Tap into hidden potential with new TikTok creative insights

By: Eyesee

TikTok is an undeniably influential social media platform with significant untapped potential for sponsored content. Following the pandemic, our habit of using TikTok remains strong. The app enjoys one of the highest global user retention rates. An incredible 81% of users say TikTok videos influenced their recent purchase decisions. That is why it is becoming increasingly important for brands to understand how to create effective ads on TikTok that resonate with their consumers.  

In our most recent two-wave global study, we discovered that 71% of TikTok users stop and watch the first three seconds of the video, and that on average 56% of each sponsored content is seen. All of this is supported by the fact that the ads are liked by 73% of TikTok users.

These figures show that sponsored content has every reason to thrive in TikTok’s digital environment. However, brands are still not tapping into its full potential. This study not only invites you to use TikTok to empower your brand, but it also goes deep into what you must bear in mind while doing so. 


As previously stated, we tested 60 ads from 20 brands across markets and industries such as FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), Beauty, Insurance, Fashion, Technology, Automotive, Retail, etc. TikTok simulations, standalone ads, and surveys were tested among 7,280 respondents.

This research is built on the following key pillars:    

  • Ad stopping power (tested the ads in a simulated TikTok environment that provided us with browsing insights)    
  • Ad retention (tested by exposing respondents to a simulated TikTok environment)    
  • Ad emotional reach (tested by exposing respondents to standalone ads and utilizing face coding methodology)    
  • Ad likability (tested by exposing respondents to standalone ads and utilizing face coding methodology)    
  • Brand recalling (to learn % of respondents who remember seeing the advertised brand when prompted, we used the survey method) 

The challenge of TikTok advertising

Why don’t brands use TikTok more? This is the imposing obvious question that arises when we look at the numbers that show the untapped potential. On one hand, we have the answer—that for brand managers, it is hard to follow the ROI once they invest in TikTok ads. They are unsure how to follow the path to purchase—from the TikTok ad to the shopping cart. 

On the other hand, even when clarity in that field is gained, the questions of how to approach strategy, and what works best, remain. Questions arise about what will work better—the native approach, or strongly branded videos that will also work on other platforms; what is the reach of animation as the dominant style; and is co-branding the way to more followers and engagement, or the way to poor brand recollection? 

This study answers all these questions and more. For example, animated video ads, (those containing any kind of computer-generated imagery), will improve brand opinion by 23% and increase brand interest by 19%, while elevating positive emotions about the brand by 20%.  

However, brands must be careful; there is a chance that they will be seen as less informative than conventional videos if the message and narrative in the animation are not constructed carefully.  

Universal Robina’s successful campaign approach 

Universal Robina is a great study example since their FMCG portfolio is impressive, and they turned out to be one of the winners in the game of TikTok. 

In the TikTok simulation, respondents saw three videos: an advertisement for Great Taste, Cloud Nine, and Jack’n’Jill. Great Taste and Cloud Nine ads performed better than Jack’n’Jill in terms of focus, with 8.6 seconds vs 7 seconds; however, because Jack’N’Jill used a more native organic approach, it performed better in terms of retention and stopping power. (77% vs 57% and 86% vs 74%)

Universal Robina ads performed extremely well, so one of the key takeaways is that they should maintain TikTok content style while also maintaining their core brand attributes. They succeed in keeping users’ attention by using upbeat music and video dynamics, and they surely get their message across.

Oversimplification of video should therefore be avoided; because user attention is difficult to maintain, quick changes of scenery rather than just one setting are preferable. And, as previously stated, a native approach is not without risks, so whether it is appropriate for your brand depends on the strategy and campaign goals.

The golden rule for unlocking untapped potential 

What is great about this report is that it contains a lot of simple facts that need to be considered in future ad planning. For example:   

  • If the ad lasts up to 10 seconds, it has a 71% higher chance of being fully viewed.  
  • A video that lasts up to 10 seconds has a 38% higher chance of being liked.  
  • If the brand lasts up to 10 seconds, it has a 15% better chance of being remembered.

This is an example of an insight finding that makes a strong and universal recommendation. However, in this report, there are far more complex recommendations that necessitate a thorough examination of both specific brand values and the TikTok environment. All of this only highlights the beginning. If you want to learn more, send an email to info@eyesee-research.com and we will provide you with a video expert walkthrough of the study. Not only will you see the big picture and the future framework for making strategic TikTok ad planning decisions, but you will also be able to formulate specific questions for your specific pain points, and we will gladly assist you with answers.  

This article was first published in the Q4 2023 edition of Asia Research Media.

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