TikTok Says Creators Drive Social Ad Campaign Success

Since 2019, the global market value of influencer marketing has more than doubled at an estimated $13.8 billion U.S. dollars, according to Statista. While creators strive to grow their own personal brands across a variety of social platforms, they have also proven to be helpful resources for outside brands attempting to garner attention.

Every social media platform is full of influencers boosting products -- but as the most promising up-and-coming entertainment app, TikTok has a stellar track record of influencer marketing success stories. For example, creator Hannah Schlenker posted a video wearing Aerie’s crossover leggings, which resulted in an increase in “leggings” searches on the brand’s website by 700,000 and a surge of 200,000% in Google searches, Business Insider reported.

Even Disney is focused on the increased recognition TikTok could bring its brand. On Sunday, the company announced it was looking to hire a social media content coordinator savvy about TikTok trends.

Some TikTok influencers are cashing in on their fame. According to Statista, the combined earnings of top TikTok creators like Charli D’Amelio (17.5 million) and Addison Rae (8.5 million) tripled between 2020 and 2021. These influencers on TikTok’s short-form video platform have become megastars, some of whom were even invited to this year’s Met Gala.

TikTok, which claims to have captured the attention of over one billion daily active users, conducted a recent study showing that ads created in partnership with established influencers have a higher recall and longer view rates than non-influencer-based ads.

TikTok looked at over 2,800 brand campaigns and found that six-second views increased by 91% for ads created in partnership with in-app creators versus non-creator ads.

This makes sense. Creators are not only recognizable to users, but masters of their chosen platforms. The most famous TikTok influencers have millions of followers and therefore incredible reach. But they're familiar with overall in-app trends,  how the app functions and what the best approaches are for attracting user attention.

Success in these terms boils down to what looks native to the specific platform brands use, and what looks out of place. TikTok is quantitatively proving that users will respond best to what closely resembles the rest of their feed. It’s often easy for users to tell what fits in and what doesn’t.

Unsurprisingly, the least successful campaigns included in the study looked non-specific to the platform, mostly using repurposed content.

This gets to the natural human tendency to skip ads. If a brand’s ad appears to be more in-line with the platform’s vibe, viewers may not immediately know they are seeing an ad, or they may simply be reacting positively to their favorite in-app persona who knows how to entertain her fans regardless.

Entertainment and creative instruction are two key ingredients in TikTok’s overwhelming global success. Therefore, they are effective areas of focus when developing an advertisement for the platform.

The study found that creator beauty content was especially effective at promoting brand recognition by showing the product in use and adding comedic elements. For these reasons, beauty content produced the strongest brand recall and significant uplift in users watching the ad to the end.

With its Creator Marketplace, TikTok is clearly gaining both revenue and allegiance from creator partnerships, but also preserving a unique environment for advertising, ultimately helping brands and marketers thrive on their specific platform.

While creators aren’t going anywhere, it will be interesting to see how the creator economy evolves. With its new partnership with Atmosphere, TikTok will be expanding to out-of-home TVs across the globe. Along with the looming “metaverse” and the massive investment in augmented and virtual realities, new technologies will force influencers and advertisers to adapt to new possibilities.

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