Getting started on a new platform like TikTok can be a little intimidating - especially when it comes to creative. While it might be tempting to simply run the same creative you’ve run on other platforms, the most successful advertisers on TikTok are the ones making bespoke content and thinking TikTok-first.
How can you start thinking TikTok-first? Here are five creative best practices to keep in mind:
This one is easy. TikTok is designed to be a full-screen, vertically-oriented mobile experience - which means your content should be too. All creative should utilize the full 9:16 aspect ratio and avoid using horizontal or 1:1 videos with black bars. Keep this in mind if you’re resizing or editing existing assets to use on the platform. When filming new content, be sure to shoot vertically.
Sound is one of the most important aspects of TikTok - 93% of top-performing TikTok videos use sound. Always include sound in some form - whether that’s trending audio, narration or music. TikTok has a great library of pre-cleared music for advertisers to use and some brands have even had success creating their own branded soundtracks.
And while the vast majority of users do experience TikTok with volume on, it’s never a bad idea to include closed captioning or text overlays for added accessibility.
TikTok is more playful, “real life”, and creator-driven than most other platforms - so don’t be afraid to be a little less polished and a little more real. For example, instead of posting a highly produced video promoting a new mascara, a makeup brand on TikTok might record a “Get Ready with Me” style video on a phone using the new product. Approaching creative this way feels more native to the platform and results in content that more closely aligns with the community and TikTok as a whole.
Partnering with creators and using UGC (User-Generated Content) is a great way for brands to feel more authentic, connect with their audience, and ultimately achieve performance goals. Compared to traditional “professional content”, UGC can feel more intimate and raw as an advertising medium - with the added benefit of being easier and cheaper to produce. UGC is also a great way to show how real people are benefiting from your product or service.
Part of being authentic and fully leaning into the TikTok experience means participating in - and even starting - trends. According to a TikTok Marketing study, 61% of users said they liked a brand better when they participated in a trend on TikTok.
Trends can be a joke format, a popular audio clip, or even just a video editing style. They’re also another great opportunity to partner with creators, as they’re tapped into what’s popular and can make trending content on your brand’s behalf. And because trends are always changing, they can serve as an infinite source of creative inspiration that brands can use to fight ad fatigue.
While you do want your ads to feel native and authentic, they’re still ads! Highlight your brand and product or service early on in your video. Be clear about what the action you want your audience to take - whether that’s signing up for your app or buying a product - and include that CTA as a visual element.