Report reveals TikTok brand engagement strategies

April 2, 2024 | by

Creative data company Vidmob and TikTok have unveiled insights from a collaborative study to pinpoint the creative strategies – such as real people, direct connection, and brand integration – that propel success for brand advertising campaigns. More specifically, the research identifies the key visual and creative elements that significantly boost engagement and purchase intent within the first six seconds of a TikTok ad, known as ‘the hook’.

Utilising advanced AI-powered analytics, Vidmob analysed 1,678 ads and 7.3 billion impressions from brands that ran paid video advertising on TikTok between January 1st, 2023, and October 15th, 2023.

The pair suggest the study marks a significant step forward in understanding the nuances of effective advertising on the platform, empowering marketers to make informed decisions and drive impactful campaign results. In today’s fast-evolving advertising landscape, understanding what drives engagement on TikTok is paramount for marketers seeking to maximise their ROI, they say.

Key findings:

Real people drive engagement: 

  • Ads that featured everyday people outperformed those with celebrity talent by 7x.
  • Ads with celebrity talent (identified through IMDb) had a 13 per cent decrease in 6sVTR.
  • A brand was 20 per cent more likely to be seen as meeting the users’ needs when it featured an everyday person or relatable creator in the opening seconds of the ad.
  • Creators who are believed to use the endorsed product were 5x more likely to hook a user.

Direct connection amplifies impact: 

  • Utilising talent in a direct-to-camera, talking head style footage resulted in a 14 per cent lift in 2sVTR, and a 50 per cent increased hooking power of the ad.
  • Feature talent in more personal spaces: Ads shot outdoors had a 26 per cent decrease in 6sVT compared to average.

Brand integration matters: 

  • A product shot on its own had a 17 per cent increase in 6sVTR. Ad creative containing creator-product interaction had a 5 per cent increase on 6sVTR.
  • Incorporating branding into the storyline and featuring it as ‘the hero’ of the ad increased hooking power by 5x
    • Brands featured as the protagonist increased brand interest by +32 per cent and purchase intent by +20 per cent.
    • Only featuring a brand logo on screen up front decreased 6sVTR by 14 per cent.

“TikTok is redefining entertainment and allowing brands the space to be creative and innovative storytellers,” states Moritz Bartsch, Head of Creative Ops for the Americas at TikTok. “Engaging viewers with creative content is crucial for winning audience attention. On TikTok, every brand and community is unique and requires a tailored, informed, and authentic creative approach, underscoring the importance of creative data to optimise accordingly. Informed, creative decisions help drive campaign performance and further connect brands with the TikTok community.”

“For social ads, especially short form content on platforms like TikTok, the first seconds are critical to hook and engage audiences,” adds Stephanie Page, Global Content Director at L’Oréal. “Getting storytelling right for beauty brands is even more nuanced. With creative insights, we are better informed about which creative decisions to make to captivate our audiences upfront.”


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