7 TikTok Ad Creative Best Practices

TikTok is quickly becoming the world’s favorite app. Since the platform became available worldwide in 2018—after merging with Musical.ly—TikTok grew to approximately 1.5 billion active users in Q3 2022. The app is well-positioned to reach 2 billion users by the end of 2023, and if it succeeds it will have done it in half the time that it took Facebook to reach the same milestone. This unprecedented growth makes TikTok a goldmine for brands and marketers looking for new audiences and customers.

There are numerous opportunities to make an impact using TikTok marketing, but the tried and tested strategies that made campaigns successful on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have fallen short on TikTok.

To be successful in the new era of social media advertising on TikTok, brands and marketers alike must evolve to achieve success on the platform. In this article, we’ll cover 7 TikTok ad creative best practices that you should be following if you want a better chance at success.

tiktok ad creative tips1. Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks

In order to create successful marketing campaigns on TikTok, and eventually achieve that ROI you’ve been after, you must completely reconceptualize how you create your ads.

If you fail to adapt, then you’ll be setting yourself up for failure and actively sabotaging your own efforts.


Because the audience on TikTok is not the same audience that you’re used to marketing to.

TikTok’s demographics are completely different than more traditional platforms like Facebook. Unlike Facebook, which is made up primarily of Millennials and Gen X (approximately 60%+ combined), TikTok’s primary audience is Gen Z.

In fact, according to a recent study by Influencer Marketing Hub, more than 65% of TikTok users are members of Generation Z.

What Makes Marketing To Generation Z Different?

Gen Z finds traditional advertising disruptive, and they have a tendency to skip over ads as quickly as they can on traditional platforms. So in order to reach the largest audience on TikTok, you need to make ads that feel like they belong alongside TikTok’s organic content.

This has been one of the critical points that TikTok has tried to drive home with brands and marketers. TikTok’s content has a unique tone and feel compared to traditional social media platforms. The videos don’t look overproduced, and they feel authentic.

Utilizing your traditional Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube ads on TikTok is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It isn’t going to work.

Instead, spend some time analyzing the organic content that caters to your audience or industry. Identify what makes videos successful within your niche, and create ad content that emulates those traits.

Take it from the platform itself,

“be more creative, more authentic, and…create content that truly speaks to people.”

Take A Mobile-First Approach When Shooting Your TikTok ads2. Take A Mobile-First Approach When Shooting Your TikTox

Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube were all originally launched as browser-first platforms. After all, they all launched prior to Apple making the smartphone a household item in 2007. Now that the majority of people on Earth are carrying around a smartphone in their pockets, it makes sense that most platforms are taking a mobile-first approach.

That being said, some platforms have adapted better than others. Many of the videos shared on traditional platforms are still shot horizontally. That’s typically fine on older platforms since users can click full-screen and rotate their phone into landscape mode. But that’s not how TikTok was designed. Until TikTok releases a full screen mode—which may be coming in the future—landscape videos won’t fill the entire screen.

Instead, there will be negative space above and below the video. This makes for a less-than-ideal viewing experience and makes people less likely to finish your video. And if they don’t bother to finish your video, they certainly won’t be clicking on your CTA buttons or converting.

Vertical videos not only provide users with a better viewing experience, but they actually perform better. According to data from TikTok, nearly all the top videos on the platform are shot vertically (98%), vertical videos get 40.1% more impressions than other formats, and videos that use a full-screen 9:16 aspect ratio see a 60.5% increase in impressions.

create content with tiktok ad creative3. Create Content With The Entire User Interface In Mind

This is equally important as shooting your videos vertically, and we’ll keep it very simple. The elements of the user interface are going to obscure sections of your video.

The bottom of the video will be obscured by your handle, the video’s caption, and the name of your sound.

The right side of the video will be obscured by the subscribe, like, comment, bookmark, and share buttons.

And the upper 10% of the video will also contain the search button and the three different feeds users can watch.

You can avoid having important content cut off by UI by keeping things in the center of the video.

use trending sounds for your tiktok ad creative4. Use Trending Sounds…Or Don’t

If you’re not a part of Gen-Z and have yet to dive into the TikTok ecosystem, we’ll break down how audios work on TikTok for you. TikTok allows uploaded content to use two different types of audio. Organic audio that you record or pre-recorded audio that you can choose in the app. If you’re using your video’s organic audio, it will become a pre-recorded sound that others can use in their videos. If that audio gains traction and lots of other creators start using it, it will go viral.

If you go watch just about any video or read any article on how to successfully create TikTok content, it’s almost a given that using trending sounds will be one of the talking points. And to be fair, there’s a reason that this gets added to these kinds of lists…the entire TikTok environment thrives on trending sounds.

If a sound is gaining traction, then the algorithm will start promoting more videos that use that sound. This continues until users stop engaging with said videos and the trend eventually dies out. Usually, these trends won’t last more than a week. And this is where the “use trending audio” advice becomes problematic.

If You Want To Ride The Wave, You Need To Hop On Early.

If you’re late to the party, then the law of diminishing returns is going to be working against you. Once a trend enters the second half of its lifecycle, new videos aren’t going to see the same results as those that were published sooner. By day four, the trend will become oversaturated, and users will start developing audio fatigue.

use CTAs for your tiktok ads5. Incorporate Compelling CTAs

Brands have a lot of options when it comes to implementing compelling CTAs into their TikTok videos. Depending on the type of ad you’re running, you can even take advantage of some useful in-app tools.

Built-In CTAs

TikTok’s built-in CTA’s are automatically added to ads that are driving traffic to a landing page or an app download. If your ad objective is reach or views, you will need to add a URL to the ads creative in order to use TikTok’s CTA buttons.

TikTok offers a variety of standard CTA’s that brands can choose from including “shop now,” “play game,” “download,” and more. TikTok will automatically recommend which CTA you should use based on your brand’s industry and the performance of any ads you’ve previously run.

Alternatively, you can choose to use a dynamic CTA button which allows you to choose multiple CTAs. The app will show different CTAs to different people based on their previous responses to CTAs.

In-Video CTAs

The built-in TikTok CTA buttons aren’t your only option. In fact, you can add a CTA into every single video you post even if you aren’t running it as an ad! This works like a CTA you would place in any other ad. Once you’ve come up with a CTA that fits your goals for the video, you either vocalize that CTA near the end of the video, or you can write it using in-video text. Either way, this is a practice that you should incorporate into every TikTok you post. CTA’s are just for paid ads.

TikTok Spark Ads6. Focus On Creating Spark Ads

TikTok offers brands a variety of different ad types to implement, but the type you should focus most of your efforts on is spark ads. Unlike traditional ads that have to be uploaded into the TikTok business center, brands can use spark ads to promote their organic content as ads. You can even promote other creators’ content if they give you consent. Which can be really useful for influencer campaigns!

There are a few reasons we think spark ads are the way to go when it comes to TikTok ads.

More Features

Sparks ads actually have an edge over traditional ads on a technical level. Spark ads report a more comprehensive array of data than non-spark ads. TikTok will provide you with the following for spark ad campaigns:

  • Paid profile visits
  • Paid follows
  • Paid anchor clicks & CTR
  • Paid shares
  • Paid likes
  • Paid comments
  • Paid clicks on CTA, profile picture, and sounds

Meanwhile, non-spark ads only report the bottom four metrics. So you won’t be able to tell how much your profile growth is organic vs paid.

Spark Ads Flow Seamlessly With The FYP

This really goes back to our first point. Don’t make ads, make TikToks. You don’t want your advertisements to detract from the usual TikTok experience. You want them to flow seamlessly with the rest of a user’s feed to make the maximum impact on the app’s largest audience.

That being said. You don’t have to avoid using non-spark ads entirely. They do offer some unique formats (like playable ads) that can drive good results. Be sure to take your industry into consideration when choosing your formats too. If you’re a mobile game publisher, non-spark ads might offer better solutions for you.

keep your TikTok ads short7. Keep It Short

TikTok is a short-form video platform. And unlike YouTube which will allow you to use entire movies as ads, TikTok caps ads at 60 seconds for most formats. While you can certainly make use of that entire minute, users likely aren’t going to watch the entire thing. TikTok recommends keeping standard video ads between 9-15 seconds.

If you’re using TikTok’s Spark ads feature, then you should know that the average TikTok video is shorter than 30 seconds. Keep that in mind when choosing which videos you want to promote as ads.

TikTok marketingTikTok Is Forcing Marketers To Evolve, And That’s A Good Thing

TikTok’s short-form video formula is changing how brands and users interact on social media. Unlike an app like Youtube where users might be willing to watch a 3-minute ad if the content is captivating enough, TikTok is catering to shorter and shorter attention spans.

You need to effectively grab a user’s attention and relay a compelling message all in under 30 seconds. And considering how different the platform is compared to what marketers are used to working with, it’s completely understandable that brands and agencies might struggle to find success within their niche.

Adopting some of these best practices should help brands adjust their strategies and create compelling content that excels on the platform.

If you’re still unsure of how to best tackle TikTok marketing and want an experienced agency to help deliver results, please feel free to contact us.

We can help you create an effective plan for marketing on every major platform, including TikTok. If you’re ready to work with an experienced team of dedicated marketing professionals, connect with Fidelitas today.

Luis Robinson

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