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Which TikTok Ads format is best for your brand?

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The rise of TikTok has been meteoric. In 2017, it had just over 100 million monthly active users; today, it has over 1 billion.

This growth has been fueled by the fact that it’s free to use, easy to access, and offers a wide variety of content. Good news is, TikTok is still largely untapped by advertisers, even as the platform evolves into a place to discover new products and engage with brands; if you aren't sure if your business could work on TikTok, check our ‘TikTok Ads Guide for Beginners [2022 Edition]’ to learn which niches work well on the platform. 

Now when it comes to TikTok, there are two ways you can go about promoting your brand: you either go with TikTok Influencer marketing, or through targeted ads.

TikTok Influencer marketing is a great way to reach people who already like your brand—but if you want to get your brand noticed by a wider audience, you should consider using TikTok’s advertising platform where you can create videos that will go viral and attract attention from potential customers.

In this article, we'll explain and break down the different types of TikTok Ads format there are—and most importantly, which works best for your brand.

Six types of TikTok ads format plus our recommendations

TikTok is a league of its own because it makes creating content easier. With its built-in editing and recording features, content creators are now able to record, edit and put up video content on the TikTok platform. 

That being said, here are six TikTok ads format you can choose to show on your self-serve newsfeed: 

In-feed Ads

This type of ads play in between user videos as you scroll through your For You feed. 

As the name suggests, your For You feed is where all suggested videos or content shows up that match your interests. The best part about this is that it’s incredibly easy to make, and you can be as creative as you can be!

First image depicts a common TikTok feed without ads; the second image depicts a TikTok video with In-feed Ads.

As with ‘most’ ads on various social media platforms, this too is skippable and may be scrolled past through. That being said, make sure the first 2-3 seconds catches your audience’s attention!

  • Try to incorporate some of the latest trends and fads so that your audience will want to watch your videos over others. Add images, stickers, and even voiceovers. They can also choose from a range of themes and backgrounds.
  • Include texts on your content! Some users scroll through without their sound on so make sure you’re still able to tell your story with them.

We recommend if:

  • If you prefer your ads to seem organically native on your content feed (versus being totally in-your-face).
  • You own an e-Comm brand. This is great to show-off and highlight product(s) in action.
  • Businesses who are wanting to give TikTok ads a go considering In-feed ads are the easiest to create.

Spark Ads

Similar to In-feed Ads, Spark Ads seamlessly blend in with the content in the platform—giving it a very organic 'feel'; it may very well be the reason why these bad boys have been found to perform better than its counterparts.

By resorting to this type, you'll easily be able to promote your brand using any existing content (rather than create a video from scratch). to your own TikTok account OR through other creators' organic posts (with their permission, of course)!

Did we mention you can also use other creators' organic posts (with their permission, of course)?

That's right—and you get your fair share of attributions too!

By linking your brand account in every Spark ads you've created using an influencer's account, you get every likes, shares, comments, views and follows that were made. It's a non-zero-sum game.

This is great because it means a significant CTR and incline to your overall engagement, followers and presence may be expected. Check out this video on how you can setup Spark Ads for your brand:

We recommend if:

  • You have successfully created a viral content, and wanted to have a go at it with TikTok ad.
  • You're looking to partner with influencers who have a significantly more following than your own.

Brand Takeover Ads

Brand Takeover ads are the type that appears when you open the app. It usually lasts about 3–5 seconds and is often used to promote new features or content, and take over the screen when users open the app. It’s powerful because it gives your brand an undivided airtime within the first few seconds of opening the app, giving you the opportunity to capture attention and encourage engagement.

Source: TikTok

Bear in mind though that TikTok only allows a brand to take over a category once per day—in other words, users can only see one brand takeover ad per day. And while Brand Takeovers are a great way to get your message across, it also comes at a (very) steep price tag—so keep that in mind.  

We recommend if:

  • If you want to promote a new product or service, highlight a new feature, announce a sale, or create a new ‘hashtag event’.
  • You want a sizable surge in traffic for a product launch, etc.
  • Expense is no object and are looking to maximise ad exposure (with very little competition).


If Brand Takeovers are shown upon launching the app, TopView ads are the first in-feed post you see after 3 seconds. 

This type automatically plays (with sound) before moving onto the next, which gives it ‘traditional’ feel like a television commercial. Having said that, ads of this type may seem a tad less ‘organic’. 

While some may argue it interferes with user experience,   TikTok users disagree! According to a survey done by TikTok, a whopping 71% of its users say TopView ads grab their attention, and are the most effective ad type in driving sales when combined with In-feed ads. 

We recommend if:

  • You have a HUGE ad budgets.

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Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads

These types of ads are featured at the top of TikTok’s Discover Page. Because it encourages user-generated content, this form of TikTok ad typically results in greater engagement which averages.

In addition, Branded Hashtags Challenges offer both organic and sponsored opportunities for brands—similar to regular hashtag trends and challenges on TikTok. 

Despite using Branded Hashtag Challenges ads giving you the opportunity to gain great exposure, it is still considered to be another ad option that is on the pricier side. In fact, it may cost you up to $150,000 per day to be featured  on TikTok’s Discover banner!

Having said that, a great alternative is to partner with popular TikTokers to help you achieve your goals without breaking the bank.

We recommend if:

  • If you have a significant amount of money to spend on ads.
  • If you want to engage with users and promote more user-generated content.
  • Want to focus on creating more brand awareness and grow engagement among TikTok users.

Branded Effects Ads

This ad type offers branded AR filters, shareable stickers, and lenses to allow you to design an ad that is custom-made by you. Think Snapchat and Instagram! 

Similarly, Branded Effects allow brands to create sharable stickers, filters and special effects on TikTok for self-promotion, and often combine it with other TikTok ads.

We recommend if:

  • You’re a brand who’s looking to establish a strong identity on TikTok.
  • You have an awesome creative team and want to show-off their talent in creating digital effects. 
  • Brands looking to maximise the exposure of an existing TikTok promotion.

Our verdict: is TikTok ads worth it?

At present, TikTok’s minimum campaign budget is $500 and the minimum ad group budget is $50. As other types may be on the pricier side, begin with In-Feed ads and set a budget and schedule that works for you. On the other hand—if budget isn't really much of a concern, you have the benefit of choosing whichever ad type you think is best for your brand.

The good news is, there’s a TikTok ad type that would benefit your business regardless of your budget positioning; and as more brands use TikTok Ads, it will become clearer if TikTok will mirror Instagram and Facebook ads models where no budget is too small, or continue with its current ad types.

If you want to find out more about what we could do for your business, jump on a free strategy call with us to know how we can help you grow your brand!

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