Despite the uncertain future in the US, TikTok is launching Branded Effects for marketers

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As the US government debates the future of TikTok after last week’s congressional hearing, the video entertainment platform today announced a new product called Branded Effects, aimed at companies looking to promote themselves on their platform. The solution allows brands to collaborate with TikTok effects creators to design custom effects — such as AR experiences and other interactive features — to support their online campaigns and marketing efforts.

The solution, Effect House Branded Effects, is an extension of TikTok’s existing development platform Effect House, which launched about a year ago. With Effect House, the company put the tools needed to develop AR effects in the hands of creators, allowing them to expand TikTok’s existing AR effects library — a competitive feature for its app.

The suite also includes other things AR effect makers need to get started, such as templates, tutorials, and documentation explaining how to create specific types of effects, such as Segmentation, Face Mask, Head Tracker, Face Stretch, and 3D Face, as well as how to use different textures, materials, lighting and shadows, and more.

Now, with the launch of Branded Effects, companies can begin working with TikTok’s best effect makers to build out effects for the brand’s social media and online campaigns that also include specific features such as calls to action or custom audience targeting, among others stuff.

Brands can use brand effects to engage users in a number of ways, such as offering ways to virtually try on makeup, change the user’s hair color, have them put on a hat, put a sticker or frame on the video, track dance moves, use head movements to control a vehicle, unlock animations by scanning images, text or objects in real life, and more.

The company suggests the product makes sense for a range of businesses, including brands that work in spaces such as personal care, beauty, consumer packaged goods, entertainment and retail.

TikTok says Branded Effects also allow the brand to bring their content to a wider audience through things like paid traffic solutions for branding and place their effects in premium placements in the “Trending” tab of the effects panel for more visibility. Additionally, TikTok says all of its ad formats support showcasing the brand effects and can direct viewers to the app’s effects page, where the brand effect can then be selected with a tap.

Brands can also control which brand-safe videos appear on the effect’s detail page to ensure that only suitable or positive videos are shown when TikTok users look up the effect in the app to see how other people are using it.

“We’ve seen brands use effects on TikTok in all sorts of creative ways to reach new audiences, share stories, and build community,” Greg Feingold, Effect House Community Lead, said in a statement. “Partnering with the best Effect House creators to create effects allows brands to further leverage the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community.”

TikTok noted that Microsoft was one of the companies already using securities to reach TikTok’s online community. In a blog post, TikTok said Microsoft 365’s agency Superdigital used Effect House to create the WordArt You effect in collaboration with Effect House creators Eddy Adams (@eddyin3d) and Jan Trejo (@janmahavan), resulting in 126,000 TikTok videos with the effect and millions of views.

Another early adopter, Mucinex, ran a Branded Effect campaign that saw a 42.7% increase in purchase intent, according to an online case study. Other Branded Effect testers included beauty brand Laneige, chewing gum maker Dirol, Netflix Germany and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The timing of the announcement is interesting, as the threat of a potential TikTok ban in the US has caused advertisers to scramble to develop contingency plans about where to move their marketing efforts if TikTok is no longer accessible. As Reuters recently reported, brands and agencies have been holding meetings, but for some seeing strong performance from their TikTok ads, there’s no plan yet to pull out. The report also cited data from Insider Intelligence that claims TikTok’s U.S. ad revenue is expected to reach $6.83 billion this year, up from $780 million in 2020.

TikTok had announced just before the hearing that the platform now reaches 150 million monthly active users in the US

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