What Are TikTok Spark Ads? Everything You Need to Know

August 22, 2022

Looking for a powerfully authentic way to promote your brand on TikTok?

TikTok Spark Ads have the potential to turn the best performing organic TikTok content into eye-catching branded ads that drive ROI.

But what *are* TikTok Spark Ads? How can *your* brand utilise them? And do they *actually* work?

Spark Ads allow you to boost your own organic content or the videos of creators as TopView or In-Feed ads. With the ability to utilise existing content and capitalise on user-generated content (UGC), Spark Ads offer the best of two worlds: High-performing ads that maintain the native feel of organic posts that TikTok users look for.


Here’s what you need to know about this efficient, affordable and popular new ad type.

OK, so what are TikTok Spark Ads?

TikTok Spark Ads are the next big thing in the world of TikTok advertising. Launched in July of 2021, this new ad format offered by the good folks at TikTok has seriously powerful potential for brands.

Instead of filming or creating stand-alone ad content, Spark Ads can be made using organic content (either your own or content created through brand-sponsored partnerships) before being boosted to a wider audience. Unlike ads on Instagram and Facebook that are more obvious commercial partnerships, Spark Ads don’t come across as ads at first glance.

With a more authentic feel, this is why they typically have higher click-through-rates (CTRs) and conversion rates. TikTok claims that SparkAds have a 30% higher completion rate and 142% higher engagement rate than standard In-Feed ads.

Check out TikTok’s official Spark Ads release here

How do TikTok Spark Ads work?

Spark Ads can be utilised in one of two ways.

Option One: Use organic content from your own branded account

Option Two: Use organic content posted by TikTok content creators

Both options are labelled as “Sponsored content” and may include a CTA, your account name, a caption and any audio. Although these ads feature the same engagement drivers as organic content (comments, likes and shares), they offer a few extra features to help you funnel interest. 

Whether you turn original, organic content into ads or promote original UGC content, Spark ads are pushed to the For You Page (FYP) and TikTok users can interact with your ads the same way they would an organic video from their favourite influencer or friends. We’re talking about likes, comments and even shares. Yep, users can even share the ads they love. 

If a user swipes left on your TikTok Spark Ad, they’ll be taken to your account, just like a normal TikTok video. Or, like traditional TikTok ads, you can direct users to a dedicated landing page via a CTA of your choosing.

In summary, you get the engagement, functionality and trust that comes with organic content plus the ability to redirect traffic with your own call-to-action.

Win-win 🎉

Stuck between Instagram and TikTok? Get the full comparison and breakdown

What makes TikTok Spark Ads so powerful?

TikTok Spark Ads leverage the highest performing aspects of TikTok as a social media platform and plug them into your brand.

Part of the effectiveness of this new ad format comes down to demographics. TikTok’s largest user demo is made up of Generation Z (60%). And Gen Z hates traditional advertising. At the same time, 60% of Gen Z also say that social media is an “essential part of their lives”.

The challenge for brands is to advertise to these users who spend their free time on social media, without setting off their internal bullsh*t alarms. That’s where Spark Ads are the ideal fit. 

Research shows that branded content created specifically for TikTok is watched 13% longer than non-TikTok content. Spark Ads take what users love - organic and authentic content - and use it to power high-performing ads.

Remember, TikTok Spark Ads combine the best bits about user-generated content (UGC) and targeted ads. This is why engagement rates on Spark Ads are, on average, higher than traditional TikTok ads. By using existing influencer content, you can reduce your ad spend and enjoy a range of advantages including:

  • Leverage influencer creativity: TikTok Spark Ads aren’t about recreating the wheel - they help make it spin faster. Content created by TikTok influencers results in ads that are indistinguishable from organic content which increases the chance that people will watch and interact.
  • Boost your best content: Have you noticed any of your organic posts dominating engagement metrics across the board? TikTok Spark Ads ensures your best content continues to perform and you maximise the return on your content creation investment.
  • Target a niche audience: TikTok Spark Ads can be set to target a specific audience so you’re showing your ads to the people most likely to be interested in your brand. This helps reduce wasted ad spend and may potentially bring down your cost-per-lead (CPL).
  • Increase leads and sales: Unlike organic TikTok content, Spark Ads may include a CTA which may be linked directly to your website or a dedicated landing page. This can help capture interest in your brand and funnel traffic to a high-converting sales page.

This all sounds pretty good, right?

As a versatile ad format, Spark Ads can help you drive higher interest and engagement without scaling up your advertising costs, but it helps to have a strategy to squeeze the most value possible from your campaign.

And that’s what we’ll show you how to do…

WARNING: Avoid this HUGE mistake when using TikTok influencers 👈

Ready to make TikTok Spark Ads work for you?

Most social media users swipe past ads on autopilot (you might be guilty of this too). Spark Ads combine the best bits of influencer marketing with the best bits of social media advertising to create ads that match the look, feel and energy TikTok users expect when scrolling through the app.

As a brand, you can pay for an influencer to create content and use Spark Ads to turn that content into high-performing ads. This approach helps you reduce your marketing spend and squeeze more value from your campaigns at both ends.

For brands of all sizes, TikTok is the ideal place to experiment with new advertising strategies. TikTok’s unique algorithm allows even the smallest brands to enjoy HUGE reach with TikTok users looking for fun, creative and engaging content to interact with.

And since you’re now an expert in how TikTok’s newest advertising feature can elevate native content and drive brand discovery, the only question now is when will you get started?

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