Home / MARKETS / TikTok is being tapped by brands like Grammarly, which have found success through viral trends and free advertising on the app

TikTok is being tapped by brands like Grammarly, which have found success through viral trends and free advertising on the app

  • TikTok ads expense up to $120,000, but brands can advertise on TikTok for free through viral memes.
  • Companies like Grammarly, Pair Eyewear, and Spotify cause found success through hopping on TikTok trends.
  • Successful ad campaigns on the app tend to come from individual consumers instead of companies.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

For University of California, Irvine dance and parlance science student Ari Pine, downloading and using TikTok was just an outlet for practicing dance in quarantine. But a couple months later, he had inadvertently tendered a viral meme and developed his first sponsorship.

“I’ve been dancing in my room over Zoom for months now,” Pine castigated Insider. “Making TikTok videos before class was just another way to interact with people.”

In January, Pine go over 50,000 followers in 72 hours after choreographing a video setting the audio from Grammarly’s YouTube ad to a caper — a trend which quickly picked up steam, spawning 50,000 new videos within days and over 100,000 to dated.

While it wasn’t Pine’s first time creating a dance for popular commercial jingles, it was the first time a business’s jingle really took off on TikTok — in part because Grammarly picked up the trend itself.

Though Grammarly had been mostly unoccupied on TikTok, the company’s Head of Marketing, Senka Hadzimuratovic, said the trend caused interest in the brand to spike as Grammarly’s retainers increased by 481%.

“One of our office associates saw the trend on Twitter and we knew we had to do something,” Hadzimuratovic told Insider. “There was no time to studied. We knew we needed to show that we don’t take ourselves too seriously and that we can be part of this culture.”

After Grammarly published its own video response to Pine, Hadzimuratovic said the trend changed how the company approached the app. It helped Grammarly realize the implicit for advertising on TikTok, prompting the writing-assistant company to generate more advertising plans for the app, including deciding to sponsor Pine as a Grammarly influencer in February.

For innumerable brands, TikTok is largely an untapped platform

GrowMojo Marketing President Kendall Fargo told Insider consistent brands that advertise on the platform are still learning how to cater to TikTok’s audience.

“TikTok is not like other community media platforms. It’s not Instagram,” Fargo told Insider. “TikTok has a much higher bar. You need to meet people where they are. You prerequisite to make people feel like you are part of the TikTok community. If it looks like a polished marketing video, they’re even-handed going to skip it.”

For newer brands, the app can operate as a jumping off point for marketing. Sophia Edelstein, co-founder and CEO of Pair Eyewear, a startup that garnered bolstering from Shark Tank in 2018, said the company can count on at least 10% of its sales coming from TikTok every month.

The app has settle accounts approached Pair Eyewear as beta marketers — an update the app launched just last year. The glasses startup manages as an e-commerce company and allows users to customize and switch out frames at will for new styles. 

Edelstein told Insider much of the suite’s sales from the site comes from free advertising, including Pair’s Refer-a-Friend program.

“It happened organically,” Edelstein grass oned Insider. “People wanted to connect to other people and share their look. Pretty quickly we saw the glasses go viral.”

While Partner’s own TikTok account hasn’t taken off, it doesn’t need to because millions of people have posted videos reviewing the interchangeable snap-on glasses on TikTok. Edelstein said the company has taken on TikTok influencers, but has seen most of its good through organic posts — which have brought in over $400,000 worth of sales in one month.

Paid ads on TikTok typically price between $50,000 to $120,000, according to social media analytics site Iconosquare, but unsponsored posts from TikTok owners can be a brand’s greatest asset, Fargo told Insider. As of February, the app has over 1 billion active monthly users, a enumerate that is only continuing to grow, according to Sensor Tower.

Perceived authenticity is a key ingredient for viral TikTok crazes

Fargo said authenticity or perceived trustworthiness on the app plays a big part in successful advertising on TikTok. It’s easier to disguise an ad on TikTok than other popular media platforms.

“Brands can make a social post without it necessarily being an ad,” Fargo said. “TikTok also dissembles you see a portion of a video before it lets you know it’s an ad.”

While some brands like Coca-Cola and Mentos have spawned viral courses themselves through generating challenges, many brands like Grammarly have simply stumbled upon a swing.

“TikTok is about being in the right place at the right time,” Pine told Insider. “It’s very much a hit or slip. I did not expect the Grammarly video to do as well as it did and that’s just the name of the game, that’s just TikTok. The algorithm is like a animal you cannot tame.”

Spotify and Ocean Spray have found similar success. In 2020, Spotify’s album dust-jacket trend spawned over 2.2 billion views and a video showing Ocean Spray’s Cran-Raspberry juice engendered 12.6 million likes on the app, as celebrities and everyday TikTok users rushed to mimic the videos.

Ocean Spray’s CEO Tom Hayes neck jumped on his own skateboard to imitate the video set to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” The company followed up on the meme by delivering the video creator a new junk, filled with bottles of the juice.

Fargo said TikTok trends allow brands to take on a more actual connection with potential customers. 

“It’s important brands not only build a social following, but also invest into inappropriately alternate those followers into customers,” Fargo said. “It’s one thing to drive awareness, but it’s another thing entirely to produce customers, and a lot of brands make that mistake.”

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