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6 Quick Tips For Your TikTok Ads Creative Strategy

Victoria Tutunjian | July 7, 2020

So you’re ready to launch on TikTok Ads? Great!

Given that the TikTok Ads platform is still a very new advertising channel and one the advertising community is just beginning to figure out, the possibilities in this early stage are nearly endless. Before diving in give these 6 quick tips a read in order to get a more confident start when creating ads for TikTok Ads.

 

Native is the name of the game


Since user generated TikTok Ads videos are often full of emotion, exaggerated movement and expressions, music and real people, it’s important to keep ads looking “native”. This means your ads should follow the style of user generated content and be less about production and more about being raw and realistic. For instance, avoid having your endorsers speak squarely into the camera as they give a testimonial pitch; this isn’t a YouTube video. Just encourage them to keep it natural and look to the organic UGC in TikTok to guide you along in understanding what natural for the platform is. The only exception to this rule would be for gaming ads. Oftentimes when advertising for a game it can produce better outcomes to show some amount of gameplay interspersed within the video.

Keep it simple


With TikTok there is no need to create elaborate setups with lighting and sets or dazzling motion graphics . Ads don’t need to be very long either -- like most other channels, try to really engage your user in the first 2-6 seconds as TikTok’s download card appears 9 seconds into the ad. Often times, the simplest videos will perform the best. So keep it simple and just make sure that you’re keeping within the safe zones and following the ad approval guidelines.

 

TikTok Ads Safe Zone

Sound is requisite


TikTok is an app that was literally made for the user to play with music and sound on top of their video creations. Sound is requisite to keep viewers’ attention but mainly to help ads blend in with their milieu. Because talking into the camera isn’t the most effective way to grab viewers’ attention on its own, it is essential to have music or sound to fill the void when ads are playing in a feed.

Don’t take risks with music choices


Although TikTok has a seemingly endless repository of music for users, advertisers are a bit more limited. Beware of the temptation to use copyrighted music or sound in ads if you can’t be sure if they’ll make it past review - OR if they do make it past review, that your ads could be flagged by the sound/music creator to be removed due to copyright infringement. Thankfully, if you don’t have a sound library or studio at your disposal, TikTok offers advertisers a decent sized music library called the Smart Video Soundtrack to pull music from, free of charge and accessible through the ads manager. They have a range of genres and tracks to cover every emotion from happy and excited to somber and serious, don’t let this resource go to waste!

Don’t let creatives go to waste


Just because an ad was created for TikTok, doesn’t mean it can’t run elsewhere! Try running ads in any other channels that support similar ad sizes or content. Snapchat and Facebook now routinely feature user content taken from TikTok, so those are two channels that can easily generate a win for TikTok creative. You never know when an ad can take off elsewhere, so why not try? Inversely it’s wise when starting in TikTok to try running ads that performed well in other channels. You never know what could be a hit.

Avoid ad disapprovals


Tiktok has a laundry list of approvals and spec guidelines so make sure you fully acquaint yourself with the full terms before uploading ads to save yourself the time and frustration of having an ad rejected. Here are some things to double check for:

  • Beware of background elements- TikTok’s ad reviewers are eagle eyed, and even if your app screen recording may move too fast for the average viewer to read, TikTok reviewers can and most likely will find anything objectionable that may flash onto the screen. Things like inappropriate images, words, or sounds should be covered or cut entirely. To ensure your ads aren’t flagged for removal, review them like someone from the TikTok team would; frame by frame. If there’s a word or image you’re not sure about, just cover or cut it to be safe.
  • No skin- Ensure endorsers or people in ads are properly covered up. TikTok is rather conservative when it comes to clothing so don’t risk an ad getting disapproved for inappropriate clothing, and encourage endorsers to wear comfortable clothes that cover their midriff, shoulders and chest (this goes for guys too! Keep your shirts on ;))
  • Cover logos- Since many endorsers use the app itself to create their videos, they will often be delivered with the TikTok logo still in the corner. It’s especially important to remember to remove the TikTok logo from any influencer created content as it will result in an automatic ad disapproval when submitted for review.
  • Swipe left not up!- Although it may not always result in an ad being disapproved, remember to change your CTA to swipe LEFT for any ads running on TikTok. When a user swipes up, it takes them to the next post, not the app store. If ads are being repurposed from other channels, it’s imperative your CTAs get edited to follow TikTok’s guidelines and safe zones.

 

This may seem like a lot to digest, but in all honesty TikTok isn’t too far off from many other ad channels in terms of best practices and popular styles. The best part about creating ads for TikTok is you don’t really need to worry about polish as much as channels like Instagram, so try and have fun with it!

 

Below you’ll find some prime ad examples to give you an idea of what it looks like when all of these best practices come together to create an ad.