The Do’s & Don’ts of Creating Ads on TikTok You Need To Know

Now that we’ve broken down TikTok’s different ad formats, let’s get into how to actually create TikTok ads, AKA what to do and what not to do. 

To make the most of the platform (and your ad dollars), it’s worth taking the time to do a bit of research about Tik Tok’s algorithm to understand what types of ads perform best and why. 

With this being said, nobody can tell you what you’re doing right and wrong like your target audience can. Monitoring how your brand’s first few rounds of TikTok ads perform can tell you a lot about what types of ads your audience resonates with.

These do’s and don’ts are by no means an exhaustive list, but they will give you a good jumping-off point for your brand. 

What to Do and NOT Do When Creating TikTok Ads

Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of how to make your ads stand out from the crowd. Here are the biggest Do’s and Don’ts of advertising on TikTok to get you started…

DO tell a story to connect with your audience

Using video as a medium for an ad allowed brands an incredible opportunity to tell a story. So much more information and emotion can be conveyed in 10 seconds than in one still photograph. 

Video has the capacity to capture emotion, movement, plot, and music. Brands who are using this knowledge to their advantage by telling short, creative, and compelling stories in their ads are the brands that are thriving on TikTok.

And if you need a good place to start? Here are six ways to tell a story on TikTok. 

This ad shows a GreenChef user telling a story about making and plating a meal while talking about the benefits of the brand

DO be authentic

On TikTok, authenticity is key. But what does this mean for a brand? For brands, this means showing a more real, raw, and relatable side to the brand’s personality. Making the brand feel more human makes it easier for your audience to find a point of connection and common ground.

Viewers want to see behind-the-scenes footage, products in action, silly dances, and funny, relatable moments. Perfect and fancy is out. Messy and casual (authenticity!) is in. 

DO participate in trends

TikTok is all about capitalizing on trends. Whether it’s a trending song, dance, challenge, or storytelling method, there’s always something new trending on the platform.

By participating in these trends in your brand’s ads, you are showing the TikTok community that your brand embraces the platform’s culture, building trust with your target audience. 

Many trends are easy, so putting your brand’s own spin on a trend can be a great tool to keep in mind when creating ads.

DO use emotion in your videos

According to insights from TikTok for Business, “Opening with powerful emotions, such as surprise, led to a 1.7x lift compared to neutral facial expressions.”

People scroll quickly on TikTok, so if you don’t immediately grab a viewer’s attention, they will swipe right past you. Leveraging emotion at the beginning of your video could be your golden ticket to capturing that initial attention, engagement, and likes. 

So, have fun with wild facial expressions and exaggerated reactions. Don’t limit yourself, and embrace this creative opportunity to put some emotion into your ads. 

DON’T create traditional ads and expect them to do well

TikTok’s advice for brands creating ads? Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks.

This advice may sound counterintuitive, but it actually gives brands the chance at creative freedom they may have never had before. 

Throughout history, advertising mediums have evolved, but the look and feel of traditional ads haven’t. Now, TikTok is turning traditional ads on its head, changing what is considered “normal.” Instead of corporate language and straightforward calls to action, TikTok is encouraging brands to create casual, nonfiltered, no-fuss ads that show authentic insight into the brand personality or product. 

So, don’t be buttoned up or professional or long or boring or dry. Be weird. Be exciting. Try something different. Then your brand will find success on TikTok. 

This ad, which shows a user moving around a shower head, couldn’t be any more unconventional or authentic

DON’T waste a bunch of money on production

TikTok users don’t care about high production quality. Back to the authenticity point above, it’s more about being real and less about being perfect. Therefore, spending a lot of money on a highly produced TikTok ad is a waste of money.

Moreover, TikTok provides all the tools you need to produce your own video in-app. Take advantage of this, and save some money on production costs!

According to TikTok for Business, “Creative content on TikTok doesn’t require a big production budget. Our built-in offerings and effects, paired with authentic, sound-on, and immersive full-screen creative is more than enough to wow audiences and win their hearts.”

This advertisement about stretchy jeans for men shows low-quality shots of a user wearing the jeans, stretching them, and talking about why he loves The Perfect Jean. Even low-quality videos can be highly effective on TikTok

DON’T be afraid

It can seem intimidating to start creating ads in such a new way. It may seem like there’s no rules in the world of TikTok, and that may scare you. 

Don’t let it. 

Being afraid will hold you and your brand back. Remember, being perfect isn’t the goal on TikTok. Take a deep dive into who your brand is, and when you create content around that authentic persona, you’ll be golden.

And if you need a refresher on the basics of making a TikTok video, that’s OK too.

Written By
Nicole Adams
The Infinite Agency is an integrated advertising agency designed to drive brand growth through data-driven insights, inspiring creativity, and connected experiences.
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