Do you ever open up Instagram or TikTok just seconds after you closed out of the app only to wonder how you ended up back again?

As social media has taken over the world, attention spans have shortened. You can watch a TikTok and determine your interest within seconds, maybe even milliseconds. A tweet has limited characters, so you get the info you’re interested in within a brief paragraph if not a single sentence or word. If it doesn’t catch your interest, you keep scrolling.

TikTok is growing at a tremendous rate because it’s a video-based platform, and video is king. Plus, it delivers content fast. It’s got a billion monthly active users who are watching 167 million TikTok videos each minute.

And these videos aren’t just for entertainment - they’re driving results. If a user is looking for a specific product review or tutorial, they’re no longer going to Google. They’re going to TikTok.

That’s when the hook becomes so important. As long as people’s attention span continues to decrease, the hook remains one of the most important parts of advertising, whether it's audio, TV, or even direct mail.

What’s a hook rate?

The hook rate, or thumb-stop rate, is calculated by dividing the 2-second video view by impressions.

We’ve found that if you improve your hook rate, you improve your overall conversion rate. Check out our post, Benchmarking TikTok Video Hook Rates, to learn more about the success of increasing your conversion through better hook rates.

I wanted to confirm that recent data supports this, too. I checked out some ads created for the 2022 holiday season that had very high hook rates. They also happened to be the top performers of ads that ran during that period.

That got me curious to see how others performed in Q4’s entirety when comparing hook rates to CVR. I pulled the top 10 spending ads for five clients, which were a mix of lead gen and e-comm.

An analysis of conversion rate to hook rate for top 10 spending ads in Q4 2022
An analysis of conversion rate to hook rate for top 10 spending ads in Q4 2022

Based on the data in our Benchmarking TikTok Video Hook Rates, the average TikTok hook rate is 34.34%. Almost all of the top spending ads for these clients had a hook rate at or above the average, with the exception of clients 2, 4, and 5 having lower hook rates of 26%, 20%, and 33% on a single ad out of their top 10 spenders.

A few ads surprised us with a substantial CVR and a lower hook rate. While this data shows that a higher CVR can come from a lower hook rate, it also demonstrates that higher-than-average hook rates are correlated to a higher CVR.

Because a few of these ads had lower hook rates with higher CVRs, it goes to show that the hook rate is not the only thing that matters in your creative. While it’s important to grab the viewer's attention, this data demonstrates that the rest of the creative is important and needs testing, as well. Maybe you caught their attention but the offer isn’t great. There could be various reasons that the hook is high, but the CVR is low. The hook grabs the user's attention, but you need a strong offer and good creative to keep them engaged and converting.

We’ve also found that TikTok creative works on Facebook and other platforms, so be sure to check out Benchmarking Facebook Video Ad Hook Rates, as well.

How to improve your hook rate

TikTok trends are constantly changing and evolving. What’s in one day could be out the next. With that being said, there are some reliable techniques that work across many of our clients that are advertising on TikTok.

It’s important to note that hook rate and what works creatively depends on which industry you’re in, but below are some ideas if you’re looking to do some testing:

  • Write out the message - whether it’s on a mirror, a post-it note, or a piece of notebook paper.
  • “TikTok made me buy it” - cheesy but it works
  • TikTok response bubble - be very purposeful with your copy in the bubble
  • Throw a competitor's product in the trash/toilet - literally
  • Weird/unique imagery
  • “3 reasons why”

Sometimes, the crazier the better. One of our creative directors wanted to test throwing a competitor’s product in the toilet. We tested this out with a seasonal twist for the holidays and saw a hook rate of 56%.

Our Director of Performance Creative, Dara Denney, dives deeper into hook rate and why certain hooks work in her video The 5 Best Hooks for Facebook Ads Creative. Here you’ll be able to see what these hooks look like in action. These work for TikTok, Facebook, and any platform that’s using video creative.