TikTok’s ‘Hashtag Challenge Plus’ Ad Format Is Generating Billions Of Views For Brands

By 11/18/2020
TikTok’s ‘Hashtag Challenge Plus’ Ad Format Is Generating Billions Of Views For Brands

More and more brands are able to generate billions of views for their products by creating sponsored challenges on TikTok.

At least, according to companies and digital creator network Collab, which recently spoke with Glossy about their experiences with Hashtag Challenge Plus, an ad format TikTok introduced late last year. Hashtag Challenge Plus campaigns involve a brand-created dance (or other challenge) that’s tied to a paid-for hashtag with its own special landing page on TikTok, plus in-app shopping so viewers can buy without leaving the app. Challenges are usually kicked off by TikToker brand partners who urge their fans to try the challenge for themselves.

Brands hope challenges will spread from there: the paid partners’ followers will post videos of their own, and their followers will post videos…If challenges catch on, they can get thousands upon thousands of viewers to make videos promoting brands and products–for no compensation.


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And hashtag challenges are catching on. Just in the past few months, Chipotle’s annual #Boorito campaign, Hollister’s Charli-and-Dixie D’Amelio-fronted #MoreHappyDenimDance, and Jennifer Lopez/Maluma’s #PaTiChallenge (also fronted by Charli) have all amassed billions of views.

Beauty brands like E.l.f., Revlon, Maybelline, and Marc Anthony have also recently joined the “billion view club” using sponsored hashtags, Glossy reports. It specifically points out Marc Anthony’s #StrictlyCurls challenge, for which the company bought three days of TikTok homepage ad space and six days’ worth of in-feed ads. The challenge launched in August, and has since generated more than 3.3 billion views.

@victorialynFeelin’ so WAVY baby💕with @marcanthonyhaircare ##StrictlyCurls Show off your best waves & win a years worth of ##marcanthonyhaircare products! ##Ad♬ POP DANCE – Bensound

Collab told Glossy it too has seen clients generate billions of views with challenges. Its September campaign with cosmetics company Bliss used Hashtag Challenge Plus and worked with TikTokers like Loren Gray (49.4 million followers) and Avani Gregg (28.6 million). The campaign’s hashtag, #ThisIsBliss, has brought 6.6 billion views so far.

“A TikTok hashtag challenge allows your brand to truly own a piece of TikTok for three days,” Dave Rosner, Collab’s EVP of marketing, told Glossy. “If you put all the right pieces in place, the opportunity for billions of views is 100% there.” He added that view counts generated on TikTok are “numbers you just don’t see on other platforms.”

With all this talk of impressive view counts, it is important to know that folks might not want to take TikTok’s staggering figures at face value. As we noted earlier this year, TikTok does not disclose exactly how it counts a view, and because videos automatically start playing when users swipe to them, it’s possible TikTok counts every single time a video is served as a “view,” even if some users may have swiped right on past and not actually engaged with the content.

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