In a tough year for many brands. TikTok not only survived, it thrived. With 100 million active users in the U.S., the social media juggernaut continues to attract users young and old.
TikTok is a breath of fresh air among aging social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Full of energy and creativity, TikTok is a place where brands can really push traditional advertising boundaries and connect with their audience in an authentic way.
To find out what ads work best on TikTok, we went straight to the source. The platform released a list (for the first time ever) of the most successful brand campaigns—those that embody the essence of: “Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks.”
Brands crushing it on TikTok span beauty, entertainment, sports, gaming and saas. Including industry heavyweights NYX Professional Makeup, Netflix, Nasar, Xbox and Bumble.
Beauty Brand: NYX Professional Makeup
NYX ran a six-day creative hashtag challenge encouraging creators and beauty enthusiasts to show their creativity in how they “pop their gloss,” applying the cult-fav Butter Gloss Lip Gloss.
The brand created an original song for the campaign and worked with five TikTok influencers to help it go viral. They invited followers to try out multiple shades of lip gloss while singing or dancing. One winner, selected at random, received $1,200 worth of NYX products.
The paid campaign racked up over 2M user-generated videos created.
To evaluate its success, NYX relied on engagement figures around UGC (user generated content) and views. A mobile survey from Kantar found that NYX had a 42% increase in brand awareness!
To date, the hashtag #butterglosspop has 11.2B views.
Entertainment Brand: Netflix
Netflix was listed as one of the brands to have built the biggest followings in 2020. Growing their user base to over 13.5M TikTok followers.
How did they do it?
By blending entertaining content tailored to the community and leaning into trends. The third season release of Cobra Kai is definitely a TikTok advertising success story.
TikTok created a branded interactive Cobra Kai Chop filter for Netflix. Partnering with a diverse group of creators that were able to bring together communities across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and France.
Each influencer used the hashtag #CobraKaiChop adding their own creative spin to the filter.
The paid campaign achieved over 2.8 million views and the hashtag #cobrakaichop has over 5.6B views, to date.
Building brand awareness on TikTok was a success. Everyone was binge watching Cobra Kai this winter.
Sports Brands: Nascar
Nascar wins one of TikToks top spots for innovative brand accounts. Engaging the community inside and outside the app with drivers like Ryan Vargas’s.
The sponsorship between Nascar driver Ryan Vargas and TikTok really came about almost by chance. Vargas’ friend Ryan Pistana is a graphic designer who was bored and made a concept car image, posting to twitter with the comment, “One of many dream sponsorship opportunities for @RyanVargas_23.
NASCAR and TikTok saw this tweet and actually reached out to JD Motorsports and Vargas about a possible one race partnership.
That discussion developed into a deal for the rest of the season! With TikTok on board, Vargas was able to run the final six races uninterrupted, while wearing a special Dia De Los Muertos helmet provided by the company as a tribute to his Hispanic heritage.
Gaming Brands: EA Games
EA Games brought an interactive element to their campaign with a branded creative effect.
#PlayWithLife campaign, encouraged users to show off their everyday outfit, workwear, athleisure, PJs or favorite party look. The branded creative effect placed a plumbob (green crystal that floats over your Sim’s head during gameplay) over the user’s head.
This campaign spurred a viral trend that crossed over into Instagram of users acting out the quirks and themes of Sim life. I know you all saw people changing outfits, standing there and swaying like the beginning of a video game.
To date, the hashtag has been viewed over 15M times!
SAAS Brands: Bumble
Bumble really took the “Don’t Make Ads, Make TikTok” to heart and had incredible success on TikTok. By working with notable creators and using clever TikTok-style direct response ads to build native content that seamlessly blended into For You feeds.
According to a case study performed by Mobile Marketer, Bumble increased app installs x5 and decreased cost-per-registration by 64%.
If you search #bumble Tik Tok you will see they have successfully gathered hundreds of millions of views. Video content consisting of challenges about conversation starters on the app, funny bumble match stories, footage from first time bumble dates, and relationships that have blossomed because of the app.
What Makes a TikTok Ad Successful?
What we can learn from this list is that on TikTok, brands that are embracing the creative and authentic spirit of the community do really well.
In a research study, conducted early this year by Nielsen, they discovered 43% of heavy TikTok users feel that the “advertising” on TikTok seamlessly blends in with the organic content enjoyed by the community on the 'For You' feed.
Brands can successfully advertise on TikTok by:
- Allow the community to lead direction of content, lean into trends and culture of the platform.
- Eye-Catching Creatives, inspire with authentic, creative content
- Creative hashtag challenges
- Music is at the heart and soul of the TikTok
- Interactivity, invite your audiences to play along.
- Embrace experimentation, because there is no formula for success.
We are in that high-opportunity window where TikTok’s reach is expanding without alienating younger users.
Applying the principle that tech trends tend to speed up with each new cycle, we believe we are only seeing the early stages of TikTok's high-growth window. Right now is the time for your brand to stake its ground on TikTok.
Check out how Public.com went viral after the success of their TikTok campaign by Colormatics. Gaining over 1M app users in less than a month.
And remember, our team is here to help bring your video dreams to life. Hit the chat button in the bottom right hand corner of this article to connect with a Colormatics team member. We’re fantastic, we promise.