TikTok Ad Spying: How to Legally Steal Top Ads in Your Industry

By Ian Fernando

TikTok has exploded in popularity over the last few years. The short-form video app now has over 1 billion monthly active users, making it a prime platform for advertisers.

However, running successful TikTok ad campaigns can be challenging. With so much content and competition, how do you stand out?

That's where TikTok ad spy tools come in handy. These tools allow you to research what's working for top brands and influencers on TikTok, so you can model their success.

In this post, I'll show you how to use ad spy tools like Anstrex to optimize your TikTok ads and get better results.

Step 1: Find Top Performing TikTok Ads in Your Niche

The first step is using an ad spy tool to discover the highest performing TikTok ads relevant to your niche, industry, or target audience.

With Anstrex, you can search through a database of over 4 billion TikTok ads. Filter by category, likes, comments, shares, and more to see the top ads.

This helps reveal what types of videos, captions, sounds, hashtags, and creative styles resonate most with your target audience on TikTok.

Step 2: Analyze Successful Ad Elements

Now take a closer look at the top performing ads that surfaced in your search.

Pay attention to elements like:

  • Video style and editing
  • Length
  • Caption copy
  • Sounds/music used
  • Hashtags and mentions
  • Call-to-actions

Look for patterns in the highest performing TikTok ads that you can model and test in your own campaigns. This spy tool lets you export and save ads to analyze further.

With just a few clicks, you can see important stats on an ad's overall reach, engagement, demographics, and more. This high-level view equips you with the full picture of why a TikTok ad is resonating, so you can apply those winning factors to your own campaigns. Having access to performance metrics and engagement data is invaluable for optimizing your ads.

Here you can view how many total ads an advertiser is currently running. This provides useful context for the overall health and optimization strategy behind their TikTok ad campaigns. Seeing the volume of ads and ongoing tests indicates how committed an advertiser is to the platform.

It also suggests they likely have robust budgets and data to continuously refine their ads and creativity. As you analyze high-performing ads, note advertisers running multiple sophisticated campaigns as they offer more learning opportunities.

The number of active ads can indicate the depth of resources and iteration being applied to perfect their creativity and strategy over time.

Step 3: Apply Winning Elements to Your Ads

Use what you learned from analyzing top ads to optimize your own TikTok ad creative and strategy.

Some ways to apply what's working:

  • Creative style: Emulate the video editing techniques, visual effects, graphics, lighting, and overall production quality of top performing ads in your niche. For example, beauty ads often have high quality close-up shots and b-roll sequences that you could mimic.
  • Caption copy: Use similar formats for your headlines, call-to-actions, emoji usage and ad text. Structure your captions to resemble the captivating copy of successful ads.
  • Sounds: Re-use the same popular music clips, sound effects, or voice overs that are working well in other ads. Consider licensing the same tracks that are being applied effectively.
  • Hashtags: Include relevant niche hashtags that top ads target to expand your reach. Identify hashtags driving engagement for other brands and leverage them in your own ads.
  • Ad formats: Test the same ad formats (TopView, Brand Takeover, In-Feed Video) that are resonating in your niche. The ideal format depends on your goals and target audience.
  • Targets: Mirror the gender, age, interests, and other audience targets of top performers if you have similar targets. Their proven success suggests who to focus ad spend on.

While you don't want to duplicate content outright, this informed experimentation and adaptation of elements will give your TikTok ad creative more chance for success, given the specific evidence.

Step 4: A/B Test New Versions Against Old Ads

The key is to rigorously test your new "spy ad versions" against old creative and copy using A/B split testing.

This involves setting up two identical campaigns, except Campaign A runs your old ads while Campaign B runs your new ads optimized based on spy tool insights.

You want to pay close attention to key metrics like:

  • Click-through-rate (CTR) - How many more clicks are the optimized versions getting?
  • Conversions - Are your optimized ads leading to more purchases, sign-ups, downloads etc?
  • View completion rate - Are people watching more of your new video creative?
  • Engagement rate - Are the new ads generating more likes, shares, comments?
  • Cost per result - Are your optimized ads driving desired actions at a lower cost?

Monitor these metrics over the full run of the test campaign and see which version is performing better overall. The spy tool insights are validated if your new ads are outperforming old creatives across relevant metrics.

Be sure to only test one major variable at a time.

For example, in the first test, just the video creative changes while keeping the ad copy the same. Next, you can test just changing the caption copy while the visuals remain static. This isolation helps reveal what specific elements of your optimized ads are moving the needle in your favor.

With rigorous A/B testing, you gain statistical confidence that your TikTok ad spy findings translate into better real-world performance and results. This fuels further optimization and refinement over time.

Ready to Boost Your TikTok Ads?

TikTok ad spying equips you with data-driven insights on what performs best on the platform right now. This takes much of the guesswork out of optimizing campaigns.

Tools like Anstrex Instream make it simple to quickly find winning ad examples in your niche so you can replicate their success.

Remember to systematically test new versions against old ones using what you learn. With this strategy, your TikTok ad results will reach new heights!

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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