Revealed: Visual and creative ad strategies that hook TikTok audiences


Vidmob, the creative data company, and TikTok have revealed insights from a collaborative study to pinpoint the creative strategies – such as real people, direct connection, and brand integration – that propel success for brand advertising campaigns.

More specifically, the research identifies the key visual and creative elements that significantly boost engagement and purchase intent within the first six seconds of a TikTok ad, known as “the hook.”

TikTok ads

Utilising advanced AI-powered analytics, Vidmob analysed 1,678 ads and 7.3 billion impressions from brands that ran paid video advertising on TikTok between January 1, 2023, and October 15, 2023.

This study marks a significant step forward in understanding the nuances of effective advertising on the platform, empowering marketers to make informed decisions and drive impactful campaign results.

In today’s fast-evolving advertising landscape, understanding what drives engagement on TikTok is paramount for marketers seeking to maximise their ROI.

Key Findings

Real People Drive Engagement: 

  • Ads that featured everyday people outperformed those with celebrity talent by 1.7x.
  • Ads with celebrity talent (identified through IMDB) had a 13% decrease in 6sVTR.
  • A brand was 20% more likely to be seen as meeting the users’ needs when it featured an everyday person or relatable creator in the opening seconds of the ad.
  • Creators who are believed to use the endorsed product were 1.5x more likely to hook a user.

Direct Connection Amplifies Impact:

  • Utilising talent in a direct-to-camera, talking head style footage resulted in a 14% lift in 2sVTR, and a 50% increased hooking power of the ad.
  • Feature talent in more personal spaces: Ads shot outdoors had a 26% decrease in 6sVT compared to average.

Brand Integration Matters:

  • A product shot on its own had a 17% increase in 6sVTR. Ad creative containing creator-product interaction had a 5% increase on 6sVTR.
  • Incorporating branding into the storyline and featuring it as ‘the hero’ of the ad increased hooking power by 1.5x.
    • Brands featured as the protagonist increased brand interest by +32% and purchase intent by +20%.
    • Only featuring a brand logo on screen up front decreased 6sVTR by 14%.

“TikTok is redefining entertainment and allowing brands the space to be creative and innovative storytellers,” said Moritz Bartsch, Head of Creative Ops for the Americas at TikTok.

“Engaging viewers with creative content is crucial for winning audience attention.

“On TikTok, every brand and community is unique and requires a tailored, informed, and authentic creative approach, underscoring the importance of creative data to optimise accordingly. Informed, creative decisions help drive campaign performance and further connect brands with the TikTok community.”

Commenting on the findings, Stephanie Page, Global Content Director at L’Oréal, said: “For social ads, especially short form content on platforms like TikTok, the first seconds are critical to hook and engage audiences. Getting storytelling right for beauty brands is even more nuanced.

“With creative insights, we are better informed about which creative decisions to make to captivate our audiences upfront.”