With over 800 million monthly active users, it’s no surprise that TikTok has quickly become the hottest platform for brands running paid social ads.
In 2020, TikTok saw incredible growth in response to the pandemic, leading the app to release their first ever Holiday Marketing Playbook to help brands successfully reach their millions of new users.
This year—as holiday spending is expected to hit $1.3 trillion—reaching audiences on TikTok will be more important than ever if you want to take advantage of the increased consumer demand.
But don't start TikToking just yet!
If you want your ads to succeed on TikTok, you have to know what actually works on TikTok.
Here are 10 high-performing TikTok holiday ad ideas from 2020 that you should use to plan your strategy this year!
1. Elf Cosmetics - 30 Second Unboxing Challenge
New Holiday Segment ❄️ 30 Second Unboxing Challenge ✨ First up, blue wiggie 💙 Not bad for those nails 💅🏻 @badwiggies ##badwiggies 👏♬ original sound - elfyeah
The key to succeeding on TikTok is understanding the culture—and that’s exactly why this three-part holiday ad from e.l.f. Cosmetics performed so well last year.
The ad features members of the popular influencer squad Bad Wiggies, competing in a quickfire challenge to unbox e.l.f.'s ELFtastic 12 Day Advent Calendar in under 30 seconds.
Right off the bat, this ad taps into two major forces that drive the trends on TikTok: influencers and challenges!
Selecting influencers to do this challenge increased the ad’s authenticity and reach, but ALSO encouraged viewers to try the challenge for themselves (which conveniently requires them to purchase an ELFtastic Advent Calendar 😉)
2. Dunkin - #Cheersin with Dunkin
At first glance, this ad seems pretty plain. In fact, this is one of the only Dunkin ads not featuring an influencer...so how did it perform so well?
The answer: an original song.
This incredibly simple ad features their original holiday jingle, “Cheersin,” made especially for TikTok. The decision to create a catchy song for TikTok is a genius move for two reasons:
- Brands on TikTok aren’t able to use the app’s popular sounds in their content.
- Viral sounds are what BUILD TikTok’s biggest trends.
Including your own catchy song or jingle in your TikTok holiday ad will encourage viewers to use your sound in their own TikToks, making it easier for other users to find you.
Just like that, your reach has been extended!
3. Extra - #GiveExtragetextra
Everyone loves a good heartwarming ad during the holiday season, but on TikTok, audiences also reward creativity.
For this ad, Extra teamed up with popular TikTok artist Devon Rodriguez, who’s known for gifting strangers with hand-drawn self portraits.
For added branding and creativity, Devon used an Extra gum wrapper to draw the portrait in the ad.
Finding a sincere and endearing way to include your product in an influencer ad is a great way to build a long-lasting emotional connection with your TikTok audience while building trust.
Allowing influencers to use your product in a creative way like this can also give potential customers ideas about how to use your product when giving a gift this holiday season.
4. Fisher Nuts - #FisherTogether
Like the last example, this influencer ad for Fisher Nuts’ #FisherTogether takes a heartwarming approach, but it goes a step further by adding a personal story element.
Audiences on TikTok love immersive storytelling!
A good storytelling ad will take viewers along for the ride by showing “candid” moments from the POV of the creator (just like this TikToker did).
Fisher perfected the ad by including a clear call to action in support of a good cause: for every post using their branded hashtag, Fisher promised to donate $30 to Meals on Wheels in support of senior citizens.
5. Got Milk? - #GotMilkCookieChallenge
Like Dunkin’s #Cheersin, this ad for the Got Milk campaign uses its own catchy jingle to make the spot more shareable.
There are few things TikTok users love more than a challenge, even if it’s relatively easy. In fact, that’s why the #GotMilkCookieChallenge spread so efficiently—it was easy for most people to replicate.
This ad just goes to show that sometimes, simple is the best way to go on TikTok.
6. The Office Products - #TheOfficeHolidayCringeDance
If you don’t use an original song for your TikTok ad, the next best thing is an original dance!
The goal of this ad was to spread awareness/promote sales of The Office’s holiday merch. In the end, all the ads using #TheOfficeHolidayCringeDance reached 80M users combined.
The key to the ad’s great performance on TikTok was allowing the influencers to make the dance their own while incorporating their holiday merch as gift inspiration for potential customers.
7. Amazon Prime - Holiday Traditions
TikTok is a major destination for consumer inspo—especially during the holidays.
This influencer ad boosted its performance by giving users ideas on how to make the holidays better with Amazon Prime, from movie nights to blasting holiday tunes.
The ad is edited almost like a listicle, with easy to follow suggestions that are demonstrated in a fun way.
8. Levi - 1 Pair, 3 Holiday Outfits
Levi’s also served up some holiday inspo with this simple and creative ad featuring TikToker Vasti Nico.
In the ad, Nico shows the audience three ways to style Levi’s jeans for the holidays using quick, smooth transitions.
This type of short content is the perfect way to build both trust and desire to purchase from potential customers. In fact, people are 4 times more likely to click on user-generated ads like this one.
9. Bliss - #MaskOnBakeOff
This Bliss ad blends beauty treatments with holiday baking for the “ultimate holiday self-care.”
Here, Bliss uses a combination of different TikTok techniques, including an original sound, a challenge, and a giveaway all in one.
The product featured in the ad is the exclusive Bliss holiday box, packed with everything fans need to participate in their #MaskOnBakeOff.
The challenge: in the time it takes to apply and dry his Bliss face mask, FoodTok influencer Newt must bake a holiday treat using the ingredients included in the Bliss box.
Bliss uses a giveaway contest to push the ad’s reach even further. In order to participate in the challenge, viewers have to get their hands on an exclusive Bliss box by tagging 3 friends and following Bliss on TikTok.
10. Postmates - #BetterThanSanta
Similar to Bliss, this ad by Postmates used a contest to skyrocket its reach across the whole internet.
Postmates made extra use of their time by having cross-platform promo at the root of their #BetterThanSanta contest.
For the chance to have their holiday wishes granted, participants were required to tweet their wishes using the branded hashtag.
Postmates involved influencers and full fledged celebrities in the campaign to bring it to a larger scale.
Plan Your Perfect TikTok Holiday Strategy
It’s no coincidence that most of the best performing ads on TikTok feature influencers!
Influencer marketing allows brands of all sizes to reach their target audiences and build trusting relationships with potential customers.
If you’re looking for the best way to start your influencer marketing journey, or to optimize your brand’s influencer strategy, you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s boost your brand! Schedule a free strategy session with us here.
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