In 30 seconds:
- TikTok Spark Ads are the newest addition to TikTok’s ads arsenal, and they’re set to change the way marketing works on the platform.
- For brands on TikTok, Spark Ads mean getting the best of both worlds: amplifying user-generated content, and reaping the benefits for your brand.
- How do you get the best results? We’ve got everything you need to know about how TikTok Spark Ads work, and how to do them well.
If you’ve tried running a campaign on TikTok, you’ll already have come across the variety of advertising options available. By now advertisers are familiar with the topview ads, the branded hashtags, the in-feed ads… and it’s not uncommon to see products linked in videos via TikTok’s product tags.
One thing all the ads on TikTok have in common? They complement the native user experience. Some of the most effective ads work because users are not immediately aware that what they’re watching even is an ad.
TikTok itself actually recommends this approach, with its “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.” slogan, which reminds brands that authenticity is key to the TikTok experience.
Spark Ads, TikTok’s newest offering, takes that to the next level. Which is great news for marketers, brands and audiences alike.
What are TikTok Spark Ads?
TikTok Spark Ads are the newest ad format offered by TikTok. It’s the first of its ad services that allows you to make ads out of your original organic posts, or – excitingly – other users’ organic videos.
Basically, you can turn organic content that’s already published on TikTok into video ads.
Along with in-feed ads, this makes them one of the most ‘native’ advertising options available on the platform. They’re pushed to the For You Page (FYP) in the same way, and TikTok users can interact with the videos in the same manner they would a standard TikTok post.
In fact, any engagement obtained via the campaign will ultimately be attributed back to the original organic post – which can positively impact the continued success of that post in the future, thanks to the way the TikTok algorithm understands engagement.
What sets a TikTok Spark Ad apart from a regular in-feed ad? Well, rather than a right-swipe taking you to the advertiser’s landing page, a spark ad will take you to their account, like a normal TikTok video.
It’s by clicking the video caption or CTA button (that’s Call To Action) that users are taken to a chosen landing page – another way in which these ads blend in more easily with standard TikTok posts.
How to enable Spark Ads on TikTok
- TikTok for business spark ads – if you’ve already linked your TikTok Business account to TikTok Ads Manager, and want to use your own TikTok posts or push video from Ads Manager and publish it under your linked business account.
- Or by using authorised accounts or posts, if you want to use accounts authorised via the Business Centre or video codes. (i.e. repurpose an influencer’s video).
There is a comprehensive step by step process for both available on TikTok’s business page.
Spark Ads on TikTok: Why they work
There’s a reason why Spark Ads are so exciting: they leverage the best performing aspects of the TikTok platform to make it work for brands.
TikTok’s majority user base is Gen Z; more than 60% of audiences on the app are part of this demographic. This generation is on track to become the biggest consumer group – and their tendency towards brand loyalty makes them attractive targets for marketers.
The only issue – the fact they distrust traditional ads.
The good news is that nearly half of all Gen Z say that they’re online “constantly”, so knowing where to reach them is simple. The how is where Spark ads really shine. It takes the term “native ad format” to the next level.
Research has shown that branded content created specifically for TikTok is watched 13% longer than non-TikTok content. TikTok Spark Ads work by leveraging what it is about the platform and its content that TikTok users love: its organic feel.
Factor in an influencer, and the stats get even better: 62% believe that collaborations with influencers is the best way for a brand to connect with consumers. The proof is in the pudding: TikTok ads that feature these content creators achieve an engagement rate of 83%. That’s 12% higher than for ads without them.
Not only will using another creator’s content improve your engagement rate, 70% of teens trust influencers more than celebrities – and 70% of Gen Z say that user-generated content (UGC) helps them build more trust to make a purchase. The practicalities are obvious.
Tips for the best Spark Ads (& examples!)
The TikTok community is diverse. As is the case when launching any ad campaign, marketers need to establish a clear idea of who exactly they’re targeting through their TikTok marketing campaign.
Once you’ve defined a target audience, running paid ads on TikTok is much easier. Often, in this search, you’ll be able to establish the leading voices in your target space; whether that’s a popular beauty guru, a book reviewer, a cleaning fanatic, or a foodie. These are the influencers you should seek to form partnerships with.
Elevating your campaign with TikTok Spark Ads then looks like finding the best route into that community. These tips will help guide you to spark ads success:
1. Work with influencers
TikTok audiences love creativity, which is why they love creators. The biggest names on TikTok have millions of dedicated followers, and they’re pushing out organic TikTok content that’s practically guaranteed to land well with audiences. If you can find an influencer that’s a good fit for your brand, getting them on board is going to promote brand awareness to a pre-established audience likely to be interested in your business.
With Spark Ads, there’s the exciting chance to change up the way you find influencers, or find the best influencer fit for your brand.
Genuine reviews and content featuring brands feature heavily on TikTok, and if you can find some UGC that mentions your brand and it does well, promoting it as a Spark Ad will enable you to link your brand account and landing page to native content users are already loving.
Another way brands can use Spark Ads is to test ad creatives with multiple influencers and assess which performs best. Then use Spark Ads to promote your most successful video and turn it into an ad.
Example: Pizza Express
Pizza Express used this tactic when promoting their new vegan menu. The restaurant partnered with vegan TikTok creators Luke Poulton (@veganluke), Nicole (@veganbeautygirl) and Clare (@thelittlelondonvegan), who produced videos showcasing the new range.
Using Spark Ads, they boosted the authentic, native content – and saw huge results. Pizza Express increased their TikTok followers by 9,000, and the ads received over 2.6 million 6 second video views.
Find out more about working with Vegan TikTok influencers.
2. Amplify your best content
Because Spark Ads let you leverage existing content, finding the right content to boost is key to running a successful campaign with this method. We’ve mentioned above that this is useful for influencer campaigns – but it’s also brilliant for promoting your own organic videos, and any mentions of your brand on the platform.
There are a lot of metrics to take into account, but the most important are engagement, and views.
By keeping an eye on which of your branded content videos performs best, and ensuring you’re up-to-date on what users are posting about your brand, you can jump in at the start of a snowballing video and reap the rewards of high-performance content by converting it into a Spark Ad.
Example: JOAH Beauty
We worked with JOAH beauty to drive awareness and consideration for the brand amongst Gen Z on TikTok. We partnered with macro beauty influencer Meredith Duxbury (@meredithduxbury) as part of the campaign. Her chatty, relatable content was a great fit for the brand and we used Spark Ads to unlock further success. We achieved over 1.3M video views on Meredith’s TikTok video, surpassing guaranteed views by 225.1% – showing how effective using spark ads can be for boosting views.
@thenatureofabigail AD Tudor Rose by @penhaligons_london🌹. The perfect aroma for a peaceful day in the British countryside 🕊#penhaligons #perfumetiktok #fragrancehaul ♬ The first song in the Bach equal tempered Clavier songbook(814004) - East Valley Music
We worked with Penhaligons to grow the brand’s TikTok account. One of the influencers we partnered with for the campaign was Abigail (@thenatureofabigail) who is well known in the TikTok “cottagecore” community. Incorporating the product was natural and authentic to her page, which helped to capture fan’s attention and come across less ad-heavy, ultimately benefiting the engagement. We used Spark Ads to amplify her video’s success.
We successfully achieved our true goal of growing the Penhaligon’s account, starting at 1945 followers to 17.7k followers in 1 month. We exceeded our KPI’s by 3.8k. It’s clear that Spark Ads are a useful tool for TikTok account growth.
NOTE: there is no follower threshold for Spark Ads. This means that any TikTok account whose content takes off is eligible for inclusion – which is great news for brands. Especially for those who are used to using micro-influencers, who often have smaller, but more engaged audiences of followers.
Find out more about partnering with micro-influencers in our guide.
3. Monitor your metrics
Once your Spark Ad is up and running on the TikTok app, your focus should switch to monitoring your metrics. As with any other paid ad on TikTok, you can view the performance analytics from your business dashboard.
With Spark ads, you’re able to see: paid likes, shares and followers (all measured within 1 day of a user seeing the ad), plus paid taps (the number of clicks to your CTA and caption), paid profile visits, and the number of music taps.
Over the Black Friday weekend, Lounge successfully leveraged Spark Ads to drive a higher conversion from video view to sale. The brand used Spark Ads to direct users to their website or profile, where they had also set-up a landing link.
Find out more about working with the top fitness influencers.
Ads, influencers & more
Marketing on TikTok is a no-brainer for brands who have an eye on the future – it’s where the future consumers are, and where they’re most likely to interact with brands.
As Gen Z favours non-traditional advertising methods, it’s vital to tailor your content to meet their expectations. That means going video-first, influencer-led, and entertaining. TikTok stands out as the social media platform most suited to meet these needs, and it’s why the platform is only expanding its ads offerings.
Now that businesses can rely on user-generated content to spread branded messages, it’s even easier to get started on TikTok.
Why not talk to us about how we can elevate your next TikTok campaign?
At Fanbytes, we’re influencer marketing experts. Looking for further reading? We’ve got all the answers you need: