GOOD IDEAS: TikTok’s own advice for shooting effective content

TikTok have published some useful advice for making content that’s worth paying attention to.

May’s ‘Creativity on TikTok: A Marketer’s Guide to Creating TikTok Ad Creative’ gives some good pointers to help you get your head around the platform.

Of course, the time-honoured advice is to spend at least a month getting to know the platform yourself. That’s hard to beat. Do that and you’ll work out what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve done that TikTok’s guidance will make even more sense.

What are the eight things that TikTok suggest?


Analysis I carried out a couple of years point to 16 seconds being optimum. The TikTok guide points for it to be even shorter. They now suggest for ads between nine and 12-seconds which calls for briefer narrative arcs.


Be briefer!


Have a clear user friendly narrative through your video, TikTok suggest.

So, @poppycooks ‘What is the fuss about this chip shop?’ sets it out clearly. So does historian @jdraperlondon ‘When was a monarch last assassinated.’ As does Isle of Man Police ‘Why white helmets?’ is in response to a comment that poses the very question.

By doing so you set out exactly what your viewer will get.

Stimulate senses

Grab attention with editing techniques, they suggest. TikTok’s own camera has a range of editing tricks you can use with 40 per cent of the most watched content being made directly on the app itself.


They suggest to think about the role sound will play from the start. This makes sense as trending music can be a way of reaching a wider audience. Watch one clip with an attention-grabbing sound clip and people will often scroll through more for compare or contrast. You are, therefore, rewarded for remixing existing content. This is a big difference from Facebook’s Reels which aim to beat TikTok on its own game.

Use captions and overlays, please set out the world. You can do this through picking out key messages and highlighting them as a piece of text.


Fill the screen, they say. That’s easier said than done. My old colleagues Express & Star photographers would be excellent at making each part of the picture visual and busy. Dead space was the enemy. That’s a good approach to take.

Go native

TikTok is a hugely democratic app. A lack of polish is encouraged and authenticity is at a premium. A glossy film just makes people suspicious n TikTok. So, your mobile phone is actually more powerful that a Ridley Scott commercial.  Use your device to edit using TikTok’s app.

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