Best Practices for TikTok Ads

TikTok recently released some best practices for advertisers to make the most of their TikTok Ads on the app, which is one of the fastest-growing social media apps in the world, and saw exponential growth throughout 2020.

If you haven’t invested in online video ads, TikTok might offer you some of the best bang for your buck given its wild growth – but there’s always going to be a gulf in effectiveness between ads based on quality and relevance. If you want to kickstart your Tiktok campaign, check out our guide on how to use Tiktok for your business.

A silent slideshow might not get you many impressions – but by sticking to a few simple rules based on the company’s advertising data, you can take advantage of an active userbase of over 689 million monthly users.

TikTok claims that these practices were determined based on in-house data analysis of how certain ad design choices impact impressions and performance. These include video resolution, video format, audio, captioning, and more. Let’s take a quick look at some of TikTok’s most important insights for video advertising.

Short Videos are the Best

This might come as no surprise to most people who also happen to be casual social media users, but short ads do best – for one, they’re easier to remember, secondly, they’re less intrusive (i.e. less annoying), and lastly, they allow you bring your message across immediately. It’s important to mention that shorter ads are less likely to be skipped, as well.

Long-form video ads might be more effective in traditional media and YouTube, but for TikTok, the shorter (without becoming incoherent or ineffectual), the better.  Keep your ideal length to about ten seconds.

Film Vertically

Like most major advertising platforms, TikTok has stringent ad specs. Not meeting these might lead to your ad getting rejected, or worse still, it’ll be approved but trimmed and skewed.

One of the more important ad specs to keep in mind when producing video content for TikTok is to make your ad vertical. Yes, yes, people have complained about vertical filming for years – but we’re in a day and age where more people are consuming media via mobile than any other platform, and most video-sharing apps (including TikTok and YouTube) allow users to comfortably view vertical content in full-screen.

Hire Entertaining Content Creators

Users are far more likely to skip a dry ad read. That doesn’t mean you need to dig out the cash to partner with Ryan Reynolds to get any eyeballs at all, but do consider investing in an experienced video ad director or content creator, one with a focus on fun and entertainment.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling – the vast majority of TikTok users use the app to be entertained, and you can greatly reduce your chances of getting skipped by keeping the message light, making the visuals fun, using upbeat music, and a straightforward call to action (CTA).

You can further optimize the contents of your ad by playing to current trends, as based on TikTok’s current hashtags.

Don’t Bother with Low Quality

We aren’t talking subjectively here. Your ad should be published in no less than a 720p resolution, and ideally higher.

Keeping the resolution of your ad over 720p alone can help you improve impressions by over five percent. Not convinced? Nearly 85 percent of the top performing ads on TikTok have a minimum resolution of 720p.

First Impressions are Everything

We’ve already mentioned short content but making a visual impact in the first few seconds is just as important. Use your brand colors effectively, catch the eye and the ear, be blunt yet informative with your ad.

You’ve got a lot of tools to make it happen: visual elements, popping colors, interesting scene changes, great choice in music, a catchy logo or CTA message.

Center Everything

TikTok standardizes its content to appear on mobile devices of any kind, in every region on the planet. This means that your ad might not always appear on a user’s screen the way you might want it to, as TikTok might obscure corners and margins. In other words: center everything important, especially the CTA.

Additional tidbit: the ideal aspect ratio for TikTok ads is 9:16. This reduces the margin problem and helps improve the visual quality of your ad by eliminating any empty space around it.

Music Matters

What matters less is the kind of music used. Something fitting for the ad or brand, ideally, but just adding audio to begin with is already much more likely to get you more impressions.

Use Closed Captions

This one is very important! Not only will captions massively boost the accessibility of your ad at no cost, but they can also help you greatly expand your target audience by providing local closed captions in each targeted region’s native language, and help you get your point across before a user can decide to click skip – whether that point is the name of the brand and newly launched product, or the name of the deal or promotion you’re running.

Captions alone can increase impressions on your ads by a whopping 55 percent. And it’s just good ad UX design.

Offer a Compelling CTA (Deals Work Best)

Offers, promotions, new events, new items, seasonal discounts. Regardless of what it might be, your ad is much more likely to be a success if there’s an incentive to interact with it.

Clickable elements in your ad should lead users straight to the product or promotion in question, generate a promotional code or discount, or help provide more information about the event you’re running.

Ultimately, making the most of TikTok means creating concise, catchy ads produced vertically, with appropriate audio (music or voiceovers) and a CTA that’s beneficial to the viewer. Keep in mind that you can use TikTok’s hashtags to guide your ad’s subject matter or fuel your ideas, and that promotions and offers tend to do better than other types of ads.

Need help on your video ad campaigns? Send us a message.

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SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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