Tag Archive for: tiktok ads

spark ads

Do Spark Ads Get Better Results on TikTok? (Yes, but it’s Complex)

spark ads

With Facebook getting more challenging by the day, many advertisers and marketers are turning their attention to advertising on TikTok. It seems like every day there is another statistic about how TikTok is growing into a massive platform for not just Gen Z but Millennials and older generations as well. 

Hours are spent scrolling through the feed as the algorithm cranks out content to keep its users glued in the uncomfortable yet addicting scrolling position. With such an effective attention trap, it should come as no surprise that advertisers, small businesses, and startups are eyeing the potential to put their ads in front of TikTok users.

While TikTok is still young, and its advertising platform is even younger, it boasts unique targeting options that may appeal to advertisers that have struggled to find their target audience on Facebook. So naturally, the next question is, “What’s the secret to making TikTok ads work? What makes a good ad on TikTok?” 

As a growth marketing agency, we’ve managed hundreds of thousands of dollars on TikTok this year and leaned on real insights and learnings to outline the information below. Let’s dig in! 

What type of ads work best on TikTok? 

A common mistake is thinking that a social media app is a social media app, and if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Many advertisers assume this for many reasons: Creative limitations, the similarity of the advertising platforms interface, the similar language, and that they’re all paid ads. This thought is a mistake.

As cliché as it may sound, no two advertising platforms are alike. Every social media app and advertising platform is different. They have unique features and unique users with varying behaviors. As such, each one has different strategies, tactics, and creative assets that work.

TikTok is no different. Do a quick google search on TikTok creative best practices and you’ll stumble on a myriad of well-crafted articles that tell you that the best TikTok ads are ads that feel like TikToks. It should come as no surprise then that TikTok has developed its own organic TikTok ad of sorts called Spark ads.

What is a spark ad? 

Spark ads are a new-ish ad format allowing advertisers to boost organic content by using organic posts as ads. Just like organic videos, users can comment, like, and share Spark ads. Unlike normal TikTok video ads, users can even click the handle name or profile picture of the account associated with the Spark ad. It’s almost like they’re organic posts because they are! There are two different ways to run spark ads:

  1. By using your own TikTok account that has been linked to your business account
  2. Using an authorized account or using authorized posts

For more information on using your own linked TikTok account visit this link.

Do TikTok Spark Ads work?

The best TikTok ads are ads that don’t feel like an ad at all. They feel like a native TikTok that the user is seeing as they doom scroll through the app. Maybe that’s why Spark ads have been extremely successful in a variety of different uses since they were introduced.

We had the chance to test Spark ads with one of our partners, Teachable. Initially, we ran the Spark ads alongside our normal creative in the same ad set – Eventually moving the Spark ads to their own ad set, as TikTok’s algorithm allocates spend differently between assets.

The results were wild! In our testing, Spark ads beat our normal TikTok ads in nearly every category. For context, we saw:

  • The CPC was $1 lower with Spark ads than with our normal ads. 
  • The cost per lead was 30% lower with the Spark ads compared to the normal ads.
  • The number of times our videos were played at 100% of their duration averaged 22% with our Spark ads vs. the average of 6% with our normal ads. 
  • The average watch time per person was also up by a whole second.

How We Pick Spark Ads at Tuff

When it comes to picking out what will make for a good Spark ad, there’s no perfect secret- sauce. There’s a bit of tacit understanding involved in knowing what’ll perform well. We’ve managed to capture some of the questions we typically ask when we’re evaluating organic TikTok videos for use as an ad.

 6 Questions We Ask When Selecting Spark Ads

  1. Does it feel like a TikTok?
  2. Is there text on the video?
  3. Does it use a trending sound?
  4. Does it use a trending style?
  5. How much engagement (social proof) does it have?
  6. Does it have a clear CTA

Does It Feel Like A TikTok

The type of creative that works on TikTok is UGC content that feels both authentic and like it’s native to TikTok. In fact, recent research reports that 92% of consumers trust UGC more than traditional brand ads.

So choose a video that feels less like an ad and more like a TikTok you’d want to watch.

Is There Text On The Video

Copy matters! And that includes the text on the video. Even though TikTok is a sound-on optimized platform by default, captions and words on the video help users quickly get the gist of the video and improve ad recall. 

Words can also strategically lure the viewer in further. To avoid getting too behavioral science-y, we can just leave it at: When someone views your Spark ad, they look at everything, and not just the video or product in a vacuum. What experience do you want the viewer to have when they see your ad?

Does The Video Ad Use A Trending Sound?

The sound you choose for your video is important. Using a trending sound might not be super important when it comes to reach for an ad like it would be for an organic TikTok post, but it is still important to your ad converting people effectively.

A trending sound could help your Spark ad, again, feel more native to the platform. As users scroll, they’ll recognize your sound and spend more time watching it as a result. This will increase your odds of converting. This leads us to…

Does Your TikTok Ad Use A Trending Style?

Your TikTok ads, especially your Spark ads, should ideally be entertaining but they should also be authentic and built to convert. That’s where trending styles like “TikTok made me buy it” or “Top X Hacks That Actually Work” come in.

Tapping into the trending styles will help make your ad relatable and entertaining to the users.

How Much Engagement Does It Have?

When choosing a Spark ad, looking at the number of views on the organic post could be an indicator of how well it performed organically. Just because something didn’t go bonkers as an organic post doesn’t mean it won’t kill as a Spark ad. 

That said, looking at the engagement when qualifying the posts could tell you what’s already working so that you could amplify that.

Does The Ad Have A Clear CTA?

Without a call to action, a Spark ad is just a boosted post. The purpose of an ad at the end of the day is to convert. Make sure your Spark ad has a clear CTA to tell users what to do next so that they don’t just swipe to the next post.

Even with these guiding questions though, there’s still no perfect way to know what will work. 

Remember that people don’t come to TikTok to look for ads. They come to scroll and be entertained or learn or laugh. So your ads should fit next to the content they want to see. The best way to make a TikTok ad that looks like a TikTok is to just make a TikTok. That’s what Spark ads are.

We’ve tested a lot on TikTok across our different partners from different bid strategies to new objectives to specific-to-TikTok audiences to new ad types – With that, we’ve learned a lot! If you’re interested in diving deeper into the world of TikTok, here are a few additional articles we’ve written that might be helpful for you: 

Want to skip straight to running some TikTok campaigns with us? Let’s chat! 

TikTok Advertising Best Practices: How to Make Great TikTok Creative

In the past couple of years, TikTok has quick become one of the top acquisition channels for startups and established brands. The platform now has over 100 million monthly active users in the US and recently surpassed Google and Facebook as the most popular web property

On most channels, it’s relatively easy to repurpose your ad creative. With a few light edits, a Facebook ad can easily become a display ad or a LinkedIn ad. But on TikTok, each ad needs to be created specifically for the platform and getting it right is critical: you only have a few seconds to grab your target audience’s attention before they scroll past your ad.

So how do you make the right asset? How do you communicate your brand’s value proposition in less than 15 seconds? How do you create a diverse suite of low-budget videos in-house (with an intentional range of messaging, formats, creators, and styles) that you can test quickly and learn from? 

This article is here to help you answer these questions. I’ll cover the basic details for TikTok ad creative, including the length limits. Then, I’ll walk through several examples, some that we’ve produced in-house at Tuff for partners, to help outline why and how they work on TikTok. 

TikTok video length limits

Before you start planning your creative, you need understand the boundaries that you’re working in. At most, TikTok ads can be 60 seconds long, but it’s best practice for videos to be much shorter: TikTok themselves suggests videos be just 9-15 seconds in length

Length isn’t the only consideration when it comes to creating winning ad creative. Here are some other variables our creative team at Tuff considers: 

  • Resolution: professionally produced content tends not to perform well on TikTok. Instead, grab your smartphone and start playing around in the TikTok app creating videos – it’s fun, easy, and effective. 
  • Sound: TikTok is a music-first app, and the backing music you choose for your ads is super important. Select music from TikTok’s library – you’ll find trending music that helps your ad get discovered and also avoid any copyright issues that could see your account suspended. 
  • Subtitles and Text Overlays: including subtitles and text overlays is just as important as choosing the right music. That might seem counterintuitive, but many people watch TikTok videos on mute. Including captions or other text ensures you capture their attention. 

Five examples of powerful TikTok ad creative

Telling your story and communicating your brand’s value proposition in less than 15 seconds is not easy, even before considering all the limits above. But it’s absolutely possible, and if you can crack the code, TikTok can be a huge growth driver for your brand. 

Let’s take a look at five successful TikTok creatives and explore what our team has learned from them as we develop more and more TikToks for our clients. 

1. Soona

TikTok Creative Here

tiktok ad example

Insight: This ad concisely explains how Soona’s process works, walking the audience through the key steps in working together. It clearly states the problem Soona solves, introduces various products, and highlights the key benefits brands can get from working with Soona. 

Despite the fact Soona is a photography business focused on creating beautiful images, this TikTok video has a production quality that’s more in line with other videos on the platform, helping it to feel more like organic content than an ad.

What to Do: To effectively introduce your brand to new audiences, focus on defining the key value drivers you need to convey in a short video. Consider incorporating them into a “how it works” ad creative like this one – these help potential customers understand the process much better, removing any uncertainties and boosting conversion rates. 

2. Sesh

TikTok Creative Here

tiktok ad examples

Insight: This TikTok is created from the perspective of a Sesh user and shares what the experience of attending a Sesh is actually like. Shooting the ad from the perspective of the user helps your audience understand what’s involved in a Sesh, and the positive feelings that come from it: in this case, the feeling of getting a big hug. 

The ad also uses plenty of text overlay that summarizes all of the key points of the video. Emojis are included in every line of text to make the text more natural – it’s more like receiving a message from a friend than an ad from a business. The video finishes with a Call To Action (CTA) that clearly directs viewers where to go to learn more. 

What to Do: Turning the creative reins over to your users is a great strategy for creating meaningful TikTok ads that truly connect with your audience. Your most loyal users can express their feelings about your brand with real authority. This helps you connect with your audience and builds higher levels of trust through social proof. 

Don’t forget to make use of text overlays: these are crucial in emphasizing key points and ensuring you connect with viewers who are watching the video without sound. End your ads with CTAs that tell watchers what you want them to do next. 

3. Multiverse

TikTok Creative Here

tiktok ad creative example

Insight: This ad tackles a key concern that prospective Multiverse students might have before committing to a Multiverse apprenticeship. It uses a video format TikTok users are used to seeing elsewhere: a statement, followed by a series of text overlays that directly address that statement. 

This makes the video feel less like an ad, and more like a regular TikTok video – making your audience more likely to pay attention. The video is short, features music commonly used in other TikTok videos, and finishes with a CTA directing interested viewers where to go next. It’s a proven approach, helping Multiverse drive quality conversions at scale. 

What to Do: Pay attention to video formats that are currently trending on TikTok, and develop the ability to quickly create ads that leverage these trends to more effectively connect with your audience. In doing so, use all of the features available on TikTok: including text overlays and backing music.

4. Pizza Express

TikTok Creative Here

pizza express tiktok example

Insight: this ad, from British pizza chain Pizza Express, makes use of TikTok Spark Ads. When you adopt this strategy, you recruit influencers to create and post sponsored TikTok videos. The brand then boosts the top-performing influencer TikToks with ad spend, adding a link to the landing page. Pizza Express saw great results with this strategy: the ad received over 2.5 million views

This approach, also known as whitelisting, makes your TikTok ads seem native. Using popular influencers builds trust with your audience and outsources content creation to individual creators with proven TikTok creative skills and a built-in audience. 

What to Do: consider working with influencers who have a following that closely aligns with your target audience. Approach them to explore working together, and then use Spark Ads to boost their top-performing content toward a targeted audience. Don’t be afraid to let your influencers drive the creative direction of the ads – it’s likely they know better than you what will resonate with their audience. 

Start Creating TikTok Ads Today

You don’t need a big media budget or a fancy creative agency to start producing TikTok ad creative – all you need is a smartphone and some imagination. Producing winning creative holds the key to a successful TikTok marketing campaign, but you might not get it right the first time. 

At Tuff, our TikTok Ads team is constantly testing out new creative assets for our clients. If it doesn’t work, we’ll drop it right away, and keep testing out new ideas until we land on the winning formula. 

Got some TikTok ad ideas you want to try for your brand? Hit us up – our team of TikTok experts has the skills and experience needed to supercharge your campaigns.  

two women scrolling on TikTok

Want To Run TikTok Prospecting Campaigns That Convert? Try This! [Data Included]

What was once considered a platform for users to share silly, short-form videos that featured new dances and or lip-syncing trending audios in 2016 is now considered the top app for consumer spend in 2022. Not only does TikTok have over one billion monthly active users, but 67% of users say the app inspires them to shop AND it was the most downloaded app in 2021 and it’s expected to triple revenue by the end of 2022. 

What does this mean for your business? It means TikTok has A TON of potential and should be considered in your marketing mix.

But how do you build broad, prospecting campaigns that convert? As a growth marketing agency, we’ve tested on all of the major channels and TikTok has now become a core platform in the channel mix for almost every single client we work with today. 

TLDR, here are the do’s and don’ts of TikTok campaigns that convert:


  • Cast a wide net with targeting
  • Incorporate Spark ads 
  • Shoot videos raw, unfiltered and lofi 


  • Get too specific with your audiences
  • Be quiet (TikTok = Sound on optimized platform)
  • Forget subtitles and or text overlays 

When setting up a typical paid social campaign, you’d likely focus on a few variables, like the campaign objective, audiences, and creative. While aligning the campaign objective with your business goal and targeting an audience that is congruent with your product and brand are incredibly important pieces of the puzzle, creative can make or break your campaign. 70% of campaign performance on TikTok is rooted in the creative assets you use. Read that again. 

tiktok ad creative

Cast a wide net with targeting

That being said, targeting IS important; it’s just not AS important as your creative assets and that is because broader is almost always better when audience planning on TikTok. TikTok appeals to a variety of demographics, and it’s catching up to Meta in size. 

There are the typical options you would imagine, like location, language, gender, age and interest options. There are also some unique-to-TikTok targeting options, like interactions with specific videos, creators and hashtags! Combining relevant interests with interactions has been a winning strategy for us in the past. 

TikTok Ad Targeting

One of our partners, Sabio, has a broad target audience ranging from people who are interested in gaming to music lovers. Taking this into consideration, we tested segmenting out our interest audiences vs. combining them into one supercharged audience, and we saw our conversion rate skyrocket from around 5% to 24% and our CPA drop from $16 to $8.  

Combining these interests + utilizing their strong organic presence with Spark Ads helped us improve performance immensely.

Incorporate Spark ads 

Spark ads have changed the game by creating a powerful and unique way to boost organic content in your paid campaigns. What are they, you ask? They’re one of TikTok’s newer ad formats that lets a brand boost their own organic content. According to TikTok, Spark Ads have a 142% higher engagement rate and generate a 43% higher conversion rate than standard in-feed Ads. If the creative is produced specifically for TikTok and does not feel overly polished, Spark ads are a strong way to optimize creative in a way that feels cohesive when served on a user’s FYP. 

But do they actually convert? We have utilized Spark Ads in quite a few of our campaigns across different industries – eCommerce, B2B, Tech – and have found time and time again that they’re an incredibly effective and efficient way to push conversions.

We have been testing Spark ads for one of our partners, Joylux, to compare how they perform with standard in-feed ads. Analyzing the data after being live for around two weeks now, this ad format is serving more impressions, clicks and video views at a higher CTR with longer average watch times – All while generating more conversions. See the chart below for more specifics! 

tiktok spark ads

Beyond these paid KPIs that we look at when determining campaign success, paid metrics (such as paid followers, likes, comments, shares, and profile visits) were also much higher from the Spark Ads. This contributes to a higher engagement which in turn means that TikTok’s algorithm will push the video out more!

Spark ads can be used directly from your branded account or from an influencer’s account. Making your brand’s content feel like user-generated content and or using an influencer’s account to promote your brand automatically builds a foundation of trust with the audience by humanizing the brand and making the content feel less outright like an ad.

Shoot videos raw, unfiltered and lofi 

TikTok recently released a presentation highlighting their best practices for TikTok ad creative, and the recurring theme seems to be shoot your videos lofi and don’t make creative that feels overly polished.

I could not say it any better than Elle, one of the creative strategists here at Tuff, “Almost every single video looks like it was shot on an iPhone. And even the ones that were shot with nice equipment get some sort of filter or treatment that *suggests* it was casual or off-the-cuff.” (More helpful tips from Elle on that in this article about TikTok ad creative!) 

One of partners, Sesh, leaned into that creator-first, user-generated content vibe, and it really paid off. Our creative team here at Tuff created these two assets –  A Day in The Life + Group Support – that we tested against some other videos that felt more produced and polished. The results speak for themselves.

tiktok lofi videos

More impressions, clicks and video views do not always mean higher CTRs, longer watch times and more conversion volume. However, in this instance, it did. It is important to dive deep into these metrics as a whole to understand the audience on the platform and what speaks to them, ultimately driving them to convert.

TikTok trends, targeting capabilities and creative best practices are always changing, and we’re always testing and iterating. If you’re ready to start running TikTok campaigns that actually convert, give us a shout! 

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!

How These Three Companies Use TikTok for B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing Proposal

Is your B2B brand on TikTok? If the answer is no, you might’ve read that question and thought “No, our target audience is not using TikTok so why would we be”, or,  “Isn’t TikTok mainly used by Gen-zs or Millennials”. If any of these thoughts crossed your mind, keep reading, because it may surprise you how Tuff partners use TikTok for B2B marketing.

Oftentimes, when we’re working with B2B brands, they think the best social ads channel for their business is either LinkedIn or Facebook. Historically, yes, these have been two of the top-performing social channels for B2B advertising, but the times are changing and the way B2B brands are advertising on social media is too. Within the past year, TikTok ads have become a large portion of Tuff partners’ paid social budgets across all different types of industries, and many of our B2B partners are now joining in on the buzz. 

It’s not just Gen-z on TikTok

Did you know that only half of the users on TikTok are below the age of 30? According to Statista’s 2022 TikTok demographic stats, 41% of all TikTok users are between the ages of 30-49 and 11% of users are 50+.  

TikTok percentages for age demographics

TikTok has become a popular platform where people go to unwind for the day or get a laugh during their lunch break which makes it the perfect place to connect with your audience in a creative way. 

Think about it, how often do you log into LinkedIn on the weekends or when you’re unplugged from work? 

TikTok is a different experience. A lot of our B2B partners at Tuff are discovering that TikTok is where their audience is spending a majority of their free time when they’re not working, often times even more than Facebook. 

How we approach B2B TikTok campaigns at Tuff

As a growth marketing agency, before we launch ads on any new channel for our partners, the first thing we’ll do is a channel deep dive on the audience targeting options to make sure we’re able to reach their audience on that platform. 

On TikTok, you can target users by location, gender, age, languages, interests (including industry interests like ecomm, education, financial services, etc.), video interactions, creator interactions and hashtag interactions. 

Once we’ve built out the target audiences, we’ll look into how we can reach these users and convert them into a lead and/or customer. There are two approaches to lead generation through TikTok ads. 

  1. Option one: You can set up a campaign using TikTok’s native lead gen objective which will populate a form within the platform with custom fields for the user to fill out once they click on the ad 
  2. Option two: You can set up a conversion campaign and send the user to your website and optimize for users to submit a lead gen form on your site. 

Once we launch campaigns, we’ll monitor the lead quality to see how the MQLs and SQLs compare to the more traditional B2B social ads channels like Facebook and Instagram. 

How Teachable is using TikTok to acquire new leads

We recently launched a TikTok campaign for our partner Teachable –– a platform that allows individual creators with an array of skills and talents to create courses and sell them so that they can teach others to do what they do. So naturally, we wanted to go after an audience that aligned with Teachable’s product––people that are likely to have hobbies and talents that they’d want to teach courses on.  So we brainstormed different interests and hobbies that we see courses being created from across the web, and we matched those up to interests available in TikTok. After some hashtag research to find effective hashtags, we combined them all into one Interest and Hashtag campaign. 

After we settled on the audience, we researched which TikTok optimization event would help us best accomplish our goal. Looking at the standard events for TikTok we saw quite a few options that could help us target people at different stages of the user funnel, but ultimately our goal was to get users to sign up for a free trial though, so we settled on complete registration, which tracks when users create an account on the Teachable website. 

Even though this campaign was going to be for a B2B audience, we didn’t want the creative to be too corporate-y and abandon the fun nature of TikTok videos. We recognized that TikTok as a platform responds well to ads that look and feel native, and we know that even though we’re targeitng a B2B audience, it’s still people on the other end. So we just needed creative that would appeal to actual people who would want to use Teachable to sell courses.

The result was an array of creative options that ranged from motion graphics to UGC. After running them for a week, we quickly saw that we had made the right decision. Our CAC numbers outperformed Facebook, and our CTR was incredible. We had two separate campaigns and our contest campaign outperformed our evergreen campaign by a pretty significant margin–– likely because it leveraged better offers and incentives than the evergreen campaign did.


Channel CAC  CTR
TikTok $21.63 1.45%
Facebook $37.19 .58%


Now that we know TikTok ads work for our B2B partner Teachable, we’ve continued to experiment with new creative and audience targeting, but one thing is salient for us: Treat the people on TikTok like real people. Address their concerns, show them the benefits, grab their attention, and they’ll convert just like a B2C user would. It just might take a bit longer.

How Thnks is using TikTok to acquire new leads

For our partners Thnks we knew it wasn’t going to go be as easy to jump right in and drive quality conversions. Due to this, we took a two-pronged approach to work our way into a conversion-based campaign getting potential customers to sign up for a demo using TikTok for B2B marketing. 

Our first phase was prospecting to find out exactly what audiences and creative resonated best with potential customers. For this campaign we used the Traffic objective optimization toward a view content event that fires every time someone lands on the TikTok specific landing page. 

Replicating where we have seen success on other social platforms we structured our campaign to target three main interest based audiences:

Business Growth:

Targeting options for Business Growth


Targeting for Sales


HR Targeting options on TiktTok

Our second phase of this campaign will be to evaluate key metrics of our prospecting campaign and determine what audiences and creative will get carried over to a conversion-based campaign. With phase one of this test being a prospecting traffic campaign we looked specifically at metrics like clicks to the site, CPC, CTR and CPM. Compared to Facebook our initial findings are that CPC was 84% cheaper than Facebook and CPMs compared to Facebook were 1/4th of the cost.

Something that gets overlooked in the prospecting phase of campaigns is the data the pixel is collecting and how to leverage it. By running a traffic campaign to start, not only are you able to drive a large amount of traffic to your site, you are also able to collect valuable data through the pixel to further target those potential customers in the conversion phase of your campaign. In addition to carrying over the top performing interested based audiences. We will also be able to build out custom pixel based audiences based on users interactions with our ads and landing page. For this client we will be building out two custom pixel based audiences to retarget potential customers. One going after anyone who has visited our specific landing page in the last 90 days and has not taken any actions. The other being anyone who has watched 50% of our ad, and not taken any action to the site. These both are great ways to re-engage potential customers and get them to take action!

How B2B Brand Visory is using TikTok to acquire new leads

For our B2B partner Visory, we did some initial research on potential audiences on TikTok and found some interest targeting options that would allow us to reach their target audience. We kicked off our campaign by identifying two main interest based audiences that we have seen perform well on other social platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Broad interests around money management and bookkeeping:

eCommerce specific interests:

eCommerce Targeting Breakdown

One thing we’ve learned about targeting on TikTok is that broader is usually better (for prospecting or retargeting campaigns). The reason we separated these out was because they were roughly the same size + eCommerce (alone) has been a top performing audience for us in the past.

Prior to considering TikTok for Visory, we were able to test out some user-generated content on our other social platforms, which allowed us to determine what resonates most with Visory’s B2B audience and then repurpose the top performing creative for TikTok. Creative is SO crucial on any social platform but specifically on TikTok. If you want to dive deeper into the creative world, here is an additional resource: The 5 Main Components of Effective TikTok Ad Creative.

We knew that TikTok was going to be more of a top of funnel channel for Visory (similar to how we’ve viewed Facebook), so we’ve been optimzinig our campaigns for traffic to the site. To measure success, we are looking at clicks to the site, CTR, CPC and site engagement in Google Analytics. The result? Compared to Facebook, we have seen comparable CTRs but lower CPCs. Looking in GA, we’ve seen time on site as high as 00:06:25! While we have yet to see any last-click conversions from this site, we’ve learned that more traffic to the site historically results in more conversions over time. 


TikTok ads are becoming very popular among B2B brands and it’s an effective & cost-efficient way to reach your target audience in a creative way. If you’re ready to see how TikTok Ads can work for your business, give us a shout!

Ad Creative Types That Constantly Drive Performance (Regardless of Industry)

Testing, testing, testing! As a creative team tucked inside a growth agency, we throw around that word a LOT. Especially because we partner with scaleups looking for quick, efficient (and sustainable) paths to growth. Making sure we’re clear about what we’re testing—and executing it within rock-solid social ad campaigns—ensures that on the other side of a few thousands of dollars worth of ad spend (and oftentimes even less), we can take a step back and confidently say, “here’s what worked; here’s what underperformed.” You can read all about that and get our tried-and-true templates in this blog!

How we set up an ad creative test at Tuff:

  • Most often when we begin to outline our tests for a new partner, we’re talking value props. Our question: “Which of your core messages is most likely to stop a scroll and win a click?” During this testing phase, we’re keeping the creative formatting relatively simple and getting very particular about the creative messaging. This way, we can isolate that variable and come to a cleaner, more definitive conclusion after our test period has ended. For one of our partners, Betterleap, this is what this looked like!

Betterleap Creative Example

  • After we’ve run a few tests and feel confident that we’ve honed in on our strongest message, we’ll begin to experiment with look and feel of ad creative. In this phase we’ll diversify creative type and formatting, launching a suite of creative that includes user generated content, UX animation, simple/bold copy statements, offers, and more.
  • Our goal in these subsequent phases is to hone in on what elements of creative assets drive those clicks. And THAT is what this blog is all about. Although the companies we partner with span across a wide range of industries, after publishing hundreds of creative assets and running dozens of tests, there are three main types of ad creative types that reign supreme. 

Note: while we run campaigns on a multitude of different platforms, this blog centers primarily on what we’ve found to drive the best performance on Facebook/Instagram.

The three types of ad creative that constantly drive performance:

1. Split-Screen Creative

Believe it or not, REGARDLESS of industry or company type, split-screen creative is consistently among our top performers. We’ve even pitted it against bold, colorful branded videos, 3D animations, custom illustrations…you name it. And split-screen creative still drives better performance. When we first spotted this trend (with our partner, AKKO) we scratched our heads and thought, “okay let’s create a fresh version in our next round and see if the trend holds up.” Spoiler alert: it maintained it spot at the top of our performance pyramid and hasn’t wavered since. 

If you’re over there thinking, “no way, jose! Video ALWAYS wins!” Well…that’s what we thought too before we saw the numbers!  

2. Made-On-TikTok Creative

TikTok is unequivocally the fastest-growing social platform. It’s a hotbed for sprouting new trends that permeate every other. It’s also the channel we get asked about the most by organizations looking to partner with a growth agency like Tuff. “Can you run ads on TikTok for me?” is arguably the question that we see most often in our “Let’s Talk” form fill

So, we started building a network of creators and making high-impact ad creative for TikTok! We also spotted an easy opportunity to test this creative outside of the TikTok ad platform. Our results: regardless of channel—but most clearly on Facebook/Instagram—our made-on-TikTok ad creative type drives incredibly strong performance (even when resized in 1080×1080 for in-feed placements). (Note: click the image to see the full video!)

TikTok Creative for Teachable

3. UX Animation

The third type of creative that consistently puts up strong click-through rate numbers is UX animation. This doesn’t just apply to SaaS businesses, though, when we can show what the user experience of any platform is like (even if it’s just a checkout flow or onboarding process—something the user might only experience once) we see performance inching higher.

Our hypothesis: when we can demystify the “how it works” part of the equation right out the gate at the top of the funnel, we subliminally communicate to our audience that we really care about their experience. So much so, we want to show them ALL the inner workings before they even click! Especially because the most-used sites on the internet are user obsessed, your potential customer has a low tolerance for clunky interfaces or ugly design. Positioning yourself as a winner in UX from the get-go is consistently a win! (Note: Click the image to view the full video!)


There you have it! While we’re always generating new ideas and hypotheses, these three ad creative types are ones you’ll consistently see within our ad creative suites. Because they work!

Have you been experimenting with creative formatting? We’d love to hear about it! Or, if you’re curious about what we could uncover about your organization and target audience through creative testing, let’s chat!

watching tiktok ads on mobile

The 5 Main Components of Effective TikTok Ad Creative

watching tiktok ads on mobile

TikTok…it’s a tough nut to crack. Not only because it’s notoriously the most ephemeral channel (who, who, WHO is responsible for all of these amazing trends?!) but also because TikTok users are extremely adept at sniffing out BS. It takes a smart, authentic, real story to capture the attention of a TikTok scroller. And we’ve spent a LOT of time this past year and change developing the perfect TikTok ad recipe. 

And, as your trusty TikTok Ads Agency, we’re here to spill the beans. 

1. Get Vulnerable – Tell a Real Story

Okay, I’m admittedly a serial TikTok scroller here, but one of the things that I (and MANY others) love about the platform is the way it amplifies real people’s stories. And when I say “stories,” I’m not talking about the airbrushed, Face-Tuned stories we see on Instagram, or even the HD, studio-lit stories of YouTube. The great thing about storytelling on TikTok is that it gives you access to someone who picked up a phone in the spur of a moment and shared something personal! No joke, the third video that popped up for me when I opened the app just now was this vulnerable, real, and in this case, heart wrenching story. The courage! (The makeup!). Another example is this video in which a woman captured a funny-not-so-funny email she received from Facebook support.

Did you click on those links? Even if you did, swing back by to check out the view/like count. DANG. Proof that people are drawn to stories that feel human! For marketers and creators looking for our audiences out there in the app, this is a crystal clear nudge to get vulnerable ourselves. Here are a few examples of our approach:

What are the pain points your audience experiences that drives you to create a better product/solution every day? Start there and then get real.

2. Don’t Overthink It – Keep it Lo-Fi

As mentioned above, false peeks into curated lives and expensive camera equipment really have no place on TikTok. If you find yourself reading from a script, directing a scene, or breaking out the Red camera…STOP. 

Take a moment to scroll through the app yourself. Almost every single video looks like it was shot on an iPhone. And even the ones that were shot with nice equipment get some sort of filter or treatment that *suggests* it was casual or off-the-cuff.

Our approach: sketch out a general idea or main ideas you’d like to cover then jump into the app! Creating a video is so quick and easy that it’s fun to work through a few iterations in the app, scratch them, workshop them, and refine in real time. 

3. Uplift Diverse Voices – Find Great Creators

Part of building trust and resonating with your audience is dependent on finding real, personable creators. This one is without a doubt the trickiest. There’s no easy way to track down, hire, brief, manage, and get great creative from creators, but we’ve learned first hand that when you put in the effort, it pays off in spades. 

The really effective piece to this puzzle, for us, has been CLLCTVE. For a reasonable monthly subscription price, we’re able to submit a form that includes information about what the organization is about, the type of creator we’re looking for, and other relevant information to the job. Then, CLLCTVE’s team of creator recruiters will compile a list of people that fit our criteria. From there, we’re free to reach out directly to each creator and roll with the project however we please! Here are a few fun examples of videos we’ve made with creators:

4. Shake Your Booty – Create with Music in Mind

TikTok is a supremely sound-focused app. Unlike Facebook—which most seasoned ad creative makers are used to—”88% of TikTok users said that sound is essential to the TikTok experience.” (source). Oftentimes, when we begin to make ad creative, we’ll find the sound we want to use even before we begin to concept out the rest of the aspects of the ad. 

Disclaimer! It’s super important to ensure that when you create a video to use as an ad that you select from TikTok’s library of commercially-licensed sounds. There’s admittedly a notably lesser selection, but TikTok’s AI is quick to ding your account if you’re caught using unlicensed tunes. 

How to use commercially-licensed sound:

  1. Open the video creator, and tap “Sounds”
  2. In the dropdown, tap “Commercial Sounds”
  3. Choose the one that best fits!

settings in tiktok for adding music to tiktok ad

5. Cover Your Ass – Drop the Watermark!

It’s a small detail but one of the most important—never publish an ad on TikTok without first removing the watermark. Trust us on this one, we learned the heard way that TikTok AI is swift in its abilities to find ad creative with that pesky watermark and ding your account. They also aren’t super into second chances. So if you aren’t trying to get your account suspended until you can reach a TikTok rep, make sure you’re dropping that watermark!

Thankfully, it’s simple to do:

  1. Cruise to a site like SnapTik or SSSTikTok
  2. Drop in a link to your published/public TikTok video
  3. Voila!

So, are you feeling inspired? If so, drop us a line, we’d love to see what you create! If you’re feeling a bit intimidated and not quite sure where to start, let’s chat!

two women scrolling on TikTok

TikTok Ads for Startups: How Multiverse Drives Quality Conversions at Scale (with a CPA lower than any other channel)

two women scrolling on TikTok

When it comes to driving more traffic and applications online with growth marketing, the big challenge is how to scale and which marketing channels will help you grow fastest. With limited time, money, and people, you can’t afford to waste it on strategies and tactics that are sub-optimal. 

When we first partnered with Multiverse (a start-up company that provides an outstanding alternative to college through corporate training and professional apprenticeships) as their startup marketing agency, we wanted to test different campaigns with clear metrics to figure out which ones work and then focus on scaling those channels.

In this post, I’m going to focus in our our paid social strategy, with a focus on a deep dive on TikTok ads. We’ll look at why we selected TiKTok ads, the campaign structure, the best performing creative assets, and the results compared to other channels in our mix. (Spoiler: TikTok generated 3x times more applications than Instagram with a 52% lower CPA.) 

Diversified Channel Mix 

In our growth marketing strategy for Multiverse, we prioritized testing campaigns with social ads and PPC. 

For social ads, we focused on Instagram as the primary channel where we allocated 67% of our total budget and then we dedicated a portion of the total budget (33%) to testing other social ad channels. With the Multiverse target audience being between the ages of 18-26, we were super eager to test TikTok to see if this channel would be effective in driving applications and if effective, if it would be scalable. 

Clearly Defined CPA Targets and Goals 

Our goal for Multiverse was to prioritize high-impact growth campaigns to quickly drive key learnings, then invest in additional campaigns to scale up on what works. Since Multiverse didn’t have a ton of historical data in the US for us to learn from, we did some research on competitors and the average costs for TikTok ads and Instagram ads to come up with our KPI goals. 

Instagram KPI goals (for the first month): 

  • Cost-per-click: $3.00
  • Cost-per-application (CPA): $65

TikTok KPI goals (for the first month): 

  • Cost-per-click: $2.00 
  • Cost-per-application (CPA): $80 

Identifying the Target Audience & Funnel Stage 

When launching campaigns for a new partner, our social ads team at Tuff will put together an audience targeting strategy for each stage of the audience funnel. However, since we were starting from scratch and building campaigns on new platforms for Multiverse, we knew we needed to focus on the top of funnel audiences since we haven’t built up the brand recognition or audience size to retarget users based on previous ad interactions through bottom-funnel audiences. 

For TikTok, our primary focus was targeting a large, top of funnel audience that we could then educate and convert to applicants through our video creative. 

A Campaign Structure for Scale 

For Multiverse’s US paid acquisition, we were focused on six markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Phoenix and Boston. We knew we needed to drive as many applicants on TikTok as possible in each market, so we set up a prospecting campaign for each location, that way we could control the budget at the campaign level based on demand needs per market. 

Within each campaign, we wanted to test two different audiences on TikTok: 

  1. A broad audience with no interest targeting, ages 18-26 
  2. Education or motivation interest targeting, ages 18-26

After a few weeks of testing, we saw that the broad targeting was outperforming our interest-based targeting with a lower cost per application. Compared to other social ad platforms,  the TikTok algorithm is extremely accurate in serving your ads to your target audience (just think about how it perfectly curates a For You Page that’s specific to each TikTok users’ interest). So removing the interest targeting allowed us to widen our audience pool and let TikTok do the work of finding the users who were likely to apply for a Multiverse application based on the algorithm data.  

High-Peforming TiKTok Ad Creative 

When it comes to TikTok creative, videos that feature trending and relevant content are the key to success (check out our tips for creating trending video content). For Multiverse, we wanted to move QUICK, which meant that we needed to develop 3-5 TikTok videos fast to be able to launch on TikTok. 

For the creative, we wanted to lean into the Multiverse value props to educate our top-of-funnel audiences about Multiverse in a fun, trending and captivating way. 

Check ‘em out!

  1. Job without degree
  2. College vs. Apprenticeship 
  3. Student Loan Stress


So how did these TikTok campaigns perform? The short answer: we far surpassed our goals for applications and cost-per-application which allowed us to scale the monthly budget on this channel by 5x. 

  • Average cost-per-click (CPC): $0.47
  • Applications: 357
  • Average cost-per-application (CPA): $16.77

But how does this compare to the other paid channels (like Instagram)?

Channel CPC Applications CPA
TikTok $0.47 357 $16.77
Instagram $2.24 164 $34.71

TikTok generated 3x times more applications than Instagram with a 52% lower CPA. 

For Multiverse, we measure apprenticeship applications based on last-click attribution in Google Analytics, so while these results far exceeded our expectations, we also wanted to see how our campaigns have helped increase non-last click conversions. 

Since launching TikTok ads, we’ve seen a 110% increase in Multiverse Google Search branded conversions in the US. 🚀

Based on these learnings, we’ve continued to scale our TikTok campaigns and have found it to be the most cost-efficient paid channel driving the lowest CPA for Multiverse in both the US and UK. 

Are you interested in launching TikTok ads to help grow your business? Let’s chat! 

tiktok ads on a phone

TikTok Ad Examples: 7 Video Ideas That Work

tiktok ads on a phone

In just a couple of years, TikTok has risen from a niche social network to become one of the leading players in the industry, racking up weeks at the top of app download charts and passing 1 billion global users. That’s more than Snap, Reddit, Pinterest, and Twitter, and TikTok is even gaining fast on Instagram, which launched Reels, a similar product, just a few months ago. 

Understandably, growth marketers are desperate to incorporate TikTok to their brand’s strategy. But it can be difficult to know where to start. Not every TikTok ad agency has a team of in-house experts (Tuff does though, and Jack, McKenzie, David, and Kate are great!), and it’s hard to navigate an entirely new platform without support.

We covered the basics of running a successful TikTok ad campaign previously, but today, we’re going to focus on how to create high-performing TikTok creative. We’ll look at six successful campaigns, explore what made the creatives work, and share how you can apply these lessons to your own TikTok campaigns. 

We’ll share creative from huge brands like Chipotle and Burger King, as well as creative from a campaign we ran for Sabio, which delivered a huuuge 12x ROAS. Ready to learn how to make outstanding TikTok creative? Let’s dive in!

Chipotle & Roblox: Boorito Campaign

Every Halloween, Chipotle hosts their Boorito event, a long-running fan favorite promotion that offers discounted burritos to customers who come into Chipotle stores dressed in costumes. This year, Chipotle decided to do things a little differently, and partnered with Roblox to open the first virtual Chipotle location and launch the first ever metaverse burrito giveaway.

> Watch the Chipotle and Roblox Boorito TikTok

The campaign was anchored by TikTok creative that shared how fans could claim a free burrito from Chipotle. There was also a virtual maze, Chipotle themed Halloween costumes, special unlockable rewards and more. In a 30 second TikTok video, Chipotle and Roblox seamlessly explained how fans could claim a free burrito and experience the Roblox universe. 

Using TikTok creative to drive in-person visits to stores proved a huge success, with $1 million in burrito giveaways, huge exposure for Roblox and Chiptotle to high-interest audiences, and increased traffic to both the Roblox ecosystem and Chipotle stores nationwide. 

Sabio Coding Bootcamp with Tuff

You might think that TikTok ads are best suited to glossy consumer products in the cosmetics and fashion categories, but we’ve had success with all kinds of brands, including Sabio, an online coding bootcamp.

> Watch our Sabio TikTok Creative

Your creatives should mimic the style of other TikTok videos. Get this right, and your target audience shouldn’t even realize they’re watching an ad. Here’s a few best practices to keep in mind from this Sabio creative:

  • Add text overlays that highlight your brand’s core value proposition, but keep them brief.
  • Make it short and sweet – 10-15 seconds is the perfect length. 
  • Use background music that adds to the video – bonus points if the song’s currently popular on TikTok!
  • Feature real people, and add lots of color contrast to make text pop.

The results when we applied these principles to Sabio’s TikTok creatives? A 12x ROAS, with TikTok CPA’s coming in 62% lower than other paid acquisition channels. 

HP – #HPRadicalReuse

When you think of a brand with huge TikTok reach, HP – makers of computers, printers, and IT accessories – probably isn’t the first brand that comes to mind. But with their #HPRadicalReuse campaign, HP redefined what legacy brands could do on TikTok, inspiring millions of viewers to think about reusing everyday plastic items. 

HP partnered with Avery Cyrus, a TikTok influencer with more than 7 million followers, to produce a short ad showing Avery recycling plastic soda bottles to create planters. At the end of the video, Avery challenges her followers to share their creations, helping the campaign to spread far beyond the initial ad creative. 

The campaign reached millions of TikTok users, with the most popular creative pulling in more than 36 million views. Sometimes, it’s best to let influencers who know their audience drive the direction of your creative.

> Watch the #HPRadicalReuse TikTok with Avery Cyrus

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star CX by Obviously

Shoes don’t come much more recognizable than the iconic Converse Chuck Taylors. But when it came time to launch an exciting new shoe, Converse turned to TikTok. 

By working with influencer marketing agency Obviously, Converse was able to partner with 24 different influencers to launch their new shoe. The campaign used a variety of personalities, from skaters to artists, helping promote the shoe to diverse audiences. All creative told the Converse brand story and prominently featured the shoes in all kinds of hero shots. 

> Check out the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star CX Creative

When all was said and done, the campaign generated over 2.3 million impressions, delivering a 1,554% ROI and winning an award for the Most Effective TikTok Campaign at the 2021 Effective Digital Marketing Awards.

Fanbytes x Burger King

When it comes to fast food, there’s a lot of misconceptions out there, and with this campaign Burger King was keen to dispel them. But simply publishing an ad saying their burgers used 100% real meat wasn’t enough – the message needed to be delivered in a way that would resonate with their target audiences. 

Enter the Burger King Conspiracy Challenge, which featured amazing creative from eight popular TikTokers. Each influencer was tasked with dreaming up the most unimaginable conspiracies about the contents of Burger King’s burgers, and then refuting them by championing Burger King’s talking points to their audiences.

> Watch the Fanbytes x Burger King Campaign

The campaign delivered success, with an innovative format and support from multiple different TikTok personalities, each with their own audiences. This creative leveraged the trust between influencers and their audiences, underscoring the importance of harnessing influencers in TikTok campaigns. 

With 575,000 views in just a week, and a 16.8% engagement rate, the creative helped Burger King cut through the misinformation and highlight the best attributes of their food to important audiences.

NeoReach and DraftKings

As sports betting becomes legalized in an ever-increasing number of U.S. states, DraftKings, a leading operator in the space, is experiencing huge growth. That’s especially true at the start of a new NFL season, and with their #MakeItReign campaign, DraftKings were keen to take advantage.

The campaign leveraged 50 different influencers, and challenged each of them to create their own touchdown dance. Football fans loved it, with more than 34 million views, 400+ fan created videos, and tens of thousands of new followers on DraftKings’ TikTok account. 

The key to success? Letting influencers unleash their creativity to create winning creative that connects with each individual audience, while challenging their fans to create their own TikTok videos. DraftKings achieved a 1.83x ROI, underscoring the fact that not all creative has to be professionally produced – sometimes it’s best to let your influencers get creative. 

> Check out the Draft Kings #MakeItReign TikTok Campaign

Key Takeaways: How to Produce Great TokTok Creative

There’s plenty you can learn from the TikTok creatives we’ve shared here, but it’s also worth sharing some fundamental principles that you should keep in mind when developing TikTok creative for your brand.

Here’s some of our key takeaways:

  • Use the TikTok Creative Center: TikTok’s Creative Center helps you discover what’s popular on TikTok right now. There’s templates to help you create your ad, tools to help you add the perfect captions, and detailed breakdowns of high-converting ad creatives.
  • Lighting is Key: all great creatives have one thing in common: the lighting is perfect. Make sure your video is clear and well-lit – shooting at golden hour is your friend.
  • Leverage UGC and Testimonials: the more natural your creative seems, the better it converts. Recruit customers to talk about their journey with your product.
  • Use Native TikTok Text: this helps your ad look less like, well, an ad. Be sure to add color contrast to make your text stand out – we like to use a red background on our text.
  • Lean Into Trends: there’s always new trends popping off on TikTok. Share your brand’s take on them, but be quick! These trends are often fleeting, but catching them at the right time can be a major boost.

These principles will take you a long way, but as with all digital advertising, the key to success really lies in continuous testing. Start with at least three very different ads, and run experimental campaigns with smaller budgets to learn what works best. And have fun with it – TikTok is a great platform, and nailing your strategy will see huge returns for your brand!

Got some awesome TikTok ideas for your brand? Reach out and let us know – we’d love to help you make them a reality!

Running a TikTok Ad Campaign: 5 Tips for a Successful Launch

Author’s Note: This post was originally published in 2021. It has since been updated!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen how TikTok has changed the social media game. What once started as a quirky music platform for preteens quickly – and I mean QUICKLY – climbed the ladder to become one of the most popular social media apps.

Here are the TikTok facts:

  • TikTok has over one billion monthly active users.
  • TikTok ads reach 17.9% of all internet users age 18+. 
  • 67% of users say TIkTok inspires them to shop – even when they weren’t planning to do so.
  • TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, with 656 million downloads. That’s over 100 million downloads more than the runner-up, Instagram, which was downloaded 5445 million times last year.
  • TikTok is the top app for consumer spend, increasing by 77% in 2021, with $2.3 billion dollars in the app.

Aside from the massive number of monthly active users and year over year growth, TikTok has fundamentally changed how we consume video content online, and other social media giants are emulating that same style – we see you Instagram Reels. We want it vertical, we want the cleverly-edited music to add umph, and we want it short and sweet.

Hootsuite graphic on TikTok audiences

Pair TikTok’s insane growth with the need to diversify channel mix due to iOS14 and updates to Facebook advertising, and you get one big question.

How can I use TikTok ads to scale up my social presence and grow my business?

We’re so glad you asked! Almost all of our partners at Tuff are running ads on TikTok – or are trying to figure out how they can. We’ve found that success is determined less by the industry of your business and more by the video creative you have + ability to produce new video creative.

Check out these 5 tips for successfully launching your first TikTok campaign! 👇

1. Set Up Your TikTok Pixel and Events

Just like every other social channel, TikTok also has an events manager tool that allows you to track app events and activity on your website with a piece of code. The TikTok pixel has the ability to integrate with a variety of partners, namely Shopify and Google Tag Manager, for easy setup. TikTok also  provides the option to manually install the pixel in the header of your website.

Once the pixel’s base code is installed on your site, you’ll be prompted to set the event rules using either Standard Mode or Developer Mode. The method you choose is based on your business and conversion path – We’ve set up events both ways successfully! TikTok’s Standard Mode is most similar to Facebook’s Event Setup Tool (if you’re familiar with that).

2. Build Custom Audiences and Create Lookalikes From Them

Once you have your pixel installed, take a second to create custom audiences based on website, app activity and your customer lists. These typically take a day or so to populate. Once your custom audience reaches a minimum of 1,000 people, you can then  create lookalike audiences.

These lookalikes will come in handy when you’re creating target audiences for prospecting campaigns, and you’ll be able to exclude some of your custom audiences from ad groups to prevent waste and minimize audience overlap.

3. Create Target Audiences that Aren’t Too Small

We have tested A LOT on TikTok from completely broad targeting relying on the advanced algorithm to find qualified users to refined retargeting audiences leaning on our website data and or customer lists, and a takeaway that we have seen apply to most of our partners is that broader is better. 

Maybe not completely broad – But grouping together relevant interests, interactions with specific videos, creators and hashtags to make one, large audience has consistently generated the strongest and most efficient results for us. This even applies to retargeting campaigns – Pairing website visitors with video viewers with cart abandoners vs. isolating these in their own ad sets. Larger audiences (caveat: with relevant targeting) typically yield lower costs per results.

Here are a few additional tips on audience targeting that we’ve learned the hard way on TikTok:

  • Ditch the age targeting. We know that most TikTok users are under the age of 35. If your target audience’s age range is above that, TikTok might not be the right channel for you anyway. Targeting by age can narrow your audience size without improving results.
  • Watch for ad fatigue. Smaller audiences mean that your frequency gets higher, faster. You’ll want to keep an eye on your results – if you see costs start to increase, try rotating in new creative first. TikTok recommends updating creative every 2-4 weeks and keeping 3-5 assets in each ad group.
  • Narrow your placements to TikTok only if you want to utilize Spark ads – TIkTok’s native ad format that allows you to leverage organic content to publish as an ad. Spark ads allow you to swap out creative more regularly based on popular trends and organic engagement.

4. Develop Video Ads Made With TikTok Trends in Mind

One more time for the people in the back (and because this is so, so important). You’re interrupting someone’s feed with a brand ad that the user didn’t ask for, but got anyway. Your content should be captivating, designed with TikTok consumption in mind, and concise – Oh and sound! TikTok is a sound-on optimized platform and requires a thumb-stopping music or voice overs.

Based on the campaign results we’ve seen so far for our clients, here are a few TikTok ad creative tips to help get you started:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Our best ads have been 15-20 seconds long.
  • Make sure your product is at the forefront of your creative, ideally showing how it works.
  • Strategically test creative so that you can test and learn what works for your brand. Pinpoint a few themes and go to town! You want to make sure your videos differ so that you can draw meaningful insights as to what’s performing best. If they’re all similar, it’s hard to understand what type of content will yield the best results.
  • Shoot your videos in a UGC-style fashion. Lofi is the name of the game – Making sure your creative does not feel overly polished is the best way to appear more natively in the platform and build brand authenticity.
  • TikTok has a pretty strict ad approval process. Make sure you’re buttoned up and familiar with their advertising policies before you put your ads in review.

Peek here if you want to get some insight into what the top performing ads are on TikTok – You can filter by region, industry and campaign objective to get a look at how your competitors are advertising or here to read through  5 Tips for Making Great (and Cost Effective) Video Ad Creative from one of our seasoned creative team members, Elle!

5. Use UTMs to Track Attribution in Google Analytics

Like any social media platform, native attribution in TikTok’s ad manager using data from the pixel is often inflated compared to Google Analytics so we will typically use GA as our north star when defining success

To know what worked and what didn’t on TikTok, we recommend using an organized naming convention for your UTM parameters that will give you insight into how both the audience you’re targeting and the creative you’re running performed in Google Analytics.

Common TikTok Ads Questions

Q: How much does it cost to advertise on TikTok?
A: Currently, the minimum spend requirement on TikTok is $50/day. The campaigns we’ve run here at Tuff have had CPMs in the $4-$7 range. Naturally, performance varies based on the industry, your campaign optimization, audience targeting and creative, but we have seen more efficient CPCs and CPMs on TikTok than most other social platforms we run.

Q: Do I need an organic presence on TikTok to run ads on the channel?
A: Unlike other social channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., where you’re required to have a business page or profile built to run ads, you can run ads on TikTok without creating an organic channel. In fact, you access TikTok’s ads manager through a completely different login portal than where you’d login to an organic account.t.

Q: Is my audience on TikTok?
A: While the channel has grown exponentially over the last few years, , the demographic still skews younger compared to other channels, like Facebook. . That being said, eight new users join TikTok every second, with an average of 650,000 new users joining daily. Don’t rule out TikTok advertising yet!