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5 Types of TikTok Ads

Jennifer Kovalick
Written By
Jennifer Kovalick
Published On
May 13, 2022
5 Types Of TikTok Ads - The Influence Agency

TikTok is the leading platform for short-form videos, with highly-engaged Gen-Z and Millennial audiences. TikTok is known for its highly intelligent discovery process, which allows users to consistently find new content based on their habits and interests, which brings them back to the platform day after day.

According to TikTok, ads on their platform are accepted by users as native content and 83% of users say that TikTok ads are enjoyable. 

Therefore, brands have the opportunity to connect with consumers through a variety of TikTok ad types to increase engagement, growth, visibility, and sales. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through each ad format and explain how each works! Currently, TikTok offers the following ad formats:

TikTok Ad Guidelines

Before we dive into TikTok ad types, it’s important for advertisers to note that no matter the ad format chosen, all ads should follow TikTok’s ‘Safe Zones’ guidelines for ad creative. Based on the length of an ad caption (the caption length can range from a couple of lines), advertisers should aim to have the creative focus within the highlighted green areas shown below. This will ensure that an advertiser’s ad creative is not being covered by any in-app icons to the right of the screen or any text towards the bottom of the screen. 

A diagram of TikTok ad safe zones

TikTok has specified that the ad platform is able to support both square (1:1) and vertical (9:16) aspect ratio videos, but they highly recommended that advertisers use a vertical (9:16) video when possible to ensure that maximum screen real estate is being utilized. TikTok also has the ability to support videos with a length of up to 60 seconds, however, it’s strongly recommended by TikTok that an advertiser’s video length is no longer than 15 seconds to ensure they hold the audience’s attention. 

Lastly, TikTok ads appear similar to user-generated content with a profile image, like, comment, and share buttons, a music disc, an account name, and caption. The notable difference is a Sponsored tag and a call-to-action (CTA) banner that users can click, which will link to an advertiser’s desired landing page. There are a variety of CTAs an advertiser can choose from based on their advertising objectives. For example, a CTA could be ‘Learn More’, which encourages users to click on an ads button and be taken to a brand or business’s landing page. 

A diagram for how to use TikTok

In-Feed TikTok Ads

In-Feed ads appear at random positions in the ‘For You’ page alongside user-generated content. In-Feed ad creatives are meant to mimic user-generated content and be native to the platform as a user scrolls through the app. Users have the option to interact with the ads similar to the way they would with user-generated content through liking, commenting, or sharing In-Feed ads as well as immediately skipping an ad if it doesn’t interest them. 

The new haircare brand K18 launched In-Feed ads to raise awareness about their transformative product through popular TikTok creators demonstrating a before and after of their hair, which looked native to the platform. At the end of K18’s month-long campaign, they had a 70% lift in daily average sales and their following grew from 2,000 to 20,000.

 An Example of a TikTok in-feed ad

Brand Takeover TikTok Ads

Brand Takeover is the first ad users will see on the ‘For You’ page in the fourth position after three organic TikTok’s have already passed in the app. A Brand Takeover ad has a premium position being the first ad users will see on the ‘For You’ page. 

Advertisers that utilize Brand Takeover ads will be able to drive users to a landing page of their choice. Brand Takeover ads guarantee 100% user impression share as the ad slot is held for 24-hours. 

The car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz wanted to increase brand awareness and engagement among Gen-Z and Millennials through a Brand Takeover and Hashtag Challenge. Mercedes-Benz invited popular creators to use #MBStarChallenge and encouraged users to creatively re-envision their logo. The campaign was a success with 73,000 total participants, 180 million total video views, and 30,000 new followers.

Four examples of brand takeover TikTok ads

TopView TikTok Ads

TopView is one of TikTok’s most premium placements for ad real estate! With TopView ads, a brand will be placed at the top of the feed, making them top of mind to consumers.

TopView is an auto-playing ad that immediately intrigues the attention of audiences upon opening the TikTok app. TopView guarantees a brand 100% of users’ attention to showcase their brand story all within a 24-hour period. This ad format is brand-safe, which means it is distraction-free from competitors and only an advertiser’s brand will be present. 

The fashion retailer Balenciaga wanted to raise brand awareness and launched a shoppable campaign that drove users to shopping pages on their site. The ad creative displayed their products floating through space with captivating audio and a CTA to ‘Learn More’. Overall, Balenciaga’s TikTok ads drove an impressive 23+ million impressions, 25+ million total video views, and an 18% clickthrough rate (CTR).

Four examples of TopView TikTok ads

Branded Effects TikTok Ads

Branded Effects brings an ad campaign to life through a green screen, interactive, and augmented reality (AR) effects. These technological tools help to enhance a brand’s story by giving users the ability to immersively interact with a brand. Whether it’d be letting customers try on shoes before buying or testing out different makeup colours or styles, the creative options are endless with effects!

A Branded Effect campaign has six days of promotion on TikTok for the effect as well as a page which contains all user-generated content for two months. There is a selection of 45+ templates to choose from if needed by the advertiser. 

A well-known AR effect was the Versailles Run, which was launched by TikTok to raise awareness about their #MuseumMovement event, which allowed users’ faces to be added to Queen Marie Antoinette’s body running through the Palace of Versailles. The AR effect exploded and turned into a comedic and entertaining trend. TikTok showed the power of props such as AR effects having the ability to gain massive audience attention as the effect received over one million user-created videos. 

A screenshot of the Versailles Run branded effects TikTok ads

Branded Hashtag Challenge TikTok Ads

Branded Hashtag Challenge ads encourage the TikTok community to participate in creating content to help tell a brand’s story. TikTok allows advertisers the opportunity to ask users to respond to a creative challenge. 

A Branded Hashtag Challenge includes TopView in order to reach a massive amount of users as well as six days of promotion on the Discover page. 

Hashtags are important on TikTok as they help users find content that they care about and communities around things that interest them. Hashtags are also important for increasing a content’s visibility to go viral on the ‘For You’ page, which is where the majority of users spend their time scrolling. 

NBA 2K launched the #GiftOfGame Branded Hashtag Challenge during the holiday season to grow their fanbase, engagement, and sales. In order to spread the word, NBA superstars asked users to demonstrate the moves they would use if they were part of the game. The prize winner would be scanned and made into a player featured in the next 2K release, a PlayStation 5, and the new game. The campaign was a success with 2.5 billion video views, 1.45 million video creations, and a 20% engagement rate.

An example of a branded hashtag challenge TikTok ad

Remember, don’t make ads, #MakeTikToks!

We hope this guide was helpful to break down the different ad types TikTok has to offer! If you’re interested in reading more about advertising on TikTok, check out our 6-Step Guide.

Thinking about trying TikTok ads for your brand or business? The Influence Agency can help you get started!

Contact our Paid Media team today to learn more about our TikTok Marketing services!



  • Jennifer Kovalick

    Jennifer Kovalick is a Paid Media Coordinator at The Influence Agency and specializes in digital advertising strategies to scale businesses. Outside of the office, she is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur who brings her dog, Truffle, almost everywhere she goes!

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  • Jennifer Kovalick

    Jennifer Kovalick is a Paid Media Coordinator at The Influence Agency and specializes in digital advertising strategies to scale businesses. Outside of the office, she is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur who brings her dog, Truffle, almost everywhere she goes!

Read more from Paid Media


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