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TikTok Top Feed Ads: How to Use Them

In the wild jungle of TikTok advertising, one ad format reigns king – Top Feed Ads.

Capable of impressive reach and detailed targeting, Top Feed Ads are a highly popular option for brands looking to grab the attention of their target audience, drive traffic to their platforms, and capture those all-important conversions.

But what exactly are TikTok Top Feed ads, are they worth your time, and how do you set them up? In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to kickstart your journey with Top Feed ads. Let’s dive in. 

What are TikTok Top Feed Ads?

Bear with us here, because this explanation needs a bit of background.

One of the most popular campaign buying types on TikTok is Reach and Frequency. Within Reach and Frequency, there are two main ad options – Standard, and Top Feed. 

TikTok’s Top Feed ads are an ad format that shows in your target audience’s feed as soon as they open the app. If you’ve picked up TikTok recently and seen ads from the Superbowl or a blockbuster fashion brand, that’s a Top Feed ad. 

Top Feed ads are popular among advertisers because of their impressive reach potential and their detailed targeting capabilities. 

Hismile TikTok Top Feed ad example

When To Use Top Feed Ads

There are 2 main use cases for Top Feed ads that are important to bear in mind:

1. You want quick brand awareness

Timing is everything in digital advertising, and TikTok ads are no exception. 

Since they’re the first thing your audience will see when they open their app, Top Feed ads are perfect if you’re looking to create quick, powerful bursts of awareness for a new product, service or campaign. For example, if you’re kicking off a new seasonal promotion, or are launching a new product line that you want your audience to know about as soon as possible, Top Feed ads can get your message in front of the right people. 

2. You’ve got a larger budget

TikTok knows how powerful Top Feed ads are, and they charge a premium for them. If you’ve got a larger budget and need immediate visibility, Top Feed ads could work wonders for you. However, if you’re working with a tighter budget or have more long-term engagement goals, it might be worth taking a look at other ad formats. 

Top Feed success lives and dies with the quality of your creative

Being the first thing people see when they open the app presents its own set of challenges. If you want to avoid users insta-scrolling past your creative, you need to make sure it’s incredibly engaging. 

Your target audience is used to fast-paced, bitesize content on TikTok with quick transitions. If your ad doesn’t meet these expectations too, it might not perform as well as you need it to. 

3 benefits of Top Feed Ads 

Some of the key benefits of TikTok Top Feed Ads include:

1. Instant visibility 

Looking to get your message out there fast? Your search is over. Since they’re the first piece of content users see after opening up the TikTok app, your Top Feed ads are going to garner immediate attention from your target audience. 

If you want to create an instant and powerful first impression, TikTok Top Feed ads have you covered.

2. Impressive reach

With over 1 billion monthly active users and climbing, you can bet your target audience are spending their time on TikTok. And where they are, you want to be, too. 

By using TikTok’s Top Feed ads, you can quickly tap into this huge potential audience and access dramatic campaign reach. If you’ve got your creative dialled-in, Top Feed ads can yield dramatic, rapid results. 

3. Next-level targeting

It’s no secret that TikTok collects a lot of data on its users – and that makes it an absolute goldmine for advertisers. 

By taking advantage of their advanced targeting capabilities, you can drill down on precise audiences for your ads, helping you to reduce wasted ad spend and make every ounce of your budget count.

How to Set Up Top Feed Ads

To set up a TikTok Top Feed ad, you’ll need an agency-level account. If you need a TikTok ads agency, we’re here to help.

 Once you’ve got the required access, you can get your ads set up by following these steps:

  1. Log into TikTok Ad Manager or create a TikTok Business account
  1. Create a new campaign
TikTok Ads manager
  1. Set “Buying Type” to “Reach and Frequency”
  1. Choose “Top Feed” from the “Contextual Targeting” options

That’s it – you’re ready to build your Top Feed ad and tap into the incredible potential it holds for your brand. 

Top Feed Ad Specs

As laid out by TikTok on their video ads specifications page, the ad specs for Top Feed ads are:

Aspect ratio9:16, 1:1, or 16:9
Video resolutionMinimum resolution: 540x960px, 640x640px, or 960x540px
File type.mp4, .mov, .mpeg, .3gp, or .avi file types are all supported. 
Video duration5-60 seconds is permitted, but TikTok recommends keeping videos under 15 seconds for maximum impact. 
BitrateAt least 516kbps
File sizeUnder 500mb
Profile imageAspect ratio: 1:1Accepted file types are .jpg, .jpeg, .png
Keep profile images under 50kb.
Ad descriptionTikTok supports 1-100 Latin alphabet characters or 1-50 Asian alphabet characters. The difference between the two here is due to the Asian alphabet having higher pixel density and taking up more width in-app.
Like with Google Ads, longer text might get truncated on some devices, so it’s best to keep your ad descriptions short and to the point.
Emojis, curly brackets and hashtags are not supported in ad descriptions. 
App or brand nameTikTok supports 4-40 Latin alphabet characters, or 2-20 Asian alphabet characters for brand names. 
Emojis can’t be used. 
Punctuation marks and spaces are counted as characters. 
Longer brand names might be truncated depending on the device being used. 

Top View Vs Top Feed – what’s the difference?

Top View and Top Feed ads are similar, but they have a couple of key differences. 

Top View ads are the first ads users see when opening the app. They’re full-screen and appear before reaching the feed. Users can skip Top View ads after 3 seconds, so you’re guaranteed 3 seconds of their attention at a minimum.

Top Feed ads come immediately after Top View ads, appearing – you guessed it – at the top of the TikTok feed. This placement feels more natural than Top View ads, making users less likely to feel like they’re being sold to, and more likely to engage with your content. 

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