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How Can You Use TikTok Templates to Optimize On-Screen Text and Go Viral?

TikTok has exploded in popularity due to its immersive short-form video format. However, breaking through and gaining viral traction on TikTok is highly competitive. Applying the right text-centric TikTok templates can help you stand out in the crowded feed.

Optimized on-screen text boosts viewer comprehension and engagement. Matching textual elements seamlessly to video concepts amplifies the storytelling. This comprehensive guide explores creative ways to incorporate text on TikTok using templates and best practices.

Understanding TikTok and On-Screen Text

TikTok is a social video app where users create, view, and share 15 to 60 second videos across genres like dance, comedy, DIY, and education. The signature TikTok scrolling feed delivers easily consumable, entertaining video snippets to a global audience.

On-screen text is a key ingredient in effective TikTok videos. Text can manifest as captions, subtitles, dynamic effects, informational graphics, emojis, stickers, and more. Textual elements contextualize and enhance videos.

Strategically adding text improves clarity and viewer understanding. On-screen words also expand reach, since text can be translated or interpreted across language barriers. Hashtags boost discoverability.

However, haphazard text placement is distracting. Thoughtful text optimization tailored to specific video concepts avoids clutter and elevates the overall presentation.

Benefits of On-Screen Text on TikTok

Textual elements mixed into the visual storytelling provide multiple benefits:

Enhances Comprehension

Text aids comprehension for complex tutorials, scientific topics, commentary videos, and foreign languages. Technical concepts become more accessible.

Provides Context

Captions and graphics explain inside jokes, clarify ambiguous scenes, introduce people and locations, translate slang, and anchor time periods.

Highlights Key Points

Pull quotes, hashtags, and subtitles emphasize the core focus. Important statistics, words, and ideas stand out clearly.

Magnifies Emotions

Text expresses feelings and reactions that facial expressions alone may not convey. A perfectly timed 😲 or 👏👏👏 elevates the viewer experience.

Improves Accessibility

Adding text aids hearing-impaired audiences or those watching videos without sound in loud places. Closed captions also benefit SEO.

Extends Reach

Subtitles and translations draw in broader, global audiences across language barriers. Hashtags also expand discovery.

Drives Engagement

Questions, polls, and calls to action via text prompt higher involvement from viewers through comments and shares.

Brands Video Content

Text overlays like end screens, logos, and captions identify creators. Watermarks deter unauthorized use.

Diversifies Storytelling

Text provides creative options to format narratives in complementary or contradictory ways to visuals.

Overall, thoughtfully integrating text creates more immersive, shareable videos that perform better. But balancing text with the uninterrupted viewing experience requires strategic implementation.

Best Practices for On-Screen Text

While text opens creative possibilities, restraint is needed to prevent cluttering the frame or distracting from key visuals. Keep these best practices in mind:

Limit Text Amount

Avoid overloading viewers with dense blocks of text across multiple scenes. Be concise and prioritize only essential captions and graphics directly tied to concepts.

Use Contrasting Colors

Bright, high-contrast text pops against darker backgrounds. White, yellow and green work well. Dark text on light backgrounds causes readability issues.

Position Text Strategically

Anchor text thoughtfully on clean backgrounds and spaces so it remains unobstructed. Avoid positioning text over people’s faces or distracting backgrounds.

Time Text Display

Display text long enough for comfortable reading speed based on length, but not so long that it bores viewers. 3-7 seconds for short phrases is ideal.

Maintain Readability

Use clean, simple fonts that are easy to read when formatted as overlays. Avoid thin scripts and stylized fonts. Stick to 30-40 pt standard fonts.

Match Text to Scenes

Transition text appearance appropriately with scene changes. For example, show text sequentially as referenced or hide off-screen when not needed.

Check for Errors

Proofread closely to prevent typos or grammar errors. Incorrect text looks unprofessional and may convey unintended meanings.

Use Animation Thoughtfully

Subtle animated effects like dissolves, slides, and fades can elevate text without overwhelming the video. But animation should complement, not compete with the main action.

Sync Text to Audio

Time subtitles, captions, and pull quotes appropriately to the pace and pauses of the dialogue or voiceover narration. Syncing improves comprehension.

Include Emojis and Tags

Emojis and TikTok hashtag challenges within text add color and humor. But use them sparingly to avoid overkill. Place hashtags strategically near bottom or end.

Applying these best practices creates informative, easy-to-digest text integrations. Next let’s explore specific TikTok templates utilizing text for inspiration.

TikTok Text & On-Screen Templates

Text formatting options are nearly endless. But templates establish a foundation aligned to specific goals. Adapt these on-screen text templates for your brand or content style:

Subtitles & Captions

Display audio narration simultaneously in text for clarity. Position below center frame. Use concise paraphrasing rather than verbatim transcription.

Dialogue Bubbles

Mimic comic book style dialogue bubbles with character names, quotes, or commentary. Add fun emoticons. Float across center or bottom third of screen.

Pull Quotes

Highlight meaningful excerpts from a speech or narrative as bite-sized text overlays. Useful for instructional or informational content.

Hashtag & Challenges

Hashtags help videos get discovered. Place 1-3 relevant tags near bottom to link your content to broader topics and viral hashtag challenges.

Lyrics Overlays

Music videos and lip-syncs look more polished with lyrics visually guiding the viewer experience. Display verses sequentially timed to music.

Fact Box

Contextualize tutorials and process videos with text detailing key equipment, ingredients, requirements, or steps. Position at bottom so it remains visible.

Informational Panels

For more robust text integration, create solid on-screen panels featuring titles, bullet points, statistics, definitions, and facts over B-roll footage.

Lower Thirds

These classic overlays combine text and graphical bars to identify people, locations, dates, events, websites, logos, and more during videos. Place near bottom of frame.

Memes & Comedy

Memes and viral comedy formats integrate text into the images and videos themselves. For example, a twist on the Drake meme with custom captions.

Comparison Graphics

Visually contrast two concepts side-by-side through text-heavy graphics. Position near center framed by the contrasting scenes.

Reaction Text

Caption funny facial reactions and physical comedy with concise text additions like “That moment when…” or “Awkward!” for added punch.

Answers & Reveals

Pose an initial question via text, and then overlay the answer subsequently like an explainer graphic. Great for lessons and tutorials.

End Screens

Overlay text and graphics at the end to redirect viewers to click links, subscribe, view more content, or purchase.

Interactive Prompts

Spark responses and shares by prompting viewers like “Have you tried this? Show me below!” or including fill-in-the-blank statement starters.

This initial template inspiration illustrates the creative possibilities of text. Now let’s dive into specific optimization strategies to maximize results.

Optimizing On-Screen Text on TikTok

Beyond core design principles, tailored optimization can magnify the impact of text integrations:

Perform Keyword Research

Identify trending and high-volume TikTok search terms and hashtags relevant to your niche and content. Reflect these natural keywords in on-screen text.

Localize Text

Adapt text for international audiences through subtitles in multiple languages catering to your key markets.

Leverage SEO

Use captions, tags, titles, descriptions and other text fields searchable by algorithms. Convert text into video scripts for better indexing.

Personalize Text

Address viewers directly with “You” language and instructive tone. Respond to commenters by name for engagement. Tailor text to different demographics.

Align with Brand Identity

Maintain visual consistency in typography, color scheme, logos, end cards and graphic styles that reinforce brand recognition.

Make Text Shoppable

Add clickable product links, coupon codes, and CTAs to prompt purchases from ecommerce linked in bios. Lead users from discovery to storefront.

Poll Viewers

Pose timely multiple-choice or A/B test questions on-screen related to content and have viewers weigh in via comments. This drives responses.

Highlight UGC

Repost viewer content and add text like “Amazing work, [username]!” tagging them. User-generated content builds community when credited.

Share Behind-the-Scenes

Create insider exclusivity by captioning funny bloopers, mistakes, and behind-the-scenes moments distinctly from polished content.

Promote Other Videos

Cross-promote related videos through end screens, linked thumbnails, and captions reminding viewers to check them out for supplementary content.

Make Text Shareable

Position concise meme, joke or quote graphics separately with thematic text against non-distracting backgrounds for easy screenshot sharing.

Resize for Mobile

Ensure text displays clearly when videos are viewed on small mobile screens. Aim for 30-40pt standard fonts optimized for smaller frames.

Fine-tuning text strategies based on audience needs, languages, platforms, and goals yields optimal results tailored for your content.

Measuring Text Effectiveness on TikTok

How can you gauge the impact of text optimization? Analyze these key TikTok metrics:


Higher view counts signal interest, but monitor the percentage of followers vs. non-followers viewing to assess broader appeal beyond your core audience.

Completion Rate

This reveals how long people engage before dropping off. Text boosts completion rates by enhancing comprehension and information retention.


Frequent screenshots indicate highly shareable, digestible text graphics and captions people want to spread across other networks.


More comments directed at or referring to on-screen text mean people are moved to respond. This demonstrates engagement.


Clickable links, hashtags and @mentions within text should see clicks to measure follow-through interest which you can track via


Videos downloaded and organically shared signal highly resonating text. Track across TikTok and other platforms.


For @mention text prompts driving traffic to your bio link or website, assess referral numbers to quantify impact.


Notice which caption keywords and hashtags in your text are gaining the most views and engagement. Double down on those.

Video Retention

Check if captioning and text graphics increase average view duration and completion rates as intended.

Frequently A/B test alternate versions of text within videos to hone your strategy based on performance. Text optimization is never static – keep evolving approaches.

Going Viral on TikTok With On-Screen Text

TikTok creators ultimately aspire for viral videos spreading rapidly through shares. On-screen text can facilitate virality. Consider these tips:

Jump on Trends Early

Stay on top of rising hashtag and music challenges. Take part in trending formats before saturation kicks in using timely text.

Tease Unexpected Outcomes

Pose intriguing question text upfront like “Would you move here?” and then overlay a surprising reveal afterwards once curiosity is piqued.

Use Mystery Text

Hide part of key text off-screen or interrupt words with breaks to make viewers wait for the full reveal. This builds anticipation.

Feature Relatable Text

Include text articulating frustrations, jokes, or dilemmas social media users relate to based on current events and pop culture.

Try ironic Juxtaposition

Contradict expectations by flipping text captions against opposing visuals for ironic humor, e.g. an elegant dinner preparation video overlaid with mocking text.

Prompt Engagement

Launch text-based challenges and prompts for viewers to respond via duets, stitches, comments, hashtags, and off-platform viral activity.

Upcycle Culturally Relevant Memes

Remix and refresh existing trending meme images and templates by customizing the text for your niche while retaining recognizable formats.

Craft Shareable Quotes

Overlay punchy, concise inspirational quotes, life lessons, or words of wisdom against vibrant backgrounds for screenshot sharing across other platforms.

Localize Content

Appeal to international viewers through regionally tailored text like captions translated into multiple languages native to large TikTok markets.

Make Text Interactive

Spark interaction and shares by asking provocative questions, encouraging lyric singalongs, prompting emoji reactions, or using choose-your-own-adventure captions.

Virality requires knowing your audience and tapping into emotional, timely, entertaining or informative concepts amplified by catchy and creative text strategies native to the TikTok platform.

Key Takeaways

On-screen text creates more dynamic and effective short-form videos on TikTok. Key learnings include:

  • Text enhances comprehension, provides context, highlights ideas, magnifies emotions, improves accessibility, extends reach, drives engagement, and diversifies storytelling.
  • Limit text amount, optimize contrast and readability, position strategically, match timing to scenes, and use animation and emojis thoughtfully.
  • Subtitles, lower thirds, pull quotes, fact boxes, memes, and interactive prompts represent templates to inspire text integrations.
  • Conduct keyword research, localize text, leverage SEO, personalize for your audience, align to brand style, and make text shoppable.
  • Assess views, completion rate, screenshots, comments, clicks, traffic, retention, and keyword resonance to refine approaches.
  • Achieve virality by jumping on trends early, teasing reveals, featuring relatable text, prompting engagement, upcycling memes, crafting quotes, and making text interactive.

TikTok is consumed differently than longer-form video platforms. The unique viewing patterns reward text innovation tailored to short, addictive bursts of engagement. Take advantage of these best practices for overlaying and formatting on-screen text to stand out in the fast-moving For You page and unlock TikTok’s immense viral potential.


By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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