with the Creator to bring out the best content that doesn’t just revolve around your brand but still puts it to the spotlight while they can show their personality. With TikTok, content is the key and even Creators with small number of followers can still reach millions of people if their video is so good that it goes viral. This is great news for you because Creators that require less expense to work with can still generate a higher response rate for your ad if you can come up with the right content with the right influencer.

9. Variety in an ad group

At your beginning and exploration stage, it is highly recommended to try different creative strategies to see which works best as well as to avoid ad fatigue. Try to use a variety of settings, backdrops, backgrounds, camera angles to make your video more diverse and appealing. Also, you can try TikTok’s own creative tools like Smart Video to conveniently design new creatives. TikTok suggests us to update creative every 7 days at least. According to TikTok, videos with varied scenes see a 40.6% lift in impressions compared against videos that feature one person on screen selling the product without any B-roll or transition footage. However, let the ad group pass the learning phase (50 conversions) before adding another batch of creatives.

You should use creatives with big differences to test to find the best performer and avoid bulk adding similar creatives to one ad group. Also, you can use Automated Creative Optimization (ACO), a great tool that helps identify winning creatives and saves you effort by automating the process, especially if you run many creatives (more than 10) in 1 ad group. If you are not using ACO, the limit is 16 creatives per ad group.

10. Wide targeting first

TikTok Ads Manager offers a wide range of targeting for your ads (gender, age, interest, location, etc.). If you start with uncertainty of which audience group on TikTok you want to see your ads, then create a broad audience. When you select this option, TikTok Ads Manager with its intelligent technology will automatically find the best people to display your ads to. After that, you will get the results of who clicked on your current ads so you can analyze the data to narrow down your target and optimize future ads.

Furthermore, TikTok algorithm will also learn and help you reach more users with more suitable characteristics and interests to increase your conversion rate. The TikTok Ads platform itself will find profiles with best suited characteristics to your ads and this will increase your chances of conversion.

To Conclude…

TikTok is a very potential platform for entrepreneurs to try running ads on. But TikTok ads have many differences from ads on other social platforms. If you want to succeed with this new marketing leverage, you need to shoot specific videos with good content and creatives that suit this platform and attract its users. And, you would also want to consider the 10 practices above for the best results.

If you want to gain more insights from Maxwell Finn, a TikTok ad master, see our interview with him here

If you want to level up your online business marketing game, register to join our next free webinar here

Would some of your friends find this useful?

Share this article and let them know.

Business Strategist and Visionary

Petter Erik Nyvoll has worked in sales and has been an entrepreneur for 20 years. He has sold courses and conferences, sponsor packages, consulting services, shares, investment opportunities, telephone and server solutions, ads, exclusive memberships, and network marketing products.

He loves to keep up with what’s happening in sales and marketing around the world, is continuously testing new marketing strategies by himself and helps online entrepreneurs implement new sales and marketing strategies. He is well known for challenging his clients to double their price , to think creatively and to break out of their comfort zone!