Create TikTok ads that convert by embracing the platform’s storytelling style

Social Media

Like most social media platforms, TikTok pays its bills by selling ads to brands that want to reach its hundreds of millions of users. The most popular type of ad on TikTok is the “In-Feed Ad,” which mirrors Snapchat ads or Instagram/Facebook story ads. These in-feed ads run in between organic content on the “For You” page, TikTok’s individualized home page.

For marketers embarking on their TikTok journey, in-feed ads are a great place to start since you can test and learn with a small budget. This type of ad is also TikTok’s main tool for performance marketers because it allows for direct click-outs to landing pages and the app store.

There are several ways to purchase in-feed ads, including TikTok’s self-service ad platform and through reservation with their sales team. Pricing on TikTok is generally much better than other platforms, but prices are rising steadily as brands flood to TikTok. It’s worth noting that while TikTok’s targeting capabilities lag behind other platforms, the company is building them out rapidly.

To get the best results from your in-feed ads on TikTok, consider these guidelines:

Don’t reuse ads from other platforms: This is a common mistake brands make: repurposing top-performing Instagram story or Snapchat ad creative as their TikTok ads. Those platforms have a totally different visual aesthetic and storytelling norms, so that content sticks out on TikTok. It feels out of place, or worse, screams “AD!” No surprise that repurposed ad creative tends to perform poorly. The best creative for a TikTok ad looks and feels like any native piece of TikTok content.

Keep creative in line with TikTok style: The polished and elegant creative that performs well on Instagram or YouTube will feel very out of place on TikTok. Instead, follow the same best practices for creating TikTok-native videos for Brand Channels. Great ads abide by popular TikTok storytelling styles, take advantage of popular trends and include relevant music and sounds. And, yes you do need to purchase a license to the music in your ad.

Consider influencers to develop your ads: Hiring popular TikTok influencers is one strategy marketers are utilizing to give ad content a more native feel. Successful TikTok influencers can help finesse your ad in a way that feels organic to the platform, and ultimately more engaging. Influencers can also add a helpful perspective on what TikTok-centric trends would integrate best with your campaign objective. TikTok’s ad platform is integrated with their Creator Marketplace, which can be a good start for identifying influencers to collaborate with.  

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author


Evan Horowitz is CEO and co-founder of Movers+Shakers. He founded the creative studio in order to spread joy. The firm is breaking engagement records with unexpected digital activations and creating deep emotional connections between brands and consumers. After setting the record for most viral TikTok campaign in history, Movers+Shakers became “the go-to agency for brands making moves on TikTok” (Refinery29). They’re creating fast-growing brand channels, influencer and ad campaigns, and of course more viral challenges. Evan is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs, and a holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS Engineering from Stanford.

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