Member Exclusive   //   December 8, 2022  ■  2 min read

Modern Retail Research: Brands are prioritizing TikTok marketing for holiday

Emma Sandler

This holiday season, TikTok is coming out on top as one of the biggest shopping channels for customers and marketers alike.

TikTok has become a dominating force within beauty since its rise to fame as Gen Z’s favorite social platform in 2020. In recent Glossy stories, TikTok dominated Google’s top trending beauty searches for the year, while the popular hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuy shone its favor on MAC Cosmetics, Glossier, Birkenstock and L.L.Bean. In a Glossy and Modern Retail survey of 75 brand workers, 71% said they used TikTok as a marketing channel in 2022, falling between online display ads and “other social platforms” like YouTube and Pinterest in popularity.

From 2020-2021, brand entries onto the platform were novel, but it is now table stakes to have a brand presence in one way or another. Tentpole marketing campaigns, such as the case with NYX Cosmetics’ hashtag challenge campaign in 2020, once dominated TikTok strategies. But over time, big splashy moments have turned toward an always-on strategy. Such is the case with Clinique, which in October debuted a “C-Suite” cohort of influencers for at least nine months to produce hundreds of videos spotlighting Clinique products.

About 60% of respondents said TikTok is becoming more critical to this year’s holiday marketing plans. Comparatively, 54% of respondents said the same for Instagram, and 44% said the same for influencers.

TikTok now allows brands to work differently and more easily with influencers. For example, TikTok offers a “Spark Ads” feature, enabling brands to amplify unpaid content, which helps promote virality. Glossier leaned into this for its Glossier You fragrance in June when user @bitcoin_papi shared a post talking about the intense reactions she received when wearing the fragrance. The post received over 500,000 likes. Glossier added a link-to-purchase button on the Spark Ads post leading to its DTC site. It used this format to boost a post by influencer @lyssielooloo, in which she referenced @bitcoin_papi’s viral post.

Furthermore, 55% of respondents said gift guides were a primary marketing tactic for the holiday season, compared to 40% for unboxing videos and 17% for hauls. In lieu of a traditional gift guide, cosmetics brand Too Faced took the opportunity to create a concierge service for its customers as a form of gift guide-meets-brand experience. From November 1 to December 30, Too Faced will text customers up to three times a week with new holiday product launches and gift-giving ideas. It will also  initiate conversations by asking consumers who they’re shopping for. Too Faced is not offering a discount code to incentivize initial SMS signups. Instead, it will focus on promotion via its TikTok and Instagram accounts, where it has 1 million and 12.8 million followers, respectively.