Making great TikTok ads is an art, and creator Jack Smyth (@thatsjacked) is a master at it. His thoughtful and well-crafted ads have won two of the Plug’s Custom Ad Contests for a combined $9,000 in winnings! 🏆
He shared his unique approach with us on how to make TikTok ads that viewers and advertisers love. Read on for his tips!
Becoming a Professional
Like many creators, Jack began posting videos because he wanted to connect with people. But this passion showed itself long before TikTok came on the scene.
Jack has a global background: he was born in Zimbabwe, grew up in South Africa, and moved to the United States in 2016. Along the way, he developed a passion for social media that led him to start his own YouTube vlog, freelance as a videographer for brands, and eventually enter college working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Social Media Marketing.
He started posting videos to TikTok in 2019, and a few viral successes propelled him to 90,000 followers in several months. That December, he set a personal goal to reach 1 million followers by the end of 2020 using what he’d learned about going viral. He hit that milestone by June.
Making Great TikTok Ads
With his years of experience in social media and video editing, Jack has a knack for making engaging, high-quality ads that enchant both viewers and advertisers.
Here are his guidelines for creating TikTok ads that turn heads. 👀
It’s all about the story.
All of Jack’s videos--even his ads--have a strong hook and a clear beginning, middle, and end. He immediately captures viewers’ attention with an intriguing or relatable statement, then keeps them engaged with his storytelling.
💡 Ad Tip: Once the viewer is invested in his video, he meaningfully features the app he’s promoting and includes a call to action before seamlessly returning to the main storyline. His ads are content for his viewers, first and foremost.
His contest-winning ad for Fitness Coach is an excellent example of this focus on storytelling, with the app playing a key role in the video.
👉 Interested in promoting Fitness Coach? Check out our handy guide to the campaign.
Keep it real.
TikTok viewers want to see content that’s raw and genuine, not something super edited like what they’d find on YouTube or television.
When Jack transitioned from YouTube to TikTok, he intentionally dialed down his overall quality and edits. He started filming on his iPhone to make sure his videos retained an organic, personal feeling. In voiceovers, he talks to his audience like he’s confiding in a good friend.
💡 Ad Tip: When Jack promotes an app, he works it into his video in a genuine way that doesn't feel out of place alongside the rest of his content.
He stays true to his brand and carefully selects campaigns from the Plug that fit well with his audience and his personal niche, so it feels natural for him to create good content around it.
👉 There are dozens of campaigns across various genres available for promotion on the Plug, so you can pick the best ones for your audience and brand!
The winning ad that he submitted to our Custom Ad Contest for Calm is a perfect example of this. Although the entire video is an ad, the tone and feel are deeply personal and very much aligned with the rest of his content.
Understand your audience.
A lot of the overall success of Jack's page can be credited to his strong understanding of his viewer base and what they like to see. He specializes in outdoor DIY videos that are simultaneously relatable and aspirational: childhood dreams of a snowball tank or the ultimate backyard fort, turned to reality.
💡 Ad Tip: Jack always incorporates a human element in his videos and focuses on that, first and foremost. His ads don't revolve around the app he's promoting, but on the awesome experience it creates for him and his friends.
He's also strategic about the context in which he promotes apps. Knowing that treehouse videos are especially popular with his viewers, he'll make a video about his treehouse and include a well-timed endorsement for a relevant campaign.
💡 Ad Tip: He gives his audience the content they want, with ads mixed into it, which maximizes views and engagement on his videos--and the promos attached.
Using these rules of thumb, Jack has created ads that captivated not only his viewers, but also his advertisers and all of us at the Plug.
The coming months will be pivotal for Jack as he graduates college and moves from Maryland to North Carolina with his fiancée, bringing his social media audience along for the ride. His next big project will be a DIY apartment upgrade (and associated TikTok series!) as they settle into their new home.
Best of luck, Jack! 🥳 We'll be following along with your adventures on TikTok!
Want to use your own custom ad for a campaign? Read our guide on custom ad submissions for rules and more examples!