Benchmarking TikTok Video Ad Hook Rates

With attention spans shortening and the fast-paced world of social media speeding up, figuring out what type of marketing works for your audience can be tricky. As a growth marketing agency, we dissect all sorts of data points every day to single out which metric(s) will tell us what we need to know. The more specific we can get, the easier it is to improve what we have and plan out what we need. 

Growth on TikTok is a new marketing tactic for many businesses. Determining 1) whether the platform works for your business (and if you’ll find your target audience there), and 2) what kind of content they want to see, can be very difficult in the beginning. That’s where ad hook rates come in. 

Ad hook rates (AKA thumb stop rates) are vital to benchmarking success on TikTok. They’re a reliable way to evaluate video performance and whether your ads actually stop thumbs from scrolling past them. Calculated by 2 second video views divided by impressions, it is a key indicator of what’s successfully capturing your audience’s attention.

Ad Hook Rate = 2-Second Video Views / Impressions

Think of it like this: Of all the people who were presented with your video ad, what percentage of them stuck around for at least 2 seconds? The first few seconds of an ad are really what determines whether someone will give you their attention at all, making the “hook” arguably the most important part. We consistently see that raising the ad hook rate improves the rest of the performance metrics. So the more people who stick around for 2+ seconds, the more people will watch the full ad, click, and eventually, convert. Here’s what that looks like.

Ad Hook Rate in Action

In order to better understand TikTok ad creative performance, we took a 6-month look (January 1 – June 30, 2022) across 11 TikTok accounts we manage. The average ad hook rate across accounts was 30.66%, with several in the 40% to 45% range. This means that for most partners, less than a third of the people who saw their ad watched the video for 2 seconds or more. 

Benchmarking TikTok Video Ad Hook Rates

After taking a deeper dive into the accounts that had the highest ad hook rates, we noticed some interesting trends. 

tiktok ad example

Insight: Client 1 was able to get the main message of who they are and what they do across within the first 2 seconds of the video. See an excellent example of this here.

What to do: Test, test, test! Testing the same video concept with slight tweaks helped Client 1 find the best version of their ad (AKA what was resonating the most with potential clients). In this instance, we found that user generated content worked better than stock video.  After analyzing hook rates further, we also were able to determine that videos that proposed a question to draw in users had better hook rates compared to other video concepts that were more drawn out in getting their message across.

tiktok ad creative

Insight: Client 2 utilized trending music and saw significantly higher hook rates in their video ads by doing so. Videos that used stock background music or even no music at all had significantly lower hook rates. Check out an example here.

What to do: Stay up to date with what’s trending on the TikTok platform. A study done by SEMrush found that “more than half of viral TikTok videos used music as their primary backing sound in the first three seconds.” The addition of trendy music to your video ads help draw potential customers in and keep them engaged throughout the remainder of the video.

video for tiktok

Insight: Client 3 found success with the use of text overlays and voiceovers. Right at the start of the video, it got the attention of their audience and brought them on a “journey” through their product. See this storytelling journey in action here.

What to do: By using text overlays and a voiceover, the audience could see and hear the full user journey. Create an engaging journey that draws the audience in and makes them want to continue watching until the end. 

What This Means for TikTok Ad Creative 

In the digital world of social advertising, using key metrics like ad hook rate can be an incredibly useful tool to take your marketing strategy to the next level. Utilizing this simple metric can give you a better idea of what content resonates with your audience the most, helping you create an effective creative strategy and ultimately increase performance in the long run. If TikTok is something you are interested in (or struggling with), reach out and talk to us!