You don’t need us to tell you TikTok is one of the hottest social platforms for marketers today. With over 1B monthly active users worldwide, and the potential to turn songs, TV shows, and products into viral sensations practically overnight, TikTok has established itself as a fixture of contemporary culture. The platform’s influence on consumers’ preferences can’t be overstated, so it’s no surprise more and more brands are joining the party.
While it’s clear that TikTok drives virality, actually predicting what will resonate with audiences—and what won’t—can be challenging. That’s where AR comes into play. TikTok is built to serve its users high-engagement videos, and AR experiences receive, on average, 30x the engagement rate of traditional posts. Essentially, AR effects let brands “hack” the TikTok algorithm, maximizing reach.
Wondering how to make TikTok AR campaigns work for your brand? To help you get started, we’ve outlined six best practices brands can use to design and promote winning AR effects for 2022’s buzziest platform.
For a complete roadmap to designing and promoting winning TikTok effects, download the Ultimate Guide to AR Marketing on TikTok.
1) Keep Your TikTok Effects Simple and Open-Ended
On TikTok, creators run the show—so complicated AR experiences that impose a narrative predetermined by your brand are bound to fall flat. Instead, design versatile, easy-to-use effects that help creators tell their own stories. As one of Camera IQ’s brand strategists says, “make a spork, not a knife.”
2) Account for Audio
Sound is an integral component of successful TikTok posts, and one of the primary aspects that sets the app apart from other social platforms. In fact, many creators build their entire videos around a trending song or other memorable soundbite. When designing your AR experience, think about the audio you’ll use to enhance it. Although TikTok doesn’t allow designers to incorporate sound directly into AR effects, the audio you select when you post your experience will show up as a default for creators who subsequently share that effect in their own videos. Be intentional about your choice, and consider providing multiple options to ensure your campaign is as versatile as possible.
3) Iterate on Organic TikTok Trends
TikTok users crave authenticity, and the platform’s biggest trends evolve organically from conversations among creators. Your brand’s AR effect should work within this ecosystem—for example, start with a meme or soundbite creators are already excited about, and use AR to expand on it.
Cartoon Network’s recent ‘Garnet Glasses’ experience is a prime example of this principle in action: recognizing that audio from the show Steven Universe was trending on TikTok, the brand saw an opportunity to reimagine an AR effect it had previously published to Instagram and Snapchat. Using Camera IQ, Cartoon Network adapted the campaign to TikTok by adding creative that corresponds with a user’s hand gestures, and timing it to the popular “Oh Steven” soundbite.
4) Share Your Effects Online and IRL
Once you’ve designed your effect, it’s time to spread the word. First, publish the experience to your own TikTok account. Since not all users are familiar with AR, it’s helpful to provide guidance on how creators can incorporate the effect into their own videos. For additional visibility, link to the experience in your TikTok bio and promote it across other social platforms. And don’t let the conversation stop on social—share a QR code for your effect in mailers, at events, and in newsletters.
5) Collaborate With Relevant TikTok Creators
In addition to promoting your AR experience on your brand’s owned channels, you can drive adoption on a larger scale by tapping prominent TikTok creators to share your effect with their audiences. To ensure the collaboration resonates authentically with fans, choose partners who align with your brand’s messaging, and who have demonstrated a genuine, pre-existing affinity for your offerings.
6) Launch Your Own Hashtag Challenge or UGC Campaign
TikTokers can’t resist a competition, so hashtag challenges provide creators with a compelling incentive to share your AR experience. Beyond contests, simply inviting fans to include a relevant hashtag in videos with your effect will foster a sense of unity among your fanbase, and make it easier for creators to find your experience. Additionally, because TikTok doesn’t permit logos in AR effects, associated hashtags play a key role in facilitating brand discovery.
Orchestrated campaigns aren’t the only way to leverage UGC from your community. Take advantage of TikTok’s co-creation features like Stitch and Duet to interact with users who share your effect and participate in the conversation.
TikTok is no longer a new frontier for marketers—it’s an established part of social strategy for any brand hoping to stay relevant in 2022. AR effects empower brands to distinguish themselves as innovators on the platform, and remain top-of-mind for consumers. Equipped with a toolkit for impactful TikTok AR campaigns, brands are in a strong position to design and publish winning initiatives that drive next-level awareness.