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TikTok breaks down the difference between in-feed and Spark Ads

Key stat: $6.19 billion (9.0% of US social media ad spend) will go to TikTok this year, according to our forecast.

Marketers need to make sure they’re putting their TikTok budget to good use by choosing the right ad types for the right activations. Here’s an overview of in-feed versus Spark Ads on TikTok.

In-feed ads

What are they? In-feed ads are posted directly from brand-owned accounts, rather than from creator accounts.

  • They have a call-to-action button such as “shop now” or “learn more.”
  • They can either feature original content from the brand, or they can feature an influencer posting through the brand account rather than their own account.

Benefits: “If your brand is looking to do things like grab attention, entertain, [and] inspire viewers to learn more, or shift the perception of [your] brand and [allow for] greater collaboration, you might want to look at in-feed ads,” Sam Kimmel, TikTok’s global creator partnerships lead, said during CreatorIQ’s “From Engagement to Conversion: Unlocking the ROI of Creator Commerce on TikTok” webinar.

In-feed ads entertain and inspire viewers to learn more, said Kimmel. That learning happens either on the brand’s TikTok account or by clicking through to the website.

Best practices: In-feed ads still benefit from leveraging creator content, said Kimmel.

  • Viewers are looking for brands that support creators, and posting creator ads from a brand account is a good way to do that.
  • In-feed ads should be attention-grabbing and entertaining.

In action: Skincare brand CeraVe featured a dermatologist on one of its in-feed ads, providing education and authenticity while taking advantage of the already popular #CleanTok trend of sharing cleaning and skincare products. While this ad comes from a creator voice, it was posted on and boosted by the CeraVe account.

Spark Ads

What are they: Spark Ads are organically posted by a creator and boosted by the featured brand. These placements feel less like ads because they look native within the feed.

Benefits: “[Spark Ads] drive believability and positive perceptions of brand and creator alignment, and they really helped deliver on that creator trust, which halos to brand trust,” said Kimmel, adding the ads result in higher engagement and view durations.

Best practices: Spark Ads work best when brands let creators create, meaning brands shouldn’t try to over-engineer these authentic ads. To reach more eyes, use Spark Ads to amplify the creator content your brand is already investing in.

In action: Clif Bar teamed up with athlete Anthony S. Ferraro to boost his skating to benefit both the creator and the brand. More people are able to see the creator’s content, while Clif has an authentic piece of content.

Learn more about vertical video ads through our guide.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.