May 12, 2020
Raise your hand if you’ve ever opened up TikTok and then, suddenly, looked up and found that four hours have passed. It’s safe to say that TikTok is taking over the world, and for good reason—where else can you find a curated feed (thank you, TikTok algorithm!) featuring cute dogs, life hacks, catchy dance routines, and products that you just *have to* try?
It only takes a quick look at influencer content from March and April to understand the tremendous opportunity TikTok presents for the influencer marketing space. Not only is TikTok attracting new users and influencers each day, it’s also informing and inspiring content creation on other social media platforms. YouTube and Instagram are full of TikTok-related tutorials, featuring songs popular on TikTok, or makeup application techniques that have become ubiquitous on the app. Most notably, we’ve seen a growing trend of “TikTok Made Me Buy It” content on YouTube and Instagram, in which influencers test out the beauty and lifestyle products that have blown up on the viral video platform. Here’s a breakdown of some of these TikTok-approved beauty products, and the Earned Media Value (EMV) they’re driving across other social platforms.
With its unique blood-like color and texture, The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, which has been on the scene since early 2017, is experiencing a TikTok-fueled resurgence. At the end of January, the mask’s transformative skin-resurfacing results inspired a TikTok user named Kae White (@kaelynwhitee) to show her before and after shots in a TikTok video, which has since amassed over 600k views and prompted others to test the product. According to a representative from The Ordinary, Kae’s TikTok post spurred the sale of over 52k units of the peeling mask in just two weeks. This momentum was reflected in The Ordinary’s EMV trendline: from January to April, the brand collected $11.9M EMV, which represented a 54% EMV surge from the four months prior. Mentions of the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, many of which referenced the product’s popularity on TikTok, comprised 12% ($1.5M EMV) of The Ordinary’s four-month EMV total.
E.L.F. is a total TikTok trailblazer: in October 2019, while many other brands were still asking “What’s TikTok?,” E.L.F. burst onto the platform with an #EyesLipsFace campaign that quickly went viral, and has since netted 5.2 billion views. What’s more, E.L.F. is in the midst of doing it all again: just one week ago, the brand launched its new #ELFVanishingAct TikTok campaign, which has already collected 14.1M views. Given the brand’s TikTok savviness, it follows that E.L.F.s products—both those that the brand specifically promotes, like the Poreless Putty Primer, and those it does not, like the Lip Exfoliator—have achieved viral popularity on the platform. From January to April 2020, E.L.F. garnered $83.3M EMV, a 26% growth from the four months prior. During the same time period, the Poreless Putty Primer powered $9.8M EMV, a 54% growth from the previous four months, while the Lip Exfoliator garnered $294.4k EMV, compared to its $48.9k EMV total from September to December 2019.
Revlon launched its Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer way back in 2016, but the hybrid brush-hair dryer is currently experiencing a renaissance, thanks in part to its virality on TikTok. Revlon has sustained waves of organic enthusiasm for the product via several branded TikTok campaigns. With over 41k reviews on Amazon, the dryer is constantly selling out, and this surge in popularity is reflected in the product’s growing influencer community. Early to TikTok virality, the Salon One-Step has maintained momentum ever since: from November 2019 to April 2020, the hair tool generated $2.4M EMV—5% of Revlon’s $44.7M EMV total during that time period.
Thanks to a viral TikTok challenge, which featured content creators showcasing the before-and-after effects of Too Faced’s 2013-launched Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper, the product has seen a sizable spike in online influencer conversation. Moreover, Too Faced has noticed the opportunity posed by this organic virality: the brand has become another trailblazer on the platform, actively partnering with TikTok influencers on campaigns and product launches. From January to April 2020, the Lip Injection Extreme—which is currently out of stock on Too Faced’s website—garnered $5.4M EMV, a 98% surge from the product’s $2.7M EMV total during the previous four months.
Essence Cosmetics is a drugstore makeup brand known for its high-quality, affordable products. It should come as no surprise that one of the brand’s most visually interesting offerings is trending on TikTok: while the Kiss the Black Sheep Lipstick appears black at first, thanks to a formulation that adjusts its pigmentation based on the pH of the user’s lips, the product quickly transforms to a more wearable pink shade. While the product has earned significant TikTok buzz, this popularity has yet to translate to other platforms. In some ways, the product is a victim of its own success: in her “Testing Popular TikTok Products” video, YouTuber Ava Jules shared how she wasn’t able to buy the “authentic” Kiss the Black Sheep Lipstick because it “was sold out everywhere.” However, Essence Cosmetics’ popularity on TikTok may have helped generate increased interest in the brand more broadly: from January to April, Essence Cosmetics accrued $21.5M EMV, a 5% increase from the four months prior.
One notable theme across these viral products? Most of them are not new. What will or won’t go viral on TikTok is pretty unpredictable, but so far, the app seems to spark an organic resurgence of enthusiasm for brands’ longstanding offerings. Maybe these offerings catch on because of their unique, visually interesting characteristics—black-to-pink lipstick, anyone? Or maybe it’s the fact that they’re now being tested by a different generation of influencers and consumers. Whatever the reason, this much is clear: TikTok is actively driving dramatic EMV for brands, and presents a new, exciting frontier for influencer marketing as a whole.
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