tiktok augmented reality

5 great ways TikTok has proven it’s the future of AR

By Laurie Ainley

TikTok is fast becoming the go-to social network, and not just for the Gen Z generation. With their recent announcement of AR Branded Effects, brands will finally be able to publish TikTok augmented reality effects that allow users to take their videos to the next level, encourage word-of-mouth sharing and increase brand engagement.

With this new offering, TikTok are now head-to-head with Snapchat’s Sponsored Lenses and Instagram’s AR filters. However, TikTok’s innovative use of AR is offering brands the potential to build advertising campaigns that go above and beyond what’s currently possible on other platforms.

What’s the deal with TikTok?

So what makes TikTok so unique? There is much to be said about how the social network handles content creation and sharing. More than anything, TikTok is proving to be a very creative platform for users, encouraging everything from dance challenges to Vine-like comedy videos. Enter AR, and an extra layer of interactivity is now being added to the whole equation, encouraging more and more users to replicate video challenges and spread the word even further. The viral possibilities are infinite.

Another great thing about TikTok is their call-to-action (CTA) functions, which include in-camera, in-video and scanned QR code options. These CTAs are great ways to connect TikTok content to advertisers’ websites, leading not just to word-of-mouth sharing but to direct conversions too.

A great example of how brands are taking advantage of TikTok’s offering is the Hashtag Challenge. These are campaigns that encourage users to complete certain video choreographies or challenges shared by the brand, tagging a particular hashtag as they post them. Users can then tap on the hashtag to watch other users’ videos. Hashtag Challenges are highly effective word-of-mouth sharing campaigns, as they are fun challenges that users are more than willing to complete, regardless of their brand loyalty. A great Hashtag Challenge has great potential to go viral too, bringing brand engagement to many more users across the platform.

Overall, TikTok’s strength lies in how fun and innovative its AR offering is, compared to some of its competitors. Below, we look at some of the most exciting use cases of AR that we’ve seen on the platform.

1. Fitness and dance

One of the most fun AR examples we’ve seen on TikTok is this fun “fill the shape” effect, which prompts the user to match the pose provided, awarding points if they get it right. It’s a great way to combine AR with dance and choreography.

This other effect gamifies fitness, making working out a fun experience by prompting the user to move up and down while doing pushups, in order to get the ball to follow the right path and avoid obstacles.

2. Music videos

By its very nature, TikTok is a music-based platform. This, combined with its popularity as a place to share dance routines, make it an ideal medium for creative musical interpretations. Music artists can record videos of new singles and include an AR effect to supercharge the choreography – essentially giving everyone in their own home the ability to record their own music video.

Other fun elements such as the AR drum kit below bring another level of interactivity to the platform and further encourage followers to try them themselves. The native ability to duet (riff on another person’s take) lends to a self-fulfilling cycle of creativity that can lead to highly viral results.

Additionally, it’s now possible to attach music to a specific AR effect, so that everyone who uses it has to use that song and make it an active part of the video. This is a great opportunity to promote music releases attached to really great AR effects, as it will help disseminate the song across the platform.

3. Puppetry and avatars

Another fun innovation of TikTok’s use of AR is the ability to synchronise the user’s body with an avatar. This allows the avatar to move along to the user, becoming a puppet of sorts, like in the video below.

This form of AR has great potential when it comes to animating characters and mascots relating to brands, potentially leading to funny and creative renditions of these characters.

4. Look try-on

Instagram popularised the makeup try-on AR trend, where users were able to test different makeup looks on their face. With TikTok, users can now try style looks, such as clothing, switching between looks in fun ways, for example by nodding their heads like in the video below.

This is a great strategy for fashion retailers who wish to promote different products on their range. Retailers may also want to add a CTA leading directly to their ecommerce website, so that users can purchase the products right away.

5. Product interaction

Finally, a really exciting new AR offering from TikTok is their Branded Scan effects, currently in beta. There are three versions of this effect, depending on what the user is scanning:

  • A flat image, for example on a poster
  • A logo on a product, for example on a bag
  • A physical product, such as a mug

Scanning them triggers the AR effect, which will either overlay information on top of it, or augment the actual product to make it interactive. Any of these options is a great way of increasing engagement between the end user and the product or brand, making it a much more interactive and engaging experience than an online shop.

How do I create my own TikTok augmented reality effect?

Looking to create your own AR effects for TikTok? Currently, the only way to publish AR Branded Effects on TikTok is to work directly with the social media platform, with some media spend behind it. 

However, in order to create the AR effects themselves, brands can now work with a number of TikTok partners, including Poplar Studio. If you’re interested in building your own TikTok augmented reality effect, you can contact us here.

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