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Lowe’s Joins Brand Marketers Embracing TikTok’s Influence

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When Lowe’s created digital holiday ads for TikTok using trending audio, the home improvement retailer joined a growing group of major brands investing in the social media platform. TikTok’s ad revenue will exceed Snapchat and Twitter’s combined this year, and it’s on track to overtake YouTube by 2024, thanks in large part to the influx of brand marketers swarming the platform with creative, sometimes off-the-wall campaigns.

TikTok’s influence has been felt throughout 2022, but it’s about to get even harder to ignore this holiday season. 

While some retail brands are designing their own social ads to reach holiday shoppers based on platform-inspired trends, others are partnering with TikTok influencers to develop content designed to organically boost brand awareness with the Gen Z demographic. 

“TikTok and its content creators will help define what the must-have presents are this year,” says Annalise Curvelo, senior director of business development and partnerships at Sightly, a real-time marketing and intelligence firm. “Content creators on the platform have an incredible amount of cultural influence. The products trending on TikTok between now and Christmas will be heavily influencing almost everyone’s shopping list this holiday season.”

Ocean Spray, the century-old beverage brand, recently partnered with JoJo Siwa on a TikTok duet that featured Siwa dancing and singing holiday songs while cranberry sauce jiggled in the background. The campaign is one of many examples of how CPG brands and retailers will be using TikTok through integrated partnerships with influencers in the coming months.

“To see the enormous power of this platform all you have to do is browse through the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt to see thousands and thousands of purchases made thanks to TikTok,” Curvelo says. “This cultural influence is driving Barnes and Noble’s to have a section dedicated to #BookToks, Trader Joe’s to have ‘as seen on TikTok’ shelves and beauty brands to rapidly sell out of any trending product on the platform.”

Beyond its direct connection to the Gen Z demographic, Curvelo says TikTok’s growing suite of targeting tools, like purchase intent targeting and video shopping ads, are a lure to brands that have been on the fence about working with the social video platform.

“Right now, Twitter is the platform that advertisers are shying away from most heavily, but before the Twitter debacle, we saw ad spend pulled away from Meta and funneled into TikTok campaigns,” Curvelo says.

Although TikTok has been around since 2016, this holiday season will be the first since the company partnered with the social advertising automation platform and launched ShoppingAds, a solution that’s become popular with brand advertisers. ShoppingAds content includes video ads to deliver hyper-relevant videos with personalized recommendations based on a user’s interactions on the app, along with catalog list ads that pull product information directly from a retailer’s catalog. The solution also provides brands and agencies with real-time granular insights for TikTok and cross-platform.

TikTok’s own data shows that 56% of users say that ads on TikTok lead them to discover new products or brands, and 86% of test advertisers using ShoppingAds saw a performance lift for test campaigns against core performance metrics, including cost per acquisition and return on ad spend. But organic growth on TikTok still appears to be the goal for most brand retailers, and especially those partnering with influencers on viral campaigns.

“We think the best recommendation is the TikTok for Business mantra ‘Make TikToks not ads,’” Curvelo says. “Ideally, viewers will walk away from the ad without even realizing it was an advertisement.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.