TikTok Ads in 2022: Everything Mobile Marketers Need to Know

AdQuantum and Apptica researched TikTok advertising trends over the past year and identified the key to creating the best performing ad creatives in 2022.

TikTok Ads in 2022: Everything Mobile Marketers Need to Know

Since the launch of TikTok in 2018, the app has grown exponentially on a monthly basis. TikTok continues to set records in the social media field: as of January 2022, the number of monthly active users on TikTok exceeded 1 billion, and this number continues to grow. Now it is not only a social network — it is also an efficient platform for advertisers.

AdQuantum, a mobile performance marketing agency, together with Apptica, a mobile ad intelligence & market analytics tool, researched TikTok advertising trends over the past year and came up with the main points of high performance for mobile marketers in 2022.

Creative Format

The correct ad format is half the success of an ad campaign. The needs, interests and lifestyle of the audience in general have changed, so they no longer react to advertising that worked even just 5 years ago. They want to watch interesting, creative, entertaining, and educational ads instead of dull promotional content.

In 2021, 3 types of creatives have proven themselves best:

  1. TikToks format: humorous short videos with trendy music and famous people, including celebrities and influencers. Not without reason, they say 'Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks'.
  2. Sophisticated creatives: well-thought-out and multilayer plot, high-quality camera work or animation;
  3. Simple creatives for casual games, where only game mechanics are demonstrated — and nothing more.

Good news for advertisers: in TikTok you can and even should be creative. Users there are open to different ad formats. They are into dynamic, kind advertising with real people and TikTok trends in those ads. Get creative!

And here's what social media users around the world prefer to see in ads, according to a recent study from TikTok and Newzoo — TikTok: The New Destination to Reach Global Gamers. This will help you adjust your advertising approaches for different GEOs.

Length of creatives

Most mobile app creatives on TikTok are 10-15 seconds long. But in the last months of 2021, the number of ads longer than 30 seconds began to grow. The minimum creative length is 5 seconds, and the maximum is 50-60 secs.

The longest videos are usually mobile game creatives. That’s because it takes more time to show both the game mechanics and the storyline of the game.

It's crucial to keep in mind that TikTok's audience is clip-thinking people. They are accustomed to quickly perceiving information and don’t concentrate on one thing for a long time. Therefore, ads should attract users’ attention within the first few seconds. The optimum duration for TikTok ads is 15 seconds. This is enough time to convey the most important ideas to the user.

App categories to advertise on TikTok

The best performance on TikTok in Q4 2021 was seen in ad creatives for casual, role-playing and action games.

As for non-gaming apps, the top performers were creatives for apps of the Entertainment and Lifestyle categories. Second place was taken by creatives for Shopping, Utilities, Social, and Music categories.

TikTok ads active audience

Like many other traffic sources, TikTok ads work best for those users who are explorers by nature — these are the people who strive to discover something new. Mostly, these are users in the range of 13-25 years old. When choosing ads for targeting, we recommend focusing on this age segment.

In the meantime, we rate users aged 45+ as those who are influenced by the ads the least on this traffic source.  

Fun fact: TikTok gamers have less developed banner blindness, which is why ads are more effective for them than for those who do not play games.

Let’s move on to the geography of TikTok ad consumers. Creatives perform best in the US, UK, Germany and France, as Apptica’s data shows.

Second place is split between Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Italy and Russia.

In the fall of 2021, the geography also partially shifted to the East. Сreatives on TikTok turned out to be perceived better in Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia.
TikTok also gives advertisers the opportunity to reach the most “hard-to-reach” relevant users. In many regions of the world, TikTok is the perfect platform to reach mobile gamers who cannot be accessed through any other traffic source. This is especially true for emerging markets: Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Creative “burnout”

In order for the efficiency of ad campaigns not to decrease, you need to update the creatives at least once every 2-3 weeks. Nonetheless, TikTok commercials are often tied to trends that disappear as quickly as they appeared. Therefore, launching a new ad creative even once a week is quite justified.

It also happens that a creative burns out in just a few days. For example, we at AdQuantum recently witnessed that the creative burned out in just 3 days. That is, for 3 days we hit the KPI with this creative, but after that, its performance declined.

It is very likely that a creative will burn out in a matter of days when it is able to engage only a small fraction of TikTok’s paying audience. After a few days, when all relevant users are reached, the TikTok ad campaign optimizer can no longer find a similar audience that will perform equally well.

The moral of the story: keep your creative backlog full so your campaign metrics don't drop, or even worse — campaigns don't have to be paused due to a lack of new creatives.

The secret of advertising success on TikTok

A good ad creative is one in which the value of the product is conveyed to the user as clearly as possible. And this applies not only to TikTok — it applies to any traffic source.

Yes, TikTok not only reacts quickly to trends but also creates them itself. But if you thoughtlessly follow trends, you won’t necessarily see high-performance campaigns. Perhaps users will be more willing to watch ads containing the trend. But will there be a positive result from such advertising? When you blindly follow trends, you risk losing the most important point in the ad: conveying the attractiveness of the product itself. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance between using trends and transferring meaning through the creative.

A study from Newzoo and TikTok provides a graph listing the most popular content categories in TikTok gaming ads:

Gameplays, Tips & Tricks, and Esports videos take the top 3 on this list. All these formats you can safely implement for your product advertisement this year.

According to the same study, mobile gamers want TikTok ads to tell them about the characters, settings, story, and overall goals of the advertised games.

What to expect from TikTok ads this year

To keep up with the growing competition among advertisers on TikTok, marketers need to focus on the quality of creatives. They definitely should add more “life” to them. By this, we refer to storytelling, acting, or other components that hold user’s attention.

Today, those creatives that fit the concept of the social network — the native ones — give us the top metrics. Those who want to achieve high performance on TikTok should involve influencers in their creatives, overlay titles on the video, follow trends and use popular music. Enjoy!