What Are Spark Ads on TikTok?

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Carolyn Howell

Last Updated: Jul 25, 2023

TikTok 101

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What are Spark Ads? How are they different from other ad formats on TikTok and other social platforms? TikTok launched Spark Ads globally in July 2021, and the ad format has consistently driven brand discovery since then. Here’s your essential guide to TikTok Spark Ads. 

Laptop screen showing TikTok home page.

What Are TikTok Spark Ads?

What are TikTok Spark Ads? Spark Ads on TikTok is a native ad format that uses organic TikToks. You can use your organic content or other users’ content (with their permission) and turn them into Spark Ads. 

Spark Ads embrace and communicate the authenticity of native content. The ad format also leverages the engagement and functionality of organic videos. This means users can:

  • Swipe left on the video or tap the username or profile picture to visit your profile. They can like, comment on, and share the video. 
  • Tap the + icon on the profile picture to start following you on TikTok. 
  • Co-create with you by using your Spark Ad to create a Duet or Stitch

At the same time, the Spark Ads format also delivers the advantages of regular ads. You can take advantage of the optimized reach and scope of TopView and In-Feed ads when you create Spark Ads. 

What Are Spark Ads vs. Non-Spark Ads

What are Spark Ads vs. regular or non-Spark Ads? Their primary difference is the source content. Spark Ads use organic TikTok posts, while regular ads are paid content from the start. 

Let’s take a look at these ad formats side by side. 

  • User interaction. Both formats feature a CTA button to drive users to a landing page. On a Spark Ad, users can go to your profile by clicking your profile photo or nickname. They can also swipe left on the ad. Clicking on the video caption also takes them to the landing page. Clicking on the music name or disc will take them to the music page. On a non-Spark Ad, clicking on any part of the ad or swiping left takes them to the landing page.  
  • Metrics. Both ad formats measure paid clicks, likes, shares, and comments. Spark Ads also measure music clicks, anchor clicks and click rate, and paid followers and profile visits. 

TikTok Business Center page illustrating the difference between Spark Ads and non-Spark Ads.

What Are the Spark Ads Buying Types and Specs? 

What are Spark Ads for? This ad format serves the same purpose as regular ads but delivers more rewarding results. Spark Ads support the following buying types:

  • Auction Buying Type. Advertising Objectives available for this type include: Reach, Video Views, Community Interaction, Traffic, App Installs, Conversions, Lead Generation, and Shop Purchases.
  • Reach & Frequency Buying Type. Advertising Objectives available for this type include:

Reach, Traffic, and Video Views.

What are the specs for a Spark Ad?

  • There are no video ratio, resolution, duration, bit rate, file type, and file size restrictions.
  • Ad captions are not required. 
  • You can tag accounts, use hashtags, and add emojis in the caption. 
  • The ad “Display Name and Text” shows the original organic post. You won’t be able to edit or remove this.  

White TikTok sign.

How To Create a Spark Ad

Like other TikTok ads, you can create Spark Ads on TikTok Ads Manager. There are two ways to do this. 

  1. You can use your own TikTok posts. If this is what you want to do, you can use Ads Manager via your linked TikTok Business Account. 
  2. You can use accounts authorized via Business Center or posts from other creators authorized via video codes. 

What Are Spark Ads Creation Steps via Your Linked Business Account

What are Spark Ads creation steps if you’re using your linked Business Account? After setting up TikTok for Business, you can use any posts under the linked Business Account to create Spark Ads. Here are the basic steps of creating a Spark Ad using your existing organic posts. 

  1. Choose “Use TikTok account to deliver Spark Ads.” Select an Advertising Objective.

Complete Campaign and Ad Group settings. Toggle Use TikTok account to deliver Spark Ads.

  1. Choose “Use account owned by you.” This will let you use any available posts under your linked Business Account. 
  1. Under Ad Details, choose “TikTok Post” and select the post you want to use. You can choose an existing post from your linked Business Account. Or you may opt to create or upload a new video from Ads Manager and publish it under your linked Business Account. Click Confirm, then complete the rest of the ad settings. Click Submit to publish your Spark Ad. 

Your video will be published in private mode under your linked business account once it passes ad review. You can manually make it public in the TikTok app.

What Are Spark Ads Creation Steps via Authorized Accounts or Posts From Other Creators

What are Spark Ads creation steps if you want to use a different authorized account or another creator’s post? 

  1. The post creator must first authorize the use of their post for Spark Ads. They can do this via their Privacy or Creator tools settings. 
  1. After authorizing the promotional use of their video, they’ll need to generate a video code and share it with you. 
  1. When you receive the video code, go to your Ads Manager. Go to Assets > Creative > Spark ads posts. Click Apply for Authorization. Paste the video code in the search bar and click Search. Review the post and click Confirm.
  1. After adding the authorized post to your TikTok Ads Manager, create your Spark Ad. 

If you want to authorize your video for promotional use as a Spark Ad, here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to your Profile and tap the Menu in the upper right. 
  2. Tap Creator Tools, then scroll down and enable the Ad settings toggle. 
  3. Select the TikTok post you want to authorize, then tap the three dots. 
  4. Under the Tap Ad settings section, tap the Ad authorization toggle to enable it.  
  5. Select a duration for the authorization. You can authorize the use of your post as a Spark Ad for 7, 30, 60, or 365 days. 
  6. Tap Authorize. 
  7. Tap Generate to generate a video code. The video code will be ready once you tap Save.
  8. Tap Manage, then tap Copy code. You can now share the code with the brand you’re collaborating with. 

How To Use the Video Code in TikTok Ads Manager

If you’re using another person’s post to create your Spark Ad, here’s how to use the video code: 

  1. Go to TikTok Ads Manager.
  2. Go to Assets > Creative > Spark ads posts, and click Apply for Authorization.
  3. Paste the video code in the search bar and click Search.
  4. Review the post and click Confirm.

A group of men having a meeting.

What Are Spark Ads Strategies When Choosing Organic Content for Boosting?

What are Spark Ads strategies you need to know when choosing organic content for boosting? The golden rule is to choose organic content that’s already performing well. Here are more pointers to keep in mind. 

  • Choose TikToks that clearly communicate and reinforce your brand voice. 
  • Find creators who share your core audience and create content that will resonate with your fans. 
  • Expand your selection to include different types of content formats. Use product tutorials, TikTok challenges, viral dances, and more as long as the content is relevant to your audience.
  • Explore the TikTok Creative Center to discover current trends in your industry. 

What Are Spark Ads’ Advantages?

Understanding what Spark Ads are will help you better appreciate their amazing potential to drive brand awareness and audience engagement. 

All the engagement a Spark Ad receives becomes part of the original organic post’s metrics. All the views, likes, comments, and shares on a Spark Ad count toward the organic post’s metrics. 

There’s also no limit to the number of times you can boost the same organic content. You can convert it into a Spark Ad creative multiple times if it continues to drive results. 

With Spark Ads, brands can connect with communities that TikTok has captivated with its immersive content. According to the platform

“On TikTok, brands can show up as any other member of the community by leveraging the creativity and authenticity of native content to connect with users. Native ads allow brands to reach new audiences, inspire trends, and build loyal communities.”

TikTok users fully maximize the potential for endless discovery on the platform. In fact, nearly 9 in 10 TikTok users said they discover new and enjoyable content while using the app. Additionally, half of these users discover new products through TikTok ads, and 52% of internet users want brand authenticity. 

Here are more reasons to use Spark Ads:

  • Spark Ads have a 134% higher completion rate and 157% higher six-second view-through than In-Feed Ads. 
  • This ad format allows you to introduce your audience to authentic and unique brand experiences. 
  • Spark Ads support Duet, Stitch, and Stickers. They also allow viewers to click on the music featured in the ad. 

A man sitting on a blue couch raising a glass.

When To Use Spark Ads

What are Spark Ads for, and when should you boost an organic TikTok post to create a Spark Ad? Here are some tips. 

  • Create a Spark Ad from your organic post when it’s receiving a lot of views and engagement. Boosting the post will leverage the post’s momentum and help you sustain increased brand awareness. 
  • Boost your organic post when you want to retarget lower-funnel followers. 
  • Boost another creator’s organic post to scale an existing campaign. 
  • Create a Spark Ad from your branded creator content to increase traffic and maximize ROI from your collaboration. 
  • Use another creator’s organic post for a Spark Ad to lend authenticity and social proof to an existing campaign.

What Are Spark Ads Best Practices?

Maximizing the potential of an organic piece of content is not as simple as boosting it. What are Spark Ads best practices you should know? 

  1. Promote your brand’s positive vibes and authenticity. Positive and authentic content on TikTok always generates more interest and engagement from viewers. Use a Spark Ad to tell a story. Repurpose user-generated content into a Spark Ad to give your brand credibility. 
  2. Entertain your audience. Users love TikTok because they get quick but satisfying entertainment. Use organic videos that employ popular sounds and effects. An ad that makes people feel good always produces desired results. 
  3. Select the right soundtrack. Music gives TikTok videos energy and a stronger audience pull. Songs and sounds complete the immersive TikTok experience. Choose native content that uses trending music or sounds, or beats that perfectly define your brand’s character.  
  4. Jump on trends. As a trendsetting platform, TikTok has no shortage of hot sounds, popular effects, trending challenges, and other viral hits. A trend’s life cycle on TikTok is short, so always keep an eye out for emerging fads and trending topics. You can create organic content based on a trend. Boost it as a Spark Ad when it gains enough engagement. 
  5. Create accessible Spark Ads. Use text overlays, closed captions, or voice-overs to enhance your storytelling. Add effects or stickers to make your Spark Ad more visually engaging. 
  6. Go meta and break the fourth wall. Co-creating with audiences, engaging with them via Q&A, or creating meaningful dialogues will always prompt real reactions from viewers. Content where a creator directly addresses viewers and gives them eye-to-eye contact perfectly serves this purpose. 

Billboards at night on a busy street.

Get More Engagement for Your Content To Create More Spark Ads

What are Spark Ads in terms of brand growth? Whether you’re a content creator or a brand, Spark Ads can help you leverage the power of organic TikTok content. Authenticity is a major driving force on TikTok. Because Spark Ads are able to embrace and communicate the authenticity of native posts, they’re more effective than regular ads. 

Just like In-Feed and TopView Ads on TikTok, Spark Ads can enhance your visibility and audience reach through optimized targeting. This ad format already has good momentum as it builds on the high engagement of the original organic post. But how do you achieve high organic engagement in the first place? You do it by connecting with genuinely interested audiences. 

Thanks to TikTok’s robust recommendation algorithm, it’s easy to make connections on the platform via shared interests. This is great for the community-building efforts of content creators and brands. Reaching interested audiences with your content translates to growing with engaged and dedicated fans. 

And when you succeed in building an active fan base, your videos will consistently receive high engagement. High video engagement means more opportunities to create Spark Ads. 

You can enhance your audience-targeting capability with the help of High Social. Sign up for a High Social plan to take advantage of their advanced, proprietary AI targeting tool. With a TikTok growth expert like High Social as your partner, you’ll experience a rewarding follower and engagement boost. 
What are Spark Ads for if not for building a solid TikTok presence? Have more native videos to choose from for your Spark Ad creatives. Start growing your TikTok today!

TikTok 101