5 TikTok Advertising Creative Tools and Best Practices

Francis Gary Viray

Author & Editor

Founder & CEO

Published on: Jul 19, 2021 Updated on: May 20, 2024

There’s no doubt that the most popular social media platform today is TikTok. The latest report from the rising giant released in July 2020 showed that there are more than half a billion monthly active users on the platform. A year into this report, it’s likely that the figures have already reached its billion mark – perhaps more.

Everybody’s on the platform. From celebrities and dancers who occasionally talk about how to earn money in TikTok – to pranksters, fitness gurus, and food enthusiasts. Even some of the biggest brands have jumped into the bandwagon.

With such a huge audience, it’s no surprise that businesses are dedicating time and effort to their TikTok advertising campaigns.

If you’re considering taking the plunge but are unsure on how to go about it, let the social media experts guide you through the best TikTok tools and practices. Here’s what you should know before advertising on TikTok.

How do audiences interact with brands on TikTok?

TikTok advertising enables you to boost brand awareness, forge better relationships with prospective and existing customers, and ultimately compel them to buy and use your products and services. How can these happen? Through various user actions below:

  • Discovery. Potential customers can literally discover your brand on TikTok’s Discover page. This is the section that features new content produced on the platform. You can boost the visibility of your posts, as you create TikTok advertising campaigns.
  • Engagement. Prospective customers can like, comment, and share the content you post, similar to those in other social media platforms. Through this social interaction, you can form trust with your potential customers.
  • Purchase. With the right content and strategic TikTok marketing and advertising, you can push people towards buying a product or a service. In an online ad platform launch, TikTok revealed that 84%of their users were convinced to complete a purchase by watching a brand’s video.
    Statistics On Short Video Consumption Online

  • Promotion. Your customers can share their product or service experience in the platform through the types of content discussed below. Promotion further increases brand awareness and pushes other people to try your brand, maximizing the returns on your TikTok advertising spend.

Creative Tools

The very nature of its platform has made TikTok immensely popular. Its videos are fun, trendy, and short. All the pieces of content here are quick bursts of entertainment, perfectly suitable for the short attention span and quick scrolling fingers of today’s social media users.

Consequently, the appeal of TikTok is what also makes it extra challenging. To stay relevant on this platform and make the most out of your TikTok advertising campaigns, you must have highly creative, entertaining content that lasts only under a minute.

Fortunately, the platform has free tools brands can use to get their creative juices flowing. As mentioned in this Product Story, the platform’s Creative Center is a portal of best practices, tips, tricks, and insights from its high-performing ads. This is one of the benefits of including TikTok marketing in your online strategies. So maximize the following sections of the Creative Center:

  • Inspiration. Here you’ll find all the high-performing ads. It’s regularly updated; so you can get a fresh supply of content ideas for your TikTok advertising campaigns. Under this section, you will see these types of inspirations:
    • Top Ads – high-performing ads that you can filter according to region, industry, and duration;
    • Popular Trends – user content from different countries that are widely discussed and shared; and
    • Showcases – handpicked auction ad case studies complemented by easy-to-understand insights
  • Insights. This is where you can find tips, tricks, and tutorials that can help you create your ads.
  • Tools. This is where you can get the free creative tools, all designed to make video production easier. Use the following when creating your TikTok advertising campaigns:
    • TikTok Video Editor. A browser-based video editor that helps produce native videos, complete with TikTok-unique features such as popular soundtrack snippets, fonts, colors, and more. In this video editor, you can crop materials, cut scenes, add transitions, and include subtitles. The entire process is easy and fast since you merely have to add elements to the editing page then select transitions and effects.
    • Smart Video. As the name suggests, this tool uses artificial intelligence. With such a technology, this tool can automatically create an ad from the images and videos you upload and the settings you choose. These settings include video style, duration, and soundtrack. The TikTok advertising output is an expertly edited video featuring transitions, music, and other amusing elements online that users love.
    • Video Template. Simply put, these are ready-to-use videos that you can customize to fit your campaign. How do you use this TikTok feature? Choose a template from the library, then upload your own images, videos, logos, and texts. Next, include music from the track list (all the assets are free; so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues). With the video set, you’re ready to publish the ad for viewers to see.
    • Smart Video Soundtrack. Music is a huge part of TikTok. If you look closely, most trendy pieces of content have catchy tunes. To help brands in their soundtrack selection, the platform created Smart Video Soundtrack, a tool that automatically selects music that matches the video material you upload. TikTok has a vast media library, containing 10 different genres, including Teen, Classic, Country, Ambient, Pop, EDM, MIX, Symphony, Rock, and Folk.
    • Smart Text. A text generation tool, this TikTok feature produces a copy for your video ad. To do so; you must key in your industry, language, and a keyword. The tool will then offer text recommendations, making ad creation easier. Do note that this tool supports English, Japanese, Russian, and Vietnamese languages only.
    • Quick Optimization. Another smart tool, this feature automatically improves a video you upload by integrating visual effects, music, and other important TikTok elements. The difference of Quick Optimization from the Smart Video is that the former generates 12 unique, edited videos you can choose from.

Creative Best Practices

Now that we’re done with the tools, it’s time to discuss the creative best practices you can try to make your advertising on TikTok a success. The following are strategies mentioned in the webinar TikTok organized when it launched its advertising platform in Southeast Asia:

1. Unleash the power of sound.

According to a recent research, “sound is the anti-scroll on TikTok.” About 73% of Kantar survey respondents said they would “stop and look” at ads that have audio. What’s more, 88% shared that sound is “essential” to the TikTok experience. As such, make sure that all the content you put out has catchy tunes.

In exploring different music, begin with the platform’s free Commercial Music Library. But if you want to own it, you can either convert your audio logo into a TikTok sound or create an original one designed specifically for your campaign, with the help of artists.

One brand that leveraged the power of sound so well in their TikTok advertising campaign is the dating platform Tinder. Collaborating with Frances Forever, they produced music titled It’s All Worth Finding. With its catchy tune, TikTok users danced to it and made it their own. The brand was able to collect several user-generated content for social media.

2. Be clear about your message.

If possible, get it out early. Remember, TikTok videos are quick entertainment. If people don’t get what you’re trying to communicate within the first five to 10 seconds, they’re likely to scroll away. Overlaying your video content with a concise, informative text can help, according to the creators of TikTok.

As always, don’t neglect writing a high-quality caption. Capture the gist of the video. Use the language your audience uses to create a better impact. If necessary, include appropriate emojis and hashtags.

3. Include a compelling call to action (CTA).

As much as you strive for clarity on the main message of your ad, you must also apply the same principle on your calls to action. This is likely the last thing people will see on your video so you want them to move to your desired action before they scroll away.

When creating TikTok advertising campaigns, there are options to select CTA buttons. Software company Adobe uses “Download” CTAs on their Lightroom ads.

4. Partner with influencers.

TikTok is known for having a huge pool of talented users, from dancers and singers to comedians down to impersonators and voice actors. These people rake in thousands or millions of views. Collaborating with these influencers, therefore, can help in increasing the reach of your TikTok videos. More importantly, they could bring the creative juices you need to fire up your content.

Take for example, Palawan Pawnshop, which partnered with social media personality Sassa Gurl. The popular TikToker created a highly entertaining video, amassing over 50,000 likes.

@itssassagurlSuki, ano na? @palawanpawnshop na!! #PALAWANderfulWorld #PalawanPawnshopChallenge #FYP♬ original sound – Sassa Gurl

When choosing influencers though, look beyond the number of followers and the performance of their content. Make sure that they’re relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. Remember, our advertising and marketing strategies should boost our social media presence and attract the ideal audience.

5. Choose the right type of ad.

One more advantage in including TikTok in your online strategies is because there are various kinds of ads on this platform. You can choose based on your bidding budget and the desired action you aim to produce from your audience. Below are the different ways you can do advertising on TikTok:

  1. Branded hashtag challenge. This is the most common ad format in the platform, wherein users are encouraged to do a specific action (a challenge) sponsored by a brand. It drives brand awareness because you get a banner on the Discover page and a dedicated challenge page.
    One of the most popular branded hashtag challenges is Samsung’s #VideoSnapChallenge. TikTok users were challenged to capture three poses in one continuous movement, promoting the 8K video snap feature on the tech company’s new Samsung Galaxy S21. Below is just one of the videos posted for the challenge by Seany (@seandoesmagic on TikTok)
    @seandoesmagic#VideoSnapChallenge is giving you 3x The Magic with @samsung on my #GalaxyS21. Show what you do with 3 of you! #SamsungPartner #TeamGalaxy #withGalaxy♬ Freaks – 88rising

    More than 6.5 million pieces of content were generated from the campaign, attracting 14.8 billion views during the campaign period from February 25 to March 5, 2021.

  2. In-feed ads. As the name suggests, it’s an ad that shows up in a user’s feed, the For You page. The benefit in using this type of TikTok advertising video is that it blends seamlessly in between user videos, a non-intrusive way of introducing your brand to the audience.The recommended aspect ratio for this ad is 9:16, 1:1, or 16:9, with the following resolution options: ≥540x960px, ≥640x640px, or ≥960x540px. The ad display image, meanwhile, should have an aspect ratio of 1:1.
  3. Brand Takeover. Brand takeovers pop up when a user first opens the TikTok app, taking over their screen for a few seconds before changing into an in-feed ad. Obviously, the advantage in using this type of TikTok advertising video is that it gives you greater visibility, as it will be the first thing people will see and no other content will compete with your video for the first few seconds.
  4. Top-view Ads. Similar to brand takeovers, this appears when a user first opens the app. The only difference is that it doesn’t cover the entire screen upon sign-in. Instead, it’s at the top of the For You page for a few seconds then becomes a full-screen video that can last up to 60 seconds.
  5. Branded Effects. These customize TikTok effects by putting your brand on it. These effects include stickers and filters. The advantage in using this type of TikTok advertising video is that it allows your target audience to engage with your brand in a fun way.One brand that used this type of ad well is Netflix, launching a campaign called #WhatsYourPower to promote their film Project Power. They created a generator type of filter that automatically picks a “superpower,” say, teleportation, flexibility, forcefield, and more. Users then show off these superpowers by giving their videos special effects or transitions.Here’s a video created by Micachow for the challenge.

    @micahcowThe comeback is almost here…😈@netflix ##whatsyourpower ##ad♬ Rise Up (1st Half Custom) – Dubkiller and Mark Victor

    With all these different ways of advertising on TikTok, the challenge is to come up with brilliant content ideas. For this, it’s best to begin your creative process with knowing what the TikTok community has been raving about. Ride on the latest trends, as mentioned in TikTok’s webinar. Then keep the challenge authentic, true to your brand image.

    Samsung #Videosnap Challenge For Galazy S21

Key takeaways

With a billion users on the platform, TikTok is indeed the generation’s favorite social media network. It could be your audience’s go-to platform. As such, make sure to keep in mind the following practices when advertising on TikTok:

  • Explore and maximize the creative tools. With the availability of free resources, the video editors, smart texts, and other features, you can create your TikTok advertising campaigns more efficiently.
  • Make your content ultra-entertaining. There are plenty of ad formats to choose from. Whichever you choose, make sure that your content is fun and engaging because at the end of the day, this is what captures TikTok users’ attention.
  • Learn from other brands’ campaigns. Studying what worked and what could have worked better in brands’ ads can inform and improve your own TikTok advertising campaigns.

Do you need help with your brand’s TikTok advertising efforts? Perhaps, you’d like to share some best practices you’ve developed from your past campaigns. Comment about them down below or reach out to us on Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.