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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.