Platform Specific Creative

This month, we’re tackling the elephant in the room for most marketing departments strapped with limited budgets: platform-specific ad creative.

Wait, Hasn’t that Always Been Important? 

Don’t get us wrong, creating ads designed to meet the best practices of the platform they’ll live on isn’t exactly new. But the one-two punch of TikTok’s takeover and restricted targeting brought on by iOS 14.5 mean that it's far more complicated than making sure your aspect ratios are right. 

Let us break it to you in case you’ve been ignoring your data. Reusing the ad creative that works on Instagram and Facebook on TikTok is getting you absolutely nowhere

The Great Entertainment Gap

We hear you shouting “BUT WHY?” into this email. So let’s get into it.

The reason why the same creative that works on Facebook and Instagram doesn’t work on TikTok boils down to one thing: audience expectations. 

Facebook and Instagram are legacy platforms with a decade-plus history of ad placements. Because of this, users are used to having their feed interrupted by ads that range from hyper-specific abandoned cart retargeting to top-of-the-funnel creative that almost passes as organic posts. 

On Instagram specifically, audiences are also used to seeing highly polished creative from their peers, influencers, and brands alike. This means the slick product shots and highly-produced videos often used in ad creative don’t stick out too far from the platform’s organic content. 

TikTok, on the other hand, doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, authenticity reigns supreme. Users are there to be entertained by other users — and can sniff out content and ad creative that is not focused on telling a story in a second. So repurposing the bottom-of-the-funnel creative focusing simply on selling a product that converts so well on Facebook will have TikTok users scrolling away as fast as they can.

How to Get it Right

We could write a textbook on how to get creative right on each platform, but we’ll spare your inbox today and stick to our top tips. 


We’ll say it again in case you missed it the first time: On TikTok, authenticity is king

Instagram & Facebook

The key to advertising on Meta’s platform is remembering that restricted targeting capabilities left in the wake of iOS 14.5 mean that you can’t simply outspend your competitors and win. Instead, you need to double down on your brand identity

Iterate, Always

There is one rule that holds true when it comes to creative on both platforms. Constant testing and iteration are the only ways to be successful. 

Customers are always telling you what they want. And the way to listen to them is to track core creative metrics — thumb stop rates, click through, view through, etc. — and then quickly iterate creative to respond to do more of what they like and less of what they don’t. 

How to Create Platform-Specific Content without Blowing Your Budget (or Losing Your Mind)

If you’ve been keeping a running list of all of the different types of content you’ll need to create for each platform, your head is likely spinning. 

But the good news is that building a library of UGC content from TikTok creators, static product shots, lifestyle imagery, and professional product videos also creates a well that your creative team will be able to draw from again and again. 

Okay, reposting creative across platforms doesn’t work. But that doesn’t mean that creative assets can’t be strategically repurposed. If you’ve generated a good mix of content, you can edit it in multiple ways depending on the platform you’re going to be advertising on. 

This ad from our client LTHR is a great example of how various types of creative assets can be edited together to fit the demands of a specific platform. The creative, which was designed specifically for Instagram, features a great mix of UGC and professional product videos. This mix works nicely for Instagram as it mixes strong branding with social proof. But it isn’t hard to imagine how the UGC content featured in this ad could be pulled out and edited into a more story-focused creative for TikTok. 

Marketing is Back, Baby

Here’s a hot take. The “marketing” that worked best on digital platforms over the last five years wasn’t really really marketing at all. It was targeting, plain and simple. If you knew where your audience was, and could outspend your competitors to reach them, then you didn’t have to try all that hard to be successful. 

Whether or not you agree with that take, one thing is clear. In this new era of marketing, that paradigm no longer holds true. In taking away advanced targeting capabilities, the iOS updates gave marketers their creativity back. 

Sure, the need to create platform-specific content makes things harder! But we’re back to the heart of what marketing has always been about — finding ways to connect with your customers in a way that creates a relationship and promises to fulfill a need (even if that need is entertainment). And we can’t help but be thrilled by the opportunity that presents. 

Want to learn more? Let’s talk.

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