Creative Tips | Consumer Electronics
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This playbook is designed to inspire and guide advertisers who want to Create for TikTok, and includes some key observations from our Creative Expert team.
To clarify, these are observations that the team has noticed, and are not rules that must be followed. We're not trying to box you in and impose a formula for how to succeed - quite the opposite!
This playbook is structured in 3 PARTS
01 THE WHAT: Defining The Objective & Basic Essential Guidelines
02 THE WHO & WHY: Audience & Insights
03 THE HOW: Observations for Creative Success
- Establish POV/Core Message
- Video Formats
- Visual & Audio Elements
- Creative Scripting
THE WHAT: Defining The Objective & Basic Essential Guidelines
What Are We Making?
Before you get started, it's important to remember what you are here to do: create short-form content for viewers and consumers to enjoy, engage with, and hopefully be inspired by. The ultimate goal for many brands on TikTok is to encourage them to purchase or convert over time.
Did you know that 1 in 3 TikTok users buy something after seeing tech-related content/ads on TikTok? Source
Although objectives may differ for every brand, it's crucial to define your creative objectives, and identify what success looks like to you. This should serve as your north star that will help guide your creative process and decision-making.
Below are some fundamental guidelines when creating ads for TikTok. By familiarizing yourself with these basic essentials, you'll significantly boost your chances of improved ad performance.
High-Level Observations & Basic Essentials:
For an optimal viewing experience, we highly recommend shooting in 720p or higher
Always shoot full-screen (vertically)
Use audio strategically - treat audio as a powerful asset, and not an afterthought
Keep in mind that TikTok is a video app, so include motion and give them some excitement and action!
Creative Best Practices:
Increase your chances of higher-performing creative content by producing a larger quantity of videos across a diverse pool of creatives and storylines.Here's WHY!
· Creative Volume / Quantity
A high number of creative assets allows for better optimization. We recommend spreading your creatives across multiple ad groups, with 3-5 creatives per group. This enables you to utilize and try out each creative, and allow the system to learn what's working best.
· Creative Diversity
TikTok's unique approach to content and nuanced audience means there's no specific rule that must be followed. Explore a wide variety of visual and content formats to increase your chances of finding a winner!
THE WHO & WHY:Audience & Insights
Who Are We Making It For?
With every scroll and swipe, there are limitless new interests to be discovered on TikTok, This is what makes it the perfect place for users to find and connect with like-minded people that share common interests - making it easy to form strong communities. (Note: you'll often see 'audiences' and 'communities' used synonymously and interchangeably within this playbook).
By figuring out who your product will be most valuable to, you'll get to know the communities they belong to, and develop "smarter" content that connects on a deeper level with this particular community. Don't worry, this won't limit your creative reach. It will actually empower you to create more nuanced and targeted creative based on more specific insights. Defining a specific target audience will boost your chances of success that will ladder back up to your objectives and greater brand goals. Remember, the most viral content often starts with a key insight that might seem small, but can be a big unifier for the right community. (Think: "it's a chicken salad" or the "corn kid"...Negroni Sbagliato, anyone?).
Let's explore what we mean by "community" on TikTok:
Content that encourages people to gravitate together (also identified as safe spaces). Communities on TikTok rally around like-minded people, shared experiences and nuanced interests.
Many communities can be located through their hashtags. Hashtags are essentially identifiers. When hashtags are added to posts, viewers can easily find more of what they love and/or explore a newly discovered interest further. It also allows creators to mark their content as being specifically related to certain topics, trends, industries, etc.
See Hashtags: #TechTok #TechTips #PCTips#Gaming #musthaves #ai #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt #CoolTech #GamingSetup #DeskSetup #SmartHome #TechReview #ios #PC #VR #PCGaming #ASMR #LifeHack #KeebTok
· TOP CREATORS
Top creators often have a creative specialty or expertise that many engage with on their page. Not only does their content consistently deliver against follower expectations, there tends to be richer dialogue in the comments, higher engagement through various challenges and trends, and more animated conversations that spark reactions and commentary (like through stitches and duets). Top Creators are great representatives of the communities they belong to, and are a highly effective means through which brands can reach these communities.
Did you know?: 58% of TikTok Users say they're more likely to trust brands after learning about them from TikTok Creators vs. Learning about them from ads in their feed. (Source: TikTok Marketing Science Global Creators Drive Commere Study 2022 conducted by Material)
You can leverage the wide range of community interests and hashtags to learn insights that will help you figure out what resonates and what doesn't.
Why Would They Care?
Our Creative Expert Center & PSO Data teams recently conducted an internal data analysis on Consumer Electronics to better understand what generally works and what doesn't work so well when it comes to video performance in this category. As a reminder, Consumer Electronics stands for Computers, Communications, and Consumer Electronics. Here are some high-level takeaways from that data:
- Popular Music
- Product Details
- Surpise or Customizable Product FUNctions
- Generic or Original Music
- Still Images
- Transitions/Dramatic Edits
- Real Person
Let's explore why certain themes resulted in high performance for Consumer Electronics:
Strategic Observation: This is usually a 1st person POV of an unboxing moment, allowing viewers to experience the excitement of opening a new product. This format enables viewers to get a real-time look at the quality and details of the product.
Strategic Observation: The balance between familiarity and discovering new things is where TikTok shines brightest - popular or trending music tends strike this balance extremely well. Song lyrics can also serve as a creative and memorable way to include new dialogue or witty lines that complement the visuals.
Strategic Observation: The most valuable, innovative products all solve a problem. Cell phones, computers and their accessories generally accelerate the speed at which people can accomplish everyday tasks. By showing how your product can measurably make a difference and add value, your content will appeal to your audience.
Strategic Observation: Showcasing the many features and benefits that consumers can get by owning your product is a classic yet effective way to create desire. It's key to find new ways to display and communicate these details and benefits on TikTok. (Ex: See above - Popular Music can be an alternate approach to dialogue)
Strategic Observation: A great way to catch viewers' attention is to get creative with your product's use case. Is there an unexpected way to use the product, or a cool customizable FUNction (emphasis on the "fun") that allows people to feel like they're now "in" on this new, cool secret?
Let's explore why certain themes resulted in lower performance for Consumer Electronics:
Strategic Observation: TikTok is known as a platform on which people can easily discover (and sometimes re-discover) great songs and artists. Because music is such a key component, generic music can achieve the opposite, undesireable effect. Generic music is often used as merely background music that doesn't add to the storytelling or visuals. This generally does not perform well on the platform.
Strategic Observation: TikTok is widely known and celebrated as a short-form video platform. For Consumer Electronics content viewers, static imagery can significantly disrupt the visual experience in an undesirable way.*
(One exception: this doesn't apply to content that leverages the "green screen effect." In this effect, still images may be displayed behind a creator that provides commentary on the image.)
Strategic Observation: Dramatic transitions can often be a fun way to edit videos. However, this can occasionally have a negative effect on performance, especially when people want clarity around the beauty and details of the product. Remember, don't let your transitions overshadow or confuse the viewing experience of the actual product you're trying to sell - particularly when creating organic content.
Strategic Observation: One interesting observation of Consumer Electronics videos reveals that oftentimes, focusing on real people in content can sometimes distract away from the product, unless they are recognized celebrities or top creators. In this product category, people prioritize seeing the product itself and key details.
Strategic Observation: Many TikTok videos utilize subtitles and captions. However, data shows that this can sometimes negatively impact the performance of Consumer Electronics content. Videos that did well often used a "less is more" approach to text-on-screen, while also being more mindful of text placement (if they did decide to use it), so that the product had adequate space to shine without distractions.
...DON'T BE DISCOURAGED! This does not mean that you should completely stay away from these creative themes in your content. Creative quantity and diversity are both important to explore, and these insights are here to help you understand how you can increase your chances of success moving forward! The above pointers are based on our analysis and are to be used as guidance, as opposed to strict rules. Below are a few considerations (or "Pro Tips") for how these themes have been used successfully in some of the highest performing Consumer Electronics ads, when applied thoughtfully and strategically.
· Better Ways To Use Generic or Original Music
Pro Tip: Original music can work wonders when it is used for more than just background sound. Have you considered co-creating music or sounds with emerging creators that have a history of producing original audio that becomes trendy or goes viral? How about using original music that utilizes familiar or trendy sounds (within license)? The key is to make sure that sound is a main (or supporting) character that's relevant in your storyline, and not treated as just an afterthought.
· Better Ways To Use Still Images
Pro Tip: Always remember that people come to TikTok for video content. If displaying still images is absolutely necessary, it's important to first ensure that photos are of a high quality. Secondly, consider using fun filters (like the "green screen effect" that allow creators to overlay video cut-outs of themselves providing commentary on top of the still visuals), or even a simple, comedic voiceover. This can add some much-needed excitement to those stills, and will be much less jarring to the user experience than using stills alone.
· Better Ways To Use Transition/Dramatic Edit
Pro Tip: Viewers of Consumer Electronics content have shown an affinity for clearly seeing the beauty and functionalities of the product. While transitions and dramatic edits can sometimes feel overwhelming and get in the way of that, when used purposefully and in moderation, they can also add some excitement to the viewer experience. Have you considered using transitions to highlight an impressive "before and after" effect that shows how your product can solve everyday problems? Or combining special effects into your edits so that transitions feel more strategic, creative and intentional, as opposed to choppy?
· Better Ways To Use Real People
Pro Tip: Remember that the main character for Consumer Electronics viewers is the product! Try not to let the camera focus on the person for too long. Leverage people to direct users' attention to the star product, not to steal the spotlight. When using people in your content, consider how long they appear on-screen, and whether the product is visible and feels like a priority. People can be great as a "supporting role" - note that the key word is "supporting"!
· Better Ways To Use Captions
Pro Tip: You want to make sure that your messaging and product are accessible to everyone, and captions absolutely help with that. However, when using captions to convey key information, keep placement in mind. Ensure that the copy is placed in a way that won't block the visual details of the product or your main message. The visuals should already speak for themselves, so try reducing copy to only show complementary and impactful headline text. Experiment with the balance of text & visuals and ensure that your content doesn't leave viewers feeling lost.
First and foremost, remember to HAVE FUN! Get those creative ideas out there and refine along the way. The goal is not perfection, it's progress! There aren't many strict rules on TikTok and there are always exceptions - but at the end of the day, people want to discover new things in the most creative and enjoyable way. Keeping these essential ground rules in mind will be helpful when coming up with new content that has higher chances of performing well.
THE HOW: Observations for Creative Success
How Do We Get Started?
Now that we've established a high-level understanding of what the good, the bad, and the ugly looks like for Consumer Electronics on TikTok, let's talk about how you can take a more strategic approach to successful creative content, inspired by these learnings.
01 Establish POV/Core Message
· Brand Vs. Consumer POV
Whose voice will you use to deliver your message? Your own (Brand), or your consumers' (Creator)? Traditional ads often introduce their featured product through the brand's lens. This more calculated and controlled approach has historically been a great, solid way to articulate brand beliefs and reinforce brand values. However, TikTok is all about community, and by leveraging an alternate consumer POV, you can put a different spin on your story and allow members of the community to speak on behalf of your brand. This can add an incredible layer of credibility, authenticity, and validation for your viewers.
· Product Benefit, Quality or FUNction
What is special about your project? What are the main traits or features that you'd like to highlight? By focusing or narrowing down your message, you can better strategize how to creatively communicate that message/benefit.
How do you want this video to make the viewer feel? Should you approach it with humor? Or should you add an exciting, fun twist to the Day in the Life of a creator who benefits from your product? You can also consider engaging with a current trend that your target community is really loving at the moment.
Now that you have your audience's attention, what do you want them to actually DO? This is one of the most important creative considerations if conversion is one of your objectives. Do you want them to go out and buy something at a store? Or click on a specific link to purchase online? Do you want them to stitch or duet your content and get people talking about it? Maybe you want them to test out your verified claims about the quality of your product, and if they disagree, you'll guarantee them a refund. Feel free to get creative with it. But whatever it is, make your CTA crystal clear before they scroll on to the next video. Ads Using a CTA display card see a 45% stronger recall. (Source: TikTok Marketing Science US SMB Creative Effectiveness Study 2021 conducted by Lumen)
02 Video Formats
Video content that is visually centered on the product itself - showcasing its beauty, build, make, quality, details, etc.
Video content that uses visual storytelling to illustrate how people (preferably Talent/Creators) engage with the product, and how it benefits their lives.
03 Visual & Audio Elements
On TikTok, it's crucial to understand how Visuals and Audio work together hand-in-hand. This powerful combination is how the magic happens! So instead of thinking about music and sound as separate background elements or afterthoughts, let's explore how you can use audio to strategically enhance your visuals.
· Popular Music
It's no surprise that this ranked near the top of the list for high-performing videos. In fact, 80% of TikTok users say that our platform is their #1 place to discover new music – more than other digital platforms, streaming services and friends Source. So, allow your audiences to discover your product along with it. Lyrics to popular songs can also be used to creatively deliver messaging around the product in a familiar way, when strategically edited into certain scenes. If creative budgets permit, feel free to have fun with how you can use this powerful tool to make a big impact.
· TikTok Trending Sounds
Rivaling some of the top trending music on the platform is TikTok's extensive sound library. These quotable sounds often become just as recognized and familiar as song lyrics (and arguably much more affordable to license. Again..."Negroni Sbagliato" anyone?)
· Special Effects
While analyzing data around Consumer Electronics's top performing videos, there was a clear creative element winner that seemed to shine above many others: Special Effects. Perhaps it's a bit obvious, but people who are interested in tech products show affinity to technology that's used in other creative, visually appealing ways. From fun graphical elements to dramatic scenery and smoky reveals, special effects can add a lot of excitement to your product's beauty, benefits, and overall appeal.
· Sound Effects
Don't overlook sound effects! If music licensing is not an option and trending sounds seem a bit daunting, simple sound effects can inject a bit of fun and familiarity into your content. Many videos that leveraged special visual effects (which performed high), often also funutilized complementary sound effects for a combined impact.
04 Creative Scripting
To script or not to script?
Sometimes Top Ads will feature witty dialogue performed by creators through a fun script and compelling story, while other times, we may see brands leverage a popular song of the moment or a trending sound along with exciting visuals. In the latter song/sound approach, the lyrics tend to do all the talking about the product, and this approach can be especially impactful for Consumer Electronics. Either way, as you consider scripting for your product, always remember to keep your target audience in mind. Do your target communities prefer more serious or lighter/comedic narratives? Are they more abstract and interested in striking visual details displayed in unique ways, like ASMR? From lifestyle behaviors to product pain points, remember to think of what resonates with them most, and get creative with the execution. (*Note: MOST Consumer Electronics videos with over 1M views have little to no dialogue)
Below is an effective script pattern that many creators and brands have used to structure their messaging in some of the top performing ads on TikTok:
The first 3-6 seconds of your ad are precious and powerful. Make the most of this small window of time by captivating your target audience with an attention-grabbing hook that resonates directly with their interests. This is what will motivate them to keep them watching.
The Key Messages:
Now that you have their attention, it's time to deliver your Key Message, which ideally communicates your product selling points in a very clear and concise way. Again, remember your audience and consider what feels authentic to them (their lifestyles, interests, priorities, etc.)
Lastly, get them to act with clear instructions. Is there a link you want them to click? A store you want them to go to? A specific product model you want them to buy? Make sure to communicate that desired action in a clear, memorable way. Otherwise, your post can quickly go from an ad to simply entertainment. Make sure they know how to act on your next steps.
01 Honor Your Objective
What Are We Making?
Identifying what you aspire to achieve by establishing your "what" - your creative objectives. This will serve as your north star that will help guide your creative decision-making during your content creation process.
02 Identify Your Audience/Communities, Their Interests & Your Tools for Engaging Them
Who Are We Making It For?Remember Your Audience Tools:
Communities - Audience groups that are identifiable through common likes, interests and conversations
Hashtags - A great way to locate and discover your relevant communities, uncover specific interests and trends, and join conversations.
Top Creators - Authenticated trend and conversation-starters with a large community following.
Reference Your Consumer Electronics Perfomance Insights (General Likes & Dislikes for Consumer Electronics):
Top 5 Video Themes
Surprise or Customizable Product FUNctions
Bottom 5 Video Themes
Generic or Original Music
How Do We Get Started?
· Establish Your Creative POV and Curate Your Content Accordingly
Brand POV Vs. Consumer POV - Whose voice will be delivering your message? Your own (brand) or your consumer (creator)?
Product Benefit, Quality or FUNction - What are the special traits you would like to highlight about your product?
Mood - How do you want this video to make the viewer feel?
Call-To-Action - Now that you have the viewers attention, what do you want them to DO?
· Choose Your Video Format
Product-Led - Video content that is visually centered around the product itself
Talent/Story-Led - Video content that uses visual storytelling to illustrate how people engage with your product, and how it benefits them
· Now Get Creative!
- Use your (nearly) unlimited resources of Audio & Visual Elements to make sure that your video post really pops! As mentioned, Special Effects, Popular Music & TikTok Trends are a great place to start.
Test it Out!
There are some amazing Top Ads within the Consumer Electronics vertical that combine some winning insights and principles that we've walked through above. Below, we've provided you with a few additional examples of high-performing creative, along with the key patterns that we believe helped boost the success of these videos.
· Top 1% Impressions
Why This Works:
Product remained in focus (not the hired talent), even showing beauty shots of the product's design and close-ups of the functionality of the case
Sound effects were used strategically to enhance the viewer experience (#ASMR anyone?)
Shows the wide product range in a creative way
A creative call-to-action followed by direct instructions on how to shop the brand
· Top 2% Impressions
Why This Works:
Listen closely. This video's "original music" sounds a lot like a TikTok trending sound, doesn't it?
The video starts off with a bold statement and visual of the product - the shock value definitely catches the viewers' attention. They even continue to talk about it in the comments!
We see the product perform in both extreme contexts, as well as in practical ones.
Shows a view of the product in-hand (typical in unboxings), providing the viewer with a first-person POV.
· Top 5% Impressions
Why This Works:
Viewer gets a first-person POV of the unboxing and purchase experience
The variety and function of the product is illustrated through the creator's own words and scenarios
Creator only reveals themselves on camera when highlighting a styling component or necessary function, keeping the focus on the phone
Subtitles are used sparingly
Clear CTA and link to purchase (proven to increase CTR)
These examples also prove that there are many ways to create a great ad...it just takes a little insight and lots of experimentation! Now, it's your turn to take these learnings and test them out. Remember to have fun on your creative journey to your next Top Ad. We're rooting for you!
Follow the official TikTok Creative Expert page in the link provided for continued tips, resources and guidance. @TikTokCreativeExperts
Check out these resources to learn how to use TikTok to your advantage. Get inspired to make your own viral ad!
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