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We Went Viral On TikTok

We Went Viral On TikTok
By Cody Plofker • Issue #5 • View online
Last week we went Viral on TikTok.
Not once, but a few times. Since then, it’s been nothing short of amazing. Our daily sales have skyrocketed, and our main concerns are inventory issues now. 
Good problems, am I right? 
So I want to share what we did, what led to us going Viral, what we learned, and what our plan is going forwards to keep the momentum going. 
The Back Story
I was lucky enough to have a call with a certain well-known influencer and marketer lately, whose name might rhyme with Lary Dee. He essentially told us to go all-in on TikTok, both organic and paid. In his opinion, you can build a $100m DTC business on TikTok alone. 
Before this, we weren’t doing much of anything on TikTok organically. I was spending about $750-$1k a day profitably, but our organic game was lacking. 
I had a sinking feeling that we were really missing the boat by not investing into TikTok organically and it turns out I was right. 
So we made a few videos, not expecting too much. The first video we just said we were new to TikTok, and asked what questions people had for Bobbi. (My mom, and founder of Jones Road Beauty). 
The second and third videos we made are the ones that really took off. We just did some video replys to users’ questions. The first one was about makeup tips for 50+. The second one was Bobbi responding to someone asking about contouring their nose, and Bobb is very anti-contouring, so she responded with a very authentic, positive answer. 
I know everyone is going to ask to see the videos, so here are the links: 
Fortunately, these videos were also picked up by Allure,, The Stylist, Yahoo News Syndication, New Beauty, and more, which I am sure contributed to the surge in traffic. 
I definitely would be lying if I said I planned this whole thing, and it’s obviously an unfair advantage to have Bobbi as the founder and face of the company. But there was a method to our madness. I knew that Bobbi is great on video, and I also know she speaks in soundbites, which can do well in short-form video.
I also love when she is polarizing, as long as it’s in a positive way. So I helped to “write the copy” and guide the strategy in a way that I thought would work well on the platform. 
I knew that TikTok is not the place to be pushing product. Instead I wanted to do to things, which she is best at:
  1. Teach how to apply makeup in a really simple, digestible way
  2. Talk about body positivity, embracing oneself, etc.
Some videos we only did one, some we did both. For example, I wrote the copy for this one and told Bobbi exactly what to say.
Although it was a how to/ educational video, I weaved in some brand pillars around body positivity and embracing who you are. It’s subtle, but like I wrote about in this issue, weaving your pillars into every touchpoint with customers is how you create a really strong emotional connection.

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The Stats
Within 24 hours, one of our videos had 1 million views. With 1 week, it’s up to 2 million. We started with 3,000 followers on Bobbi’s account, and we’re now up to 130,000 just over a week later. 
I can’t share revenue numbers, but here’s a screenshot without numbers. We’ve nearly quadrupled our normal day.
Traffic is up 196%, AOV has been very similar to our normal average, and conversion rate is only down 8%.
We usually spend $1,500 to $2,000 on Google a day, but this past week we’ve spent an average of $4,000 a day.
Now here’s the interesting part. We usually do about 2% of our revenue from TikTok, according to our KNO post purchase survey. 
The past 10 days, we’ve done 34% of our revenue from TikTok! 
Content Amplification
A few days after we went viral, I decided to launch a new Spark campaign with some of these videos, in addition to a few UGC Spark posts. 
I launched at $1,00 a day in a CBO with one broad and one recommended interest ad set. 
I ended up pausing the UGC spark because ours were performing so much better. However, there was no clear correlation between the organic engagement and reach and the effectiveness of the ads. 
For example, the anti-nose contouring video has nearly a million views, but it didn’t do so well as an ad so I paused it.
I’ve been slowly scaling this campaign over the past 7 days. We’re up to $2,000 a day and going now on this campaign. Unfortunately, something broke the other day and we’re now seeing a 0 in platform for conversions and add to carts.
Thank god for the Triple Whale pixel. 
What I Learned
Wow, did I learn a lot. The first thing I learned is the power of TikTok. I think Larry Dee was totally right. You really can build a huge brand on TikTok alone. I mean, we haven’t even scratched the surface.
I was definitely surprised to see that there was such a strong 50+ presence on TikTok. Even though I’ve seen the recent TikTok demographic numbers, I still had it in my head that TikTok was for the kids. I was wrong.
Up until a month ago, I though’t we’d only be spending up to $1k/day because I didn’t think we’d be finding our best customers on there. Boy was I wrong. We’re at $4,500/day and scaling, and all evidence points to the customers having the ability to become a great customer for us with the proper nurture.
I also thought that Jones Road’s No Makeup Makeup look wouldn’t work on TikTok that well because all the beauty stuff I’ve seen there has been very trendy and dramatic.
But I think there is a huge space for our approach. It’s a huge blue ocean if you ask me.
Finally, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity of the TikTok comments. I don’t know why, but I expected it to be a more negative tone, but TikTok has been super positive.
That’s actually why I love TikTok so much right now. Instagram is very toxic and fake. Everyone is showing the best version of themselves.
On TikTok, it’s much more authentic.
What We Will Do From Here
Time to double down. Organically, Larry Dee’s advice was to hire a team of up to 4 content creators to just churn out content and post 4 times a day. I won’t say we’re going to do that much initially, but we’re definitely going to hire 1 to 2 people for TikTok full time. We’ve seen what TikTok can do without a real strategy and resources. I am making a huge bet, and we’re going to invest 6 figures into organic content on TikTok this year.
One reason I really love TikTok as a marketer is because it’s the platform with the least amount of difference between best practices ( sorry Alex P) on paid and organic. So I think what we will do is to “beta” creative testing on TikTok organic. We’ll test some hooks, but mostly content styles and angles more broadly and see what sticks. We’ll obviously double down on that. But then I plan to then create 3 hooks for 1 top organic post, launch them as a dark post, and test them as Spark ads.
I’d like our ads to feel very native to the platform and provide a ton of value, while also subtly selling some stuff. So in my mind, there’s almost no difference from a really good TikTok post and a great ad.
I hope that, at the very least this post will inspire some of you to get going on TikTok. If you’re a doubter like I was, hopefully this causes you to reconsider.
I don’t think it will last forever, but there’s an amazing distribution opportunity right now, and it’s going to go away. Why not take advantage of it while you can?
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Cody Plofker

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