TikTok, the popular social media platform known for its short-form video content, has become a go-to destination for brands looking to reach younger audiences. With over a billion active users worldwide, TikTok provides advertisers with a unique opportunity to connect with a highly engaged and rapidly growing community. But with so many ad formats available, it can be challenging to determine which ones best fit your brand’s goals.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform where users can create, share, and discover short-form videos. The app allows users to record and edit videos using a large selection of filters, effects, and music. TikTok has become especially popular among younger generations, with a user base that skews towards teens and young adults.

The app has been downloaded over two billion times worldwide and has become a cultural phenomenon, with TikTok challenges, memes, and trends spreading across the internet. In addition to user-generated content, TikTok offers various TikTok ads via it’s own TikTok Ads Manager. You will also have to learn more about the types of TikTok ad formats and their use.

Types of TikTok Ads and TikTok Ad Formats

This social media offers a selection of the best TikTok ads and ad formats, which are unique to the social media platform.

1. In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads on TikTok are a type of native ad that appears in users’ “For You” feed, which is the app’s main page that showcases a personalized selection of videos. These types of tiktok ads are skippable; users can interact with them just like any other TikTok video:

  1. by liking,
  2. sharing, and
  3. commenting.

In-feed video ads are videos ranging from 5 to 60 seconds long paired with an ad display image. However, TikTok recommends keeping these ads on the short side of the scale to retain viewer attention more effectively. For this reason, most in-feed ads are between 9 and 15 seconds long. 

The video ads creatives on an in-feed video ad must not exceed 500 megabytes.

Pros of In-Feed Ads
1. High visibility
2. Targeting options
3. Creative flexibility
Cons of In-Feed Ads
1. Skippable
2. Competition
3. Limited branding opportunities

These in feed video ads can also include a call-to-action (CTA) button that takes users to a landing page, an ad description, app download page, or a hashtag challenge page. Advertisers can also target their in-feed ads based on audience demographics, interests, and behaviors.

In-feed ads are an excellent way for brands to increase brand awareness, drive app downloads and installs or website visits, and promote products or services. Since they appear in the main feed, in-feed ads have the potential to reach a wide and highly engaged audience.

2. Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Takeover ads on TikTok are ads designed to appear in full-screen mode when users open the app for the first time, ensuring high visibility with the app’s user base.

Brand Takeover ads display static image ads or video creatives for a short period (3 to 5 seconds), along with a clickable link redirecting users to a landing page or a hashtag challenge. Brand takeover ads can also include a call-to-action (CTA) button, such as “Shop Now” or “Learn More.”

Pros of Brand Takeover Ads
1. Highly visible and exclusive
2. Can quickly grab users' attention
3. Clickable link and call-to-action button can drive traffic and conversions
Cons of Brand Takeover Ads
1. Intrusive
2. Limited to one brand per day
3. Short ad length

TikTok enforces a 100% share of voice rule on Brand Takeover ads, meaning that only one brand can run a Brand Takeover ad per day. This rule was implemented to ensure maximum visibility and exclusivity. Brands can target their Brand Takeover ads based on audience demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Brand Takeover ads are an excellent way for advertisers and brands to grab users’ attention and increase brand awareness quickly. However, since they are highly intrusive, it is crucial to use them sparingly and ensure the brand takeover ad creative is as visually appealing and engaging as possible.

3. TopView Ads

Like Brand Takeover ads, TopView ads on TikTok appear when users first open the application. The primary difference between TopView ads and Brand Takeover ads is their placement within the app and length.

TopView ads appear at the top of the “For You” page and feature longer creatives:

  • Up to 60 seconds long, with autoplay and sound enabled.

Available aspect ratios are 16:9, 9:16, or 1:1, with a maximum file size of 500 MB.

The longer format of TopView ads makes them the ideal choice for brands looking to tell a story, showcase a product or service in long form, or generally capture audiences with an engaging or creative experience.

Each TopView ad can be displayed to each user once per day, and users may skip them by swiping up or tapping the Skip button after three seconds have passed. Brands can also include a clickable link or a call-to-action (CTA) button that takes users to a landing page or a hashtag challenge.

Pros of TopView Ads
1. Longer video length allows for more creative flexibility and storytelling
2. Autoplay with sound on can increase engagement
3. Highly visible and exclusive
Cons of TopView Ads
Can be considered intrusive
Longer video length may be better for users quickly scrolling through content.
Expensive and difficult to book

How can you view TopView ads?

TopView ads offer higher visibility than standard in-feed ads, making them an excellent choice for increasing brand awareness or reaching a wide audience as quickly as possible. The longer video length also allows for more creative flexibility and the ability to tell a more engaging story.

However, since they are highly intrusive, advertisers must ensure their TopView ad creatives are of the highest quality possible and feature highly appealing visuals to avoid annoying users. These requirements also mean TopView ads are among the most expensive, with each ad campaign alone typically costing brands $50,000 to $150,000 a day.

4. Branded Effects

Branded Effects aren’t traditional ads but a range of branded custom filters, stickers, and augmented reality (AR) effects users can share and use in their own video content. They allow content creators and viewers to interact with brands in fun and novel ways, creating a unique opportunity for user engagement.

Three groups of Branded Effects are available: standard 2D, 2D Pro, and 3D.

  • Standard 2D Branded Effects primarily use two-dimensional images or animations. They are the simplest and easiest to use of the three, making them an ideal choice for advertisers and content creators who are beginners at Branded Effects.
  • 2D Pro Branded Effects have all the features of their regular 2D counterparts, plus additional beauty filters. They’re ideally suited for showcasing cosmetics, wearables, or gaming products with facial elements because they allow content creators to virtually wear the product, demonstrating how it looks or functions.
  • 3D Branded Effects uses 3D models and animations instead of flat 2D elements. They are typically used to represent characters or wearables, such as hats, headphones, or glasses. 3D Branded Effects are compatible with special effects such as greenscreen or cloning. They can also be gamified to create a TikTok challenge or a more interactive experience.

Branded Effects allow brands and advertisers to let users express themselves and engage with brands through playful and creative means. It allows viewers and content creators to create a unique, deeper connection with the brand and the audience.

Pros of Branded Effects
1. Increases engagement and user-generated content
2. Allows brands to establish a strong visual identity on the platform
3. Can be used in combination with other ad formats for a more cohesive brand experience
Cons of Branded Effects
1. Limited to larger brands with a budget for custom AR and 3D designs
2. Users may not use the branded effects in a way that benefits the brand
3. Branded effects may not be enough to drive conversions or sales on their own.

Additionally, advertisers can integrate branded Effects into TikTok’s standard ad formats, such as in-feed ads or a hashtag challenge. Integrating Branded Effects into other ad formats helps boost their creative potential and creates a more cohesive and immersive brand experience.

5. Branded Hashtag Challenge

Branded Hashtag Challenges are another form of advertising unique to TikTok. They are designed to encourage audiences and content creators to become active participants in a brand’s marketing strategy.

The basic concept of a Branded Hashtag Challenge is simple: a brand or advertiser creates a hashtag and encourages users to create and share content using that hashtag. The content is typically related to the hashtag’s subject, such as dances, athletic feats, or other specific actions.

A well-known example is K18’s #K18HairFlip challenge, launched in December 2021, which encouraged users to perform a hair flip on video for a chance to win rewards.

Brands can also create their own content to kick off the hashtag challenge and inspire users to follow along. Branded hashtag challenges can be promoted through in-feed ads or other ad formats, increasing visibility and participation.

Pros of Branded Hashtag Challenges
1. Increases engagement and user-generated content
2. Can increase brand awareness and loyalty
3. Can be used in combination with other ad formats for a more cohesive brand experience
Cons of Branded Hashtag Challenges
1. Success of the challenge depends on user participation and creativity
2. Branded hashtag challenges can be time-consuming and expensive to produce
3. May not directly lead to sales or conversions

Branded Hashtag Challenges are a unique way for brands to advertise their products while encouraging content creation and increasing user engagement on the platform.

By creating a fun and creative challenge, brands can build a deeper connection with their audience and increase brand loyalty.

Like Branded Effects, brands can integrate a Branded Hashtag Challenge into other ad formats, such as in-feed ads. They are excellent ways to create an immersive branding experience that keeps audiences engaged and connected.

6. Spark Ads

Spark Ads are native ads on TikTok that let brands create ad campaigns around organic TikTok posts. Spark Ads can leverage the brand’s own TikTok account posts or, with their permission, those of other content creators.

The primary draw of Spark Ads is their use of user-generated content to deliver the ad messaging. As a type of native ad, Spark Ads tend to create ads that resemble organic posts and are designed not to look like advertisements at first glance. In essence, Spark Ads turn regular, organically created content into advertisements.

Pros of Spark Ads
1. Tells audiences an authentic and engaging story
2. Leverages user-created content to build a cohesive ad campaign
3. Engagement received through Spark Ads posts are fully attributed to the posters, even if the brand used another content creator’s posts
Cons of Spark Ads
1. May not be suited to brands without a partnership with influencers
2. Running a Spark Ads campaign can be expensive
3. While Spark Ads can generate many views and interactions, they may not always lead to conversions or sales
4. Collection ads are being phased out by TikTok and will no longer be available worldwide starting in April 3, 2023

A significant benefit of using Spark Ads is the attribution of user engagement and interactions. The ad can link to a TikTok account instead of a landing page, and all views, comments, likes, follows, and shares gained from a Spark Ad are attributed to the account that posted it.

A Spark Ads campaign gives brands a unique way to reach audiences and tell an authentic story, significantly increasing click-through rates and user engagement. Launching a Spark Ads campaign is also considered a cost-effective investment. According to TikTok’s own statistics, Spark Ads have a 134% higher completion rate, a 69% higher conversion rate, and a 37% lower cost per action (CPA) than their own standard In-feed ads.

Who Should Use TikTok Ads and Advertise?

TikTok’s unique audience and ad formats make it an ideal platform for businesses and advertisers in specific categories or industries. Brands that are innovative, visually appealing, and looking to reach younger and highly engaged audiences should consider advertising via TikTok Ads.

The platform’s video-centric and unique ad formats, such as Branded Effects and Hashtag Challenges, make it a great place for brands to showcase their products and create engaging content. Additionally, with TikTok’s significant international reach, it’s a great platform for brands looking to expand their global reach.

Reaching Young and Engaged Audiences

TikTok’s user base skews towards younger generations, with over 70% of users aged 18 to 34. These demographics make it an ideal platform for brands looking to reach teens and young adults. Additionally, TikTok Ads users are highly engaged, with an average of 52 minutes daily on the app. 

TikTok Ads offers brands a unique opportunity to connect with a highly engaged and rapidly growing community. By creating engaging native content and utilizing the platform’s special tik tok ad formats, brands can reach a younger demographic and build brand awareness and loyalty.

Ideal for Video Advertising

TikTok’s video-centric ad format makes it an ideal platform for brands looking to advertise through video content. With the ability to record and edit videos, brands can create visually appealing and engaging content that resonates with their audience.

In addition, TikTok’s ad formats, such as in-feed ads and TopView ads, are designed to display video content as seamlessly and naturally as possible, making it an effective way for brands to reach their audience.

Additionally, TikTok Ads allow brands to showcase their products or services engagingly and creatively and can help drive brand awareness, engagement, and conversions.

International Reach

With over one billion active users worldwide, TikTok is an excellent platform for advertisers looking to reach global audiences. The app is available in over 150 markets and 75 languages, making it an excellent platform for brands looking to expand their global reach. Additionally, TikTok’s growth is not constrained to any particular country or region. All international markets have experienced steady user growth since 2018.

This international reach allows brands to tap into new and diverse audiences and to create localized content that resonates with users in different regions. By using TikTok’s targeting options, brands can ensure their ads reach the right audience in each market. The platform’s international reach and highly engaged user base make it ideal for brands looking to expand their global footprint and build brand awareness and loyalty with worldwide audiences.

Unique Ad Formats Boost Engagement

TikTok’s unique ad formats, such as Branded Effects, TopView ads, and Branded Hashtag Challenges, are designed to boost engagement and drive results. These ad formats allow brands to create more immersive and interactive experiences for their audience, increasing brand awareness and engagement.

TikTok’s unique ad formats are designed to help brands stand out on the platform and create more engaging experiences for their audience than on any other social media platform. By using these ad formats, brands can increase brand awareness and drive results in a fun and creative way.

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