How to Do Creative Testing on TikTok to Find Winning Ads in 2023
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How to Do Creative Testing on TikTok to Find Winning Ads in 2023

Jon BrodyJon Brody

July 15, 2021

TikTok has evolved from a mostly Gen-Z channel into a necessary platform for D2C/ecom marketers. Combined with creative testing, TikTok can be a beneficial part of your adaptive growth strategy across a wide range of audiences. With 48% of TikTok users not on Instagram, it’s a whole new frontier for marketers to explore. But the strategies you use on Facebook or Instagram aren’t necessarily going to work on TikTok. That’s because its algorithm works differently than on other social channels. It constantly adds new and relevant content, instead of only prioritizing content from people you already know. So, how do you leverage creative testing on TikTok for 2022 and 2023? Follow these tips:

Use Macro and Micro Testing

Creative testing on TikTok can be divided into macro and micro tests. Each one allows you to test production and thematic style, messaging style, sound, talent, and more.  

When launching on a new platform like TikTok, you typically want to invest most of your time and budget in macro tests. This will allow you to see bigger-picture creative trends to give you an understanding of what is or isn’t working for your target audience. After you’ve identified the type of content that is working well for your brand, you use micro creative testing to zero in on specific variables to help incrementally improve results.

Know Which KPIs to Test

You should be continually testing, evaluating, and learning while doing creative testing on TikTok. Changing variables and running tests should be a part of your TikTok strategy. Your creative testing budget should be defined by the KPIs you’re testing against, the testing options you choose, and the number of creative assets you are testing. Deciding which KPIs to test will depend on your objectives but it’s important not just to test: figure out what your success looks like and run your creative testing based on that.  

Your upper-funnel objectives should include reaching as many people as possible and sharing videos with those most likely to watch them. “Watch time” would be a key metric here, and it’s something TikTok shows in their analytics. 

Most mid-funnel TikTok campaigns include post engagement, such as how many views, comments, likes, and shares your website, landing page, blog post, etc. is getting, using click-through rate (CTR) as the key metric. 

The goals for lower-funnel TikTok campaigns typically use website conversions as their objective and CTR as the main KPI to evaluate creative success. An effective full-funnel TikTok strategy involves using consistent creative across the funnel to ensure you’re getting the most out of the effort and converting potential customers.

Use TikTok’s Creative Testing Tools 

TikTok has some excellent creative tools that can help you quickly and easily implement your marketing strategies. These tools go hand in hand with your marketing strategies to help your campaigns come to life. Some of the creative tools available to you on TikTok include:

  • Split Testing Tool

TikTok has a Split Testing tool that easily allows you to test two different versions of your ads to determine which one performs best and optimize future campaigns. You can test targeting, bidding & optimization, and creative. Split testing will keep your other variables the same while splitting your target audience into two equal groups that only see one ad per group. Using the Split Testing tool is a quick and precise way to compare strategies and measure changes in performance, giving you insight into where to spend and scale for the best ROI. 

  • Automated Creative Optimization

Automated Creative Optimization helps you manage your ads by finding high-performing combinations of your creative assets. It automatically combines images, video, ad text, and your call-to-action buttons into multiple ads for your marketing campaign. 

  • Video Template

Video Template allows you to create compelling videos fast and easy. You simply select from dozens of customizable templates and upload your photos, text, and logos. You save time and money avoiding video editors. This means you can present your marketing message more clearly with videos that pop, making everyone stop in their tracks and take notice. 

  • Smart Video Soundtrack

Music is an essential part of TikTok's video ads, and the right music can better help convey your brand image or product information to your target audience. Smart Video Soundtrack lets you test different background music and monitor the effect on ad delivery performance.

  • Quick Optimization

Quick Optimization is a smart tool that lets you create TikTok style ad-creative fast and efficiently, combining visual effects, opening frames, and music automatically to create up to 12 pieces of creative from a single video asset. 

  • Dynamic Scene

Dynamic Scene uses machine learning to break a video into multiple scenes and a myriad of variations, allowing you to easily test ad variations with different audiences to find the best-performing creative.

  • TikTok Video Editor

TikTok Video Editor is a video editor that allows you to add and edit video, images, music, text, subtitles, and more. Upload your own video and music or select from their extensive library. Select your font and text styles as well to easily generate professional content for viewers. TikTok offers image and video specifications so you don’t have to guess at how to best present your ad on TikTok. Specs such as aspect ratio, resolution, video length, brand name length, and product description length are covered. 

  • Asset Analysis Report

TikTok has an Asset Analysis Report tool that provides the metrics you need to evaluate the performance of your creative assets, even if used in multiple campaigns or ad groups.  You can customize reports, create and save filters, and export data.

Allow Adequate Time For TikTok Creative Testing 

The typical timeline for creative testing on TikTok is at least 4 weeks to allow the algorithm time to learn. Ads leave the learning phase after 50 events or conversions. If your ad group is struggling to hit at least 20 conversions in the first 10 days, it isn’t likely to pass the learning phase. This is a good indicator that you need to adjust the creative, broaden your target audience, or try a different approach.


TikTok is about being fun and entertaining, and your creative should reflect that. Your ads need to be exciting and engaging. Take advantage of TikTok’s creative tools to create winning campaigns and ad groups. Make sure your ad opening catches the attention of your audience. You can do this by presenting your ads in unusual and creative ways. Then, make sure the rest of your ad holds your audience’s attention to the end with compelling information. Finally, don’t overlook how important the sound is on TikTok. This is where the platform is very different from Facebook or Google Ads. Have you struggled with your TikTok campaigns? If so, check in with one of our strategists here at Ladder. We’re here to help you create the best creative, and that’s done through thorough creative testing on TikTok.

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