How to Create TikTok Ads That Convert

It can happen to anyone – you carefully study the TikTok ads policy, invest a lot of care and effort into tailoring a strong TikTok ad campaign, only to find your conversion at quite underwhelming rates. Creating ads that turn your TikTok audience into your customers doesn’t have to be hard. You just need to understand a few things about TikTok ads, their nature and the nature of the TikTok audience, and employ a few tricks from the platform’s ad manager, that’s all. 

GrowMojo experts share some things to keep in mind when creating TikTok ads that convert:

writing ads

Understand the importance of native content

The best performing TikTok ads are organic ads. The type of ad you don’t even realize it’s an ad. The very nature of the ad is downplayed, and the “salesy” or clickbaitish quality is avoided at all costs. This is the sort of ad that has been performing the best across all marketing channels ever since the inception of advertising. 

Native advertising is the sort of advertising where the ad blends in perfectly with the medium or platform it appears on, in tone, form and function. 

This is something where the very nature of TikTok plays a huge advantage. TikTok is a social media platform built around original, creative, user-generated content that’s not staged or scripted (or at least, it doesn’t appear to be). This is also the reason why pairing with a TikTok influencer is one of the best business ideas for a brand. The influencer creates his or her original content as they normally would, and then casually incorporates a product or a service – and the video becomes an ad. 

The best TikToks are catchy and entertaining. The similar quality is sought in brand ads. Ad content that is creative, authentic and inspiring is the one that works best. And if it blends seamlessly with the rest of the content during a session – all the better. 

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Consider the power of storytelling

There’s a reason why storytelling remains the single most effective way to convey a message and get the recipient on your side. It revolves around a journey, a transformation, a solution, and since it involves an archetype, it strongly resonates with us. 

In advertising, storytelling has been employed since its earliest days. The good old formulas, like PAS (Problem/Pain – Agitate – Solve) or AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) still work like a charm. 

In TikTok advertising, the short and snappy format makes it a bit more difficult to apply these techniques. How are you going to tell a hero’s journey in a 30-second video? Or to complete the whole AIDA cycle? 

It’s actually not impossible at all. Just remember the concept of authenticity and native content. Each TikToker tells a story with his or her content. That’s why we love it. Because they’re like micro-stories. Your TikTok ads can be the same. 

There are several popular and proven storytelling formats that you can consider for your ad. 

  • Results first: The ad first shows the remarkable results of a product and then takes the viewer back to explain what it was that the product has solved. It’s like an adventure where the flashbacks actually tell the story and explain the process. It’s an engaging framework and thanks to TikTok’s built-in editing tools, it’s quite easy to do.
  • The classic step-by-step video: This is the linear, classic storytelling format. Each step is described and illustrated and as we progress towards the result we are drawn in and invested in the result. 
  • Brand as lifestyle: A product is shown as easily and effortlessly incorporated into someone’s lifestyle. Here advertisers can leverage the user-generated content, showing a person using the product or service in their daily routine. TikTok even has a cool “Day in the Life” lens that can fit this format perfectly. 

Of course, in order for any of these to work, the content needs to remain true to the platform’s nature: it should be fast-paced, optimistic, fun, dynamic. Captions, stickers, filters, music and editing tools are more than welcome. Remember that you’re dealing with a short attention span audience. 

Understand the motivation

Human emotions are the single most powerful motivator for behavior. Whether we’re going to purchase something or not is also dictated by our emotional response, not to the product, but to the way it’s advertised. Therefore, each step in the sales process should be based on some emotional component. 

Targeting specific emotions is rarely of use, because people are different. But certain emotions are equally strong in all of us, and those are fear (of loss) and hope (for gain). If you address those two in your ads, you’ll be more likely to hit your mark. Position your product or service in relation to these by showing the audience what they will gain by purchasing it, or what opportunity they’ll miss if they don’t. 

The latter brings us to the concept of FOMO – the fear of missing out. More than just a buzzword, FOMO is a powerful motivator. That’s why limited offers, limited editions and low stock alerts are such terrific sales boosters. 

TikTok is an excellent medium for playing the FOMO card and triggering emotional responses. The ad format, which is short, dynamic and vibrant, served within a sequence of other content or ads, leaves us with no room to think too much about what we saw. If the value proposition works for us, if it promises us what we need and tingles our primary motivators, we’re already halfway to becoming paying customers. 

Define your unique selling point

Regardless of the channel, every ad strategy should be formed around the understanding of what the brand’s USP (Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition) is. USP is the quality that sets the brand apart from the competition and you need to have a deep understanding of it in order to leverage it. 

On TikTok, you can’t just show up in feed and declare your USP. As we already mentioned, you need to do it in an organic way. It can be a how-to video (which adds the educational dimension to the ad and it’s always beneficial), a POV-type, a hashtag challenge, even a dance-off. You can start with what’s trending at the moment, and figure out a way to include your product or service into it. 

Let’s say you’re marketing a cosmetic product, for instance a highlighter. The ability of the highlighter to change and improve a person’s complexion and even the facial features can be its USP. You can create a video, perhaps with the split screen, in which an influencer or someone else is complaining about an issue (droopy eyelids) in the left screen and the same person is fixing the issue (eyelids appear lifted) using the product in the right screen. Combine it with some catchy music, captions and effects, and you get a short, cheap and memorable TikTok ad based on your USP. 

Make good use of event triggers

When you create ads, you obviously want them to be as memorable as possible. A study found that higher information density leads to better ad memorability. Note that by information density we don’t mean a lot of information packed and conveyed in a short time period. Instead, the term refers to the combination of brand elements and creative elements in an ad. These include music, effects, text overlay, voice, movement, editing, and can collectively be termed “event triggers.” 

These event triggers need to be placed strategically. For instance, you can use one just before delivering your key message, your value proposition, your CTA. 

Text overlays can be used to point out key features of a product. Music can be used to create dramatic suspension. Having your brand or product visible throughout the ad will improve brand recall. Fast editing and lots of movement on screen also help by creating a stronger impression. 

Note that high density information ads are more suitable for industries from the so-called low involvement verticals, which don’t require a lot of consideration and deliberation. Tech products are high involvement vertical and consumer gods, cosmetics, makeup, and cheaper items are low involvement vertical. These require more information to sustain the viewer’s interest and therefore can benefit from high density advertising. 

From hook to CTA

The simplest ads, which are often the most efficient, follow the basic formula: 

  1. Hook 
  2. Value proposition 
  3. Testimonial
  4. CTA

Let’s see how you can optimize each of these in your TikTok ads. 

1. Hook

In advertising, a hook is a message, a tagline or an angle that grabs the viewer’s attention and makes him receptive to your messages. It’s the first couple of seconds of your TikTok ad, during which the viewers decide whether to watch it through the end or to move away. 

To say that the hook needs to be catchy, intriguing and compelling would be stating the obvious. Let’s see some of the TikTok hooks that are proven to do well: 

  • Hooks starting with “Wait!” like “Wait! Don’t go, you need to see this” or similar, which convey a sense of urgency and stop the user in his tracks. 
  • “This is for (insert audience persona), so if you’re not (audience persona), move on” is a trick to make the viewer feel exclusive (if belonging to the audience persona category) or to cause FOMO
  • “I tried (insert product/service) so you don’t have to” – in addition to providing viewers with a digest version of a review, creators using this hook also establish themselves as experts in the matter at hand
  • “If you, like me, are (insert quality), then check this out” – it creates a sense of connection with the viewer
  • “I was today years old” – this sort of content always reveals a hack or a little know fact that educates and entertains
  • “X tips to get rid of…” – this is a classic format that always works since it offers a solution to a problem. 

Depending on your brand tone and voice, one or more of these hooks may work for you but there’s a chance none of them will fit. If your branding is already well established, make sure your hook reflects it, just spice it up a bit and make it energetic enough. 

2. Value proposition

Your value proposition is the short statement or explanation of why the audience should choose you and not your competition. It consists of your best features and most important benefits. You can’t list them all in a 60-second video or shorter, and even if you could, they wouldn’t hold up. To keep your audience interested and not scrolling away, incorporate your value proposition in a video that entertains, engages and educates the audience. 

Remember like we said in the beginning – best-performing TikTok ads feel native and authentic. They don’t even feel like ads. So your product placement in the ad needs to be seamless and your value proposition needs to be an integral part of the storytelling in the video. 

3. Testimonial

This can be tricky since ads with testimonials can feel a bit outdated. The good thing about TikTok is that it’s basically all user-generated content, and if you can find a TikToker who actually uses your product, you got yourself a testimonial that doesn’t feel staged or corny. 

Some brands collect video testimonials from buyers at their physical POS. You can do something similar with your online shop – ask the customers to provide a video testimonial in TikTok-friendly format and offer something in return, like a hefty discount for their next purchase. 

4. CTA

The CTA (Call to Action) is the final and crucial element in creating TikTok ads that convert. It directs viewers to perform your desired action – if you have a TikTok Shop, it could be an Add to Cart button, it could be an email signup, a link to your website, etc. 

The TikTok Ad Manager features two sets of smart CTA features that are designed to increase a brand’s clickthrough rate and increase conversions. 

  • Recommended CTA: this feature takes into consideration your industry, your past ad performance and other factors, and then displays the “Recommended’ tag next to one of items in the dropdown menu of available CTAs. 
  • Dynamic CTA: with this feature, each person seeing the ad will see the CTA text that is most relevant to them, based on insights such as the viewer’s click and conversion behavior. LIke the standard (Recommended) CTA, this type also works with a set of CTAs that are most relevant to your niche, objective, landing page, your ad creative and caption. 

Thanks to these features, you don’t even need to think too hard about what sort of CTA to include. 

Making the best possible shift to CTA is also vital – check out our experts’ 5S formula for boosting ad performance and find out. 

The importance of text

One would think that with a short video medium like TikTok the onscreen text doesn’t matter much but, surprisingly or not, it actually does. 

This is particularly true for eCommerce. According to TikTok itself, ads that used closed captioning or text to display an offer or a CTA had a 80% conversion lift compared to ads that didn’t. 

It also appears that the combination of voice-over and text does particularly well, with a 87% conversion lift. 

Speaking of voiceovers, many creators and brands are tempted to use AI-generated voice. While this certainly worked fine for a while, it may be time to go back to actual humans for voice-over. AI voice-overs are now very easily recognized and can be irritating for the viewers, as they have been hearing them everywhere for a while. 

When in doubt, ask an expert!

Harnessing the power of TikTok ads that convert is something that takes time, experience and skill. These days, when no brand can afford to underperform in any area, your smartest move may be to team up with a TikTok advertising agency. And if you want to make sure your TikTok ad strategy is in good hands, give GrowMojo a call – in consultation with our dedicated experts, you too can use TikTok to skyrocket your conversions. 

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