Complete Guide To TikTok Video Ad Formats (with examples!)

Guiding you through each of TikTok's different advertising formats, how they function, and how each can be used to meet your different campaign objectives. 

With over 800 million active users worldwide and crowned as the most downloaded app of 2020 so far, TikTok now has a huge global reach, making it a powerful platform for brands wishing to speak to a large and engaged audience.

TikTok’s Ads Manager, coupled with their recently announced Marketing Partner Program is helping open up the platform for advertisers, enabling brands to unleash their creative side and engage with TikTok’s young, tuned-in audience.


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TikTok is an exciting opportunity for you to drive engagement and get creative with your brand’s personality. But, being a relatively new platform, you might have some confusion surrounding the different types of TikTok ads and how to use them. This article serves as a starting point, guiding you through each different format, how they function, and how each can be used to meet your different campaign objectives. 


1. In-Feed Video Ad


TikTok’s standard ad format, In-Feed, allows you to embed a video ad that auto-plays within a user’s For You feed. In-Feed ads are up to 60 seconds long (although the optimal duration is only 15 seconds!), play with sound on, and look & feel like native content due to them having the same user interface as organic posts.



Available for purchase directly through TikTok's Ad Manager TikTok’s In-Feed ads can be used for a variety of campaign objectives. Each features a clickable CTA button that can be used to either drive traffic towards external landing pages, app downloads, or to your brand’s TikTok Business Account. 

Design your In-Feed video ads to work vertically and keep in mind the safe zones you need to work within to ensure that none of your key visual elements are blocked by TikTok’s user interface overlay.


2. TopView


Put your brand front and center by occupying TikTok’s prime ad real-estate. TopView ads capture user attention by appearing at the top of the For You feed when first opening TikTok. In this format, video can be up to 60-seconds long, offering an immersive viewing experience with no other competing content. 

TopView is perfect for brand awareness objectives as it guarantees an extremely wide reach and high number of impressions. Brands should make the most of this unmissable placement by using a highly engaging video that leaves a lasting impact.


3. Brand Takeover



A TikTok Brand Takeover are full-screen, high impact ads that feature as the first thing a user sees when opening TikTok. Created for mass awareness, this format will also guarantee extremely high reach and great performance due to the entire screen being clickable, reducing the friction between the ad and the desired destination. 

Brand Takeover ads are short and snappy, being either a 3-second image or a 3-5 second video, and allow brands to direct traffic to both internal and external landing pages.  

Brand Takeover ads have 100% Share of Voice for the day they are featured, meaning that users won’t see any other Brand Takeover on that particular day. This premium ad space does come with a high price tag and lends itself to large brands who are looking for maximum exposure.


4. Branded Hashtag Challenge


Designed to fit in with TikTok’s unique user-generated-content (UGC) aesthetic, the Branded Hashtag Challenge is a way of engaging audiences by encouraging the co-creation of content. The format can be broken down into three placements within the app.

First, you have standard video ads appear in the In-Feed placement, encouraging users to take part in the challenge. Second, there is a featured banner on the Discover page, directing traffic to the Hashtag Challenge page (third placement) which is the central hub of the challenge, aggregating videos from around the world that were submitted for the challenge.


5. Branded Effects


Branded Effects enable brands to embrace their playful side with the creation of shareable branded stickers, filters, and effects that users can utilize in their own video content. These effects can be used in standalone campaigns or integrated into your Branded Hashtag Challenge for an even richer ad experience. 

Similar to Hashtag Challenges, the power of Branded Effects lies in the fact that these formats go beyond being simply an ad: your audience becomes immersed and involved, resulting in much higher levels of engagement.


Take off with TikTok

TikTok offers brands an effective way of communicating with a younger audience, as over 60% of TikTok's user-base are members of Generation Z. TikTok helps brands engage with this audience by offering multiple ad formats that speak the TikTok language, seamlessly integrating with native content yet delivering maximum results.

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