TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times, and the app has proven to be hard to put down. On average, users open the app 8 times per day. The app is so huge that the top 50 TikTok influencers there have more followers than 16% of the world’s population. With those stats in mind, the race is officially on for brands on TikTok. TikTok has already launched their own Creator Marketplace just for marketers and influencers to connect.
For many brands, paid TikTok ads are highly effective and worth the investment. While millennial consumers have already shown a preference for authentic influencers versus traditional ads, Gen Z is even more focused on authenticity.
For brands on TikTok, reading the room is key. The most successful brands have an approach that combines real people and almost always a dose of humor. To inspire your TikTok influencer strategy, these twelve brands are just a few of the companies who are playing the TikTok game right.
The tactics and results of these major, household name brands should serve as inspiration to brands of all sizes who hope to breathe new life into their TikTok marketing strategies. Jump to our TikTok Influencer Marketing Guide for additional ways that brands can make the most of marketing on TikTok.
Flighthouse is the most followed brand account on TikTok with nearly 30 million followers. Flighthouse is a large media company that specializes in producing viral social media content, particularly on TikTok. Their account speaks for itself. The brand’s videos have more likes than any other branded account and is the 4th most liked account on TikTok overall.
For comparison, Flighthouse has a startling one billion more likes than Michael Le, a TikTok star with 50M followers. Flighthouse has produced 4,300 TikToks so far, which is a greater volume of content than any other brand on the app.
Netflix comes in second as the most followed brand on TikTok behind Flighthouse. It doesn’t hurt that Netflix already has a massive pool of original sounds and video content to draw from. Many of their videos are clips from their latest shows, interviews with actors and humorous skits. Netflix posts about three TikTok videos a day and gains an average of one million followers each month.
Netflix is the leading advertiser on TikTok, on average producing one large-scale campaign every month. User-generated content has worked well for them thus far; over 112,000 people used their #WhatsYourPower AR branded effect, which is likely the largest amount of UGC for any brand on TikTok so far.
One of the best food brands on TikTok is, without a doubt, Dunkin’. They have three million followers and 21 million likes, and the amount of hilarious UGC on their channel is impressive. Much of Dunkin’s popularity with Gen Z on TikTok comes from their strategic endorsement of the #1 most followed TikTok star Charli D’Amelio.
In a smart move, Dunkin’ solidified a long-term sponsorship with Charli, who was already a proud Dunkin’ patron before she had even heard of TikTok. In fact, Dunkin’ beverages have appeared in over 120 of her TikToks—the majority as unsponsored product placements.
So far Dunkin’ has two drinks after the 16-year-old. The first beverage release,‘The Charli’, led to a 57% rise in daily app downloads on launch day and a 45% rise in cold brew sales the day after launch. Dunkin’ is an excellent example of how to capitalize on trends and choose social media influencers that can authentically support brand growth.
In the best beauty brands on TikTok category, e.l.f. Is a frontrunner. Cosmetics brand e.l.f was one of the first beauty brands to form a TikTok strategy. This move comes as no surprise as e.l.f.’s marketing strategy thrives on out-of-the-box, pop-culture themed innovations. The beauty brand recently created an NFT collection promoting cryptocurrency, a gaming-themed collection to launch their Twitch channel, and no one can forget their extra guac-inspired collection with Chipotle.
For one of e.l.f’s first TikTok campaigns, they commissioned a song called “Eyes Lips Face,” which is believed to be the first original song specially produced for a TikTok campaign. Starting with just a few influencers to get the ball rolling, the #eyeslipsface hashtag turned into a mind-blowing success. The current hashtag video count is over 3.8 billion.
While the makeup brand actively partners with influencers to grow hype on TikTok for their product drops, the most unique element of e.l.f.’s TikTok strategy is that they host TikTok LIVEs on a regular basis. The number of people using TikTok’s LIVE feature has doubled in the past year, and e.l.f. got in on the trend early, having started livestreaming over a year ago. They livestream beauty tutorials, giveaways, Q&A sessions and new product announcements with astounding results.
5. P&G Has The Highest Viewed Sponsored TikTok…Without A TikTok
One wouldn’t expect Procter and Gamble to have much of a TikTok presence, and they don’t. They don’t produce their own content on the app, but they’re still proof of what type of brands do well on TikTok and how. Instead of producing their own content, they turn to top creators to make some waves.
In March 2020, Charli D’Amelio posted a #DistanceDance challenge sponsored by P&G to encourage people to stay home and help stop the spread of COVID-19. For each of the first three million videos posted in response, P&G offered to donate to Feeding America & Matthew 25: Ministries to help families impacted by the pandemic. The charitable tactic was a hit.
Charli’s sponsored video has 6.8M likes and 196.6M views, making it the most viewed sponsored TikTok to date. The #DistanceDance challenge is one of their highest reaching sponsored challenges with 17.8 billion views. The CPG giant continues to see sizable reach through sponsored challenges. Two recent campaigns supporting environmental and social causes, #ItsOurHome and #WidenTheScreen, surpassed 11.3 billion views and 10.3 billion views respectively.
It goes without saying that Amazon knows a thing or two about marketing, and their TikTok influencer strategy is a prime example. Amazon has five official TikTok accounts: @amazonprimevideo, @amazonfashion, @amazonmusic, @primestudent, and @amazon; amongst which Amazon Prime Video is the most popular with 6.7M followers.
Amazon has the means to launch massive, traditional ad campaigns, and they have. They’re responsible for the third most Branded Hashtag Challenges on TikTok, just behind Netflix and Kraft Foods. Amazon also recognizes the potential of influencers. In a single campaign for Amazon Fashion, they partnered with 40+ micro and mega influencers to carry their #PajamaJam challenge to new heights.
Influencers and ambassadors are key to Amazon Fashion’s TikTok strategy—the #amazonpartner hashtag has over 72M views. Content on the Amazon Fashion account, consists of ambassador content and reposts of organically created TikTok trends like #amazonfinds which has over 11.3B views. Amazon may not have needed TikTok’s help, but it’s obvious why it is on our list of TikTok’s top brands in 2021.
What brands do well on TikTok? Any brand that can provide entertainment value. One of TikTok’s largest branded content producers is Red Bull. They’ve posted more than 2,660 videos so far, which is more than both Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio, two of TikTok’s most noteworthy influencers.
Red Bull posts an average of two videos a day and have receives an average of 1.2 million likes each month. Much of Red Bull’s content is death-defying, jaw-dropping stunts, but they also incorporate humor into their strategy. For every eye-popping trick, they share a hilarious flop. The variety has thus far been effective at holding their audience’s attention.
Gymshark is a great example of how jumping on trends early pays off. They joined TikTok right out the gate with their first post published in April 2018. Their content isn’t revolutionary, but what they lack in innovation they make up for with consistency.
Gymshark posts consistently, their videos are high-quality and they understand their audience. Their account shares a solid mix of memes, workout videos, and motivational content, which has earned them 3.3M fans. Check out some of their best work in our case study here.
Blue Diamond Almonds may be new to TikTok, but they clearly did their homework. The privately held cooperative had no TikTok presence prior to June 2021 when they launched an incticing food challenge highlighting their new line of spicy almonds.
The brand partnered with three food influencers to promote the #28XTREMES challenge that has so far received over 11.6B views. One of their sponsored videos with food creator @colincreates received 10.1M views and 322K likes becoming his most viewed video ever. What’s great about Blue Diamond’s success is that it’s evidence that it’s not too late for brands of all sizes to find success on TikTok with the right strategy.
How did a company that doesn’t have a substantial TikTok presence end up on the list of best brands on TikTok? Marc Jacobs has mastered the art of TikTok duets. The company advertises on TikTok by launching Branded Hashtag Challenges, each time utilizing the TikTok duet feature. Their #PerfectAsIAm campaign in summer 2020 ended with 10.4B views and included duets with Rickey Thompson and three other influencers.
Marc Jacobs followed up with a second #PerfectAsWeAre campaign in June 2021, celebrating Pride and encouraging self-love and individuality. They featured three massive TikTok influencers, Rickey Thompson, Jojo Siwa, and Bretman Rock. Their campaign has now accumulated 13.7B views and more than 2,000K UGC.
With 42.1K followers, DICK’s Sporting Goods doesn’t have the largest TikTok presence in comparison to some of the other brands on this list. Nevertheless, their efforts to experiment with TikTok’s latest ad features have paid off. Their first Branded Hashtag Challenge, #NewFitFeelin, involved six influencers and inspired 1,136 pieces of UGC without using any Branded Effects whatsoever.
The second time around during their #WelcomeBack campaign, they did utilize TikTok’s Branded Effect option. The campaign only launched at the beginning of August, 2021, and it has already accumulated 7,020 UGC. The Branded Effect usage equated to an impressive 500%+ rise in UGC. Because of the brand’s success at making the most of TikTok’s features, we’d consider Dick’s Sporting Goods to be one of the best brands on TikTok in 2021.
A good burrito speaks for itself, but Chipotle essentially turned TikTok into a loudspeaker. Their profile starts out on the right foot with a winning bio: “Less Tok, More Guac.” From there, it only gets better. They share content consistently, and their influencer strategy has layers of success.
While Chipotle continues to work with influencers in traditional influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok, the burrito brand seems to also be taking advantage of ‘content-only’ campaigns. In these influencer partnerships, influencers create branded content, but instead of posting it to their channel, the videos are exclusively posted on Chipotle’s account. This special ingredient of dedicated content allows Chipotle to integrate the benefits of traditional influencer marketing and the benefits of creator produced content.
The burrito-bowl chain also reposts popular content featuring their food, and stays on top of seasonal trends. In our recent study, we found the food/beverage industry accounts for 20% of all Branded Hashtag Challenges. While Chipotle certainly faces competition, Chipotle has one of the best strategies for growth on TikTok.