A large number of brands today are taking advantage of TikTok, the fastest-growing social media platform, as an effective marketing tool. With the ever-growing popularity of engagement marketing, TikTok is a great platform for businesses to advertise in a way that doesn’t feel contrived or ingenuine.
In this post, we look at the fun, visually appealing and highly successful ways native advertisers are using the short-form video platform.
If you’re looking for an explanation of what TikTok is and how native advertisers can take advantage of this very popular platform, be sure to check out our explainer article here.
Ways to use TikTok for your native ads
Brands have a number of ways to use TikTok for their native advertising efforts. They can shoot and create their own brand video content to use on their TikTok account. They can also use influencer content to boost their products. Or, with the specific format known as Spark Ads, they can turn organic user-generated content into ads – with the creator’s permission, of course.
TikTok offers several ad formats such as TopViews, Brand Takeovers, Hashtag Challenges and Branded Effects (lenses, masks, etc.). In addition to these formats, TikTok also has the In-Feeds Ads format and Spark Ads format.
We provide examples here of In-Feed, TopView and Spark ads, as they are the most native in format.
Using TikTok’s In-Feed Ads format
The In-Feed Ads format allows advertisers to embed a video ad that auto-plays within a user’s For You feed. In-Feed ads are up to 60 seconds long, play with sound on and look and feel like native content because they have the same user interface as organic TikTok posts.
The following are two examples of brands successfully using TikTok’s In-Feed Ads format.
Celebrating self-love through sleek swimwear
Canada's leading plus-size clothing band, Penningtons, partnered with an established Tiktok creator to create an In-Feed video ad that saw 53 percent more comments, 18 percent more likes and 55 percent more views than the company’s content on other platforms.
By partnering with an influencer who aligned with their values, Penningtons raised awareness of its product and its freshly launched summer swimwear collection in an organic way.
Tourism goes virtual
During the pandemic, Tourism New Zealand wanted to attract Australian tourists to visit once its borders opened again. It decided to create an online gameplay walkthrough of the country for would-be travellers. With an In-Feed ad in the style of a video game, it hoped to attract gaming fans to come and play, while experiencing the best of New Zealand.
Tourism New Zealand partnered with a popular local creator who mimicked the style of a character selection screen in a video game, set against an original soundtrack. Using the signature text overlays and offbeat humour of the TikTok community, the video seamlessly matched its surrounding organic content.
The playful ad was very effective, driving a large number of engaged users to the website and garnering 2.7 million impressions among the target audience.
Using TikTok’s TopView Ads format
In addition to the In-Feed Ads format, brands can also put their native content front and centre by using the TopView Ads format. These ads occupy TikTok’s prime ad real estate, capturing user attention by appearing at the top of the For You feed when first opening TikTok and are therefore perfect for brand awareness.
Here are a couple of examples of brands using the TopView Ads format to great effect.
Grabbing attention with tunes
To introduce its new, silent electric ID.4 SUV, Volkswagen needed to make a whole lot of noise with a brand awareness campaign. What better platform than TikTok with its sound-on mentality?
Volkswagen worked with a notable TikTok creator and pop duo to produce a fresh new soundtrack using its electric vehicle and placed the ad in the platform’s TopView.
The campaign delivered immediate results and a lasting impression, with over 56 million views. The sound-driven TopView ad was such a hit that Volkswagen took the ad to TV and broadcast the catchy soundtrack during the NBA playoffs.
Using TikTok’s Spark Ads
If brands want to amplify their own content or leverage user-generated content in an authentic way, then TikTok’s Spark Ads format is for them. Sparks Ads is especially designed for native advertising and lets brands jump on the content of others – with their permission.
Our explainer article has more information on TikTok’s Spark Ads if you're interested in finding out about this bespoke native format.
Here are some examples of brands utilising Spark Ads for their native advertising.
Skinny latte or iced Americano?
Costa created a suite of 14 non-interruptive ads to showcase its menu using some of TikTok’s key subcultures such as fitness, animals, singing and luxury. With eye-catching content tied to TikTok's popular cut-out filter, Costa’s messaging appeared bespoke to the individual and native to the platform. Click on the image below to read more about the campaign.
This is what Senior Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager at Costa Coffee, Adam Deal, had to say about using the platform this way:
“We love this fun, clever, unique way to seamlessly blend into and enhance consumers’ dynamic lifestyles, staying one step ahead of their needs. It delivers the message that no matter who you are and what you’re into, there’s a Costa Coffee for you.”
The only way is Up
Up, a digital bank designed to help make money matters easier for Australians, decided to use TikTok to reach 18-34 year-olds interested in improving their relationship with money.
Up had already seen good results by partnering with a popular Australian creator who shares personal finance tips and by tapping into current trends #FinTok, #PersonalFinance and #MoneyTok, using TikTok's Ads Manager platform.
To amplify the reach of this creator-led content even further, Up then used Spark Ads.
Up’s Spark campaign succeeded in receiving over 1.5 million impressions. And even though it was an awareness campaign, the content garnered 36,000 likes and directly resulted in 76 installations of the Up app. While the creator partnership enabled Up to organically join the conversation on financial wellness, its Spark Ad allowed the content to travel even further.
These are just some examples of how global brands have recognized the importance of TikTok as a key way to engage with young audiences, encourage user-generated content and partner with relevant influencers. The ability of Spark Ads, in particular, to turn organic user-generated content, or influencer content, into ads is a game-changer for native advertisers.