Innovate & Grow: How TikTok Smart Creative can improve CPI

Innovate & Grow: How TikTok Smart Creative can improve CPI

About TikTok Smart Creative

One of the age-old pain points experienced by advertisers is creative ad fatigue, leading to campaign KPIs stalling. In addition, until recently, the time required to ideate, brief, and produce what can be hundreds of ad variants meant campaigns required vast creative resources and testing periods to optimize to the most influential creative scientifically.

Enter Smart Creative, a solution from TikTok that enables advertisers to use machine learning to do the creative heavy lifting and optimization. 

As TikTok states, ‘Smart Creative is TikTok’s next-generation automated creative solution that enables advertisers to quickly combine creative assets while driving performance with first-to-market anti-creative-fatigue strategies. Smart Creative ensures that the potential of ad combinations is maximized through ad group fatigue detection and auto-refreshed strategies, prolonging ad group lifespan and enabling advertisers to enjoy efficient cost per result for an extended period.’

Smart Creative allows advertisers to upload multiple creative elements such as images, videos, ad copy, and CTAs (calls-to-action). TikTok’s algorithm then dynamically combines these elements in various ways to create different ad versions and test them to find the most effective combination.

The system analyzes user behavior, interactions, and engagement metrics to identify which combinations drive better results. Through this process, TikTok Smart Creatives aims to improve ad performance by delivering the most engaging content to the right audience.

Benefits to Advertisers:

  • Creative asset combination: Smart Creative combines videos/images, text, and CTAs to create multiple variations of ads, which would ordinarily require hours of human effort.
  • Automatic creative generation capabilities: Advertisers can opt into Video Automator to increase the diversity of creatives in their ad groups. Video Automator (currently in Beta) sufficiently explores new and historical creatives in ad groups and maximizes the value of every creative produced.
  • Anti-creative-fatigue strategies (coming soon): creative fatigue detection and auto-refresh of ad groups to prolong ad groups’ lifespan, maximizing the campaigns’ performance and controlling rising costs over time by preventing ad fatigue early.

Testing Smart Creative

The client is a leading B2C app for which M&C Saatchi Performance manages iOS SKAN campaigns on TikTok. 

The overall campaign objective is to drive app installs. As part of the agency ethos of ‘test and learn,’ when new features such as Smart Creative become available, the M&C Saatchi Performance team proposes a rigorous test plan to understand the impact of new features. 

In this instance, the aim of testing Smart Creative was to understand if the tool could prevent creative fatigue and increase the lifespan of top-performing creatives.


Will the Smart Creative feature be successful in proactively reducing fatigue through:

  • CTR
  • 6-sec view rate
  • Avg. watch time per video view

In addition, will Smart Creative engage relevant TikTok users and drive conversions effectively, measured by: 

  • Cost per Install (CPI)

What we did

  • Tested on SKAN campaigns on iOS
  • Focused on a specific geographical audience
  • Agreed on the objective; “Optimize to conversions” with bid strategy set to “maximum delivery”
  • Reviewed data over a specific date range in H2 2023 to benchmark against previous campaigns


After 3.5 months, the following was apparent:

Smart Creative Enabled? 6-Sec View Rate Average Watch Time per Video View CTRCTI CVR  CPI (SKAN)
On9.78%                                                                            3.070.91%21%$7.04
Off9.11%                                                                            2.590.93%9%$11.65
Grand Total9.46%                                                                            2.730.92%15%$8.34


Fatigue metrics were slightly higher with Smart Creative due to people viewing the videos for longer. However, the real impact was shown through the CTI CVR and CPI, with Smart Creative exceeding the benchmark in terms of efficiency. Smart Creative did have a leg up as this group leveraged the top-performing assets from previous tests. However, being live for several months while maintaining strong engagement and efficiency shows that the tool can increase campaign longevity. 

As with all marketing, a comprehensive and consistent testing plan is essential when developing a creative strategy. This small sample indicates that using the Smart Creative tool can be effective for advertisers looking to do more with less, but putting a testing framework in place is essential.

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