How to Leverage TikTok UGC Ads

TikTok UGC

What are UGC Ads?

A modern approach to advertising, User generated Content, (UGC) offers a unique avenue for brands to share their message through authentic voices and experiences. UGC is original, brand-specific content created by social media users and published on social media or other channels.

Between authentic testimonials and in-depth product reviews, UGC holds the key to unlocking new levels of engagement and conversion in user acquisition efforts. In this post, we will delve into the UGC format, we will also look at some examples of TikTok UGC and the ways that you can leverage it for your app marketing efforts.

The Opportunity in UGC

In a world where smartphones and social media platforms are so integrated into our daily lives, we are constantly barraged with a stream of airbrushed perfectionisms and overly aestheticised ads. In this, we find the capital selling point for UGC ads: authenticity.

Unique in its style, UGC ads allow companies to present consumers with content in a more relatable format. This presents a range of opportunities for mobile marketers:

  • Authenticity: UGC ads usually show how people use products in the real world. This offers credibility to your brand, enabling you to promote your product without overselling. Authenticity wields a huge influence on consumers. 84% of Millennials say that UGC sways their purchasing choices. This group also trust UGC 50% more than content generated directly by brands. The stats don’t lie. The authentic and relatable nature of UGC ads performs very well on consumers.
  • Social Proof:  Building on the notion of authenticity, users will always look for what others are doing to inform their own decisions. 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source; the authentic nature of UGC can fulfil this. Customer feedback, online reviews, social media posts and participation in branded hashtags, are all forms of social proof, and UGC offers the platform to deliver each of these styles of content. These techniques further allow brands to build trust and credibility with their consumers. TikTok UGC does really well at this.
  • Mobile-First Engagement: As mobile devices become the primary means of accessing the internet and consuming content, UGC tailored for mobile platforms holds the ultimate potential for advertising for businesses. 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Mobile-friendly UGC formats such as short videos, Instagram stories, and interactive polls allow businesses to capture the attention of mobile users effectively.
  • Scalability: There are some great options out there for finding creators who can make amazing content for you at scale. TikTok Creator Marketplace is a good example of this, providing a one-stop platform allowing you to collaborate with creators based on your industry, budget and business goals. This makes it easy to facilitate the creation of significant volumes of creative assets to boost campaign performance.
  • Cost-Effective Advertising:  For early-stage apps, it may be more effective to involve customers directly – asking your customers to share posts of them interacting with your app can cost next-to nothing. Oftentimes, customers will be excited to be a part of your campaign; they’ll feel engaged with your brand, and this technique will also allow you to save on your marketing budget.
TikTok UGC

Source: Ad Samurai

The Rise of TikTok as an Acquisition Channel: Why should you use TikTok?

TikTok, as with many of the social media platforms, offers strong targeting options, primarily around demographics and interests & behaviours. This means you can select specific industries, creator types users have recently engaged with, and hashtags.

TikTok has also entered the search ad market, putting it in direct competition with established players like Google and Microsoft. Their search ads platform allows marketers to bid on certain keywords – just like with Google Ads.

The audience TikTok attracts has been said to be more understanding and open to ads than general internet users. A Statista report from 2023 found that 38% of survey participants using TikTok are willing to tolerate advertising in exchange for free access to certain services. This should demonstrate an open pool of potential prospects. This also demonstrates high search intent.

TikTok also works well as an acquisition channel because it’s a video-first platform.  Video makes it incredibly easy to connect with customers at the acquisition stage and beyond. Scientifically, it makes sense. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian found that 93% of communication pertaining to feelings and attitudes is done nonverbally. So when someone’s raving about a product or service they feel strongly about, anyone listening is going to find more meaning in their body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%) than the literal meaning of their words (7%). This only makes a better case for using UGC to acquire new users; this format implements and allows for better-rounded communication between the user and the acquirer. UGC ads also flows quite seamlessly with the TikTok interface, with 15% of TikTok users struggling to distinguish between advertising and other content.

Another reason to consider using TikTok UGC ads to acquire users is that it lends itself quite well to Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) tracking. A mobile measurement partner is a platform provider that attributes, collects, and organises app data to deliver a uniform assessment of campaign performance metrics. An MMP acts as a trusted and impartial party to rule on attribution. More on data measurement in a bit.

“What is a TikTok Spark Ad?”: Types of Ads on TikTok

We’ve now established that there is an opportunity to use TikTok UGC for your user acquisition efforts. Guaranteeing the success of this method will now depend on the TikTok ad strategy that you choose. Here are six different types of TikTok ads to consider:

In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads appear the most organically as just another video appearing on a user’s For You Page (FYP). This TikTok ad format usually receives the most in-app engagement since users can like and comment on it. Although these ads can be 5-60 seconds long, TikTok recommends 21-34 seconds. It also includes a button with a call to action (CTA) that can lead to an external landing page.

These ads are best for brands just wanting to get more recognition. An optimal strategy would be working with creators to mention the brand’s name or product and then see their ad later in their feed.


Duo Lingo ruined my life ???? #comedy #duolingo @Duolingo

♬ original sound – Munya Chawawa
Source: TikTok

TopView Ads

TopView ads appear immediately after someone opens the TikTok app and can be 60 seconds long. TopView ads are unique because they’re non-skippable. Advertisers can include a call-to-action button within the ad. This ad style probably has a less organic feel to them compared to some other ad formats.

This format can potentially interrupt the user experience. Coupled with their length, TopView are among the most “traditional” of TikTok’s video ads because they feel like commercials.

Carousel Ads

Like image ads, carousel ads only appear on TikTok’s News Feed apps. Carousel Ads allow brands to upload a series of 2 -10 images in JPEG or PNG format. Each image may have a unique caption and URL link. These UGC ads enable brands to tell a story through images. Rewarding creativity, carousels work best for brands wanting to showcase a range of products.

Spark Ads

Spark Ads harness the creativity of fans by turning user-generated content into advertisements. For example, if a brand notices a TikTok creator post particularly well, they can boost the reach of that content by using the post as an In-Feed Ad or a Top-View Ad. The Spark Ad is labelled as ‘sponsored’ and includes a clickable call to action that takes users to the brand’s landing page. Spark Ads are an immersive advertising strategy and generate a 43% higher conversion rate than normal In-Feed Ads.  Spark Ads are for brands that want to communicate authenticity to their audiences, building trust and engagement organically and in collaboration with TikTok influencers or particularly successful customer posts.


my new skincare obsession ? ad using the viral @medicube_official age r booster device ? this device takes skincare to a whole new level! I saw so many people use this and wanted to try and now after using for a month I can definitely see the results! the device makes the products I use absorb so much better which has resulted to more bright and hydrated skin? and you know it’s good when even Hailey Bieber uses it! #skincaredevice #skincaretips

♬ in this darkness x – maddie?
Source: TikTok

Brand Takeover

A TikTok brand takeover is a full-screen ad that launches when users open the app. These UGC ads are the best options to use for those who quickly need to grab a user’s attention.

Presenting as a three second image or a 3-5 second GIF, brand takeover ads are exclusive to their advertising category, which means that users won’t see any other ad for that type of product for the entire day.

Deep link Ads

While not a separate ad placement, this is a feature which can impact the effectiveness of your campaigns significantly. Deep link ads use embedded links to send users straight to the advertiser’s in-app location, mostly seen with product pages in e-commerce stores. This method saves customers a lot of time while providing them with a seamless shopping experience, reducing bounce rates and maximising ad performances.

For sellers on e-commerce sites that want to attract TikTok users, the Deeplink ad is the perfect solution because it can:

  • Shorten the buying journey of users with e-commerce sites.
  • Improve customer engagement and retention rates.
  • Boost your marketing, target the right customers, and upsell, which would improve ROI.
TikTok UGC

Source: MegaDigital

Measuring the Success of your TikTok UGC Efforts

You’ve now launched your ad campaign on TikTok and it’s been circulating the platform for some time, so naturally you’ll want to see how it’s performing.

Whether your aim was to increase your sales, drive app installs, grow your brand awareness, or build a community, the KPIs that you use to track your performance will vary, dependent on the aims of your campaign. TikTok offers a performance tracking solution, TikTok Ads Manager. This tool can be used to not only create ad campaigns, it can also be used to manage ad resources, monitor data, and optimise your advertising. Your dashboard will give you a general overview of performance across campaigns, ad groups and ads. With this cross-account view, you can broadly assess the performance of your campaigns and quickly notice trends, spikes and other major indicators to further investigate. For a full comprehensive combination of insights, you can also use a third party MMP to track the performance of your UGC ads. MMPs like AppsFlyer, Firebase or Adjust will usually offer extra insights that TikTok Ad Manager will not, allowing you to optimise from all angles.

TikTok UGC

Some KPIs that app marketers will frequently monitor are:

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost per click is a metric that helps brands measure how much they must spend to run an ad based on the total number of clicks it gets. It’s an important metric applied to display ads, social media ads, and ads that appear on search engine results pages.


Impressions showcase how many times your ad is getting displayed, even when users don’t click on it.  Overall, you can understand Impressions as the combined number of views on your advertisement or content. To improve this metric, consider adding TikTok hashtags, using trending sounds, or optimising visual appeals to catch users’ attention multiple times.

Conversion rate (CVR)

Conversion rate refers to the results that brands want to achieve through ad campaigns, e.g. the number of times an app was downloaded. Calculating TikTok ad conversion rates lets brands reflect on the effectiveness of their marketing strategies and make adjustments where necessary. While analysing conversion rates, consider looking at return on investment metrics (ROI) for more accurate insights.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Click-through-rate quantifies the percentage of individuals who view an online advertisement (impressions) and engage by clicking on it. When analysing CTR metrics, it’s recommended that 2-5% would be a good rate for an ad campaign. However, brands should consider applying this recommendation selectively since it also depends on each industry.

Find a full list of TikTok ad metrics. Also, find a list of their calculations below.


User Generated Content (UGC) is a game-changer in paid advertising for user acquisition and specifically TikTok UGC is a leading force to be reckoned with. Its authenticity fosters connections between brands and their audiences, driving engagement and loyalty. Understanding how to leverage this advertising opportunity can really change the game for your app marketing efforts. In case you’d like to know more about how to do that, feel free to reach out to us.

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