Understand How Shopify’s Product Recommendations API Work

Hey there, fellow Shopify merchants and developers! Looking to give your online sales a much-needed boost? Well, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we’re going to dive into the world of product recommendations and understand how they work so you can use them on your Shopify stores. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!

Understanding Product Recommendation Intents

Shopify provides different product recommendations based on the “intent” of the customer that the merchant is targeting:

  • Related products
  • Complementary products

Let’s see what each of these means and how they’re different from each other.

Related products are products that are similar to the product the customer is interacting with. You can often see this type of product recommendation under sections titled :

  • You might also like
  • Consider a similar item
  • Products related to an item
  • Customers frequently viewed

Complementary products are, well… you guessed it, complementary products. You might find these products titled:

  • Frequently bought together
  • Pair it with
  • Customers Who Bought This Also Purchased
  • Recommended Add-Ons
  • Popular Bundles
  • Customers Also Liked
  • Enhance Your Purchase with These Items
  • Complete Your Set with These Products

Setting Up An Example Product Recommendation Request

Here is an example of a Python script and Shopify’s product recommendation.

This tutorial assumes you have created a Shopify Partner account, a test development app and a test development store. We’ll go over a few Python scripts to see what goes on under the hood in Shopify libraries.

Steps 1-5 consist of OAuth flow which enables your app to access Shopify’s API.

Step 1:

Firstly, we need to install the app on the dev store. This can be done on the Shopify Partner admin back end pretty easily. Refer to the screenshot below:

How to install a test app on a test store

Step 2:

Now, let’s start the authorization flow with Shopify. We’ll send a POST request to my store’s URL and get the access token.

Here is the URL:


So you’ll need to replace:

  • YOUR_SHOP_DOMAIN: this is the shop_name.myshopify.com URL

You can find the Client ID from the Client Credentials page on the Partners back end (refer to the screenshot below).

Client credentials

Tip: The redirection_uri needs to be whitelisted on App Setup in the Partners back end.
Tip 2: <RANDOM_STATE> is a random code to add to the request. Store this number as we’ll need it again for some verification.
Tip 3: Run the code below for generating RANDOM_STATE.

import secrets

random_state = secrets.token_urlsafe(16)

Step 3:

Once you post that URL in your browser, you’ll be redirected to the redirect_uri as specified in your POST.

Take a look at your redirect URL. There are some important parameters in it!


Here are the parameters:

  • code: The authorization code you need to exchange for access and refresh tokens.
  • hmac: A message authentication code for data integrity verification.
  • host: The host of your app.
  • shop: The Shopify store’s domain.
  • state: The random state value you provided earlier.
  • timestamp: The timestamp of the request.

The most important is the “code”, which in the URL above is 9bb7a1c26d2b570ebcd3fa4cecd9922e.

Step 4:

Now, time to create a POST request using Python!

Here is an example code of a Python request script.

import requests
import json

# Replace these values with your actual client ID, client secret, and authorization code
client_id = "YOUR_CLIENT_ID"
client_secret = "YOUR_CLIENT_SECRET"
authorization_code = "AUTHORIZATION_CODE"

# Construct the request payload
payload = {
    "client_id": client_id,
    "client_secret": client_secret,
    "code": authorization_code

# Make the POST request to the Shopify token endpoint
response = requests.post("https://mehmets-dev.myshopify.com/admin/oauth/access_token", json=payload)

# Parse the JSON response
data = response.json()

# Extract the access token and refresh token
access_token = data["access_token"]

# Print the tokens
print("Access Token:", access_token)

So access_token is what you need out of the response to your request.

Step 5:

Up until this step, we’ve worked through Shopify’s OAuth flow. Now we can create our request to Shopify’s API.

import requests
import json

# Replace these values with your actual access token and store URL
store_url = "mehmets-dev.myshopify.com"
product_id = "123123123123123"
limit = 4
intent = "related"
access_token = "ACCESS_TOKEN"

# Make a GET request to the Shopify API endpoint to retrieve product recommendations
url = f"https://{store_url}/en/recommendations/products.json?product_id={product_id}&limit={limit}&intent={intent}"
headers = {
    "X-Shopify-Access-Token": access_token
response = requests.get(url, headers=headers)

# Parse the JSON response
data = response.json()

# Process the data as needed
# ...

# Example: Print the retrieved product recommendations
for recommendation in data['recommendations']:

In the code above, we’re sending a request to the store’s URL using the access token that we acquired in the step prior. The access token goes into the header of the request.


  • product_id: This is the product_id that can be found on the merchant’s store backend
  • limit: You can limit the number of recommended products
  • intent: Only two possible values; related or complementary – explained in the first section

API Response

The response is a JSON list of the products recommended for the queried product.

The response consists of parameters such as id, name, description and many other things. This is so that the API’s response can directly be fed into Shopify themes or Shopify apps.

The full list of products keys in the products key:

['id', 'title', 'handle', 'description', 'published_at', 'created_at', 'vendor', 'type', 'tags', 'price', 'price_min', 'price_max', 'available', 'price_varies', 'compare_at_price', 'compare_at_price_min', 'compare_at_price_max', 'compare_at_price_varies', 'variants', 'images', 'featured_image', 'options', 'url', 'media', 'requires_selling_plan', 'selling_plan_groups']

An example of the response:

 "intent": "related",
 "products": [
     "id": 35,
     "title": "Gorgeous Silk Coat",
     "handle": "gorgeous-silk-coat",
     "description": null,
     "published_at": "2019-02-26T11:34:58-05:00",
     "created_at": "2019-02-26T11:34:58-05:00",
     "vendor": "Marge Group",
     "type": "Outdoors",
     "tags": [],
     "price": 380000,
     "price_min": 380000,
     "price_max": 790000,
     "available": true,
     "price_varies": true,
     "compare_at_price": null,
     "compare_at_price_min": 0,
     "compare_at_price_max": 0,
     "compare_at_price_varies": false,
     "variants": [
         "id": 69,
         "title": "Small Aluminum Knife",
         "option1": "Small Aluminum Knife",
         "option2": null,
         "option3": null,
         "sku": "",
         "requires_shipping": true,
         "taxable": true,
         "featured_image": null,
         "available": true,
         "name": "Gorgeous Silk Coat - Small Aluminum Knife",
         "public_title": "Small Aluminum Knife",
         "options": [
           "Small Aluminum Knife"
         "price": 790000,
         "weight": 9500,
         "compare_at_price": null,
         "inventory_management": "shopify",
         "barcode": null
         "id": 70,
         "title": "Heavy Duty Bronze Shoes",
         "option1": "Heavy Duty Bronze Shoes",
         "option2": null,
         "option3": null,
         "sku": "",
         "requires_shipping": true,
         "taxable": true,
         "featured_image": null,
         "available": true,
         "name": "Gorgeous Silk Coat - Heavy Duty Bronze Shoes",
         "public_title": "Heavy Duty Bronze Shoes",
         "options": [
           "Heavy Duty Bronze Shoes"
         "price": 380000,
         "weight": 2200,
         "compare_at_price": null,
         "inventory_management": "shopify",
         "barcode": null
     "images": [],
     "featured_image": null,
     "options": [
         "name": "Color or something",
         "position": 1,
         "values": [
           "Small Aluminum Knife",
           "Heavy Duty Bronze Shoes"
     "url": "/products/gorgeous-silk-coat?pr_choice=default&pr_prod_strat=copurchase&pr_rec_pid=35&pr_ref_pid=17&pr_seq=alternating"
     "id": 13,
     "title": "Gorgeous Wooden Computer",
     "handle": "gorgeous-wooden-computer",
     "description": null,
     "published_at": "2019-02-26T11:34:15-05:00",
     "created_at": "2019-02-26T11:34:15-05:00",
     "vendor": "Purdy Inc",
     "type": "Garden",
     "tags": [],
     "price": 930000,
     "price_min": 930000,
     "price_max": 1730000,
     "available": true,
     "price_varies": true,
     "compare_at_price": null,
     "compare_at_price_min": 0,
     "compare_at_price_max": 0,
     "compare_at_price_varies": false,
     "variants": [
         "id": 25,
         "title": "Mediocre Silk Bottle",
         "option1": "Mediocre Silk Bottle",
         "option2": null,
         "option3": null,
         "sku": "",
         "requires_shipping": true,
         "taxable": true,
         "featured_image": null,
         "available": true,
         "name": "Gorgeous Wooden Computer - Mediocre Silk Bottle",
         "public_title": "Mediocre Silk Bottle",
         "options": [
           "Mediocre Silk Bottle"
         "price": 1730000,
         "weight": 5700,
         "compare_at_price": null,
         "inventory_management": "shopify",
         "barcode": null
         "id": 26,
         "title": "Lightweight Paper Shirt",
         "option1": "Lightweight Paper Shirt",
         "option2": null,
         "option3": null,
         "sku": "",
         "requires_shipping": true,
         "taxable": true,
         "featured_image": null,
         "available": true,
         "name": "Gorgeous Wooden Computer - Lightweight Paper Shirt",
         "public_title": "Lightweight Paper Shirt",
         "options": [
           "Lightweight Paper Shirt"
         "price": 930000,
         "weight": 6600,
         "compare_at_price": null,
         "inventory_management": "shopify",
         "barcode": null
     "images": [],
     "featured_image": null,
     "options": [
         "name": "Color or something",
         "position": 1,
         "values": [
           "Mediocre Silk Bottle",
           "Lightweight Paper Shirt"
     "url": "/products/gorgeous-wooden-computer?pr_choice=default&pr_prod_strat=description&pr_rec_pid=13&pr_ref_pid=17&pr_seq=alternating"

Note: Shopify may return fewer recommendations than you expected. I saw many examples where the API only recommended one product or even none. These are usually stores with small or old data

Tracking Product Recommendations

You might want to track the traffic that engages with these recommendations. This data might help you find many insights. For example, at what stage of your website funnel do complementary offers work better? And when do related item offers work?

Shopify already appends some parameters to link in the recommendations they provide in their API. Here are the parameters:

  • pr_prod_strat=use_description
  • pr_rec_id=123123123
  • pr_rec_pid=123123123
  • pr_ref_pid=123123123
  • pr_seq=uniform

I couldn’t find any documentation on what each of these parameters refers to. So I don’t have the exact information. But we can always speculate!

I left the text values for the parameters from an example I have (and randomized the numeric values).

pr_prod_strat: this sounds like they’re testing a few strategies about using or not using the product description in the product recommendation itself.

We have two id values: pr_rec_id and pr_rec_pid. I believe this way you can refer to individual product recommendations to a single product recommendation response. This could come in handy in tracking what combinations of products convert better.

pr_seq: not sure what this refers to at all!

Extra parameters

We won’t go into much detail here on how to implement these extra parameters. These parameters can be added to the end of the link URL.

These parameters can refer to where the products are displayed. Imagine you display these products on another product page or a certain section of the homepage. It would be good to know which of these offers perform where and when.

Using Conversion Sets in Google Ads

It’s important to put conversions actions in sets with your Google ads set up. By default, Google Ads gives you several categories to work with. Some examples are:

  • Submit lead forms
  • Sign-ups
  • Contacts
  • Other
  • Page views

These goal categories are also grouped together. There are three of them.

  • Sales categories
  • Leads categories
  • More categories.

By putting your conversion actions into these groups, you give Google Ads information on what goals to prioritize when bidding for traffic.

You can also set value for your conversions, such as purchase actions. This would enable you to optimize for ROAS, for instance.

For more information on this, visit the blog in link below:


What I learned advertising for small e-commerce businesses during BFCM 2020

I advertise on social media for small e-commerce businesses. As I am finishing up this crazy-long week and a non-stop working streak of 9 days, I managed to sit down to write down some of my learnings.

Advertise your offer!

BFCM is all about offers. Whether it is a discount or a buy-one-get-one-free offer, customers are hunting for offers for the entirety of the BFCM event. Focus on promoting your offer upfront and foremost in your creatives. Anything else than the offer; your brand, product benefits or social proof should come second.

Free with your purchase offers are always interesting!

If you do not have a compelling discount offer, it is not worth advertising during BFCM. In that case, I suggest reducing the budgets to a minimum and wait until Tuesday or even Wednesday after BFCM. The ROAS’s on your regular campaigns will be all over the place if you keep them running and much likely will be losing you money.

Don’t forget to include the code in your creative!

Think simple. People are looking for the best discount offers. Give it to them. Image ads are usually the simplest way of communicating the offer as video ads may be confusing. A simple image of the best-selling product with the discount offer displayed prominently works great! Video ads can work great as well but it is important to make a show of the offer in the very first scene.

A simple product reel with a discount offer and code can work better than complex ad videos.

Run a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Week Campaign

Do not focus all your energy and budget to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Many brands and Amazon have been running Black Friday Week and Cyber Monday Week campaigns for years now. Customers are already expecting to see offers beginning of the BF week. Start your campaigns on the Monday of BF week and keep running your Cyber Monday campaign until the end of that week. This strategy gives you enough time to make last-minute small changes. More importantly, it allows enough time for your campaigns to come out of the learning phase for the best possible performance on the high-volume days.

Plan Ahead

Schedule your ads at least 3 days before the anticipated start date. Ad reviews during the BF week take over 24 hours. In case an ad gets rejected, you can have another chance at it with the 3-day buffer.

Have your backup plan ready in creatives. There is no time for creative testing during the BF week. Prepare your image ads, video ads and ad copies covering any ideas that you might want to explore in case you did not get the performance from your first set of creatives.

It is possible that Facebook or other social ad platforms do not spend the budget on your campaigns. It is a good idea to prepare duplicates of your campaign to make sure you “force” the platforms to spend the budget.

It is Expensive to Advertise During BFCM

CPM’s will go through the roof! Expect the average CPM across your accounts to increase by as much as 300%. This year, I have seen a 300% increase in my Facebook accounts and a 500% increase on Snapchat. Your conversion rates will increase as well but do not be surprised to see the crazy CPM’s.

A 270% increase in Facebook CPM’s in the BF weekend vs the 1st weekend in November

It is important to build retargeting audiences and email lists several months ahead of BFCM. Especially, email marketing campaigns work wonders during the BFCM event. Invest in your BFCM campaign when the CPM’s aren’t super high.

Finally, do not forget about the physical limitations of your e-commerce business. Think about the inventory, the shipping capacity and set reasonable targets with best-case and worst-case scenarios.

TikTok Statistics You Need to Know (August 2020)

TikTok sued the US government to block the ban to take effect the next month. In their lawsuit filing, TikTok revealed statistics on the surge of the app’s popularity in the US market.

As of August 2020, TikTok now has:

– about 100 million monthly active US users
50 million daily active US users
700 million monthly active users globally, and
– has over 2 billion global downloads.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/24/tiktok-reveals-us-global-user-growth-numbers-for-first-time.html

Why are People on TikTok and What do They do?

TikTok has taken over the scene of social media apps in 2020, with the best quarter for any app ever in Q1 2020 and surpassing 2 billion downloads globally. So, what is TikTok, who is on it and exactly what do they do?

As an overview, here are some important TikTok statistics you need to know:

  1. TikTok is now the sixth largest social network in the world. It has 800 million monthly active users.
  2. India, China and the US are the top three countries that account for the 2 billion downloads.
  3. Monthly active users in the US were reported to be 28 million in November 2019. We estimate this amount to be over 80 million after the surge in the app’s popularity during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
  4. According to a leaked TikTok pitch deck, the average American user opens the app 8+ times and spends over 46 minutes on the app daily.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form mobile video sharing app, as described on their website. It allows users to record, edit and share videos while watching what other users created.

 Who are on TikTok?

Although vastly dominated by Gen-Z, TikTok is increasingly becoming more mainstream with millennials and even older generations have begun to join the platform.

The last reported number of active users in the US was 28 million in November 2019. Based on the number of downloads, we are estimating that the number of active users in the US exceeded 50 million by May 2020.

TikTok didn’t disclose number of active users in the UK, however, there are several TikTok influencers in the UK that have follower counts of over 10 million.

What are the User Motivations on TikTok?

The use of all social media channels can be based on 5 basic motivations:

  • Social interaction
  • Self-expression
  • Archiving, following trends
  • Entertainment
  • Peeking into private lives

Each social media channel lures its users with one or even a combination of these motivations. Most users of Instagram frequent the app for checking up on their acquaintances (peeking into private lives) or the influencers they follow (following trends). Pinterest, however, works mostly as an archiving tool and for finding fashionable products or DIY projects (following trends). Twitter is a platform for discussing politics and other subjects (self-expression and social interaction).

For TikTok, the main user motivation is entertainment. TikTok is a platform that doesn’t tolerate negative issues, such as politics or hate or fights. An endless stream of entertaining short videos turns TikTok into an escapist’s paradise. Users who would like to take a break from their stressful lives and struggles go on the app to watch short-form entertaining videos.

The main difference between Tiktok and other platforms is the glorification of virtual and reality. Tiktok is in the opposite position of real life with all of its content, effects and background music. Since people use Tiktok content for escape from real life, Tiktok is the hub of content that complies with these codes.

What are the User Behaviours on TikTok?


Welcome to the Sisters Christmas Party! 🎅🏻❤️ ##fyp ##christmas ##HolidayBeat

♬ Tactical Christmas – chivalroustube

Although the quantitative data available is limited, user engagement on TikTok is crazy! Videos that are considered viral on TikTok easily get millions of views and thousands of comments. The video above by the TikTok star James Charles got 1.7 billion views and 70 thousand views.

The user behaviours in social media can be classified into three classes:

  • Consuming behaviour
  • Participating behaviour
  • Producing behaviour

Consuming behaviour:

These are users who use a social media app to only consume content and do not produce or participate.

Participating behaviour:

These are users who consume and content as well as like, share and comment but does not produce their own content.

Producing behaviour:

These are users who produce content and interact.

The Content Democracy

TikTok’s For You Page (FYP) makes it possible for any creator’s video to go viral, regardless of past performance or follower count. That is possible by the engagement of users, encouraging participating behaviour on the platform.

Low Imitation Threshold Content

Most content on TikTok works as User Generated Media (UGM), where other users can create their own content by imitating or recreating the original piece. Giving users a chance of self-expression, users are more likely to create pieces of video content compared to other video platforms such as YouTube.


TikTok is a platform with very high engagement rate with a democratic algorithm that allows any user with good content to go viral. For many users, TikTok works as an entertainment app where users can watch an endless stream of humorous videos and interact with others socially.

What’s different about TikTok content that makes the app so popular?

In the past few years, video consumption on mobile phones has become mainstream as broadband mobile internet is readily available. Although all of the social media channels now support video, what makes TikTok content so popular that TikTok videos make their ways to other channels?

The difference with TikTok is that TikTok shifted video production into being a social activity, blurring the line between the consumer and the producer.

Getting More Users to produce Video Content

A popular term with social media is User Generated Content (UGC). All social media channels are made up of content that’s generated by its users, just like TikTok. The difference with TikTok’s user generated content lies with the way the content is produced. TikTok allows users to co-create, allowing users to create their own media where other users can produce their own pieces of content on. This encourages more users to produce on the channel and it’s reshaping the video sharing market by encouraging more and more users to be video producers. So how does TikTok achieve this?

User Generated Content vs. User Generated Media

TikTok is made up of User Generated Media (UGM) along with User Generated Content (UGC). User Generated Media are pieces of content with a low imitation threshold.

You may be asking; what are examples of UGM’s on TikTok and how do they encourage more users to produce content?



Just gotta joke about it ##fyp ##positivevibes ##OwnTheCurve ##albumcoverchallenge

♬ Trumpet Sax – lextay_40

The above is an example from the collection of thousands of pieces of content that were created in the same format – the album cover challenge. Each of these videos shows users recreating an album cover photo in their own way, using apparel they already owned (easy production). They all use the same music and the same transitions. Each user adds their own spin by adding some on-screen text, associating that with the name of the album.



ur doing great sweetie ##antibiotics ##covid19 ##covid ##quarantine ##intheclub ##drunkwords ##trump

♬ original sound – iampeterchao

Lip-syncing is huge on TikTok. Many users just shoot their version of a video by using the same audio and lip-syncing over it. Above is a popular example of a user, whose account is made of videos of her lip-syncing excerpts from President Trump’s speeches. One of her videos even reached over a million views.

Themed audios


Karen gets a triple reverse card 🔃 😂 ##foryou ##xyzbca ##plottwist

♬ Majesty – Instrumental Mix – Apashe

Many pieces of audio on TikTok help users create content. Users are inspired by watching what other users created with the same piece of audio, and so they create their own.

The audio functions as a place holder for adding the pieces of video, marking the change of emotions in the story telling of the whole piece.

Users tell their stories by adding on-screen text and acting in the video. These audio pieces allow users to add over a certain number of video clips. Users can easily express themselves by adding the video associated with the emotion conveyed by the audio, and adding on-screen text on the videos.

Above is an example from a collection for a popular TikTok audio with over 90,000 pieces of content and millions of views.

How does this make TikTok different?

The UGM culture in TikTok allows a much higher percentage of users to be producers, compared to other video-only platforms such as YouTube. When compared to Instagram, Instagram users are much more likely to post carefully edited images rather than the much raw-looking videos on TikTok. The UGM culture also increases the engagement in terms of likes, comments and shares. Many users who are also producers themselves take a joy in engaging with other producer users.

TikTok content makes its way to other channels much more easily. There are even examples of TikTok content that have attracted much more attention on a secondary platform than it did on its original platform.

For example, the TikTok video above created by comedian Sarah Cooper originally received several hundred thousands of views on TikTok, however, it garnered over 6 million views on Twitter.


TikTok’s User-Generated Media culture allows more users on the platform to be producers rather than just staying as consumers. The same culture also increases the engagement of users with each other and increases the likelihood of virality of the content. For this reason, the time spent on the app increases and it may likely steal screen time from other social media platforms.

TikTok offers FREE ad credits up to $2300!

TikTok just launched a new program, TikTok Back to Business.

For eligible small and medium-sized businesses, TikTok offers up to $2300 in free ad credits.

Here are the offers:

  • A one-time free ad credit worth $300 USD to be used by December 31, 2020.
  • Additional spending matched 1-to-1 with free ad credit, up to $2,000 per business.

The amount and currency vary by the country, for instance, in the UK the total amount you can get in free ad credits is £1,830.

If you are considering to test TikTok as a new UA channel, now is the time to get free £1,830.


  • SMB’s who sign up for a new TikTok Ads Manager account or who have an active account, and meet all of the requirements of the program are eligible.
  • Your company must be registered as a taxpayer business in the following countries:
    • The United States
    • The United Kingdom
    • Italy
    • France
    • Spain
    • India
    • Australia
    • Russia
    • South Korea
    • Saudi Arabia
    • the UAE
    • Egypt
    • Turkey
    • Thailand
    • Malaysia
    • Indonesia
    • Vietnam
    • and Japan.

Business Information Required for Verification:

In order to be eligible for the program, you have to prove your company is registered with your local jurisdiction. In the case of the UK, below are the documents you can provide:

  • Companies Registry Office number
  • VAT number
  • Company phone number
  • Name of the legal representative
  • More documents:
    • Business license
    • Registration certificate
    • Tax registration certificate

Still Need Help?

If you need help with claiming your free ad credits with TikTok and creating engaging TikTok ad creatives, and managing your campaigns, CONTACT US!

Best Practices for Casual Games Ad Creatives on TikTok


With more than two billion app downloads and over 800 million monthly active users, TikTok has seen a huge growth in 2020.

Since 69% of its users are ages between 13 – 24, and over 150 million users are from 1st tier countries, TikTok is a huge attraction for game advertisers. On top of that, TikTok is an entertainment app rather than a social media app, which makes it a natural fit for game advertising.

However, TikTok is a much different channel and game advertisers must be aware of the channel’s differences and potential challenges that lay ahead of them while running ads for casual games.

TikTok allows users to scroll away from an ad just like they could on an organic piece of content, which makes it imperative to make ads highly engaging. The best way to make a TikTok ad engaging is to make it look like a TikTok. TikTok confirms this strategy in their TikTok for Business launch slogan: “Don’t make ads, make TikToks”.

Another challenge for advertisers is the 9-second rule. TikTok ads display the copy and the call-to-action button at the 9th second mark of an ad. For this reason, TikTok advertisers must keep their audience engaged for at least 9 seconds.

Attention-Grabbing Intro

TikTok ads must start with a bang! Most TikTok users determine whether or not they want to watch a TikTok in the first three seconds of the video, and the same goes with TikTok ads. Here are a few tips to make the intro of a TikTok ad successful:

  • Use bright colours. Visually appealing bright colors and scenery are more likely to capture a user’s attention.
  • Give a reason to watch: The intro must give the user a reason to watch the rest of the ad. This could be achieved by story-telling with different elements, such as tension or surprise.
  • Use the human face: As a general rule of thumb, humans are instinctively programmed to view another human’s face. The visual appearance of a face increases engagement, especially when the face is in line with the target audience and also the game’s emotion.


Components of a Video Ad

The success of any ad campaign depends on understanding who your target audience is. Define your target audience. Who is more likely to play your game? Young kids or older women (many casual games are played by women older than 30).

The cast, the scene and the story must be relevant to your target audience. Think of who would play your game and in what situation. Make a reference to common situations to be relevant to your audience. This is a great way of attracting sympathy from your target audience and getting them more engaged with your ad.

Another important component of an ad is the emotion or emotions. Each game has a set of emotions that it creates with the gamer, whether this is happiness, tension or even excitement. Your ad must convey the same emotion associated with the gameplay.

TikTok Context

TikTok Ad Creative Basics

TikTok is mostly made up of meme culture. Take advantage of this while creating your ad. A TikTok ad that fits into the TikTok context is what’s called a native ad on TikTok. A native TikTok ad helps keep your audience engaged and increases the chance of the user to download your game. How to get your ad to be a TikTok ad:

  • Take up a meme and transform it into an ad for your game. The meme should be somehow connected to your game. If you push too hard for that connection, you may receive backlash from your audience.
  • Humour reigns supreme on TikTok. TikTok is an entertainment app. If your ad manages to entertain your audience and functions as an ad at the same time, that is golden. This also increases virality of your ad, as users will start forwarding an entertaining ad to each other.
  • Make use of TikTok’s huge music library. Music is the driving power behind much of TikTok content. Choose a music that fits well to your game and your ad.

A native TikTok ad has huge advantages over a regular gameplay video ad. It will get your audience more engaged and will perform better. On top of this, you will also benefit from a common user behaviour on the app – forwarding. Many users on the app forward to other users the content they like best. If your ad is a TikTok that people like, you will get free impressions from people sharing your ad.

Gameplay Video Tips

Last but not least, any game ad must showcase the gameplay. Here are some tips to make your gameplay footage shine and stand out from the rest:

  • Make sure your gameplay footage is exciting and fun, and that it demonstrates the best bits of your casual game.
  • Make sure it’s easy to understand, and that you start teaching your audience about the gameplay even while watching the ad.
  • Introduce the key and pain points in the gameplay. You can use on-screen text or narration.
  • Show the difference between a rookie player and a veteran.


TikTok users favor ads that look like TikTok content! Have fun with it. Make sure your ad starts with an attention-capturing intro. Add some elements in the ad that will make it relevant to your target audience. Entertain this audience while advertising your casual game, as users on TikTok are on the app for entertainment. Make use of TikTok’s trends, memes, and music while creating an ad for your casual game. 

Will the US ban TikTok?

It’s very probable.

Here are some reasons why:

1 – TikTok is owned by Bytedance, a Chinese company that’s required by Chinese law to share user data with the Chinese government.

Although TikTok is separate from its Chinese version Douyin and its user data is stored separately in servers around the world but not in China, TikTok confirms that it may share user data within the corporation in its Privacy Policy:

“We may share your information with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group.”

2 – Look at what happened to Huawei.

Although there are many news stories circulating about TikTok stealing user data and potentially sharing it with the Chinese government, there is no real evidence that this has happened.

However, the FCC formally declared Huawei (and ZTE) a national security threat due to the fact that Huawei is based in China. Just like Bytedance, Huawei is also required by Chinese law to share user data with the Chinese government.

3 – There are political motivations for a probable ban.

“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

TikTok Spokesperson

TikTok has tried to distance itself from its Chinese roots and is likely practicing a proper privacy policy. For instance, they pulled out of Hong Kong, as China imposed new national security legislations.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration aims to gain a political advantage by declaring TikTok a national security threat, fueling its politics of fear strategy.

Reasons why a TikTok ban won’t hold:

On the other hand, there are reasons why a TikTok ban won’t hold.

1 – It’s become a huge platform for the most creative people in the world. Regardless of its Chinese roots, the people want TikTok. A ban would make Trump lose much more than it’d make him win.

2 – TikTok has set itself up as a global corporation with a huge presence in the US, as well. TikTok has global offices including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.

3 – Banning TikTok is much more complicated than declaring Huawei a national security threat. There should be other ways of protecting people’s privacy and data than taking away one of their freedoms. With a probable ban, people won’t be able to use the platform to express themselves in a way unique to TikTok, thus hindering the freedom of expression.