TikTok is a breath of fresh air; a new, young voice among aging platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s a social media platform that’s full of energy, creativity, and authenticity. It’s a place where brands can let loose and 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.
“TikTok represents a huge opportunity for brands looking to diversify their presence across social media and engage consumers in a unique way. TikTok has a huge upside as an emerging channel and will continue to become more relevant as the user base increases.”
— Katy Lucey, Director of Paid Social at Tinuiti
In this article, we will briefly cover the types of ad formats available, then go into examples of great TikTok ads.
What are the TikTok ad formats?
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.
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.
An in-feed ad is similar to ads you see on Facebook or Instagram, except in this case they’re embedded in the “For You” feed. This ad format can run up to 60 seconds of video with sound.
Branded hashtag challenge
This ad format is unique to TikTok and encourages user-generated content. Users are encouraged to create themed content that incorporates the branded hashtag. This content is then compiled in a hashtag challenge page.
TikTok boasts an average engagement rate of 8.5% for this ad format and offers creative guidance to brands who want to participate.
Branded effects are popular brand-sponsored visual effects similar to Instagram filters and Snapchat lenses. Branded effects are placed on the first page of the effects panel and will remain there for three days.
The wide variety of ad formats allows you brand great creative flexibility and room for experimentation. Other brands have already created powerful and engaging TikTok ads that have significantly increased their visibility on the platform. Let’s have a look at them now.
The Best TikTok Examples of Ads
In an upcoming July 2020 guide, Movers+Shakers team up with Tinuiti to give advertisers insight on what makes an ad successful on TikTok.
“We all remember when Facebook was new, or when Instagram was new. It was easy for brands to grow their audiences rapidly, but the platforms eventually became more pay-for-play. There’s still a window of opportunity for savvy brands to get an unfair advantage on TikTok. You can amass followers and learn the ropes while it’s still easy to do organically.”
– Evan Horowitz, CEO at Movers+Shakers
Here’s a look at a few of the best ad creative examples on TikTok today:
1. Guess Jeans
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.
2. Kung Fu Tea
Kung Fu Tea’s Boba Challenge is the perfect way to execute a Hashtag Challenge. 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!
Candy brand Gushers does a fantastic job with making creative and funny TikTok advertisements. Their TikTok videos often get millions of views and tons of engagement. In fact, Gusher’s very first TikTok ad was viewed nearly 5 million times. That’s a very strong start by any standard!
4. Red Bull
Energy drink brand Red Bull does a fantastic job on TikTok with its high-octane content. TikTok’s format of short, energetic videos suits the brand very well and engages both sports fans and viewers who just want to see something cool. Red Bull has earned over 4 million followers as a result.
5. Ralph Lauren
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.
BMW launched the hashtag #THE1Challenge to coincide with the launch of its new 1 Series sedan in July 2019. It partnered with prominent TikTok influencers Falco Punch, Sky&Tami and PatroX, who created videos of them dancing with the cars. As of today, the hashtag has collected over 6 million views.
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.
8. The Washington Post
You normally wouldn’t expect a brand as straight-laced as the Washington Post to have a sense of humor, but it’s TikTok account is hilarious. Whether it’s covering otherwise serious topics or just general goofiness, the newspaper’s TikTok videos are a joy to view. And based on the account’s 500,000 followers and 23 million likes, it seems other people agree.
Is TikTok for every brand? [Experts Chime In]
In a recent interview, Joshua 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.
Don’t forget to check out our upcoming guide with Movers+Shakers on TikTok creative and advertising in July 2020.