1. Everything Marketers Need To Know About TikTok Marketing
  2. How Brands Are Doing TikTok Marketing: 6 Ways To Advertise On TikTok
  3. How To Build A TikTok Influencer Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps For Launching A TikTok Influencer Campaign
  4. How To Find TikTok Influencers: 5 Tips For Identifying TikTok Creators
  5. How To Work With TikTok Influencers: 7 Things To Consider When Working With TikTok Influencers
  6. How To Drive ROI With TikTok Influencers: 6 Must-Haves For Generating Positive ROI
  7. Top 20 TikTok Influencers
  8. 5 Examples Of Branded TikTok Influencer Campaigns

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As TikTok takes off as the fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok influencer marketing opportunities are sprouting up left and right. We’ve detailed the most important factors to consider in order to equip your brand with the knowledge to either jumpstart or optimize your TikTok marketing efforts. Specifically, we focus on the fast-rising method of executing TikTok influencer marketing campaigns.

Want to work with TikTok creators on your next influencer campaign? Click here to learn more about launching high-performing campaigns.

Everything Marketers Need To Know About TikTok Marketing

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form social video platform that’s taken the social media world by storm. Users can upload and share videos up to 15 seconds in length, and often feature lip-syncing, dancing, pranking, among many other comedic acts. The TikTok app allows users to add audio and visual effects, including songs and filters, making it a popular destination for creative minds, but also enabling anyone to be a creator.

TikTok Stats: How Popular Is TikTok?

TikTok has surged in popularity since its launch in 2016. When parent company, ByteDance, purchased Musical.ly and merged the two, it gave TikTok direct access to the Gen Z market. In 2018, the app was downloaded more than 660 times and an additional 188 million in Q1 2019 alone.


Monthly TikTok downloads have steadily increased, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Thus, TikTok’s global user base has swelled, reaching more than 500 million active users worldwide. This makes it twice the size of Vine’s at its peak of 200 million.


TikTok Demographics & User Behavior: Who Uses TikTok?

With its massive presence, TikTok has captivated hundreds of millions of users all over the world. 26.5 million of the 500 million monthly active users are from the U.S, while 40% of TikTok’s new users are from India. Overall, TikTok is available in 150 markets and in 75 languages.

Age wise, two-thirds of TikTok users are younger than 30 years-old. In the U.S., 6 in 10 monthly active users are ages 16-24. This means TikTok attracts more Gen Zers than any other generation on the app.

Of the 16-24 year-old age group, a little more than half are iPhone users. Yet, 80% of TikTok’s sessions take place on Android devices. Additionally, TikTok is more popular on Android than iOS, with many times the number of downloads seen on Apple devices in 2018.

Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on TikTok. In the U.S., they open the app eight times a day. Compared to Facebook (4.7), Instagram (3.1), and Snapchat (1.6), TikTok average session durations are considerably longer at 9.7 minutes.

How Does TikTok Compare To Other Social Media Platforms?

After the merging of TikTok and Musical.ly—a separate video app for lip- syncing—TikTok exploded overnight, escalating into the hottest social media platform due to its novel features and functionalities. Let’s examine what sets TikTok apart from other main social platforms.

TikTok Vs. Instagram

Compared to social media’s darling, Instagram, TikTok focuses on short videos—not static posts, long-form videos, Stories, or diary-style captions that Instagram is known for. Users rely upon hashtags to navigate, and the “For You” discovery page surfaces and engages users far better than Instagram’s “Discover” page envies.

The creativity TikTok users are afforded—through filters, duets, challenges, and other audio-visual effects—make TikTok a rabbit hole of an app where users flip through an endless stream of quirky, cringeworthy, addictive content. The sense of community is altogether more interactive and supportive than users might find on Instagram where everyone seems to only be capturing “their best life.” Perhaps this is why Instagram has started testing its own variety of short-form videos with music overlays called Clips.

TikTok Vs. YouTube

While YouTube positions itself as the leading video platform, it has not conquered the short-form video market. TikTok has commanded this arena, providing users ways to pump out many videos in a multitude of formats without a ton of production assistance. While YouTube may supply a steady flow of long-form, high-quality, related content, TikTok is springloaded with video content that enables users to view, engage with, and create content at a much higher rate. That said, TikTok does give users the ability to string together their 15-second video clips to make 60-second stories, and they can upload even longer videos recorded outside the video app.

TikTok Vs. Facebook

Today, Facebook is the granddad of social media. Its evolution from a friend networking tool to a newsfeed, advertising site, and multifunctional platform for other activities has made the social network a powerful giant. Even so, TikTok threatens to upend part of Facebook’s hard-earned success through its simplicity and virality. TikTok also sheds light on Facebook’s lack of success when it comes to engaging younger demographics. While TikTok isn’t direct competition, Facebook has responded to the new fad by creating its copycat version, Lasso, which it plans to market in countries that TikTok has yet to win over.

TikTok Vs. Twitch

Twitch sets itself apart from all other social media channels as a livestreaming platform. While other niches exist, like cooking, art, music, etc., gaming is Twitch’s largest presence. Twitch users typically broadcast long streams of video gameplay, and a smaller screen overlays the livestream for viewers to watch the gamer.

The watch time and engagement levels on Twitch are hard to surpass, but viewers are generally exposed to less of a variety of content than they presumably would on TikTok. TikTok gamers have the ability to showcase specific gaming moments and often spark trends in which users share bits of gaming culture via short-form video.

Now that we know what TikTok is, why it’s so popular, who uses it, and how it compares to other social media platforms, let’s dive into the available methods for TikTok marketing.

How Brands Are Doing TikTok Marketing: 6 Ways To Advertise On TikTok

The marketing ecosystem on TikTok is new, but brands are tapping into the platform’s advertising opportunities. Below are a few different ways to execute TikTok marketing.

1. In-Feed Ads

Marketers can run in-feed video ads, which blend nicely with TikTok’s feed of short videos. In-feed ads run on three action models, including CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per impression), and CPV (cost per 6-second view).

TikTok offers targeting based on age, gender, and geo-location. Marketers can also create custom audiences with the option of whitelisting or blacklisting profiles. In-feed ads come at a $10 cost-per-impression with a $6,000 minimum campaign spend.

2. Brand Takeover Ads

Brand takeover ads can be purchased for several brand categories (e.g. fitness, fashion, food, etc.), as TikTok offers only one brand to take over a category per day. Brand takeover ads display when a user opens the app, meaning brands get immediate attention. The goal of these ads is to prompt users to click on a CTA to visit a landing page—either internal or external to the app. If users don’t want to take action, they can tap to skip the ad. Brands can expect to pay $50,000 per day for a brand takeover with five million impressions guaranteed.

3. TikTok Hashtag Challenge Ads

TikTok hashtag challenge ads take the challenge culture of TikTok and put it into an advertisement format. These ads promote branded hashtags to encourage the submission of user-generated content featuring their participation in the challenge.

Appearing as a banner on the discover page, the ad directs users to a page with instructions on how to participate while also featuring a feed of other participants’ content. While brands can create their own hashtag without buying it as an ad, branded hashtag challenges guarantee more impressions.

4. TikTok Shoppable Ads: The ‘Hashtag Challenge Plus’

The Hashtag Challenge Plus—TikTok’s new shoppable ad format—refers to when brands sponsor hashtags and create a dedicated experience within the platform for users to explore video content and products. This feature takes hashtag challenge ads and adds a shoppable component, making the feature altogether more versatile.

When users land on the hashtag challenge page, they can click on either the Videos tab or Explore tab. The Videos tab introduces users to a slew of video content tagged with the hashtag and can prompt the user to submit their own tagged content. Clicking into the Explore section will lead users to the shopping experience where brands display products for users to sift through. The “Shop Now” link leads users to the brand’s website where they can complete the checkout process.

5. Branded TikTok Stickers


Creating branded TikTok stickers is another way brands can entice users to engage with their content. The NFL already released player AR stickers which users can find in the “football” effects folder in the video creation tool. This method offers brands a more interactive experience that’s less intrusive than traditional style ads.

6. TikTok Influencer Marketing Ads

A brand’s TikTok marketing strategy should invest in TikTok influencer marketing ads. This type of ad enables brands to partner with TikTok creators to create and share sponsored content with their audience.

Several types of brands have already experimented working with TikTok influencers, most with outstanding success. TikTok influencer marketing ads work well when creators are given creative freedom, the partnership is authentic, and the content discloses the sponsorship. As the platform grows more sophisticated, the tracking capabilities will allow brands to have more direct insights into the performance of TikTok influencer marketing campaigns.

How To Build A TikTok Influencer Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps For Launching A TikTok Influencer Campaign

TikTok influencer marketing has only been around a short period of time, but brands are putting the pedal to the medal with TikTok influencer campaigns. In order to develop an impactful TikTok influencer marketing strategy, marketers should follow these steps:

  1. Understand TikTok’s Platform – If TikTok is unchartered territory, don’t dive in without researching to determine if your brand is ready to launch a campaign. If you’re already reading this guide, then you’re on your way to learning whether or not TikTok is a good fit for your brand. Test new ways of reaching your target audience, or consider partnering with a reputable influencer marketing agency, like Mediakix, that knows the platform and has established relationships with TikTok creators.
  2. Determine TikTok Campaign Goals – Consider what your end goal is for your brand’s campaign—is it to drive UGC or to encourage users to download your app? Consider the outcomes and know which KPIs you’d use to measure the campaign’s success. Clearly defined goals allow you to measure the ROI of your campaign and overall strategy.
  3. Research & Vet TikTok Influencers – Carefully research the TikTok creators you want to partner with. Do they have a proven track record of delivering high quality content and earning positive engagement? Is their audience in line with yours? Do their interests and values authentically match your brand’s? Do not partner with a TikTok influencer based solely on vanity metrics (e.g. followers) but do your due diligence to ensure they’re a natural fit.
  4. Let TikTok Influencers Express Creativity – With TikTok being so new, it may be tempting for brands to want to exercise too much creative control over what’s being published. Trust the creators who are native to the platform and who have established authenticity in their space. Refrain from taking away their creative spark and allow influencers to have input—this will also go a long way in developing a long-term influencer relationship.
  5. Measure TikTok Campaign Results – It goes without saying, but executing a campaign without knowing how to measure its performance is futile. Know general benchmarks of strong performance so you can constantly test and optimize your TikTok influencer marketing strategy. If your goal is brand awareness, see how many views the collaboration earns, as well as how much engagement the post generates. With conversion-based campaigns, be sure to have link tracking in place.
  6. Ensure TikTok Influencer Sponsorships Are FTC-Compliant – Brands exploring TikTok influencer marketing have likely worked with influencers on other social media platforms. If so, most should know that FTC violations can be costly to a brand. Ensure TikTok influencers use #ad and comply with FTC guidelines to avoid getting into a legal mess.
  7. Try Other TikTok Advertising Formats – While building a strong TikTok influencer marketing strategy can be a lucrative endeavor for your brand, pair it with other TikTok advertising tactics so you get the most out of the platform. This will boost your brand’s presence, as well as bolster your overall TikTok marketing efforts.

How To Find TikTok Influencers: 5 Tips For Identifying TikTok Creators

In order to start a TikTok influencer marketing campaign, you’ll need to find reputable TikTok influencers to partner with. As with any influencer marketing campaign, brands must exercise their best judgment when selecting influencers to represent their brand. Failing to carefully research and vet influencers puts brands at risk of falling short with their TikTok influencer marketing campaigns. Brands should also be familiar with what’s important to influencers in a brand partnership.

To better prepare your brand for a successful TikTok influencer marketing campaign, see our five tips on how to find TikTok influencers:

  1. Know Your Target Audience – First, determine if your target audience is on TikTok and if so, understand which influencers would best resonate with them. Don’t assume TikTok creators with the most followers are going to be the most impactful. Carefully research which influencers will generate the most meaningful engagement and whether they’ll influence buying decisions if applicable.
  2. Perform An Organic Google Search – Sometimes, doing a targeted Google search can yield helpful results. Start by searching “top TikTok creators” to identify some of the more popular TikTok influencers, then modify your search to identify particular niches. For example, if you’re a fitness clothing brand, typing in “fitness TikTok creators” would be a logical starting place. That said, know that TikTok is still in its infancy and lists of top creators are constantly changing.
  3. Search Relevant, Trending Hashtags On TikTok’s Discover Page – One thing to note about TikTok is that the desktop experience offers little navigational control. Users looking to search specific hashtags, user handles, and keywords are better off using the mobile app. From there, go to the Discover page and enter your search terms within the top search bar. Brands can identify top trending videos from the “Top,” “Users,” “Videos,” “Sounds,” and “Hashtags” tabs.
  4. Identify Existing Influencer Sponsored Content On TikTok – Similar to using the Discover page search functionalities, you can search for video content that’s tagged with #ad to identify sponsored content on the platform. This technique enables brands to quickly locate existing influencer content to decide if those influencers would be worth reaching out to about collaboration opportunities.
  5. Cross-Check Known Influencers On Other Social Media Platforms – Lastly, it’s not a bad idea to check on the influencers you already know from other popular social platforms, like Instagram and YouTube. Influencers of all sizes commonly boast a strong cross-channel presence, meaning if they’re excelling on Instagram and YouTube, they may also have a growing TikTok fanbase. While not always the case, it’s worth checking in on the influencers you’ve heard of or already worked with on other platforms.

3 Top TikTok Influencer Marketing Platforms For Finding TikTok Influencers

If you’ve exhausted all options above, it may make sense to leverage TikTok influencer marketing platforms to identify and select the right TikTok influencers. It should be noted that because TikTok is still an emerging social channel, not all influencer marketing platforms have updated their databases to reflect the surging popularity of TikTok influencers.

However, with TikTok’s ever growing presence, platforms will likely develop more robust influencer databases within the TikTok category. Below are some of the top influencer marketing platforms which brands can use as a discovery tool:

1. Julius – As a leading influencer marketing software solution, Julius enables brands to filter through a database of more than 100,000 influencers that have already been vetted with the aid of human review.

With multiple filters available, Julius provides users the ability to narrow down a list of influencers based on a number of search criteria. While TikTok influencers aren’t currently searchable on the platform, TikTok itself uses Julius, meaning there’s a high probability the platform will roll out TikTok search capabilities in the near future.

2. Fanbytes – The Fanbytes platform helps brands find influencers across multiple social media channels, with TikTok being its most recent addition. As the first dedicated TikTok platform, Fanbytes introduces you to more than half a million TikTok influencers.

It also gives access to TikTok bios and influencers who have mentioned other brands. The platform has also run its own TikTok influencer campaigns, making Fanbytes a reliable resource for finding TikTok influencers.

3. Upfluence – This influencer discovery tool provides a database of more than one million influencers, featuring some of the top TikTok creators. Its keyword search functionality ensures granular results—although less precise for TikTok influencers.

While not a comprehensive list, brands can identify those who are top performers on the platform and branch out within their network, as most are well-connected to other influencers in their space. So, if you identify a top TikTok influencer, such as Loren Gray, you can scan through her video content and fans list to find other popular TikTok creators that she’s connected to.

How To Work With TikTok Influencers: 7 Things To Consider When Working With TikTok Influencers

After identifying the right influencers for your TikTok influencer marketing campaign, it’s time to start working with them. There are general rules of thumb when working with any influencer to ensure sponsored content is authentic, and this should be reflected in a crystal clear influencer contract.

For a solid influencer contract, keep the following in mind:

  1. Influencer Creativity – Give TikTok influencers creative freedom and refrain from controlling their process and voice too much. TikTok is built with creatives in mind, so it does no good to steal that component from a creator. By stifling influencers, sponsored content won’t resonate with their audience. Trust what has worked for them in the past, and consider them an extension of your brand.
  2. Ownership Clause – Don’t reshare or repurpose influencer-generated content without seeking their permission first. At the outset of a campaign, brands should define the terms of the partnership and explicitly state that they intend to reuse the TikTok influencer’s content for marketing purposes. Be sure to also specify the duration of content ownership.
  3. Brand Messaging Directives – Inform TikTok creators of the campaign’s main goal and the message you want them to convey. This helps eliminate the back-and-forth of disorganized influencer campaigns that don’t have predefined objectives, and it also prevents influencers from missing the mark with brand messaging.
  4. Specific Deliverables – To ensure a smooth TikTok influencer marketing campaign, brands need to communicate what they envision, including visual/audio elements, talking points, and the format of those talking points. This will help brands avoid a catastrophic disconnect between expectations and execution.
  5. Clear Deadlines – Set deadlines for deliverables in order to ensure the campaign runs as planned. This includes defining the duration of the campaign, deadlines the influencer must deliver content for brand approval, and the dates and times the influencer must share the sponsored content.
  6. Exclusivity Clause – Outline a time frame for influencers that prohibits them from engaging with your competitors. If you fail to define these terms and your influencer partner works with a direct competitor the week after your own collaboration, their content’s positioning will be less impactful and trustworthy.
  7. FTC Disclosure – Require TikTok influencers to clearly disclose the sponsorship to ensure they comply with FTC guidelines. This may mean providing the verbiage TikTok influencers need to use, whether written or verbal. On TikTok, using the #ad usually suffices.

How To Drive ROI With TikTok Influencers: 6 Must-Haves For Generating Positive ROI

Next, brands need to consider all the factors that determine how well TikTok influencers perform—the ROI—for a given campaign. While TikTok creators are experts at nurturing engagement, brands should understand how to best integrate their brand’s voice, values, and/or product into influencer content to achieve the most actionable engagement. Beyond drumming up buzz around the brand, it’s also essential that TikTok influencers drive real results that translate into customers—either immediately or in the future.

In partnership with TikTok influencers, brands should aim to generate:

  • high engagement (e.g. likes, comments, views)
  • positive brand sentiment (e.g. brand mentions, UGC)
  • conversions (e.g. purchases, downloads, signups).

In order to achieve these three objectives, TikTok influencers must ensure sponsored content holds true to their personal values and interests. TikTok sponsored content must be authentic to drive positive ROI. Without authenticity, TikTok influencers risk losing the trust of their audience, falling short of campaign goals, and subsequently harming the reputation of their brand sponsor.

6 Essentials For Driving Positive ROI & Engagement With TikTok Influencers

Driving meaningful, authentic engagement for your brand’s TikTok influencer marketing campaign should be the priority. This means that the content produced by TikTok creators should drive actionable results with their audience, such as liking, commenting, resharing, or submitting user-generated content in response to influencer sponsored content.

This might also come in the form of users following your brand’s TikTok account (if you have one), mentioning your brand in a positive light, participating in a branded hashtag challenge, or visiting your site to complete some type of transaction.

Aside from these engagement factors, brands need to understand how the platform’s algorithm operates to give TikTok sponsored content the best chance of performing strongly. In other words, be in the know about the latest TikTok trends. The following content performs exceptionally well:

  1. Original – Highly creative, imaginative video content that captivates viewers in novel ways.
  2. Trendsetting – Content that accentuates a current cultural trend or creates an altogether new trend on the video app.
  3. Challenges – Tagged content that’s easily searchable, trendy, inclusive, recognizable, and entices viewers to participate.
  4. Audio & Visual Effects – Catchy tunes and striking design elements that help boost memorability of video productions.
  5. Hashtags – Clever use of hashtags to engage more users, spark hashtag trends, and increase discoverability of tagged content.
  6. Duets – Video format in which users can display a split-screen next to another user of their choice, spurring higher levels of engagement.

TikTok For You Page Hashtags (#ForYouPage)

Another consideration is TikTok’s “For You” page, which is custom to each user, designed to serve up recommended content that is most relevant or in line with what videos the user has engaged with already. A quick sift through the first several videos on TikTok’s feed will likely show captions with the tags #foryoupage, #foryou, and/or #fyp.

Many TikTokers theorize that using these hashtags will increase their chances of showing up on users’ “For You” page, however, it’s unverified advice. Despite TikTok being tight-lipped about how it’s algorithm rewards video content, it’s a trend worth testing to see if influencer sponsored content can gain traction.

Top 20 TikTok Influencers

While it’s not a requirement to work with a mega-influencers to generate TikTok influencer marketing campaign ROI, knowing the cream of the crop TikTok creators gives your brand an idea of who is the most popular and likely commanding the highest engagement rates (and costs).

Below is a list of the top 20 top TikTok influencers who lead the way in fan count:

  1. @LORENGRAY – 33.8M Fans
  2. @BABYARIEL – 29.8M Fans
  4. @ZACHKING – 21.9M Fans
  6. @GILMHERCROES – 19.7M Fans
  7. @DOBRETWINS – 17.5M Fans
  8. @JOJOSIWA – 17.3M Fans
  9. @JAYDENCROES – 16.8M Fans
  10. @LIZZZA – 14.1M Fans
  11. @SAVVSOUTAS – 15M Fans
  12. @ANNIELEBLANC – 13.8M Fans
  13. @MACKENZIEZIEGLER – 12.7M Fans
  14. @BRENTRIVERA – 12.7M Fans
  15. @CASH.BAKER 12.2M Fans
  16. @LAURENGODWIN – 15.8M Fans
  17. @REBECCAZAMOLO – 11.5M Fans
  18. @TWINMELODY – 9M Fans
  19. @DOMINICTOLIVER – 7.8M Fans
  20. @JAYDENBARTELS – 7.5M Fans

5 Examples Of Branded TikTok Influencer Campaigns

If launching a TikTok influencer marketing campaign is new for your brand, take a look at the brands who have already done it. Whether you’re looking for a blueprint for your own campaign or simply looking for inspiration, explore highlights from some of the top performing TikTok influencer campaigns.

1. Spider Man Tags TikTok Creator, Zach King, For Movie Release

In Mediakix’s TikTok influencer marketing campaign, Spider Man: Far From Home linked up with Zach King, a widely popular creator across multiple social media channels known for his “magical” video editing style. The collaboration featured Zach King hosting a watch party for the newly released film and his transformation into Spider Man.

With a clever caption, FTC-compliant sponsorship disclosure, original sound, and a humorous twist, the video gained more than 134,000 likes and 371 comments, many of which expressed interest in the movie. The success of this influencer sponsored TikTok video bodes well for all types of brands looking to generate buzz, earn positive brand sentiment, and drive conversions.

2. Gymshark Flexes TikTok Fitness Influencers For 66 Day Challenge

In an effort to increase brand awareness and product sales, Gymshark created the “66 Day | Change Your Life” challenge and partnered with six influencers to help promote the campaign.

By partnering with high-profile TikTok creators—each with more than one million fans—Gymshark was able to reach 19.8 million fans and an 11.11% engagement rate. The hashtag #gymshark66 has earned more than 122 million views.

3. Chipotle Gives Away Free Guacamole With #GuacDance Influencer Campaign

To celebrate National Guacamole Day, Chipotle launched a #GuacDance branded challenge to generate video submissions of TikTok users dancing to the “Guacamole Song.” Chipotle tapped Loren Gray and Brent Rivera, both prominent YouTubers who also have TikTok accounts.

The campaign generated more than 250,000 video submissions and 430 million video starts over the course of six days. As a result, the Chipotle TikTok influencer campaign is the highest performing branded challenge in the U.S.

4. Ralph Lauren Launches TikTok Influencer Campaign With Hashtag Challenge Plus

In the first campaign of the platform’s kind, Ralph Lauren ran a campaign to promote the U.S. Open. Leveraging the sponsored hashtag challenge feature, the campaign aimed to hit all levels of the funnel.

Users were encouraged to share moments where they won real life challenges using the hashtag #WinningRL. Through the shoppable feature, TikTok users could shop U.S. Open-branded Ralph Lauren products. To top it off, Ralph Lauren partnered with several TikTok creators with a combined reach of over 11 million fans.

5. Kroger Promotes Back-to-School Shopping With TikTok Influencers

Kroger teamed up with four college TikTok creators to encourage users to share pictures of their dorm transformations using the hashtag #TransformUrDorm. Using the sponsored hashtag challenge, Kroger capitalized on the platform’s shoppable content offering, enabling users to shop for a variety of products.

Led by creators Joey Klaasen, Mia Finney, Victoria Bachlet, and Cosette Rinab, the hashtag gained more than 800 million total views. Kroger created a dedicated brand site which allowed users to to remain on the TikTok app while sorting through and buying Kroger products.

Are You Ready To Launch A TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign?

Now that you know the ins and outs of TikTok influencer marketing, it’s time to craft your own campaign. Whether it’s your first time doing influencer marketing on TikTok or you’re looking to optimize your strategy, you can partner with an experienced influencer marketing agency to launch an impactful TikTok influencer campaign. Contact one of our influencer experts today for a free evaluation here!