TikTok Is Sticky: 5 Ways Performance Marketers Leverage Memorable Ads on TikTok

TikTok Is Sticky: 5 Ways Performance Marketers Leverage Memorable Ads on TikTok

Use humor, music, and more to make ads memorable on the stickiest social media platform yet

Putting an ad in front of people is easy; making it memorable enough for them to buy your product later is the hard part. That’s why marketers look at factors like ad recall — sometimes referred to as memorability or “stickiness” — to determine their ads’ impact. Memorability is a crucial consideration for performance marketers, especially given that every social media platform requires a dedicated approach to making ads that stick.

TikTok is certainly popular, with nearly 1 billion people using it every single day, but can a platform perhaps best known for viral dance crazes host ads that are as sticky as any other platform?

To dig deeper into this question, we surveyed 1,000 TikTok users across the United States to find out how they use the platform. The answer was surprising — ads on TikTok are more memorable than every other social media platform.

Read on to learn why TikTok ads are so sticky and how you can leverage the platform to increase ad engagement for your campaign.

TikTok ads are memorable

Our findings showed that 52% of all respondents say that TikTok ads and influencer promotions are the most memorable of any social platform currently in use. That’s more than every other image or video-based social media or content delivery platform.

When narrowing the results down to only Gen Z respondents, the numbers are even more dramatic — 59% of Gen Z users rate TikTok as more memorable than other platforms.

Engagement rates are similarly impressive. 46% of TikTok users surveyed say they’re more likely to engage with ads or influencer promotions on TikTok than any other platform. 54% of Gen Z said the same.

Much of this stickiness comes down to how TikTok surfaces content. While users can follow specific creators or brands, they spend most of their time on the “For You” Page — a personalized feed* based on what the algorithm determines users want to see. It’s the first thing people see when they open the app and an endless feed of the hottest videos from creators they don’t follow. This leads to unspoken competition among users to do whatever they can to get their content featured.

“Because people spend so much time on the ‘For You’ Page, creators want to get on that page so their content can go viral,” says Jennifer Sudo, Managing Partner at M&C Saatchi Performance. “This forces people to think creatively about what users want to see.”

Brands that are able to make their way onto the “For You” Page do so because they’re coming up with clever ways to present their content. They’re working with creators who know how to leverage the authenticity people seek from the platform, and they’re following TikTok’s number one advice for marketing: “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.”

For more stats on how TikTok users are actually engaging with the platform, download our free report, TikTok Isn’t What You Think: How It’s Changing Performance Marketing, Search, and Beyond.

Five ways to make your TikTok ads more memorable

The key to making a memorable TikTok ad is to make content that looks like it belongs on the platform. Repurposing TV spots or YouTube videos will stick out like a sore thumb — instead, leverage the unique, down-to-earth quality of regular TikToks to build your creative.

“Advertising on TikTok should be centered around authenticity and what tends to work best is ads that are platform-native,” says Dane Buchanan, Global Director of Data, Analytics, and Tech at M&C Saatchi Performance. “You don’t need massive production budgets to create a highly-impactful ad. Linking up with content creators that resonate with your brand and allowing them to guide you on what works best for their audience is usually the best approach.”

Based on our survey, particularly sticky TikTok ads tend to share the same handful of qualities, five, in particular, stand out:

#1.58% said they remember funny ad content the most. Clever editing, snappy dialog, and a solid impersonation can create that valuable connection with your audience.

#2. 43% say they remember ads featuring catchy music. Drop an earworm in your ad, and viewers will find themselves humming it to themselves during their lunch break.

#3. 38% remember ads with trendy dances or memes. TikTok was built around dancing videos, which are still very popular on the platform. That said, be sure you’re staying current — even a reference that’s a few weeks out of date can make your brand seem out of touch.

#4. 38% say they remember authentic ads that demonstrate clear benefits. Many TikTok users look for examples of how products can fit into their daily lives. Simple videos of a real person demonstrating the product in a living room or bedroom will be far stickier than a slickly-produced ad with a full studio budget.

#5. 36% remember ads promoted by trusted influencers or celebrities. Look for partnerships that make sense for your brand; the right partner can make your ad appear more authentic to your intended audience.

“If you want to be on TikTok, you need to understand what it’s like to be a consumer. The most important thing as a marketer is to use TikTok yourself and see what content people engage with the most.”

Jennifer Sudo, Managing Partner M&C Saatchi Performance

“Within the next few years, TikTok is going to be an even bigger and more important channel than it is now, so it’s crucial for brands to get on the platform and understand how its users engage with content.”

TikTok is rapidly becoming the future of content consumption for a broad audience. The time to start your TikTok education is now, and the fastest way to learn how people are using it is by downloading our report, What TikTok users what. The essential guide for performance marketers.

Inside, you’ll find crucial stats on how many TikTok users are purchase-ready, how they use the platform to search for information, and how it’s rapidly becoming a premier destination for learning about news and current events. Plus, get vital insights from the experts at M&C Saatchi Performance on how to leverage this information for your own marketing campaigns. Download the report today, and start adding TikTok to your marketing mix, or contact us for more information.

*a recent article in Forbes highlighted that content may be surfaced by a practice called heating, where TikTok employees can amplify posts to promote diversity