TikTok exploded in popularity last year, and it’s not slowing down. The platform’s biggest influencers boast audiences in the hundreds of millions, driven by an algorithm that transformed the landscape of social media forever. Combine that with TikTok’s significant investments into gaming events, initiatives, and creators, and the opportunity for gaming brands to benefit from TikTok influencer marketing is bigger than ever.
In this article, we’ll break down how gaming brands can utilize TikTok influencer marketing to explode in popularity. We’ll cover strategies, how to manage these influencer campaigns, the importance of data and tracking tools, and how to amplify your campaign to maximize results.
Before we dive into the specifics of your TikTok influencer marketing strategy, let’s talk about what the platform’s audience looks like, and how it’s driving some of gaming’s biggest releases.
This year, TikTok was the most downloaded free app in the U.S. App Store, beating out all other social giants like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Huge numbers of people are flocking to TikTok, and they’re sticking around.
The platform has over one billion monthly users spending a daily average of 52 minutes in-app, with over 130 million of those coming from the U.S. And while you’ve probably been subject to the stereotype that only kids are on TikTok, the data tells us otherwise. 30% of users are aged 20-29, 16% of users are aged 30-39, and 14% of users are aged 40-49. TikTok is for everyone.
The numbers are impressive, but can you find success with TikTok influencer marketing as a gaming brand?
TikTok’s intention is clear—gaming is actively being made a priority, with the platform striving to reach gaming audiences through creative events and marketing. Recently, TikTok partnered with mobile gaming giant Zynga, launching a new HTML5-based game, “Disco Loco 3D,” exclusively on the platform. It also confirmed that discussions with other game makers are currently underway.
Beyond that, TikTok is reaching out to its huge captive gaming audience directly. Earlier this year, the platform launched “TikTok Gamers Got Talent”, a seven-week live series to find the most talented gamers on TikTok.
TikTok is becoming synonymous—or even responsible for—the biggest new games. Smash hit Among Us trended on TikTok during the summer of 2020 with the hashtag “#amongus”, hitting 46 billion views and 264 million downloads worldwide. Among Us influencer content was a key driver of this explosion, with leading gaming influencers playing together and sharing their best clips on the platform.
TikTok gaming influencers and brands clipping their content to TikTok has become immensely popular in general. For example, gaming esports organization NRG consistently posts comedic clips highlighting some of their streamers’ funniest moments, with the hashtag “#NRG” generating over 414 million views to date.
Gaming hashtags, the TikTok gaming influencers who use them, and the organizations these gamers represent are already finding success on TikTok. Naturally you’ll want to reach out to them, but you shouldn’t rule out creators on the platform with a broader audience either.
Some of TikTok’s biggest stars operate across music, entertainment, or other more “general” categories, and many gaming brands are already working with them. For example, HyperX, HP’s gaming accessories line, signed one of the platform’s biggest hitters, Bella Poarch, as a brand ambassador and official gaming peripherals partner. As part of the partnership, Bella would use HP’s headsets, keyboards, and other accessories, as well as the creation of content around gaming, developing and performing music, and streaming.
When it comes to the costs associated with TikTok influencer marketing, you can expect to see more variance between influencers, particularly in comparison to more established platforms such as YouTube. Sites like Influencer Marketing Hub estimate average pricing for TikTok influencers, based on follower count:
While it’s true other platforms like YouTube price differently, it’s likely you’ve developed a method of working when it comes to determining price. TikTok isn’t the same beast, but some of the fundamentals—like understanding the value of different metrics—will come in useful. We’ll talk more about those later.
What does a TikTok campaign actually look like? In this section, we’ll discuss video durations, creative direction, and show you some examples of successful campaigns for inspiration.
Understanding video duration is crucial. TikTok has gradually been increasing the options available to creators and advertisers when it comes to video duration. Initially 15 seconds, TikTok then released a 60 second option. More recently, 3 minute videos arrived as a response to some content creators, like chefs or beauty gurus creating their own tutorials, requesting an option for longer-form content.
Prior to the change, creators had to encourage their audiences to “like and follow” for part 2 (or more) of their video series. While this tactic boosted their figures in some cases, more generally it added friction, ultimately frustrating viewers.
The variety of format and video durations on TikTok allows advertisers to tailor their content to great effect, but the platform is making exciting moves specific to the gaming space.
TikTok UK debuted its new #GameTogether series, where professional gamers play against emerging TikTok creators in games like eFootball PES 2021 and Overcooked. GameTogether was broadcast directly via TikTok LIVE, available to watch via the Discover page within the TikTok app, and co-hosted on creators’ TikTok pages. Events like this represent a great opportunity for gaming brands to reach TikTok audiences in an authentic way, signaling a positive future for gaming advertisers on the platform.
Understanding different TikTok formats and video durations is great, but you won’t get far without a good idea. Below, we’ve compiled a collection of different gaming content on TikTok that can hopefully inspire your own.
Gaming Comedy Sketches
As part of CloutBoost’s PK XD video game marketingcampaign, check out two TikTok gaming influencer ads we created for the brand:
45 second integration with an intriguing hook native to the platform. The rest of the video highlights all of the different things you can do in PK XD, rounded off with a strong CTA to encourage downloads using the creator’s unique code.
45 second integration highlighting how PK XD allows the creator to essentially recreate what she’s passionate about in the game. Downloads are encouraged by a special creator code, as well as urgency by offering unique ingame benefits to early users.
TikTok is experimenting with longer-form content, but its core still remains in short form. With that in mind, your briefs and communications when it comes to TikTok influencer marketing should be more efficient than ever.
Trying to cram too much information with regards to things like video scripting will likely cause more harm than good. TikTok culture is driven by user-generated authenticity; content that feels overly scripted to an audience is a surefire way to alienate them. Plus, you only have limited time to work with, so focusing your brief and communications on the absolute essentials of your message will translate to a branded video that’s well received.
Related to the brief you provide a TikTok influencer, make sure important details like video length, how long the video will stay on their account for, and how long your link of choice exists in their bio are all explicitly outlined in your contracts. Similarly, like all contracts, payment details should be clearly defined. Check out our guide to influencer contracts for more information.
FTC compliance is always something to keep in mind to ensure your brand maintains a positive reputation both from the relevant authorities and audiences. When comparatively new platforms like TikTok appear, unique challenges sometimes present themselves which you need to combat. For example, on TikTok, downloaded videos that are then shared across other platforms (e.g. LinkedIn or Twitter), core features like captions which denote a paid promotion are completely removed. Naturally, this can create confusion among audiences and land you in hot water. To minimize potential backlash, make the ad disclosure unmissable through things like visual overlays or explicit audio notices.
As with any reliable influencer campaign, you should be taking steps to accurately track and report the data that comes out of your TikTok influencer marketing. This data offers great insight into what worked, what didn’t, and ultimately drives the success of future influencer campaigns your brand works on.
Tracking links are a great place to start when it comes to data collection on TikTok. Typical deals with TikTok influencers will allow your link to be present in their account bio for a period of 24 hours. The below example highlights what tracking links look like on TikTok. In this case, another line of text is used to draw attention to what the link is related to (PK XD).
Like other social platforms, the video description represents another opportunity to contain an important tracking information. In the below example for the same creator, notice the use of a download code unique to them. Including this allows your systems to seamlessly record those who downloaded from the influencer video.
Beyond having these tracking methods enabled, keep an eye on classic engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and views. More specifically, brand sentiment metrics such as brand mentions and user-generated content offer further insight into how your ad is being perceived.
TikTok specifically offers the stitch feature, allowing a user to create their own video directly in response to yours and allowing you to generate UGC in a frictionless way.
Positive engagement and brand sentiment often translate to great reach, but conversions are as—or more—important, depending on the specific goals of your brand. Aided by the tracking links and unique creator codes we discussed earlier, measuring signups, downloads, and purchases are essential to determining whether your TikTok influencer marketing is successful across the whole customer journey.
TikTok analytics tools
Below you can find a list of useful analytical tools to optimize your data collecting, monitor for trends, and present to colleagues.
The results your brand can achieve from TikTok influencer content is massive. That said, amplification through repurposing across other platforms, as well as leveraging TikTok’s own paid ad formats, can take things to the next level.
Repurposing your TikTok influencer content across other major platforms is an easy way to reach different audiences.
Be sure to remove the TikTok watermark beforehand to prevent your content getting taken down or shadowbanned, and then you’re good to go. Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, you have a huge array of options when it comes to content repurposing.
That said, consider the type of audience you have on different platforms. Content that performs well and is suited to TikTok may not necessarily translate well to LinkedIn, for example. While there’s no definitive rule either way, use your best adjustment and decide whether your repurposed content brings something positive to that platform, or whether it’ll only serve to alienate those audiences.
Repurposing across different platforms is great, but TikTok itself has recently launched an ad product for brands looking to amplify themselves natively: Spark Ads. Spark Ads allow brands to amplify existing organic videos as In-Feed Ads or TopView ads to meet their goals, be that reach, views, engagement, and conversions. Essentially, you can turn your created TikTok influencer ads into Spark Ads, furthering their reach. Let’s break down the different paid ad formats available for your brand.
When it comes to advertising on TikTok, you have a whole host of format options. The platform’s standard ad format, In-Feed, lets you embed a video ad that auto-plays as users scroll their For You feed. Ads can be 60 seconds long (but short ads around 15 seconds are often more effective), and look exactly like native content given they utilize the same interface.
Another format, TopView, allows you to capture user attention by appearing on top of the For You feed as they open TikTok. Representing prime TikTok real estate, TopView allows you to get noticed by means of less competition—it’s harder to ignore TopView ads.
Third, the Brand Takeover approach allows your brand to create full-screen, high impact ads that are the first thing a user sees when opening TikTok. This format guarantees massive reach and an entirely clickable screen, reducing the friction between the ad and your link destination. Users will only see one Brand Takeover ad on a particular day, so this premium ad space understandably comes with a high price tag.
The Branded Hashtag Challenge format enables you to engage audiences by encouraging the co-creation of content, appealing to the platform’s user-generated content look and feel. The last major format available to advertisers is Branded Effects. This allows advertisers to create shareable branded stickers, filters, and effects that users can use in their own content. Similar to the Hashtag Challenge format, these ad formats allow audiences to actively engage with your brand, opposed to being passive consumers.
TikTok influencer marketing offers the opportunity for gaming brands to attract new players at potentially huge scale. The relative infancy of the platform means many influencer opportunities in the space remain undervalued, allowing your brand to meet your reach, engagement, or download goals at a competitive price. Plus, TikTok’s incredible growth looks set to continue, and positioning your brand as one who understands internet culture and new mediums—as well as a new generation of gamers—is never a bad thing.
If you’re planning a TikTok campaign for your game, CloutBoost can help. With a history of successful, data-driven TikTok influencer campaigns, we’re well positioned to help your gaming brand find success on the platform.