TikTok is one of the biggest social media platforms today. It’s especially popular with the difficult-to-reach Gen Z and millennial demographics, making it a powerful place for brands to interact with customers.
While TikTok ads are an essential part of social media marketing, the platform has a unique focus on viral video and audio content. This can make it harder to build effective ads compared to other platforms. Still, the variety of advertising TikTok offers can make it worth your while.
Types of TikTok Ads
There are six types of TikTok ad formats that you can use to expand brand awareness on the platform.
In-Feed advertisements show up on the For You Page (FYP). This is the users’ primary feed on the platform, making it a great place to reach potential customers.
These video advertisements can be as long as a minute and work like any other post on the platform. People can interact with your ad by liking, commenting, and sharing it.
However, like other posts on TikTok, there’s nothing stopping people from swiping and skipping the ad.
These ads work great as part of a native advertising plan and blend right in with the other content on the site. They're also one of the easiest ad types to create.
TopView ads show up right after someone opens the TikTok app on their phone. They involve full-screen video and sound with a call-to-action button integrated into the ad.
Unlike In-Feed ads, these don’t integrate into people’s feeds. Instead, they feel more like traditional advertisements you’d see on TV.
Nevertheless, they’re good at grabbing people’s attention. It’s hard to ignore an auto-playing video that takes up your whole screen.
These are a good choice if you have a big budget and can splurge on a big ad or if you have video advertisements from other platforms that you want to repurpose for TikTok.
Spark ads are another type of native advertising within the TikTok ad. You can use this ad to promote your brand’s existing TikTok videos instead of creating a new one from scratch. Like any other post, the promoted Spark ads will appear in users' feeds.
The difference between Spark and In-Feed ads is that Spark ads typically direct people to your brand’s TikTok account instead of to a landing page. Any engagement on the ad is credited toward the promoted post.
This makes these ads ideal for brands that want to grow their presence on the platform more than generate direct sales.
Branded Hashtag Challenge
Hashtags are a powerful tool for brands on TikTok. Branded hashtag challenges allow you to sponsor a hashtag and engage with your target audience.
You can use this ad to challenge your fans to create videos featuring your product alongside viral sounds or specific challenges.
For example, Disney and The Make-a-Wish Foundation sponsored a challenge with #ShareYourEars. Every share of a post featuring the hashtag resulted in Disney donating $5 to the nonprofit.
You can develop many creative ideas for branded hashtag challenges and get great engagement from your fans. These ads are good for companies that want to encourage more user-generated content.
Branded effect advertisements let companies create filters, stickers, and special effects users can add to their videos. For example, you can add a filter that displays your logo on a video or a sound that adds your company’s jingle.
These ads can help you create a brand identity on TikTok and boost your company’s exposure on the platform.
TikTok Ad Examples
Here are some examples of how different ad types will appear in TikTok.
Panera’s in-feed ad looks like a normal post, but it has a call to action button that directs TikTok users to join its Unlimited Sip Club.
Rooster Defense’s ad looks a lot like an in-feed ad, but it easily leads people to the brand’s TikTok profile and allows them to download the app.
Branded Hashtag Challenge
This branded hashtag challenge from fashion brand BOSS generated nearly three billion views on the platform.
L'oreal Paris’ branded effect swaps the hair color of the people in the video, letting viewers see how effective its hair dye is.
The Best TikTok Ads of 2022
One of the best ways to learn how to advertise effectively is to see what the competition is doing. Copying other ads wholesale won’t get you far, but seeing what ideas tend to produce the most engagement can help inspire you to build effective advertisements.
Here are some of the top ads of 2022 that you can use to inspire your next (or first) TikTok ad campaign.
Samsung S22 Ads
This video ad repurposes a video advertisement Samsung created to advertise the release of their new S22 phone.
The ad is effective for a couple of reasons. It is short and sweet, showcasing the look of the phone and its features.
Plus, TikTok is primarily a mobile platform. People consistently on their phones are naturally interested in new ones. Showing them a sleek, powerful new phone while using their old one can make them consider upgrading.
Adventure Chef’s advertisement looks like a normal video at first. It uses a strong hook and popular sound to get users invested in the video and only reveals the sponsored content partway through once viewers are already interested.
This is a strong example of influencer marketing. The brand has used this video as an In-Feed ad as well.
University of Strathclyde
This advertisement is simple and to the point, showing a few basic clips of the university campus and surrounding area with some stats about the school. It is impactful because it shows a clear understanding of TikTok's demographic.
TikTok is full of millennials and Gen-Z users, meaning high school students often use the app. Advertising on the platform gets the University’s name in front of many high school students who might consider the school for their higher education.
The Farmer’s Dog
The Farmer’s Dog is a dog food brand that collaborated with many popular TikTokers to find new subscribers.
The company ran Spark Ads focusing specifically on adults interested in pets. Their partners created videos that showcased their animals, used some enticing video effects, and showed the benefits of The Farmer's Dog food over other types of food.
These ads also offered discounts to entice customers to sign up. The result was a much lower cost per acquisition and a boost in conversion rates.
Another pet-related company, Lemonade Insurance, offers pet insurance to customers in the United States. It also partnered with TikTok influencers who were popular within the app’s pet category to create enticing content. Each video was shot natively for TikTok to give it the highest possible impact.
Lemonade Insurance also made the hashtag #lemonadepetinsurance, which became popular on the platform, increasing from 20,000 views to 4 million views between March and June of 2022.
By working with influencers and using TikTok advertising best practices, Lemonade improved its clickthrough rate by 42% and reduced cost per lead by 79%.
TikTok is a huge social media platform with more than one billion users, making it one of the best places to get your brand in front of people and grow your business.
With effective use of TikTok’s different ad types, you can accomplish whatever marketing goal you have.