Storytelling is as old as humankind; it's what makes us human. We started with simple word of mouth. Then we learned the power of dance and acting. Later, sets and props were introduced, bringing stories to life in new, theatrical and exciting ways. When the camera arrived, it allowed people to experience stories that they otherwise would've never been exposed to. More recently, the advent of smartphones has allowed people to stay connected to each others' stories around the world. The combination of mobility, powerful cameras and connectivity has provided the perfect storm for an augmented reality (AR) explosion that brings storytelling to an entirely new level.
TikTok's For You feed uses a content graph rather than a social graph. That means that content is served to each user based on what they like, not limited by who they know. With closed content ecosystems, other platforms that feature effects and filters are useful for communication, but not necessarily for content virality and discovery. So how are effects different on TikTok?
TikTok is the platform for joyful, entertaining, diverse and unexpected experiences, and our community is an inclusive place where everyone belongs; where authenticity is not only accepted, it's celebrated.
Any great content can be discovered on TikTok. Our open content ecosystem is designed to maximize discovery and engagement. With a content graph, TikTok communities are not driven by friend groups or followers, but by interests they share with others and the content they find most interesting. Anyone can participate in building the momentum for these experiences, and trends are happening every day on TikTok.
You could say we’re flipping the switch on culture: rather than everyone following what celebrities are doing, the reverse is happening: trends from everyday people make international headlines. And our entire community joins in, because collaboration is in TikTok's DNA. TikTok is a community of energetic, collaborative and empowered creators, constantly contributing something new, co-creating and taking part.
Effects are one of the TikTok community's favorite forms of expression. From the popular suite of Green Screen effects, which allow users to superimpose their footage against any image or video they choose, to Interactive effects where users can record themselves participating in games and quizzes in real-time. There are even World AR filters, which transform the user's surroundings: from dinosaurs outside the window or spacecrafts in the sky, to disco lights on the floor and hammerhead sharks swimming around the room.
More recently, the Versailles Run effect exploded into a cultural phenomenon. Launched as part of TikTok's #MuseumMoment event, this AR effect allowed TikTok users to come alive as Queen Marie Antoinette running though the virtual gallery at the Palace of Versailles. In the hands of the TikTok community, this immersive experience quickly turned into an entertaining comedic trend.
At TikTok, effects are not the story but a tool that enhances the story. They give our community the ability to tell more immersive stories with unlimited creative possibilities. These types of technology used to have huge barriers to entry. Now members of our community from all backgrounds have these futuristic yet easy-to-use tools at their fingertips.
Branded Effects comprise a robust suite of customizable filters, enabling users to interact with your brand in all kinds of ways:
Trying on makeup colors and styles
Putting on a hat or changing hair color
Overlaying a sticker or frame, such as a branded microphone
Juggling a ball on your eyebrows
Following dance moves
Using head movements to steer a vehicle
Unlocking animations by scanning images, text or objects in real life
The latest IAB AR Buyer's Guide, which highlights TikTok's Branded Effect offerings, also details the benefits of leveraging AR at each level of the marketing funnel. At the upper level, it enables immersive discovery; for mid-funnel engagement, AR formats enable audiences to "directly experience a message, providing depth of connection and memorability that is key for message retention." And crucially, the increase in engagement has also been shown to correlate with increased purchasing behavior further down the funnel. For example, Mucinex's Branded Effect campaign on TikTok resulted in a +42.7% lift in purchase intent.
Using Branded Effect ensures that content will be well-labeled, ownable, and primed for discovery. All ad formats can showcase the effect and drive our community to the effects page. Once on the effects page, the Branded Effect can be selected with a tap of the screen. All UGC Creations will be cataloged under the Effects page. There are also optional call-to-action placements to drive users from the camera page or For You feed to an external link.
Beauty: Branded Effect allows beauty brands to redefine product discovery: users can try on makeup or skincare products in the comfort of their own home. Laneige leveraged this opportunity with a fun effect that played up differences in skin appearance before and after moisturizing.
Personal Care: Use a Branded Effect to spell out your proposition, and let users become advocates. Veet took the opportunity to align its hair removal product with the feeling of celebrating summer, and built this into a campaign that encouraged users to show off their new summer looks, using the signature "V" hand gesture to trigger a transformation.
Consumer Packaged Goods: Branded Effect lets you tell an immersive story through your audience. Think about how you might translate your brand’s logo, mascot, or product into a differentiated brand personality. For example, when Dirol launched a new black-colored chewing gum, the #DirolCheekyStyle campaign featured a Branded Effect that encouraged participants to show off both their mild-mannered and sassy sides, mirroring the white and black gum colors.
Entertainment: Branded Effects can generate awareness and hype by making your audience feel like part of the show. To promote the singing competition show "Sing On!", Netflix Germany used an interactive karaoke effect, inviting TikTok users to show off their own singing skills.
Retail: Culture is created openly and inclusively on TikTok, every day. Branded Effects let you lead your brand and its style into trending conversations in fun, direct ways, and be at the epicenter where new cultural trends are born. Shoppers Drug Mart understood this opportunity and tapped a popular trend—make-up transformations—to promote its annual Beauty Lover event. The challenge invited people to "try on" three different looks virtually, choose their favorite, and recreate the look in real life using beauty products and brands available at Shoppers Drug Mart.
The use of Branded Effect allows marketers to tap into our community's love for creativity, joy and self-expression. By being authentic to the platform, brands using Branded Effect are experiencing incredible engagement, reach, recall and many more exciting metrics.