Beauty brand Isle of Paradise achieved organic viral success on TikTok by the second quarter of 2020. 

When their new Glow Drops product launched, they were ready to double down on the platform via a paid campaign strategy — using branded and creator-led content. 

They reached out to TikTok influencers who had already published organic testimonials about Glow Drops and worked with them to repurpose their content for the campaign. 

Next, they converted these creator videos to Spark Ads, and the results were … astounding. Isle of Paradise saw:

Screenshot: Kalista Haire's TikTok

And these numbers are during Isle of Paradise’s off-season.

They certainly aren’t alone. James Allen, McDonald’s, and CheckIn — all have significantly succeeded with Spark Ads. 

There’s no question Spark Ads can help your business grow tremendously and reach a more diverse audience.

Curious about what exactly Spark Ads are and how your brand can use them to achieve the same results? This guide will tell you everything you need to know to start. Let’s go! 👇

Side note: If you’re just starting with TikTok influencer marketing, begin with this quick guide

What Are TikTok Spark Ads?

TikTok Spark Ads is a native ad format allowing you to boost organic influencer posts as part of your ad campaigns. It’s a hybrid of organic and paid advertising or influencer whitelisting — meaning you can use a creator’s already published posts as ads if you receive their authorization.

For example, see the Spark Ad below by creator for the dog food brand Pet Plate.

Source: @dexterthebalancingdog

The Spark Ad is promoted through the creator’s page, labeled ‘Sponsored,’ and there’s an option to add a built-in CTA redirecting to a website.

You can also use Spark Ads for posts published from your TikTok brand account. For example, see how health brand, Kencko, converted this video into a Spark Ad from their account, generating over 3.4M views, 23.1K likes, and 550+ comments. 🤯

Source: @kencko

The best part? Spark Ads don’t look like ads. They are organic videos — meaning users can like, comment, share, co-create, and interact with your ad in the same way they do with organic posts. This native feel lends an unbeatable authenticity to your advertisements, giving a better experience to the viewers. 

Instead of being salesy, Spark Ads become videos users wouldn’t immediately scroll past.

At first glance, TikTok Spark Ads don’t look significantly different from TikTok Regular Ads. And they’re a lot alike, but it’s the tiny dissimilarities that make a huge difference. 

What’s the Difference Between TikTok Spark Ads and Regular Ads?

There are four significant differences between TikTok Spark Ads and TikTok Regular Ads: 

TikTok Sparks Ads vs TikTok Regular Ads

Overall, TikTok Spark Ads blend better with TikTok’s standard feed, making for scroll-stopping content. On the other hand, In-Feed Ads aren’t as engaging because it’s clear they’re an Ad.    

So, which type of TikTok Ad is better?

Which Is Better: TikTok Spark Ads via Influencers vs Regular Tik Tok Ads

Answer: TikTok Spark Ads. They feel more authentic to the native feed and are likely to perform better than Regular TikTok Ads. The numbers back this up too. Compared to traditional ads, Spark Ads have:

  • ➕ 30% higher completion rate 
  • ➕ 142% higher engagement rate 
  • ➕ 43% higher conversion rate 
  • ➖ 4.2% lower CPM 
Source: TikTok

What’s more: Spark Ads allow you to level up your online presence and build stronger customer connections — without doing the heavy lifting of in-house content creation. 

But creating Spark Ads isn’t as simple as switching Ad formats. TikTok Spark Ads work differently than In-Feed Ads, so the strategy needs to shift alongside the ad type. 

Here are a few tips for nailing your next TikTok Spark Ad:

5 Tips for Creating Effective Scroll-Stopping Spark Ads 

Creating TikTok Spark Ads isn’t rocket science. But there are some helpful things to keep in mind to get maximum return on investment from them: 

#1: Choose to Promote Relatable Content

Content that resonates with your audience performs the best. Authenticity follows relatability. Choose organic posts hitting your customers’ pain points and videos your audience would find entertaining, informative, or inspirational. 

The best part about TikTok Spark Ads is half of your job is already done because content creators excel at building engaging TikTok content that your audience would relate to. Your task is to choose a TikTok post that’s engaging and also embraces your brand identity.

For example, see this Spark Ad from Glossier

Source: @bitcoin_papi

The creator shared a personal story (a guy liking the Glossier perfume smell) in an authentic way (walking down the street) that people could relate to without being salesy (they genuinely love the product). The result? Over 14.1M views and 559K likes.

Excellent storytelling, emotional appeal, and high relatability are the three pillars exceptionally well-performing Spark Ads stand on. 

#2: Prefer Micro-Influencers Over Celebrities

Micro-influencers are influencers who have a following of anywhere between 5,000 to 150,000. They’re experts in their field with a small but highly engaged following. Think of them as your influencers-next-door, compared to celebrities who don’t feel remotely as relatable.

Despite their small size, they boast a higher engagement rate than macro-influencers and are much more cost-effective to partner with

Partner with micro-influencers for creating TikTok Spark Ads — they’re much more likely to respond to your request, create more relatable content, and provide you with a better ROI. 

Take Nerrisa Stewart’s Spark Ad for blender company, Blendjet

Source: @rissarecharged

She has only 85.6K followers (at the time of writing this), but her video is highly relatable because of her persona and the pain point she hits — being a busy mom wanting to find time for her health. 

Search for micro-influencers who are already talking about your product. If you’re brand new in the market, try product seeding (sending your product for free, no strings attached) to relevant micro-influencers and ask for usage rights from creators who post about your brand.      

#3: Match Your CTA With Your Goal

Your TikTok Spark Ad will contain a call-to-action (CTA) button redirecting users on what to do next. Your CTA button must match your goals:

  • If you aim to boost app installs, “Download” is a good choice
  • If you want to increase sign-ups or free trials, write “Sign up now”
  • If you’re driving traffic to a particular product page, use “Shop Now” as your CTA
The more specific your call-to-action is, the better. Vague CTAs, like “Learn more,” don’t tell watchers what exactly they should do or expect. 

For example, below is a great Spark Ad by the shoe brand, Vessi

Source: @sightseeingsenorita

It’s entertaining, informative, and relatable. The only mistake? The “Learn more” CTA doesn’t give an actionable step to viewers — a costly miss,  especially when the creator has a personalized promo code to share. 

Remember to hit the nail on the head in your call-to-action to boost conversions and make it easier for potential customers to take the desired next step.  

#4:Rely on Data Instead of Your Gut

One of the creatives below decreased customer-acquisition-cost (CAC) by 52% on Facebook & TikTok for fitness brand FNX Fitness. The other two are yet to drive a single purchase. 

Source: Twitter
  • The first creator is a genuine product adopter sharing an in-depth review of the product
  • The second influencer found the product so good she shared it with her mom — “influenced” her in the literal sense
  • The third creator posted a high-quality photo of the product with a one-line opinion and clear branding

Guess the winner?

When we asked this on Twitter, 80% of people chose the “so good I told my mom” option. They were wrong — just like us.

The winner was *drumrolls* a simple photo of the product. It might sound counterintuitive, but that’s what the data shows.

Most content creation rules — like “having the person’s face” or “hitting all the product’s marketing points” — are arbitrary. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future success.

Take away the choice by relying on data. Make a few big swings in your Spark Ads, scrap back the obvious losers, and double down on what’s gaining traction. 

#5: Housekeeping TikTok Spark Ads

You need to be aware of a few admin things before running a TikTok Spark Ad to avoid any mishaps in the future: 

  • Be careful with the audio choice. Only choose royalty-free or branded clips or audios you have the right to use to avoid any expensive copyright claims
  • Remember, if you’re boosting a duetted or stitched TikTok, you need permission from all creators featured to turn it into a Spark Ad
  • Creators generate a video code to turn their organic post into a Spark Ad for a fixed duration (seven, 30, or 60 days). Ask creators to renew the authorization period if you want to continue the Spark Ad beyond the selected time

The Best of Both Worlds

TikTok Spark Ads combine the best of both worlds by combining paid advertising with natural, user-generated content.

Marketing is quickly shifting from being all about sales to building a solid community and genuine customer relationships. And Spark Ads are one step forward to making that happen.

Your Spark Ads will perform better when you partner with influencers skilled at UGC. Don’t know how to find, approach, and work with them? Book a call with us — we can help!