Why advertising on Tiktok is completely different than Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Snap

Advertising on Tiktok is completely different than any other social media platform for one key reason. Tiktoks have to look like Tiktoks! Every video needs to feel real, authentic, and not like a flashy advertisement. Depending on your type of business this requires a whole new strategy which on the one hand is much cheaper to create but on the other hand requires your message to feel less branded. Testimonials or infotainment style videos are the name of the game and will feel organic to the platform. Conversely fancy polished ads that might work on Facebook or Instagram will not work on Tiktok. People will swipe away immediately!

One of the best things about TikTok is the freedom you have to continuously build and develop your business’ presence as you get more comfortable on the platform, and tap into your community to fuel your creativity.

TikTok provides a creative playground for businesses of all sizes where entertaining and informative creative is capable of breaking through to potentially millions of future customers. However, in a results-driven world, we know it’s great to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to give your next great creative idea the edge it needs before putting paid support behind it.

Creative is sometimes overlooked as a core component of performance marketing, and as a result many ads don’t reach their full potential in terms of ROI. To help you achieve your business goals with breakthrough creative on TikTok, we looked at the data to identify the best-performing creative attributes – such as video duration and closed captioning – so we could share the following universal and category-specific best practices and help your ad performance soar.

These insights are based on a machine-learning model which assigns a performance ranking based on each attribute’s likeliness to help a video reach a larger audience.

Want to learn more? You can now visit the new Creative Insights section of our Tiktok’s Creative Center to stay up to date on the latest data-driven best practices. 

Universal best practices

Shoot high-res

Quality matters – don’t let grainy videos prevent your message from getting through. The overwhelming majority of top-performing TikToks, 83.2% to be specific, have a video resolution of 720p or higher. These videos see an average 5.4% lift in impressions.

Make some noise!

Including sound – a music track, voiceover, or just you talking to the camera – in your TikToks is more than a best practice; it’s a must! Adding audio of any kind causes a significant lift in impressions compared to videos without audio, and more than 93% of top-performing videos use audio! This is because Tiktok’s alghorithm prioritizes videos with trending sounds embedded in your video. 

Keep in mind that for paid ads you need proper licensing to use a copy written song. It’s safest to use royalty free music, but for regular content if you want to take advantage of this tip but don’t want music on your content, you can add music to your video but turn the volume down to zero.

Keep it short and sweet, but not too brief!

Ultimately, the length of your TikToks should make sense for the message you’re trying to get across, but overall we see that shorter videos perform better. 1 in 4 top-performing videos have a duration between 21 and 34 seconds and see, on average, a 1.6% lift in impressions.

Go full-screen

TikTok provides an immersive full-screen experience, and more than 98% of top-performing videos on TikTok use that. Compared against videos that fit poorly on the screen and show empty black space and screen edges, videos which use the full 9:16 aspect ratio see a 60.5% lift in impressions. If you’re looking to repurpose some of your existing business content, check out our creative tools that can help format them to work best on TikTok.

On that note, for ads or any content keep in mind that the user interface where icons and comments are displayed take up a large portion of the screen so any text needs to be carefully placed to stay in the “title safe zone” to be easily read.

Think vertically

Video orientation matters as well. The vast majority of TikTok videos are shot in vertical format which means TikTok users aren’t expecting to have to rotate their screen to watch the next video on their For You Page. Videos shot in vertical format see a 40.1% lift in impressions compared to videos using a square or horizontal aspect ratio.


Switch up your scenes

Product placement matters on TikTok. Users appreciate a variety of different settings and angles when you’re trying to showcase your products, which explains why 99% of top-performing e-commerce videos mix it up. TikToks with varied scenes see a 40.6% lift in impressions compared against videos that feature one person on screen selling the product without any B-roll or transition footage.

Remember that the algorithm rewards watch throughs so keep your content entertaining all the way through to the end.

Captivate with captions

Double down on what you want your audience to do by adding captions or text on screen. TikToks that employ closed captioning or text on screen that displays a CTA have a 55.7% lift in impressions compared to videos that don’t add anything additional on screen.¹

Many people watch Tikok with the sound off so its very important to caption everything that is said to keep those listening without sound engaged.

Emphasize the offer

When you have an offer such as a seasonal deal or a discount code ready to share with your audiences on TikTok, don’t let it slip into the background. TikToks that include footage of a person emphasizing at least one offer have a 67.4% lift in impressions! Be very clear about what action you want viewers to take!


Spell out your CTA

Gamers are mission-oriented; always ready to beat the next level, take on the next boss, and conquer the next team. Tap into this motivation by making sure your TikToks have a clear CTA on screen through text or copy. Videos in the gaming category with an on-screen CTA have an 11.3% lift in impressions.²

Get in the game

TikTok is all about showing over telling. To engage the gaming community, make sure to show features and gameplay so they can see how much fun they’re missing. More than half (52.5%) of top-performing videos in the gaming category did and saw a 12.6% lift in impressions.

Nail the ending

Now that you’ve kept your audience engaged to the end through compelling on-screen text and copy and exciting gameplay, it’s time to wrap it up with everything else they need to know. Videos that included an end card summarizing key information (like download details or tips and tricks) saw a 47.3% lift in impressions!³

How to implement

Now that you have all the best practices, it’s time to put them into action. Armed with these free tools, you can edit video duration, add music, include compelling text, and more to elevate your videos to a whole new level! If you need help with creating, optimizing, or scaling your Tiktok ads to find what works best for your business e-mail us at info@selectsmedia.com to see if we can help you achieve your creative goals.



We’d love to speak with you about your creative needs and get to know your business and marketing challenges.