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How-To: Producing In-Feed Native Creatives for TikTok

22 September 2021

A lot of brands now are interested in investing money in TikTok ads. We work on TikTok with several clients in different industries and they are seeing success on this platform. Therefore, we, mobile marketers at the AdQuantum agency, decided it would be useful for other marketers to obtain tips on TikTok ads production that we have gained during our work with this social media. Out of this article ways to:

Native ads on TikTok: what is it and what for 

Over the past couple of years, TikTok has evolved from a teen entertainment social network to a powerful user acquisition tool. Remember how Facebook, the king of mobile traffic sources, got its start: it was created as a platform for students. Likewise, TikTok becomes more and more popular among a wide variety of audiences. 

The social media is now available in over 150 countries, has over 1 billion users, and has been downloaded over 200 million times in the United States alone. If you are a mobile marketer and your target user is someone in the age between 13 and 60, you definitely should consider this traffic source.

TikTok offers several ad formats: Top View, Brand Takeover, Hashtag Challenge and Branded Effects (lenses, masks, etc.) — but they are being launched only through the TikTok manager and are, rather, media ads, so we won’t focus on them.

In-Feed Ads meanwhile are the ads embedded in the user's feed. They are exactly what we want to focus on. The creative format is a short immersive video appearing in the user's feed. These videos last 5-60 seconds. In any feed (especially when we are speaking of TikTok feed) native ad creatives work best. The user perceives them as just another post.

Such advertising is designed to show the value of the product, adjusting to the rules of the platform where it is advertised. Simply put, native ads should a) be useful to the user, b) fit organically into the content of the social media platform.

When coming to social networks, a person subconsciously ignores all content that looks like ads. In order to get around this “bug” of the human psyche and get right to the user's attention, new ad formats are needed. This is how native advertising, or “user-like generated content” appeared. Native creatives are more credible than explicit ad posts and don't annoy the user.

Characters of native ads are real people: influencers, actors, models. And the focus in these creatives is not centered on the product or its characteristics, as in other ad formats, but on utility or entertainment.

If the native creative is really good, the user will not realise that they have just watched the ad until the last moment. This increases the level of the user’s engagement. In terms of metrics, this gives good indicators for conversion (conversion rate, CR), (click-through rate, CTR) and retention (retention rate, RR).

There are few drawbacks of native ads, but the main one is the cost of shooting. Animated 2D creatives are cheaper and easier to produce. At the same time, 1) the influencer's video needs to be directed, 2) time and money should be spent on filming and post-production. On the other hand, the cost of the TikTok’s ad placement is comparable to Facebook. 

You also need to take into account that TikTok traffic has its own specifics. CR of the TikTok ads can be 1.5-3 times lower than other traffic sources. It can also be difficult to scale and simultaneously maintain the performance.

And, among other things, performance campaigns on TikTok will not fit into the marketing strategy of every brand. But knowing in advance the specifics of this platform, you are able to easily achieve great results.

Nevertheless, for all its imperfections, advertising on TikTok has a clear advantage: when the user logs into the app, a recommendation feed is immediately opened. An active TikTok user is already used to seeing strangers in their feed. As a matter of fact, the user does not come to this social network to find out about friends' updates. They come to see unique entertaining viral content. This means they are loyal to (interesting) ad posts with new people in their  feed all the time.

In addition, in terms of traffic, TikTok has a large volume at fairly low prices. This tool can be used to influence positions in ASO: the more traffic — the higher the position.

Producing native ad creative 

Collaborating with influencers is a key native advertising tool on TikTok. The main difficulty at this stage is, perhaps, in finding a suitable blogger for an advertising video. Below we will tell you in more detail what you should focus on when selecting an influencer.

When the TikToker for the creative has been identified, we move on to shooting. As a rule, for TikTok creatives, we most often resort to the help of foreign influencers. Therefore, we send them a technical requirement for shooting remotely.

The influencer sends their video to the project manager. They make edits on behalf of themself and the video hypothesis author. If everyone involved in the process from the agency is satisfied with the quality of the material, it is redirected to the motion designer who is involved in the post-production process.

If the value of the product is conveyed well in the “naked” review, without any extra features like editing or sound, the video can be left without music — just the voice of a TikToker.

The video is ready — the creative is sent to the advertiser for approval. Having received the final “OK” from them, we launch an ad campaign with our TikTok account.

Quick Tips On TikTok Native Ads Production

1) Mobile app verticals in TikTok ads

In TikTok, the most efficient app verticals to advertise are those where the app value can be convincingly conveyed through a picture of its actual use. These include, for example: photo editors, social network follower trackers, dating apps, financial planning and gaming apps.

According to AppsFlyer's 12th Performance Index, TikTok for Business (an ad platform for brands) overtook Snapchat in the Gaming category in a relatively short period of time.

2) Choosing an influencer

The success of TikTok native creative is highly dependent on the blogger personality: how much their appearance reflects the product target audience ideals. It is important whether they are able to be convincing on camera and properly convey the idea of ​​the video. Therefore, it is important to select the right influencer who is able to shoot catchy, bright and interesting content for a specific product.

We do not aim at large bloggers. We rather focus on influencers with a small audience — thus, we reduce costs for video production, giving aspiring bloggers an opportunity to grow through cooperation with large mobile brands. 

By creating your own content even with small bloggers and using ads wisely, you can make great progress on TikTok with relatively little financial investment. You do not necessarily need the most expensive and upscale tactics to see success.

3) Using TikTok Trends

TikTok trends is a great marketing tool. It is lip syncs, dance challenges and pranks that, in most cases, become a magnet for attention. But everything is good in moderation. For example, using movement-based trends it is easy to get poor performance. The video may be beautiful, but the viewer might not understand why they should download that app. The emphasis should be on the value of the app and, if possible, add recognizable trend elements to the video.

TikTok has an audience of potential users who actively consume content. Formulate the message that other social platforms may not include. Your ad video can become the next viral thing, you never know.

4) Technical specifications

When setting a technical assignment for a TikToker, it is important to discuss all the details of the shooting. Of course, its performance also depends on the quality of the video. These are requirements for video recording that we send bloggers:

5) Sizes and location

As for video sizes, the regulation for TikTok is 1080x1920. 

At the same time, it is important to keep the “air” above your head within the video boundaries and take into account video safe zones. This will allow you to design an organic composition and nothing would “fall out” of the frame.

6) Captions on the video 

Text on TikTok creatives is always important. It is another channel that an advertiser can send a message to their audience with. Therefore, an ad creative should look good and understandable both with and without sound.

Text on creatives can be overlaid directly in TikTok. Today this social network offers a large selection of fonts and plates.

7) Video structure

TikTok is a platform ruled by Generation Z representatives. In terms of the visual content perception speed, they surpassed all previous generations. In the first seconds of the video, they digest the visual content and instantly sweep aside what is unlikely to interest them. Therefore, the key story points in TikTok creatives should happen in the first 3-5 seconds of the video. Do not forget that a call to action must appear at the end of the creative. Otherwise what is the purpose of the advertisement? Utilise their engagement when you have it.

8) Sound 

TikTok is the only traffic source among all the others that gives you an ability to get connected with users through music. Other social media platforms usually limit this possibility, which leads to fewer users turning on the sound when viewing an ad on these platforms. Therefore, you should not be ignoring the sound in the video too. This is as important as the text and the content of the video itself. 

9) Schedule your ads

TikTok advertising is just like other traffic sources where you can set specific time and dates when you would like your ads to appear for the target audience. These settings can be inserted within the budgeting and scheduling options.

TikTok ads is a cool mobile app promotion tool

TikTok is a great place for mobile marketers. Both with influencers and your own team, you can create content that draws conversions and attention.

Specific details of a successful native video creative are always individual. But the main thing is always the same: the idea should be traced in the creative. It should be easily accessible and naturally show the value of the promoted app.

At AdQuantum, we specialise in creating and launching native creatives on TikTok and other various traffic sources. If you want to get beautiful, effective performance advertising, let's talk.

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