[Webinar] The secret to a successful brand campaign on TikTok

Wed Apr 08 2020
Jenn Kim

Over the past couple of years, TikTok has risen to become Gen Z’s favorite platform. Now, as people practice social distancing and self isolation, the short-form video app is attracting an even bigger crowd.

From celebrities and influencers to moms and healthcare professionals, everyone is joining TikTok to watch and create entertaining content and connect with one another. There is even a coronavirus-related dance challenge that has gone viral on the app in recent days.

Needless to say, now is the time to jump on the TikTok bandwagon if you haven’t already done so.

To give brands the low-down on how to launch a successful campaign on TikTok, our resident TikTok expert, Claire Lowe, chatted with TikTok’s Head of Creator Monetization, Dustin Goot, in a webinar. They discussed hot topics like:

  • What is TikTok and who are its users
  • What makes TikTok and its creators unique
  • TikTok ad opportunities and the creator marketplace
  • How brands are working with TikTok creators today
  • Best practices and examples of successful TikTok campaigns

If you missed the webinar, continue reading for a recap below.—

About TikTok

TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. That’s why the company opens up the content creation process to as many people as possible, with easy-to-use video tools and a wide array of filters and sounds.

Within the app, the core feed is personalized to each person’s content taste, meaning the algorithm is constantly trying to learn what kind of content each user wants to see. The experience is designed based on what the user “likes,” not based on other metrics like followers or engagement rates.

Here are some need-to-know facts about the platform:

  • Sound — On TikTok, audio is just as important as video. In fact, the app is built for a sound-on experience. To create a new post, start with the music or sound bite, then build your content from there. As a brand, make sure you have copyright claims and rights to the audio you use, or avoid the trouble altogether by creating your own sounds.
  • Hashtags — Similar to hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, TikTok users use hashtags to find content that they are looking for. Videos tagged with trending hashtags will be showcased on the Discover page, sorted by relevance.
  • For You — This page is where users spend the majority of their time on the app, as it features personalized content. In order to make it onto this coveted feed, make sure to create engaging, humorous content.

Here are 6 content creation best practices to help you (potentially) go viral.

  1. Stay vertical — TikTok is a mobile-first platform, so make sure to shoot your content in a vertical format. That way, your video fills up the user’s entire screen without them having to flip their phones around, making it a more enjoyable experience.
  2. Make it short — “Make every second count” is not only TikTok’s slogan, but also a crucial tip for marketers to grab their audiences’ attention on the platform. Videos that are between 11 to 17 seconds perform the best, says Dustin.
  3. Build to a payout — Grab the viewer’s attention from the get-go, and give them a reason to watch the entire video. This could mean creating a short video series with a few parts, or telling an interesting story.
  4. Leverage in-app tools — Create the video within the app and utilize the filters and effects provided by the platform.
  5. Take part in trends — Put your own spin on trending challenges to engage more viewers. Adding a trending hashtag could also get your video more views and exposure.
  6. Stay on-brand — Being true to your brand is extremely important on TikTok. Keep your messaging and tone consistent throughout all of your posts to provide your followers with content they love.

About TikTokers

It’s no secret that TikTok’s user base has rapidly grown over the past couple of years. In the US alone, TikTok’s audience has doubled over the last year, totaling to over 500 million monthly active users. According to Dustin, a large percentage of TikTokers don’t use any other social media app, allowing TikTok to have a unique audience of unduplicated users.

While TikTok is widely popular among Gen Z, TikTok has also created a space where people of all ages can enjoy and engage with the content. In fact, a large majority of users are 18+, despite the app being presumed as teen-focused.

TikTok is well-loved by its users. On average, TikTokers spend more than an hour on the app per day — a lot of time considering that videos are typically about 15 seconds each.

This is all thanks to the talented creators on TikTok.

Creators on TikTok are unique. They foster a strong community on the platform by expressing themselves and promoting positivity and inclusion through the content they create. Because of this, TikTok’s comments section has become “one of the most positive spaces on the internet,” according to Dustin.

About TikTok ads

TikTok offers a variety of ad integrations that brands can leverage.

Branded Hashtag Challenge

With this signature ad integration, companies can own hashtag challenges that encourage users to make their own videos using the promoted hashtag. Users participate in the sponsored challenges to show off their favorite products from a brand, or take part in a viral trend. This includes fixed promotional spaces and full curation of a hashtag challenge page. Work with top creators who can inspire other TikTokers to participate in your branded hashtag challenge.

Branded Effects

Brands can create augmented reality (AR), 2D, and 3D lenses and effects with the help of the TikTok effects team. Create effects that allow users to virtually interact with your brand, such as letting them try on a pair of sunglasses or visit your store. Then, work with creators to showcase these branded effects and encourage others to try out the effect.

In-feed video

By using this ad format, brands can have a presence in users’ feeds and seamlessly get in front of a bigger audience. The video ad is marked as sponsored with a call-to-action button. Keep in mind that this integration can only be bought by reservation.

Top View and Branded Takeover

A Branded Takeover is a full-screen ad which is displayed when the app opens, making it the first thing that users see. The ad could either be a 3-second image or GIF. Top View is essentially the same thing as a Branded Takeover, but brands can utilize video in the ad. The ads can then be linked to the brand’s landing page or a Hashtag Challenge within TikTok.

Branded Content Ads

This unreleased feature will allow brands to boost creator content through an auction platform.

For some real-life examples of brands using these integrations, check out our blog post, TikTok 101: A Marketer’s Guide to the App Taking Gen Z By Storm.


Claire and Dustin wrapped up the webinar with a Q&A session.

What is the budget needed to run a TikTok campaign?

You need to go through a discovery period to see where a creator’s rate is going to fall. Rates are not standardized at this time, so it’s really a case-by-case basis. Since TikTok is a newer platform, working with a creator on TikTok will most likely be at a discounted rate as compared to a creator on Instagram, for example.

Why should marketers be on TikTok? Isn’t it just about dances and lip syncing?

As TikTok has transitioned from Musical.ly, the content has shifted due to TikTok’s efforts to diversify the content and people on the app. While dance challenges are successful on the platform, thinking outside of that format will be rewarded as well.

What are the best ways to engage with TikTok creators?

Approach it with a true sense of partnership. Rely on creators for their creativity on the platform, because ultimately, they know what is going to work best for their followers. Leverage their creativity and keep the partnership authentic.

What brands are successful on the platform?

Typically, brands that lean heavily on creators are successful. But we’ve also seen brands achieve success by building a social listening strategy and playing on what true fans are doing.

For example, Chipotle launched its first challenge campaign, #ChipotleLidFlip, after a Chipotle employee – Daniel Vasquez from Frederick, Maryland – performed an impressive lid flip stunt. This TikTok challenge eventually led to the chain’s highest digital sales day!

The Washington Post, on the other hand, has a persona named Dave who represents the brand. Dave is able to produce entertaining content while keeping its brand safe, so The Washington Post is very popular on TikTok as well.

Basically, brands need to get creative and refer to the content best practices. Then, continue testing and learning.

How can a brand measure the success of posts?

Currently, success on TikTok is measured by video views and engagement rates.

Start building your TikTok community

Thanks to Claire and Dustin, you’ve now got a full set of tools to launch a successful brand campaign on TikTok. Use the content creation best practices above and work with the amazing creators on the platform to broaden your community and expand your reach.

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