Choosing the right sound on TikTok for your marketing objectives
88% of TikTok users consider music an integral part of their app experience and when it comes to ads, music plays a vital role in grabbing users' attention. A recent study shows that TikTok ads that contain music are less likely to be skipped, have a longer average watch time and give a positive brand impression.
As a sound-on platform, we've seen the impact music has on a user's experience, but we wanted to dive deeper into their emotional and behavioural responses to music in ads. To do this, we collaborated with Hotspex who helped us conduct this research. 10,000 TikTok users were shown a selection of ads from fictitious brands with varying soundtracks, spanning a library of recognisable songs, instrumentals, and tailor-made tracks which contained the brand name.
Best practice for different music types
The three music types used in this study are defined as follows:
Recognisable songs are songs that users know.
Instrumentals are songs with limited to no lyrics.
Brand tailor-made tracks are songs made specifically for a branded campaign.
Recognisable songs lead to the biggest gain for likeability of ads. Compared to instrumentals and brand tailor-made tracks, recognisable music was 5% more liked and generated significantly higher purchase intent.
Carrefour aimed to build loyalty with the TikTok community and drive a loveable offline action. To do this they utilised TopView, the first ad any and every user sees when they jump on to TikTok. To grab users attention and prevent those thumbs from scrolling, they used KyleYouMadeThat's viral hit 'All About Cake' as the soundtrack of the ad, which assisted the campaign in achieving a 24.72% clickthrough rate.
Instrumental music generates the strongest brand recall and is more likely to be shared online by 18-24 year olds compared to recognisable songs and brand-tailored tracks.
BMW came to TikTok to launch a car brand to a younger audience. Their creative contained two GB athletes showing off their skills while highlighting the car's newest features, and they chose the perfect instrumental to accompany the upbeat and exciting ad which helped grow BMW UK's ad recall by 10.7%.
Brand tailor-made tracks generate the most intrigue and are seen as 'Intelligent'. They also receive significantly more track clicks when compared to recognisable songs and instrumentals. Tailor-made tracks provide a unique opportunity for brands on TikTok, they can be used to generate click-throughs or build a distinctive sonic brand asset over time.
To increase brand awareness, frozen pizza company, Gustavo Gusto, designed a TikTok-style campaign with pop parodies that perfectly utilised our sound-on platform. The tailor-made tracks brought fun-loving personality to the ad while authentically promoting their products. The TikTok community in Germany clearly loved this approach as the brand achieved an incredible 21.3% Ad Recall and 10.68% engagement rate.
Different music types can have an effect on various stages of the marketing funnel. When you're creating your ad consider which music type best suits your objective. Opt for recognisable songs if you want your audience to feel good when watching, instrumentals will have more users sharing your creative and brand tailor-made tracks will likely increase the number of clicks your ad receives.
If in doubt, opt for those songs that are trending. Trending sounds, especially those in the R&B, Rap and Pop genres, scored highly for 'Like you' - a key emotional driver of brand growth - as well as in the 'Fun', 'Inspiring' and 'Interesting' categories.
Boost engagement with music clickability
Spark Ads are the most native way to advertise on TikTok, enabling brands to boost their organic content, or the content of Creators. When you're running a Spark Ad, utilise music clickability to increase playtime with your brand. Music clickability deepens engagement by redirecting users, once they've clicked the sound, to the aggregated music page where they can watch more TikToks with that sound. The TikTok community is hyper engaged, so encourage them to recreate with your chosen sound or invite them to duet or stitch your ad.
If you have any questions about Spark Ads or sound on TikTok, reach out to your TikTok rep or get in touch with our Brand Partnerships team.
 TikTok Marketing Science Cross-Platform Sound Research 2021 conducted by Kantar
 TikTok Marketing Science EU Music in Ads Research 2021 conducted by Hotspex