Navigating the New TikTok Ad Library: A Guide for Advertisers
If you're familiar with the TikTok Creative Centre, you're likely also acquainted with the 'Top Ads Dashboard'. It's basically a treasure chest of ad data and insights that can supercharge your advertising campaigns.
However, TikTok has now upped the ante with their new Ad Library, also known as 'Ads Transparency Library' or 'Commercial Content Library'. This tool offers advertisers even deeper insights into ad campaigns than the Top Ads Dashboard. And for a platform housing 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide, every detail matters.
So what makes this new updated TikTok Ad Library special? And is it really the game changer it's touted to be for advertisers?
In this guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of navigating the new TikTok Ad Library:
Understanding the TikTok Ad Library
What features does the TikTok Ad Library include?
What benefits does the TikTok Ad Library provide for marketers?
Step by step guide to navigating the TikTok Ad Library
How to Maximise the TikTok Ad Library with MagicBrief
What is the new TikTok Ad Library?
The TikTok Ad Library is a TikTok transparency initiative that provides searchable insights into all past and present ad campaigns. In an era where ad transparency is not just a luxury, but a necessity, it comes as a response to increasing pressure for more openness in digital advertising.
Currently launched and primarily serving users in the European Union, it's a significant step towards helping users understand the creators and funders behind TikTok ads. It also offers real-time ad insights such as their target audience size, gender, age and even additional information like audience interests, ad duration, and even the organisations that paid for the ad.
TikTok has even included ‘commercial in nature’ content, tagged with either a paid partnership label or promotional label in their database. This means the Ad Library not only covers traditional paid ads, but influencer marketing content that's commercial in nature. So even if an influencer's post isn't technically a paid ad, if it has a promotional intent, then it will appear in the Ad Library.
So why has TikTok introduced this level of transparency?
The primary reason TikTok launched the Ad Library is to comply with regulations like the European Union's Digital Services Act. Due to TikTok being now classified as a very large online platform (VLOP) under the DSA, it must adhere to stricter conditions of transparency and disclosure.
Besides this initiative benefiting users and advertisers, this transparency also extends to the academic and research community. TikTok has expanded access to its research API to Europe, allowing researchers to study systemic risks and trends associated with major social media platforms. This move not only aids in regulatory compliance but also contributes to a broader understanding of the social and cultural impacts of digital platforms.
TikTok Ad Library Features for Advertisers
The Ad Library is packed with features that make it a goldmine of information. To give advertisers a crystal clear idea of what it can do, here are some key features you should be aware of:
- Searchable Ad Campaigns: Search ads by target country, ad types, ad published date and advertiser name or keyword.
- Detailed Ad Information: Clicking on any campaign provides a detailed advert summary, including its running duration, demographic information, funders, which countries it was running in, and additional parameters such as an audience's interests, video interactions, and creator interactions.
- Influencer Marketing Content: The library includes content that is ‘commercial in nature’, labelled as either a paid partnership label or promotional label. This helps viewers to quickly distinguish influencers posting strictly organic content from those engaging in promotional activities.
- Ad Performance Metrics: Ad performance metrics are provided for each ad, including the days unique ads were published, impressions and which countries the ad was most seen in.
- Inclusion of All Ads: If an ad has received at least a single impression or published after October 1, 2022, it's considered ad content and must be included in the library.
- No Political Ads: The TikTok Ad Library does not contain any political or election ads. This helps to eliminate the risk of being exposed to controversial or influential content.
- Advertiser Information: On the 'Ads Summary' page, you will find the advertiser's name, along with the person or entity that paid for the ad, if different from the advertiser (like an agency, for example). You'll also have access to all their past and existing ads for further analysis.
TikTok Ad Library Benefits
Should marketers who operate on TikTok use the TikTok Ad Library? Here's a closer look at just some of the ways you can use this resource:
- Spy on competitors: See what, where and when ads are being served, and which countries they are targeting. Also see their demographic segments, and their entire campaign history. You can use this information to inform your own advertising campaign strategies
- See current trends: Learn what your competitors are posting in 2023. See who they’re partnering with and what type of content they’re using on their advertisements.
- Get creative ideas: In need of creative sparks? The Ad Library, when paired with the MagicBrief, becomes a wellspring of ideas for your upcoming ad campaign. It allows you to delve into the specifics of successful campaigns, from the choice of music to the video frames that garnered the most engagement.
- Keep up to date: The TikTok Ad Library is updated within 24 hours of any changes or updates made to an ad or campaign. If your industry competitors have made subtle changes to their ad campaigns, you'll be the first to know.
- Track impressions over time: Keep tabs on how many impressions each of your competitors ads is getting over a given time. Compare their trajectory to yours to get a gauge of your own progress.
- Improve targeting: Identify what type of groups are being targeted by different competitors. Check their target audience's age, gender, country, interests and the type of creators and videos they're engaging with.
- Timely updates: It'll generally take up to 24 hours for an ad or a piece of commercial content to be included in the library after it gets its first impression. Any ad campaign changes or updates will also be reflected in the library within 24 hours.
- No need to login: The Ad Library is open to all users, which can help advertisers dissect competitor campaigns and track industry trends. Unlike the TikTok Creative Centre that requires logging in to use its full range features, the Ad Library is completely public.
If you’re interested in learning more about TikTok's Ad Library, check out our TikTok Creative Center guide.
How to use TikTok's Ads Transparency Library
As mentioned, you won't have to create an account to use the TikTok Ad library's full range of features. It's totally free and open to creators, advertisers & brands, publishers, journalists and the public.
With that being said, let's go through the library’s key features and explain how to use them:
- Access the TikTok ad library
Navigate to the TikTok Ad Library website.
- Input your search criteria
Select your 'Ad target country', 'Ad published date' and 'Advertiser name/keyword' and press 'Search'. Including the advertiser's name or keyword is optional, but you'll be left with better, more relevant search results if you do.
- Click on the TikTok advert you wish to analyse
Scroll through the various adverts and click on what interests you. This will open up a more detailed page, with all the information about that particular advertisement.
- Analyse and apply insights to your campaign
Now it’s time to dive head-first into the data.
Take this Boots ad for example.
We can see that their target audience were:
- UK users, aged between 18-54 years old
- Interested in Apparel & Accessories, News & Entertainment, Life Services, and Beauty & Personal Care.
- Regularly engaging with fashion and beauty content creators.
You can then identify other competitors and begin to compare this data across similar campaigns. If you discover that Boots' target audience aligns with many of your competitors, their campaign can serve as a blueprint for your own.
Besides targeting, you can inspect the ad creative such as its headline, copy, visual elements, CTAs, etc. If Boots’ top performing ads use a certain colour palette or video layout, consider using a similar creative approach for your own campaigns.
Of course, you shouldn’t copy the same ad, but use it as a starting point for your own creativity.
- Explore other commercial content
Are you aware that TikTok hosts a vast amount of commercial content? Brands and influencers utilise the platform to endorse products and services that often appear purely organic. Although not technically classified as 'paid ads', these promotions still play a significant role in shaping consumer behaviour.
According to a 2020 Matter Survey, 61% of consumers trust influencer product recommendations, compared to 38% for branded content. Simply put, when influencers plug products, people listen and make purchases.
To use this feature, navigate to the ‘Other commercial content’ tab in the Ad Library and input the relevant details to find your chosen creator. You can then analyse their active commercial content to gain inspiration for your own campaigns.
- Download the ‘All ads report’
The ad reports page shows the countries where the ads were displayed, along with the distribution of ads per country. For instance, in our example below, Spain had 60.95% of the ads, while France had only 39.05%.
You can also discover which dates unique ads were posted, so you can get a sense of the cadence of campaigns. If, for example, a company posted ads more frequently during a particular season, you can use this information to anticipate when they might launch future campaigns. This can help you strategically plan your own ad schedule to either coincide with or avoid these high-activity periods.
To get a detailed snapshot of a creator's ads, download the report by scrolling down and clicking ‘Download all reports’. You can then view additional information such as the number of ads posted per country.
- Ongoing Analysis and Adjustments
Remember that your insights today may differ from your insights of next month. This is because advertisers typically use A/B testing to test different creative elements and ad copy, leading to newer, more optimised campaigns.
The TikTok Ad Library is updated within 24 hours of any changes or updates made to an ad campaign. To keep your finger on the pulse of a competitor or collaborator's ad campaigns, it's important to regularly review, analyse, and adjust your ongoing analysis.
Pair the TikTok Ad Library with MagicBrief to Maximise Results
The TikTok Ad Library can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, but it's only as effective as the strategies you use to put it to work.
This is where MagicBrief comes in.
Our platform helps advertisers plan and execute successful TikTok ad campaigns by providing a central advertising library. From here, you can save and collect ads from TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, all in one place.
MagicBrief also enables you to create comprehensive briefs and storyboards for your ads. These can be used to share ideas with colleagues, receive feedback and monitor your campaign's effectiveness.
In a nutshell, pairing the TikTok Ad Library with MagicBrief makes it easy for advertisers to create engaging campaigns and maximise results.
Sign up and try it out today for free - you won't be disappointed!
TikTok Ad Library Key Takeaways
Need the highlights? Here’s what you marketers need to know about the TikTok Ad Library:
- The TikTok transparency Ad Library was created to adhere to advertising transparency regulations from the DSA.
- Advertisers can gain comprehensive insights into TikTok ad campaigns, including target demographics, ad duration, and their funders. This can help inform and optimise future advertising strategies, and help you better understand the TikTok algorithm.
- The ad library provides creative inspiration when creating new campaigns. Check image and video elements such as colour palette, transitions, and audio from competitor ads.
- The TikTok Ad Library extends beyond just paid ads, encompassing influencer marketing content that's seen as 'commercial in nature'. You can now explore how influencers are leveraging their reach on TikTok.
- The Ad Library updates all data within a day of changes. Advertisers can now stay on top of industry trends and quickly respond to market changes.
The new TikTok Ad Library isn't just a great tool for advertising transparency - it's an advertiser's secret weapon for gaining competitive insights and creative ideas. Using this library, you should have everything you need to create memorable campaigns that will make an impact on the TikTok platform.
Ready to get started? Take a look through the Ad Library and start crafting your own unique ads for success on TikTok!