2 Brands Paving the Way for AR Marketing on TikTok

April 19, 2022 • Written by Catherine Kulke

There’s no denying that TikTok is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools available to brands today. With 700M downloads in 2021, TikTok outperformed any other app last year, and 49% of TikTok users say the platform influences their purchasing decisions. The recent introduction of TikTok to Camera IQ’s offering opens up a new world of opportunity for marketers. By launching organic AR effects on the short-form video platform, brands can co-create with users at scale and ignite viral conversations, without shouldering hefty media expenses. 

To learn how brands can easily create and publish organic TikTok AR experiences with Camera IQ, click here

While TikTok represents relatively new territory for AR marketing, several brands have already seized the opportunity to engage the platform’s massive, highly active user base with immersive experiences. Let’s take a look at how two pioneers, Cartoon Network and Smashbox, are leading the way for AR on TikTok with innovative and impactful campaigns that creators can’t get enough of. 

TikTok AR Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network Participates in Viral Moments

Any TikTok marketing expert knows that, on the platform, creators run the show. Rather than trying to control the narrative, TikTok-savvy brands keep an ear to the ground for organic trends and look for opportunities to iterate on existing conversations. 

Cartoon Network put this best practice into action when an audio clip from “Steven Universe” went viral. Observing that the sound bite (“Oh Steven, there’s one more thing I have to mention”) had featured in upwards of 440k TikTok videos, the TV network saw a chance to amplify enthusiasm for the series by developing an AR effect with Camera IQ. A re-imagining of a lens that Cartoon Network had previously published to Instagram, the resulting experience featured the glasses worn by “Steven Universe” character Garnet, along with animations corresponding to a user’s hand gestures. TikTokers eagerly embraced the effect, which enriched their storytelling and further tied Cartoon Network to a viral trend. 

And “Garnet Glasses” was hardly a one-and-done effort for Cartoon Network. In line with the brand’s always-on approach to social AR, Cartoon Network swiftly capitalized on the popularity of another sound bite: “That’s all, folks,” from the iconic Bugs Bunny. Released on April Fool’s day, the effect—which brought users down an animated rabbit hole—marked the first-ever AR experience published simultaneously to Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok. 

TikTok AR Smashbox

Smashbox Hypes New Primer With Confidence-Boosting “Illuminate” Campaign

TikTok is known for cultivating an authentic, playful culture, compared to the polished, heavily filtered world of Instagram. But that doesn’t mean TikTokers don’t want to look their best. In fact, beautifying effects like makeup and complexion-enhancing accounted for a significant 30% of 100 viral TikTok AR experiences audited by Camera IQ. TikTok users’ widespread adoption of flattering lenses makes the platform prime for AR campaigns from beauty brands. 

Smashbox tapped into TikTokers’ eagerness to try new looks with its “Illuminate” experience, a glowy effect that demonstrates the luminous sheen of its recently launched Photo Finish Primer. Like Cartoon Network, Smashbox worked with Camera IQ to repurpose a lens it had previously published to Instagram, underscoring the principle that brands don’t need to build experiences from scratch in order to galvanize audiences on TikTok.

Beauty aficionados as well as the broader creator community rallied around Smashbox’s simple, easy-to-use effect, resulting in impressive reach and engagement. Just ten days after “Illuminate” went live, the experience inspired 1.4k videos netting 20k likes—more than all the likes on Smashbox’s TikTok profile to date. Additionally, 50% of all users who discovered “Illuminate” opened and played it, a testament to the effect’s appeal. 

Building off the success of “Illuminate,” the brand subsequently launched a virtual try-on campaign for another popular complexion product, the Photo-Finish Primerizer. 

Smashbox’s “Illuminate” Effect Takes TikTok by Storm

  • Over 1.4k videos feature “Illuminate”
  • Content incorporating “Illuminate” has accrued 20k likes
  • 50% of users who discovered “Illuminate” played the effect

As TikTokers’ appetite for AR experiences continues to grow, more brands are sure to follow the examples set by Cartoon Network and Smashbox. By stepping into the game sooner rather than later, brands can not only distinguish themselves as innovators on TikTok, but also capture users’ full attention before the competition heats up. 

Download the Ultimate Guide to AR Marketing on TikTok for a complete roadmap to designing and promoting winning TikTok effects, and learn how Camera IQ can help you get started with TikTok AR here

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