By Omar Oakes.
If you’re a Strictly Come Dancing viewer, you might have noticed this year that presenter Claudia Winkelman has begun announcing “We’re now on TikTok!” [as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc] each Saturday, with an embarrassed look to the camera as if to admit she has no idea what TikTok is.
Such is the meteoric rise of the video-sharing app that primetime TV audiences, and even BBC TV presenters, may still be clueless about what TikTok is at the end of 2020. But ad industry folk should know better.
TikTok’s user base, which is set to grow to reach the tens of millions next year, has become older, as people see what all the fuss among teens and tweens is about this app that offers a seemingly endless video stream of skits and lip-syncs.
Campaign has reported on how advertisers have pressed TikTok on brand-safety issues and transparency, while outgoing US president Donald Trump has sought to disparage the Chinese-owned company and called for its US operations to be sold.
But it’s hard to deny that TikTok has become a major source of creativity in media, with major brands trying their hand at content that will appeal to young audiences, who are becoming increasingly hard-to-reach through paid media.
So we asked TikTok to tell the ad industry what it thinks has worked well on the platform this year. The results may surprise you.
Please note that all the numbers are disclosed by TikTok and not verified by third-party measurement companies.
Virgin Media ‘Stay in love, stay connected’ by Manning Gottlieb OMD
@dontmakeadsVirgin Media took over TopView with face-filters & duets fitting right into the TikTok aesthetic 🔥🔥 ##dontmakeads ##virginmedia♬ original sound – TikTok for Business
Virgin Media’s heartfelt campaign, featuring timeless stories of romantic connections, features cat selfies, virtual musical duets, and people falling asleep together on a video call. Dating is depicted in the era of the “new normal” through a series of real-life inspired snapshots, to the upbeat soundtrack of Carly Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You.
This did well on TopView, the very first video that every people see when they open the TikTok app, and, when it first ran in September, the campaign garnered 21.9 million impressions in a single day, with an “engagement rate” of 16%, which includes likes, shares and comments on the ad.
TikTok ‘#MyRoots / Black History, Black Present and Black Future’ (in-house)
@dontmakeadsCelebrating Black History Month with #myroots @tiktok showed Creative Excellence with a month of Challenges, Lives and OOH placements 🖤🖤🖤♬ original sound – TikTok for Business
This was a month-long, grass-roots campaign in October to educate everyone on TikTok, its employees and partners on black history in the UK. With the aim of shining a light on the different experiences and stories of the black community, the content was curated to feature the brightest black talent from across the UK – ranging from creators to artists, such as Cat Burns, Jeremy Lynch and Sherice Barton. There was also a Hashtag Challenge, which resulted in nearly 288 million views and a series of “TikTok Live” educational events.
eBay ‘#StrongerAsOne’ by Vidsy
@dontmakeads@ebay shining a light on UK small businesses with ##StrongerAsOne, driving sales through Creative Excellence 💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿♬ original sound – TikTok for Business
EBay launched a campaign to recognise the brilliance of the UK small businesses that operate through its buy-and-sell platform. Enlisting help from Vidsy, one of TikTok’s marketing partners, eBay produced an emotive video featuring short clips of real small businesses in their day-to-day lives, which resulted in more than 17.8 million impressions from people upon launching the app.
The call to action at the bottom of the video had a click-through rate of 17.3%, which pushed hundreds of thousands of users to a landing page, where they could discover more about the campaign and explore some of the products on offer.
Too Faced ‘#TFBornThisWay‘ (in-house)
@thepelofamNo one can. Definitely found my match with the @toofaced hazelnut foundation. ##TFBornThisWay ##thepelofam♬ Love me Like me – Riley Biederer
The Estée Lauder Company’s Too Faced brand launched a campaign for its Born This Way Foundation, which worked with a diverse range of TikTok Creators for a branded Hashtag Challenge called #TFBornThisWay.
Too Faced used an augmented-reality Branded Effect to celebrate the creators’ unique complexions. More than 162,000 TikTok users created more than 456,000 videos for the challenge, resulting in two billion views of videos with the #TFBornThisWay hashtag.
Beats By Dr Dre ‘#BeatsDaisyChallenge‘ by AnalogFolk London
@ashnikkoshow me your true colors for a chance to be in my music video! @beatsbydre ##BeatsDaisyChallenge♬ Daisy – Glacier Blue EXPLICIT – Ashnikko
Celebrating the launch of the new Powerbeats Pro summer colours, Beats By Dr Dre teamed up with singer, songwriter and rapper Ashnikko to create a series of challenges inviting the TikTok community to flex its creative muscle.
The “#BeatsDaisyChallenge” is one of the most successful brand campaigns run on TikTok to date, with more than 7.1 billion views of the challenge and 460 million engagements.
Asos ‘#AySauceChallenge‘ by Byte
@dontmakeads🔥🔥 @asos land with a bang! Featuring its ##AySauce Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus, TopView takeover, ORIGINAL music & Branded Effects 💥💥♬ original sound – TikTok for Business
For Asos’ first brand campaign on TikTok it took advantage of the Branded Hashtag Challenge Plus. With a bespoke track and an augmented-reality Branded Effect Asos sought to make it easy for fans to share content showing off their slickest new looks.
More than 25 content creators collaborated on the work across the UK and US, helping to drive more than 1.2 billion video views in six days, and another 488,000 videos created by users for the campaign.
Converse ‘#ConverseAllStar‘ by Initiative
@tootymcnooty##ad thank you ##ConverseAllStar for letting me get creative with your newest kicks! Get creative with YOUR shoes! 👟♬ Converse Runstar – Zedig Sound Ltd.
For the launch of the Creative All Star Series event in London (in February, before the pandemic lockdown), Converse partnered TikTok to broadcast the offline event to global audiences and challenge the community to design their custom Converses.
The footwear brand kick-started the campaign by working with UK TikTok creators, driving user engagement, complemented by various ad formats to increase the reach of the challenge and drive sign-up clicks to the event.
The campaign drove a 75% uplift in brand recall, according to a brand study cited by TikTok.
NYX ‘#DollHouseChallenge‘ by Essence
@abbyrartistryi see things that nobody else sees, ft @nyxcosmetics_uk Matte Setting Spray ##DOLLHOUSECHALLENGE ##ad♬ Dollhouse – Melanie Martinez
The L’Oréal-owned brand’s Hashtag Challenge involved a host of creators transforming themselves into dolls using NYX Professional Makeup products, while singing along to Melanie Martinez’s Dollhouse. There were more than 470,000 video creations and two billion views for the campaign.
Ray-Ban ‘You’re on’ by TikTok Creative Lab
@lukettrotmanCan You Beat My Score!?! It’s your turn, ##youareon ! @rayban Ad♬ original sound – luketroytrotman
Ray-Ban became the first brand in Europe to launch a Gamified Branded Effect campaign across the region and tap in to TikTok’s AR innovation.
TikTok’s Gamified Branded Effect was launched in July in response to demand from advertisers in gamifying the brand experience, allowing consumers to use facial expressions, body postures, or other motions, to control and interact with branded elements.
The brand worked in partnership with TikTok’s Creative Lab and the campaign went live in five different markets at the end of November, with a selection of Ray-Ban sunglasses surrounded by fluorescent visuals. TikTok users could aim for high scores using only their eyebrows to control the pinball machine paddles.
O2 ‘#O2BublDance‘ by Havas Media and VCCP
@o2🤖 Take the ##O2BublDance ##Challenge to win a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G from O2. Terms apply.♬ Diesto – Official Sound Studio
To mark the launch of its new brand platform, Bubl, O2 created the Bubl Dance on TikTok and invited people to perform a dance duet with it in order to enter a competition to win a Samsung phone.
The 15-second dance was developed with a TikTok choreographer to craft the robotic moves before being transformed into a 3D animation. The #O2BublDance hashtag has attracted more than 2.3 billion views to date.
Mastercard ‘#PricelessWave’ (in-house)
@dontmakeadsMastercard taking on the Guinness World Records with ##PricelessWave and delivering Creative Excellence too ⚽️🏆♬ original sound – TikTok for Business
Mastercard, a Champions League football sponsor, partnered TikTok to celebrate the return of the competition in August by performing the “world’s biggest wave” on TikTok and breaking the world record for the largest digital stadium Mexican wave.
The #PricelessWave – kicked off by retired star players Fernando Torres and Marcel Desailly – encouraged fans to raise their hands for the tournament. The challenge led to more than two billion views.