The 8 TikTok ad formats you need to know about

With more than one billion videos being viewed on TikTok every day, the platform is undoubtedly becoming one of the biggest players in the social landscape, rivalling older platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. More than 500 million businesses are already on TikTok, which proves that it’s an effective marketing method, not just an app for dancing videos. Unlike Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, TikTok has multiple ad formats, but do you know the difference between them?

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1. Video Shopping Ads

Video Shopping Ads (VSAs) come in two forms- Single Video ads and Catalogue Video ads. Single Video Ads are straightforward to set up and are exactly what they say on the tin- simply upload your video asset in TikTok Ads Manager or create your asset in TikTok’s Video Editor to upload a single video as an ad. To create a catalogue video on TikTok Ads Manager you’ll need to navigate to Catalogue Manager, click video and then select either Dynamic Template, Custom Template or Ready-to-use TikTok Templates to turn your product videos into an ad. TikTok is primarily a video platform, so VSAs should be a go-to option for your TikTok marketing strategy.

2. Image Ads

Image Ads, similar to Single Video Ads, are exactly what they say on the tin- single images as ads. Extra details such as a description, brand or app name and CTA button are included to allow users to engage with the ad.

3. Spark Ads

Spark Ads leverage existing content from existing TikTok accounts by putting paid spend behind them. You can ‘spark’ a post from your own (or your client’s) TikTok account, or use organic posts made by other creators (with their permission). This ensures the content is authentic and feels native to TikTok. Spark ads can also be a budget-friendly option as existing content can be reused, so the budget doesn’t have to be spent on creating new assets from scratch. Both Auction and Reach & Frequency buying types can be used with Spark Ads.

4. Top View Ads

Due to its immediate impact and high engagement, Top View is the platform’s most premium ad format. A 3-second video is shown to users as soon as they open the app, making it immediately attention-grabbing and impactful. This is followed by an in-feed video experience with multiple opportunities for users to interact including liking, sharing and commenting. Marketers can take advantage of a ‘Times Square billboard in a user’s pocket’ to gain ‘completely guaranteed’ impressions. With Top View ads achieving a 1.5x higher recall rate than other ad formats, it’s definitely one to keep on your radar for your or your client’s next big moment.

5. Playable Ads

Playable ads are a great option to allow TikTok users to see a preview of your app before they download it. The full-screen experience comes with benefits including increased click-through rates compared to non-playable ads, as well as a reduction in cost per result compared to non-playable ads.

6. Collection Ads

Collection ads give you the opportunity to create an instant experience and direct users to an Instant Gallery page. You have the option to curate this collection yourself or to allow TikTok to dynamically select a range of products for you, adding extra flexibility to this ad format. Collection ads allow customers to browse a personalised range of products with ease and speed, with the instant gallery page satisfying users’ ever-shortening attention span. Collection ads are definitely a format to keep in mind for e-commerce clients.

7. Carousel Ads

With the option to include 2-35 images in a sequence, carousel ads are a great opportunity to show off multiple creative assets in a way that feels very native to TikTok. Users can control the pace they view the ad themselves and can swipe back and forth to view images multiple times. TikTok has two options for carousel ads, the first being the standard carousel which is available for Traffic, Web Conversion and App Promotion objectives. If you or your client have a Product Sales Objective, you can take advantage of VSA carousels which will use your catalogue images to make in-feed ads.

8. LIVE Shopping Ads

If you’re working with an e-commerce client, LIVE Shopping Ads are a great option to gain new traffic through the TikTok Discover feature. Users can browse and purchase your products through TikTok Shop via the LIVE video, meaning it’s an effective option for brand awareness at the top of the funnel right through to conversions at the bottom of the funnel. LIVE Shopping Ads could also be a great opportunity to incorporate influencer activity into your marketing strategy to gain extra traffic and engagement.

Will you be incorporating any of these formats in your TikTok strategy?

Decreasing attention spans and increased competition from other businesses joining TikTok means it’s more important than ever to pick your formats carefully and tailor your ads to your marketing goals.

If you’re struggling to navigate TikTok, we’re on hand to help. We can identify creative opportunities your business can take advantage of to boost results. Get in touch today by clicking the link below.

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