23rd July 2021

POV: TikTok Spark Ads


TikTok has introduced a new feature this week called Spark Ads that enable brands to leverage organic TikTok posts in their ads.

Details and Implications:

Spark Ads are described as a native ad format that will allow advertisers to use existing organic user posts as part of their campaigns, making it easier to leverage trending content in a more authentic way. The format stretches across organic and paid advertising, by allowing brands to sponsor creators’ existing content (subject to authorization).

With Spark Ads, brands can put money behind their own organic posts and relevant creator content, converting them into In-Feed ads or TopView ads - the ad that shows when users open the app.

Brands can identify content on the platform that might fit with their current campaigns, for example if a beauty influencer promoted a product in their videos, advertisers can then seek permissions to reuse these clips in their paid campaigns.

Previously brands could only sponsor content before it was posted. With this new update, it will allow brands to observe what is working well on the platform before putting money behind it to make the most of popular content. As well as amplifying original creative videos through Spark Ads, brands will also be able to use the Duet feature – which allows users to create content featuring an initial video, with their own video added and sitting side by side on screen in a square format – giving both creators and brands more options to integrate organic and paid content.

TikTok has consistently told brands to ‘make TikToks not ads’ and this new approach fits within that. The promotions that work best on TikTok are those that look like TikToks – which is what users are already seeing in their feeds. Advertisers can now make the most of that by elevating and sharing relevant native content from the TikTok community.

The news was announced just before TikTok’s #ForYou Summit that took place on Wednesday this week, where TikTok brand partners heard from creators, agencies, TikTok Executives and brands on the best way to use TikTok. Presently Spark ads are still being tested and are not yet available to all users.

Recently TikTok became the first non-Facebook mobile app to surpass 3 billion downloads globally. It is therefore becoming an attractive platform for brands and advertisers, particularly those who want to reach a younger audience. Facebook recently launched a $1bn program to attract creators to its ecosystem and this new feature from TikTok continues the trend of social platforms trying to attract and retain the best creative talent on their platforms by making it easier for them to monetize their content.


Spark Ads is a new approach to how influencer branded content traditionally works, where a brand reaches out to a creator directly to develop content that could work together. It harnesses the kind of campaigns that work well on the platform and could increase opportunities for advertisers on TikTok to tap into this to curate more robust, efficient content strategies.

Further Reading:

AdAge | Social Media Today | The Drum | Adweek

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