9 Exceptional TikTok Ad Examples [& How They Work]

By Tinuiti Team

TikTok is a social media platform that’s full of energy, creativity, and authenticity. It’s a place where brands can push boundaries they wouldn’t touch in traditional media. 

It’s an exciting place for a marketer to be. Many brands have shared entertaining yet low-cost ads that stay true to their core personalities. Whether it’s working with influencers or from within your own team, you can create content that draws both attention and conversions. 

In this article, we will cover some of the best examples of TikTok ads in 2023. 

Breaking Down 9 Examples of Successful TikTok Ads

Many brands are finding success advertising on TikTok using video ads, spark ads, video shopping, influencer marketing and hashtag challenges. Here’s a look at a few of the best ad creative examples on TikTok today: 

1. e.l.f. – Driving Sales with In-Feed Ads

This branded post from e.l.f. Cosmetics is the definition of effective TikTok advertising. It has lower production values than most YouTube ads, yet shows off the brand more effectively thanks to the combination of slow motion, zooming in, sparkles, and fantastic original music. It’s beauty boiled down to the basics.

elf cosmetics dynamic showcase ad
Credit: @elfcosmetics TikTok

“We are proud to force multiply with Tinuiti, who continues to help us grow and reach new audiences on TikTok. Together we have been able to test and learn on the platform and create a winning formula. Helping us consistently reach out to the TikTok community has allowed us to reach new customers and enabled us to efficiently test our messaging to ultimately drive down acquisition costs.” (Source)

Patrick O’Keefe, VP Integrated Marketing Communications at e.l.f. Cosmetics

2. Guess Jeans – Leveraging Influencers & User Generated Content

The #InMyDenim hashtag challenge was one of the first of its kind on TikTok in the US, and is still one of the best. The challenge encouraged users to post videos of themselves initially wearing ratty clothes, and then transforming into fashionable outfits that included–you guessed it–Guess-branded denim products. The campaign lasted 6 days and included prominent TikTok personalities like @ourfire and @madisonwillow. 

Tiktok ad example for Guess Jeans with influencer wearing denim
Credit: @ourfire TikTok

3. Kung Fu Tea – Hashtag Challenge

Hashtag challenges are unique to TikTok and encourage user-generated content. The concept is simple: Users are encouraged to create themed content that incorporates the branded hashtag. This content is then compiled in a hashtag challenge page. TikTok has reported an 8.5% engagement rate for this ad format, making it a popular choice among advertisers.

Kung Fu Tea’s Boba Challenge is the perfect way to execute a Hashtag Challenge. In these short videos, customers are shown attempting to poke a large boba straw through their tea while keeping their eyes closed. The challenge is simple but entertaining, prompts genuine reactions, and is unique to the brand’s identity and product.

The challenge is so easy and inclusive that anyone can do it. The video looks like it could’ve come from your friends, so viewers are drawn in almost immediately. The result? A viral TikTok ad!

4. Liquid IV – Playing with Spark Ads

Spark Ads are a native ad format that allows brands to boost the organic content of other creators as In-Feed Ads.

Tinuiti and Liquid I.V. launched an always-engaged strategy on TikTok, leveraging a mix of standard In-Feed Ads and Spark Ads to reach TikTok users who could help save the planet while maintaining their hydration.

Working with popular creators such as Kristen Tellez and Sydney Bast who could help tell their brand story in a uniquely TikTok way allowed Tinuiti and Liquid I.V. to efficiently scale their spend by more than 700% from June to October. Thanks to the combination of In-Feed Ads and Spark Ads from TikTok creators, Tinuiti and Liquid I.V. saw a 48% increase in ROAS from Q2 to Q3 of 2021.

example of a Spark ad on Liquid IVs TikTok's page.
Credit: @liquidiv TikTok

5. Ralph Lauren – Integrating Social Commerce with Hashtag Challenge Plus

Fashion brand Ralph Lauren was one of the first brands to try out TikTok’s Hashtag Challenge Plus offering. The #WinningRL campaign featured actress, model and influencer Diana Silvers and challenged users to share a time they won a real-life challenge. This challenge was timed to coincide with the US Open tennis event, and so the top three challenge winners received official Polo Ralph Lauren US Open apparel. 

In addition to the additional publicity, Hashtag Challenge Plus allowed TikTok users to access a Ralph Lauren-branded store within the TikTok app and could purchase products directly from the company. 

Example of Ralph Lauren Branded Hashtag Plus TikTok ad
Credit: @ralphlauren TikTok

6. Lemonade Insurance – Spark Ads to Decrease CPL

Lemonade is a digital insurance company, a pioneer in the field, with more than 1M customers in the US.

Leveraging TikTok best practices, they developed a variety of brand-new content pieces and ran them with the hashtag #lemonadepetinsurance which according to the case study, reached more than 4M views – from 20K views in March 2022 to 4M views by June 2022.

Lemonade’s new content strategy was able to help drive more cost-efficient results, with a 42% increase in CTR compared to the former strategy. Overall, Cost per lead decreased by 79%, and purchase costs decreased by 53%!

7. Tanologist – Sold-Out Products with TopView Ads

TopView ads are 60-second videos that run immediately after opening up the app. Their strategic placement guarantees that users will see whatever ad you run in this space and are an effective and reliable way of reaching your target audience.

To drive brand awareness, Tanologist selected TopView as their ad type of choice and featured 9 creators in a montage where they showed off how to use the Self Tan Drops. As a result, the ad (combine with additional TikTok efforts) drove 70M impressions, 3% ride in intent and a 15.7% lift in ad recall.

8. Too Faced – Driving Awareness with Brand Takeovers

A brand takeover ad is shown on the app launch screen. These ads are fast; either a 3-second static image or a 3-5 second video without audio.

Aiming to cut through the noise and inspire Gen Z females to ‘shop the look’, Too Faced’s Brand Takeover ad (as seen below) garnered an incredible 7.6 million impressions, 2.54 million unique, in just one day. It gained 1.3 million clicks to the product page, earning an 18.38% click-through rate – exceeding the benchmark for the UK market.

Example of a brand takeover TikTok ad from TooFaced.
Credit: @toofaced TikTok

9. Revlon and Megan Thee Stallion – Boost Beauty with TopView Placement

As we mentioned, TopView ads are videos that last up to 60-seconds with the sound on and appear when the app is opened, guaranteeing 50% Share-of-Voice of all users on the date they are reserved. We had to give another shoutout to international beauty brand Revlon for their ColorStay Satin Ink Liquid Lipstick product in partnership with Megan Thee Stallion.

Revlon saw statistically significant Brand Lift results, primarily within Ad Recall and Brand Association. The campaign (coordinated with Tinuiti) drove a 4.9% ad recall lift—28% higher than Kantar norms across 48 beauty studies—and Ad Recall was 48% stronger than a separate Revlon TikTok campaign in 2021 that leveraged just in-feed video without the additional TopView ad. The campaign also drove significant lift in Brand Association for Revlon’s key product message as a differentiator from competitors in the category.

Example of Revlon's TikTok ad with influencer Megan Thee Stallion
Credit: @revlon TikTok

Conclusion: Are TikTok Ads Worth It?

In a recent interviewJoshua Bloom, TikTok’s Head of Global Business Solutions in Canada says:

“It’s typically when people dive into the app that they realize there is content that’s appealing for everyone, whether you like sports, DIY, fashion, comedy, dance. The TikTok community is pushing the limits of creativity, and for brands that open the door to try something new.”

As experts, what we’ve found is that TikTok is a great place to discover content that’s both fun to create and fun to make. Marketers are no exception. The more fun you have making your TikTok ad, the more successful it will probably be. Forget stuffy corporate branding for a minute. Connect with your inner performer, and you’ll have a better chance of connecting with your TikTok audience. 

Ready to start producing compelling creative for your TikTok strategy? Get advice from our seasoned Social, Creative, and Influencer experts and sign up for our new webinar, A Comprehensive Guide to Launching a TikTok Campaign.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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