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TikTok ads: An overview of the different ad formats available

Are you looking to expand your business’s reach and tap into a new audience? Look no further than TikTok, the wildly popular social media platform with over one billion monthly active users. But with so many eyes glued to their screens, it can be daunting to figure out how to stand out from the crowd. That’s where TikTok’s advertising capabilities come in.

However, with a range of ad formats available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose for your business. But fear not! We’re here to guide you through the different ad formats available on TikTok, with tips and examples to help you make the most of your advertising campaign. Whether you’re a TikTok newbie or a seasoned marketer, our guide will help you navigate the world of TikTok advertising with ease. Let’s dive in!


Why is it important to understand the different types of ad formats?

TikTok is a fun and dynamic platform that attracts a younger audience. To succeed in advertising on TikTok, you need to match that energy with creative and engaging content that uses the right ad format. The ad formats available include:

  1. In-feed ads
  2. Brand takeover ads
  3. Hashtag challenge ads
  4. Branded effects ads
  5. TopView ads

By understanding the unique features and best practices of each format, you can create ad campaigns that resonate with your audience and drive results. We’ll take a look at each of these in more detail.


1. In-Feed ads

Ah, In-Feed Ads – the bread and butter of TikTok advertising. These ads are short videos that appear in the user’s feed or the “For You” page. They’re a great way to reach a wide audience and drive engagement with your brand.

So, what makes a good In-Feed Ad? Well, first and foremost, it should be visually appealing and attention-grabbing. TikTok is all about creative content, so make sure your ad stands out from the crowd. Additionally, it’s essential to keep your ad short and sweet – users have short attention spans and are quick to swipe away from ads that don’t capture their interest.

Need some inspiration? Check out some successful In-Feed Ads on TikTok, like Co-op’s. Co-op knew it had to spice up its In-Feed Ads game on TikTok, so it took a creative approach. To avoid boring its audience, it rolled out multiple product-focused creatives that captured the essence of summer vibes. And to make sure its ads seamlessly blended in with the TikTok experience, Co-op leveraged popular TikTok trends and transitions.

But Co-op didn’t stop there. It went the extra mile to boost user engagement by utilising the Super Like feature. By adding emojis that related to its products in the creative, Co-op made sure users had a fun and interactive experience. And when users hit the Super Like button, they were whisked away to a landing page where they could learn more about what they saw in the content. It’s a win-win situation: users get to engage with the ad, and Co-op gets to drive further interest in its products. Read more about Co-op’s success story with In-Feed ads here.

Co-op in feed tiktok ad

When creating your In-Feed Ad, be sure to follow best practices, like using clear branding and including a strong call-to-action. You can also take advantage of TikTok’s targeting capabilities to ensure your ad is reaching the right audience.

Of course, like any advertising format, In-Feed Ads have their advantages and limitations. On the plus side, they’re a cost-effective way to reach a broad audience, and they can drive significant engagement and brand awareness. However, since they’re skippable, there’s a risk that users will swipe past your ad without engaging.

Overall, In-Feed Ads are an excellent option for any brand looking to dip their toes into TikTok advertising. With a little creativity and attention to best practices, you can create effective In-Feed Ads that engage your audience and drive results.


2. Brand takeover ads

Now, let’s talk about the bold and flashy Brand Takeover Ads. These ads are designed to capture the viewer’s attention as soon as they open the app. Brand Takeover Ads appear as soon as the user opens TikTok and can be a full-screen video, image, or GIF. These ads are highly engaging and can be used to drive traffic to your website, promote a new product, or simply increase brand awareness.

Some successful examples of Brand Takeover Ads on TikTok include the gaming company Electronic Arts (EA) promoting their popular game Apex Legends with a full-screen video ad, and the food delivery service Grubhub promoting their services with a GIF that featured mouth-watering food.

To create effective Brand Takeover Ads, it is important to make them visually appealing and engaging. Use bold colours, strong visuals, and catchy messaging to capture the viewer’s attention. Consider the context in which your ad will appear and make sure it fits seamlessly with the user’s TikTok experience.

While Brand Takeover Ads are highly engaging, they can be expensive and may not be suitable for all businesses. Additionally, TikTok only allows one brand to take over a category per day, which means there is limited inventory. However, if you have the budget and a clear goal in mind, Brand Takeover Ads can be a highly effective way to reach your target audience on TikTok.


3. Hashtag challenge ads

If you’re looking to create a viral sensation on TikTok, Hashtag Challenges are the way to go. Hashtag Challenges are campaigns that encourage users to create their own content around a specific theme or idea, using a branded hashtag. These challenges are highly engaging and can generate millions of views and user-generated content.

Nike hashtag challenge tiktok ad

One successful example of a Hashtag Challenge on TikTok is the #NikeShesBallin challenge, created by Nike. When Nike decided to dive into the world of TikTok, it knew it had to do it right. That’s why the iconic brand partnered with 36 TikTok creators and launched a Branded Hashtag Challenge, #NikeShesBallin, across six European markets including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. To make sure the challenge hit the ground running, Nike also utilised TopView, Top Feed, In-Feed, and Spark Ads.

The #NikeShesBallin challenge was all about pushing the boundaries and encouraging fans to show off their baller skills both on and off the field. And boy, did the world respond! People from all corners of the globe came together to showcase their epic moves and provide a glimpse into their lives. The energy and sense of community were palpable, and it was clear that Nike had nailed its TikTok strategy. To read more about the success of the #NikeShesBallin challenge visit TikTok’s success stories.

To create an effective Hashtag Challenge, it is important to make it fun, engaging, and easy to participate in. Consider your target audience and what they would find interesting or entertaining. Provide clear instructions and encourage users to participate by offering prizes or shoutouts. And most importantly, make sure your branded hashtag is catchy and easy to remember.

One advantage of Hashtag Challenges is their potential to go viral and generate massive amounts of user-generated content. They also provide a unique opportunity for brands to engage with their audience and build brand awareness. However, Hashtag Challenges can also be risky as they rely on user-generated content, which may not always align with your brand’s values or messaging. It’s important to have a clear strategy and guidelines in place before launching a Hashtag Challenge.


4. Branded effects ads

If you’re looking to add a touch of creativity to your TikTok ads, Branded Effects might be just what you need. These are customisable visual and audio effects that can be added to user-generated content, making it look and feel more fun and engaging. Branded Effects can include filters, lenses, stickers, and music, and they can be used to promote a new product, service, or event.

One successful example of a Branded Effect on TikTok is the ‘Stop! Scammer Time’ campaign launched by Santander in a bid to get people to stop and think before parting with their money or personal details. The bank utilised a variety of different ad solutions to get the message out, and it all kicked off with a hilarious and engaging Hashtag Challenge. Santander invited the TikTok community to join in on the fun by trying on the ‘Scammer pants’, complete with a bespoke music track and a Branded Effect that had everyone laughing.

The campaign was all about showing people how to beat the pants off of scams and proving that Santander takes the topic seriously. But instead of taking a dry, serious approach, the bank opted for a visually humorous look at how to protect yourself from common financial scams.

To make sure the campaign reached as many people as possible, Santander also utilised Spark Ads and TopView Ads. With this multi-pronged approach, the ‘Stop! Scammer Time’ campaign was a resounding success and showed that even serious topics can be tackled with humour and creativity on TikTok. To read more about Santander’s hilarious campaign click here.

santander branded effect tiktok ad

To create an effective Branded Effect, it is important to make it visually appealing, easy to use, and relevant to your target audience. Consider your brand’s aesthetic and messaging and make sure your effect aligns with it. Provide clear instructions on how to use the effect and encourage users to share their creations.

One advantage of Branded Effects is their ability to make user-generated content more visually appealing and engaging. They can also help to increase brand awareness and create a more memorable brand experience. However, Branded Effects can be expensive and time-consuming to create, and they may not be suitable for all businesses. It’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the costs before investing in Branded Effects.


4. TopView ads

If you want your brand to make a bold entrance on TikTok, TopView Ads are the way to go. These are full-screen video ads that play immediately upon opening the app, grabbing users’ attention right from the start. TopView Ads allow brands to create high-impact, visually stunning ads that are impossible to ignore.

One successful example of a TopView Ad on TikTok is the ad campaign for the movie “Deadpool 2.” The TopView Ad featured a trailer for the movie and played immediately upon opening the app, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement.

To create an effective TopView Ad, it’s important to make sure your ad is visually appealing and attention-grabbing. Consider using bold, bright colours and high-quality video footage to capture users’ attention. Make sure your messaging is clear and concise, and consider adding a call-to-action to encourage users to engage with your brand.

One advantage of TopView Ads is their ability to make a big impact right from the start, helping to increase brand awareness and drive engagement. However, TopView Ads can be expensive, and they may not be suitable for all businesses. It’s important to consider your budget and goals before investing in TopView Ads.


Final Thoughts

And there you have it – a rundown of the different ad formats available on TikTok! Whether you’re looking to create a bold TopView Ad or an engaging Branded Effect, TikTok offers a range of options for businesses looking to advertise on the platform.

So, what are some key takeaways for businesses looking to advertise on TikTok? Firstly, it’s important to understand your target audience and create content that resonates with them. Consider incorporating user-generated content and leveraging popular trends to make your ads more relatable and engaging.

Additionally, make sure to measure the success of your campaigns and adjust your strategy accordingly. TikTok’s advertising platform offers detailed analytics that can help you track engagement and measure the ROI of your ads.

Looking to the future, it’s clear that TikTok advertising is only going to become more important for businesses looking to reach younger audiences. With the platform’s explosive growth and popularity, there’s no doubt that TikTok will continue to be a major player in the advertising landscape.

So, if you’re looking to reach a younger, more engaged audience, consider adding TikTok to your advertising strategy, read our blog on How to set up ads on TikTok for a complete step-by-step guide on setting up your first TikTok ad. With the right approach and a bit of creativity, TikTok advertising can help you connect with your target audience and drive real business results. For more examples of businesses that have made TikTok ads work for them, check out our blog on brands that are smashing TikTok ads.

Picture of Niamh Taylor

Niamh Taylor

I am the Founder and CEO of Digital Twenty Four. I’m an award winning digital marketer who took a risk, and left the safety of a well-paid, super safe in-house head of marketing role to launch Digital Twenty Four in May 2015. But -it was a risk worth taking because I now own a brilliant company, with a brilliant reputation, and with the best humans working within it. And an award-winning digital marketing expert with over 20 years experience in marketing.