It’s all about making highly memorable ad content, according to a talk I sat in on at SXSW in spring of this year. 

On stage for the talk (you can listen to the entire talk here) was TikTok’s Global Head of Marketing Science, Jorge Ruiz, and US & Europe CEO at the company, Neuro–Insight, Pranav Yadav.

The insights these two guys shared were not just assumptions, like a lot of marketing best practices out there are. Instead, the insights that offered up are based on some serious research that reviewed the performance of several ads on TikTok. That’s we at The Wurst thought you’d appreciate us sharing them.

My main takeaway: Making ad content that is memorable is key to driving an audience to act and engage. What this means is that whatever you create when it comes to your TikTok ad creative, it has to have elements in it that leads to it sticking in your audience’s long-term memory. 

Not to mention, as is the case with all good advertising content, you’ve got to ensure that your brand is adequately and cleverly represented in the ad so that the audience subconsciously connects the memorable content with your brand. 

If you fail to do this, then like Pranav cleverly pointed out in the talk: ‘you’re just making good content’ that will have little impact on your ad campaign’s goals.

The insight – ‘make your content memorable’ – was not only something I heard at this talk. It was also spoken about extensively by another neuroscientist making waves in the marketing world, Pranav Yadav, in her talk.

So the age-old mantra in the ad world – ‘make your ad content emotional’ was replaced in my mind by the new data-backed mantra, ‘make your ad content memorable.’

How to make memorable ad content is a science in itself that requires skills, techniques and insights grown from experience far beyond any solitary post like this. 

However, the talk did outline a few findings from the research that can be useful. 

I’m sharing these techniques, along with other key takeaways from the talk, below in a convenient, snack-sized format – just the way you like it:


  • All ads featured in the ad content extravaganza that is the Super Bowl in 2022 were touched by tech in some way


  • TikTok ads with a high density of information are the most effective and perform best. This means that the more you pack into a short space of time, the more likely you are to see your content stick with the audience. I guess – and this is really just my assumption – that the more epiphany moments, and the more new information your audience gets in a space of time, the more they feel rewarded by that piece of content and are more likely to remember it


  • In terms of style, fast-paced TikTok posts perform best – they tend to drive memorability


  • Music plays a large role in Ad content and post memorability on TikTok. Leverage this insight and use sound effects, too


  • While this one seems obvious to me considering TikTok is the unique social media beast that it is – use only platform-specific creatives on TikTok.  Ad content made for TikTok, in a TikTok native style, drives the best performance


  • When trying to balance promotion and storytelling in your ad content – simply test what works best for your brand. The best performance here will be specific to what you’re offering and who your brand is to your audience


The final insight that resonated: the research shows that TikTok sees higher receptiveness of brand messaging, calls-to-action, and ad breakthrough compared to other platforms.

While this finding may seem tainted by the fact that it came from a TikTok employee who has an interest in promoting the channel as a business-friendly place, it was a claim backed up by Pranav. 


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