TikTok Ad Formats and Specs: Agency’s guide for beginners

With so many advertisers vying for attention on TikTok, standing out from the crowd can be challenging. That’s where our guide comes in. We’ll show you how to master TikTok ad formats and specs to create campaigns that cut through the noise and connect with your target audience. From choosing the correct ad format to optimizing your creatives, our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to create winning TikTok ad campaigns. Check it out now!

Read More: What is Tiktok Advertising?

Top-view Ads 

TopView is a video-first format that showcases your brand on TikTok’s best and most visible placement, capturing user attention with sight, sound, and narrative. This type of ad appears at the top of For You Page when users first open the app and allows you to post a video ad for up to 60 seconds, providing an immersive viewing experience with no competing content.

TikTok ad format and spec: Top View ads
Source: Internet

Top-View ads are ideal for raising brand awareness because it has a broader reach with a high number of impressions. The key to Top-View ads is for your brand to create a highly engaging video that will leave a lasting impression on your viewers. In addition, a CTA (call-to-action) can also be included in the ad to get new users.

TikTok ad specs for Topview:

  • Maximum TikTok video length: 60 seconds
  • Aspect Ratio of Topview video: 16:9, 9:16 or 1:1
  • Recommended Resolution: must be ≥960*540px, ≥540*960px or ≥640*640px
  • File Size:  ≤500 MB
  • File Types: .mov, .mp4, .3gp, .mpeg, or .avi
  • Bitrate: ≥516 kbps

In-feed Ads

TikTok’s native ad type is In-feed advertisements, which allow you to embed your video commercials to auto-play on For You Page. With this type of ad, users can like, comment, share, follow, and shoot videos with the same sound on TikTok. Furthermore, according to Neuro-Insight research, TikTok In-Feed Ads accomplish 23% greater detailed memory than TV ads. It also includes CTA buttons that may be used to direct visitors to app downloads, an external landing page, or your brand’s TikTok account.

Source: Internet

Specs for the ad video: 

  • Video duration: between 5 and 16 seconds (15 seconds long is recommended for optimal viewing).
  • The recommended TikTok ad dimensions: 16:9, 9:16 or 1:1.
  • Resolution options: 1280 x 720 px, 720 x 1280 px, and  640 x 640 px.
  • Type of file supported: .mov, .mp4, .3gp, .mpeg, or .avi files in your ads.
  • The TikTok ads video size: less than 500 MB.

Specs for the TikTok image ads: 

  • Recommended ratio: 1:1.
  • Recommend file type: .png, .jpg, or .jpeg.
  • File size: less than 50 KB.

Specs for brand/app names: 

  • For displaying the brand name on TikTok ads, 2-20 English character length is allowed.
  • Spaces and punctuation marks are also considered characters.
  • Emojis should not be included.
  • The name character restrictions vary with language, operating system, and device model.
  • App names are suggested to have 4-40 English characters.

Specs for ad description: 

  • If longer descriptions are allowed, they can be cut off at the end.
  • The character limit is 12-100 for ad descriptions in English.
  • Spaces and punctuation marks are also considered characters.
  • Emojis, curly brackets, and hash symbols are allowed.

Spark Ads

Spark Ads closely resemble In-Feed ads in terms of specifications. They offer advertisers the ability to integrate organic TikTok posts and their features into their advertising strategy. This unique approach empowers you to:

  • Utilize your own TikTok account’s posts.
  • Utilize organic content created by other creators with their permission.

Spark Ads utilize content from actual TikTok accounts. This ensures that all engagement, like views, comments, shares, likes, and follows gained during promotion are attributed to your original posts. You can reuse the same organic TikTok posts as creative elements in your ads without any limitations.

>>> Read more: TikTok Spark Ads – Get authentic with user-generated content

Top Feed

Top Feed ads are a combination of in-feed and Top view ads. It is the first in-feed ad that appears on your For You Page. These ads are designed to look and feel like regular TikTok videos but are labeled as “Sponsored” or “Ad” to distinguish them from organic content.

Top Feed Ads can be up to 60 seconds long and support multiple aspect ratios, including square, vertical, and landscape. They can include music, sound effects, text overlays, and other creative elements that are common in TikTok videos. Advertisers can use Top Feed Ads to reach a large and diverse audience on TikTok and promote their products, services, or brand in a visually engaging and entertaining way.

TikTok advertising specs for Top Feed:

  • Video length: Up to 60 seconds
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 (square), 9:16 (vertical), or 16:9 (landscape)
  • File type: .mp4 or .mov
  • Maximum file size: 500 MB
  • Sound: Must be enabled by default, but users can turn it off
  • Captions: Can be added in the ad creation process
  • Video size: 1080 x 1080 pixels (square), 1080 x 1920 pixels (vertical), or 1920 x 1080 pixels (landscape)

Top Feed Ads can be displayed in different ways on TikTok, such as full-screen or in a smaller “card” format. Advertisers can also include interactive elements, such as “Shop Now” buttons or “Download” calls to action, to encourage users to take action after viewing the ad.

Branded hashtag challenge

The Branded Hashtag Challenge is intended to fit TikTok’s aesthetic of user-generated content (UGC). This format capitalizes on the user’s love of creation to generate brand awareness with user engagement that extends beyond a click.

This format is divided into three locations within the app. The first type of video ad is a conventional video ad that appears in the In-Feed placement and encourages people to join in the challenge. The second method is to use prominent banners on the Discover Page to bring people to the Hashtag Challenge (the third placement). The Hashtag Challenge collects all video entries from across the world into one spot, making it simpler for users to engage with other people and businesses.

For example, hashtags on TikTok open an opportunity for every business to go viral with hashtag challenges like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.

TikTok advertising specs for Branded Hashtag Challenge:

  • Challenge banner size: 16:9 (landscape) or 9:16 (vertical)
  • Video length: Up to 60 seconds
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (vertical)
  • File type: .mp4 or .mov
  • Maximum file size: 500 MB
  • Sound: Must be enabled by default, but users can turn it off
  • Captions: Can be added in the ad creation process

Branded Effect

TikTok Branded Effect format

Branded Effects on TikTok are a type of advertising format that allows businesses to create their own custom filters, stickers, and augmented reality (AR) effects that users can apply to their videos. These effects are designed to be interactive and engaging and can help businesses increase brand awareness and drive user engagement on the platform.

Branded Effects can be especially effective for businesses that want to connect with younger audiences on TikTok. They are a way for businesses to create a unique and memorable experience for users that reflects their brand, products, or services. When users apply Branded Effects to their videos, they are effectively promoting the brand to their followers and potentially to a wider audience if their video goes viral.

TikTok provides marketers with an efficient approach to communicating with their targeted audience. Brands can engage with consumers via different ad formats that speak the TikTok language, seamlessly integrating with native content and providing optimum results.

TikTok advertising specs for Branded effect

Demo overview of Branded effect
Demo overview

Brand Exposure Limit

  • Logo: Only includes one logo, and the display area must be within 150x130px.
  • Product: The display area must be within 150x130px.
  • Promotion: Includes campaign theme and slogan; the display area must be within 300x130px.
  • Spokesperson and IP figure: The display area must be within 480x270px.

Branded Effect Name

Effect Name character limit: up to 30 English characters, without emojis, #, and special symbols (18 English characters are recommended to optimize display).

Branded Effect Icon

Branded effect icon specs
  • You can use an icon designed by TikTok or provide your own icon.
  • The image of your icon has to be consistent with your Branded Effect.
  • The full design canvas: 162x162px is recommended (equal to export size), the icon must have rounded corners and a transparent bleed area.
  • Safe area: 144x144px, with 20px round-corners
  • File format: only PNG
  • File size: < 60KB

Branded Effect Hint Text

  • You must give the text that demonstrates trigger movements. The Hint Text shows up when people click on the panel’s effect and will explain how to use it.
  • Hint Text character limit: ≤48 English characters without emojis, #, and special symbols (24 English characters are recommended to optimize display)
  • The text must precisely match the details of the trigger function and cannot be misleading.

Official Music

  • Cover image: 800×800. The key brand elements should be placed in the center of the circle area (260px diameter).
  • Image file size: ≤10MB.
  • Music format: .mp3, .wav.
  • Track length: 15s.-1min (15s is recommended).
  • Character limit: ≤60 English characters for the song name and no character limit for the artist’s name (≤12 English characters length is recommended for both, without emoji and special symbols).
  • Have to provide music copyright documentation.
  • Sign the authorization letter authorizing TikTok to upload the music and allow TikTok users to use this music.

Branded Effect Page

  • Sponsor Display/Disclaimer: You can select to provide or not to provide your User ID for a sponsored display to set up the Branded effect
  • Description:
    • No character limit
    • Can include emojis
    • Can’t contain &, <, >, “”, or URLs.
  • Landing Page External Link:
    • Include just one external link.
    • Can customize the text of the external link: ≤ 30 English characters (without emojis and special symbols).
    • Can customize the text of the landing page title: ≤ 20 English characters (without support emojis and special symbols)
  • Official Videos: You are able to select 1 to 6 videos under the Branded Effect page and set them as Official Videos. These are placed at the top of other UGC videos.

Branded Effect Panel (Sponsor mark)

  • You must provide the text and image as Sponsor Mark in case you are located in US / UK / FR / IT / ES / BE / SA / DE / AE / TR / AU / TW / HK / TH / MY / VN / ID / SG / CA. It will include the text: “Sponsor: XXX;” up to 30 English characters (without emojis and special symbols). For the rest of the countries, Sponsor Mark is optional.
  • Image specs:
    • Format: png.
    • Length: between 40px to 96px
    • Height (fixed): 40px
    • Image size: < 200Kb

Collection Ads

TikTok Collection Ads is a type of ad format offered by the TikTok social media platform that allows advertisers to showcase multiple products in a single ad. It’s designed to help e-commerce businesses promote their products and drive sales directly from the TikTok app.

TikTok Collection Ads are a great way for e-commerce businesses to reach a wider audience on TikTok and drive more sales. The ad format is particularly effective for businesses that have a variety of products to promote, as it allows them to showcase multiple products in a single ad.

TikTok Collection Ads
Source: Internet

TikTok advertising specs for Collection Ads:

  • Creative specifications: TikTok Collection Ads can feature up to 8 products in a single ad. Each product can include an image or video, along with a title and description. The recommended resolution:
    • Product images and videos: 1080 x 1080 pixels
    • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Call-to-action (CTA): Each product in a TikTok Collection Ad can include a CTA button, such as “Shop Now” or “Learn More.”
  • Landing page: When a user clicks on a product in a TikTok Collection Ad, they are taken to a landing page where they can purchase the product.
  • Tracking: TikTok Collection Ads include tracking and reporting metrics, such as impressions, clicks, and conversions.

Dynamic showcase/product ads

Dynamic Showcase Ads are particularly effective for businesses with a large product catalog, as they allow advertisers to showcase a wide range of products in a single ad unit. The ad format also ensures that the products featured in the ad are relevant to the user’s search query, increasing the likelihood of a successful conversion.

With Dynamic Showcase Ads, advertisers can automatically create ad units that feature a range of products or services, based on the content of their website and the search terms entered by users. The ad units can include product images, descriptions, and prices, as well as a link to the advertiser’s website where users can complete the purchase.

TikTok Dynamic Product Ads
Source: TikTok

TikTok advertising specs for Dynamic Showcase Ads:

  • Product feed: Advertisers must have a product feed set up with TikTok’s “Product Catalog” feature, which includes information such as product titles, descriptions, images, and prices. This information is used to create the ad units dynamically.
  • Ad unit creation: The ad units are created dynamically based on the content of the advertiser’s product feed and the user’s interests and behaviors.
  • Ad placement: Dynamic Product Ads can appear on various areas of the TikTok app, including the “For You” page, Search page, and Shopping tab.

TikTok Shopping Ads

TikTok Shopping Ads are a type of ad format that allows e-commerce businesses to showcase their products on TikTok and drive traffic to their online store. With Shopping Ads, businesses can create clickable product cards that appear within the TikTok app and direct users to their e-commerce website. TikTok Shopping Ads are divided into 3 different ad formats based on users’ preference:

To use TikTok Shopping Ads, businesses must set up a product catalog on TikTok, which includes information such as product images, descriptions, and prices. Advertisers can then create Shopping Ads that showcase their products and target them to specific audiences based on interests, behaviors, and other demographic factors.

TikTok Shopping Ads
Source: Internet

TikTok advertising specs for Shopping Ads:

  • File format: TikTok Product Feed supports file formats such as CSV, TSV, and XML.
  • Product information: The product feed file should include information such as product titles, descriptions, images, prices, inventory levels, and other relevant data.
  • Data requirements: TikTok requires certain data fields to be present in the product feed, such as product ID, title, description, image URL, and landing page URL.
  • Product variations: If a business sells products with variations such as size or color, the product feed should include these variations as separate products with unique IDs.
  • Feed updates: Advertisers can update their product feed regularly to ensure that the information displayed in their ads is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Product feed management: Advertisers can manage their product feed using the TikTok Ads Manager, which allows them to review, edit, and upload their product information.

NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of all the ad formats available on TikTok. Some of the formats listed are alternatives to one another and may share similar specifications. If you’re interested in learning about the full range of ad types on TikTok, we recommend checking out our article right below!

>>>> Read more: 10 TikTok Ad Types you need to know [Update 2023]

Final word

Creating the right TikTok ad formats and specs is crucial for success on TikTok, as it ensures that the ad is displayed properly and reaches its intended audience. Therefore, advertisers should keep in mind the importance of engaging content and eye-catching visuals that capture the attention of viewers in the first few seconds. If you wish to know which ad types are more suitable for your brand’s strategy, from branding to performance, check out our ebook right now!

Explore 11 TikTok Ad Types
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Hanh Le Nguyen
Hanh Le Nguyen
Advertising & Marketing Specialist


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