As TikTok extends its user base, it is no surprise that this growth attracts significant numbers of advertisers. Through the continuous advertising features effort, in July 2021 TikTok enabled Spark Ads property—which lets brands boost posts from their own page or directly from influencers’ pages.
What Are Spark Ads?
In TikTok’s own words, “Spark Ads is a native ad format that enables brands to leverage organic TikTok posts and its features in their advertising. This unique format lets brands publish ads:
- Using brands’ own TikTok account’s posts.
- Using organic posts made by other creators – with their authorization.”
The format is already well-known—as a matter of fact, you might know them as “boosted post” and “branded content,” but on other social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Related: Advertising your mobile app in multilingual countries with Facebook
With TikTok gaining a stronger competing positioning against Facebook, the extension of its advertising features, resembling the Social giant, was a natural step in attracting more advertising budgets.
The Spark Ads feature is available on the following campaign objectives:
- Reach (Reach as many users as possible without optimizing for installs or conversions)
- Video Views (Get as many video views as possible without optimizing for installs or conversions)
- Traffic (Get as many clicks as possible to your landing page without optimizing for installs or conversions)
- Conversions (Optimize for desired events -only available for Web Conversions at the moment on TikTok)
- App Installs (Optimize for App Installs)
Moreover, supporting the launch of this new feature, TikTok mentioned that on Spark Ads (Auction), other brands had experienced the following lift:
- Video view metrics: 58% increase on 2s VTR, 66% on 6s VTR, and 30% on Video Play Over Rate compared to non-Spark Ads
- Engagement metrics (Beta): 170% increase in paid comments%, 100% in share%, and 222% in likes% compared to non-Spark Ads
- Conversion metrics: 42% increase in immediate CVR compared to non-Spark Ads
- Cost metrics: 35% decrease in 2s CPV, 39% decrease in 6s CPV compared to non-Spark Ads
The results of TikTok’s experiments looked incredibly promising. Like anything else in marketing, growth is driven by testing, so we have decided to give it a try while running campaigns for one of our partners and promoting their app on TikTok.
Spark Ads TikTok: Our Experiment
To get a good grasp of how Spark Ads could benefit our partners’ growth strategy, we tried both options of Spark Ads.
Video Choice: We chose the best-performing video (used in other performance-based campaigns on TikTok) and boosted it from both our partner’s brand profile and the influencer’s profile.
Objective: The campaign objective was set to “App Install”
Duration: 3 weeks
Side Note: Considering the limitations that the SKAN has had on conversion data on the ad level, we had to consider other metrics in assessing whether Spark Ads was a success or not for our partner. So, the metrics we analyzed were the ones below.
1. Enormous Lift in Followers and Likes
Compared with our historical data, over the 3-week period, Spark Ads brought almost 250% more followers and a 150% increase in likes. However, strangely enough, the ads didn’t result in an increase in post shares and comments.
2. High CPM (cost per mile) / CPC (cost per click)
Although we had a good lift on likes and followers, it appeared that the CPM and CPCs of the video from the influencer’s own profile skyrocketed. While our historical data for CPM stood at €0.80 and for CPC at €0.14—Spark Ad resulted on average at around €1.2 CPM and €2 CPC.
However, when looking at the video boosted from our own brand profile, both CPM and CPC remained within acceptable/decent figures.
3. Increase in Average Watch Time and Profile Visits
Another two exciting engagement KPIs we analyzed were: average video watch time and profile visits. Following the test, we noticed a significant lift in both metrics. In detail, we noticed that the average watch time improved by 20%, while paid profile visits improved by 45%.
Conclusion: A New Product Can Lead to New Opportunities
Spark Ads is the newest advertising asset available for advertisers on TikTok. In addition, our test showed that brands could gain some significant increase in visibility, but we couldn’t find a direct link to an increase in performance.
It is worth mentioning a couple of limitations to this experiment:
- Due to Apple’s SKAN, we were limited to in-app events and individual cost per install for each ad format—cutting out the most critical metrics in a performance-driven environment
- The test was performed in a non-high season for our partner, which could have affected some metrics that didn’t necessarily see an increase
It goes without saying that further extensive tests are needed to label the Spark Ads solution a success or a failure. At REPLUG, we believe that testing new channels and solutions is at the basis of creating new opportunities for our partners and, sometimes, identifying what someone would call a “blue ocean.”
Interested in testing TikTok ads to scale your audience and result on a performance-driven basis? Get in touch with us.