How to Leverage Creator-Led Marketing for Owned, Earned, and Paid Content on TikTok

Rebecca Ezrin
Rebecca Ezrin
Feb 3, 2023

As creator-led marketing becomes increasingly pivotal to a brand's marketing stack, marketers are still working to deepen their understanding of the practice. What was once a few YouTubers endorsing their favorite makeup products has shifted into a dynamic field that blurs the lines with several other facets of marketing. One thing’s for sure: with influencer marketing on TikTok growing exponentially, the short-form video platform has led to a sea change for the creator economy. 

Today, influencer marketing campaigns regularly span across owned, earned, and paid channels—but what exactly are the different benefits of leveraging these channels on TikTok? Below, we’ve sourced best-practice examples from several leading brands. 

A selfie holder is held in the air for earned content on TikTok

Owned TikTok Marketing 

Owned media is the content that you control—whether on your blog, website, or social profile. When it comes to influencer marketing, this control manifests in several ways: you have the rights to repurpose influencer content via your owned TikTok account, or you quite literally are the face of your own brand. 

Alo Yoga Conquers Owned Media, Enjoying a 383% Boost in TikTok EMV 

A prime example of owned influencer marketing can be seen in trendy athleisure brand (and CreatorIQ customer) Alo Yoga, which collected a whopping $306.9M EMV in 2022. Central to Alo Yoga’s branding strategy is its owned TikTok account, which features creators sporting various apparel in seemingly organic content. 

Were these creators actually a part of a paid campaign? It’s hard to say, but a few scenarios are likely: the content has been repurposed from a paid campaign; the creator was gifted in exchange for their content; or the creator is simply an Alo Yoga employee. Regardless, all that truly matters is audience perception, which owned media plays a key role in shaping. After all, according to Forbes, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand after consuming that brand’s owned content. 

Alo Yoga successfully curates each of its feeds to deliver content that addresses a specific audience. Just check out the brand’s owned channels across various platforms: while Instagram clearly focuses more on health and wellness, Alo Yoga’s TikTok channel displays a stronger emphasis on fashion and adventure. It’s no surprise that Alo’s TikTok EMV grew an impressive 383% YoY ($20.3M). 

A woman does yoga during sunset for owned TikTok.

SKIMS Collects $50.9M EMV via TikTok, Exceeding Growth of Other Owned Channels 

Since launching in 2018, it’s fair to say that virtually everyone in the fashion world has heard of reality TV superstar Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand SKIMS. The brand has enjoyed dramatic success, netting $279.8M EMV since launching (an average of $70.0M per year), and increasing its EMV total by an average of 189% YoY since 2019. 

So how did Kardashian do it? In short, the multi-disciplinary business woman served as the face of the brand—one that embodies her values and image. With Kardashian’s status and connections, it’s no surprise that her brand has partnered with other A-list celebrities, including Megan Fox, Kate Moss, and more. 

While not every brand can boast Kardashian’s star power, the everyday influencer marketer can learn from Kardashian’s success. As exemplified by SKIMS, it’s essential for influencer marketers to produce content that’s authentic to their brand. Part of Kardashian’s personal brand is her skin-tight, curve-flaunting clothing, which made SKIMS a natural “fit” for her. Likewise, in growing a brand’s owned TikTok channel, marketers should leverage the face(s) of their brand, whomever that may be, to embody the brand’s image, mission, and values. In all, SKIMS boosted its 2022 TikTok EMV by an impressive 300% YoY ($50.9M), vastly exceeding the growth of the brand’s other owned channels. 

Earned TikTok Marketing 

Earned content is “the cream of the crop” for a brand’s influencer marketing strategy. More specifically, user-generated content (UGC) is central to any brand’s success on TikTok, as this content drives engagement, creates authenticity, and builds trust. According to one study, UGC videos on TikTok are 22% more effective than branded videos. 

As uncovered in our 2022 Trends Report, creators are passionate about receiving compensation for their content. However, a majority of respondents still post unpaid content, mostly as the result of brand loyalty, or because they hope to eventually land a brand deal. Ultimately, earned and UGC content, such as branded hashtag challenges, can drive 2.5x ROI on ad spend

Mountain Dew Taps into Sports Culture, Securing 199% YoY Boost in TikTok EMV 

In 2022, soda brand Mountain Dew enjoyed $14.8M EMV, a 24% YoY boost. TikTok accounted for 19% ($2.1M) of this total, with the brand’s TikTok EMV soaring 199% from 2021. Mountain Dew sparked this momentum by putting itself at center-stage of the skateboarding world with its “Unlock the Spot 2022 Dew Tour,” a skateboarding competition held in El Segundo, CA in July 2022. The event’s main promoter—and the brand’s top EMV-driver—was exclusive skatepark The Berrics (@berrics), which inspired $2.5M for the brand. In addition to The Berrics, several other skateboarding icons organically promoted both the event and Mountain Dew. 

Following the event, #UnlockTheSpot inspired $135.9k EMV on TikTok across seven posts, while other skateboarding-related hashtags generated $95.5k. Mountain Dew effectively galvanized the skateboarding community by sponsoring an industry-leading event, which resulted in substantial earned and UGC mentioning the brand. 

A can of Mountain Dew soda via owned marketing

Paid TikTok Marketing 

Lastly, the most common influencer marketing channel of all: paid media. With brand sponsorships still comprising a majority of influencer marketing spend, this strategy shouldn’t be brushed under the rug. After all, compensating creators for the work they do is a crucial way to nurture your community, and ultimately uphold your brand’s reputation. 

So how can brands spend their money wisely, ensuring both strategic partnerships and ROI? Let’s take a look at a standout brand example. 

Tiffany & Co. Leverages Paid Influencer Marketing via Powerhouse    Endorsements on TikTok 

Luxury retailer (and CreatorIQ customer) Tiffany & Co. has been at the pinnacle of the jewelry industry since the 1800s, so it’s no surprise that the brand is staying ahead of the game when it comes to new media. In 2022, Tiffany & Co. pulled in $112.1M EMV, a 39% YoY lift, with its EMV from TikTok increasing 97% from 2021 ($3.3M). 

The brand’s success can largely be attributed to paid celebrity endorsements. For example, in June 2022, German blogger Leonie Hanne (@leoniehanne on TikTok) shared a TikTok video of herself unboxing a gift from Tiffany & Co. while getting ready for an exclusive brand event. The paid post ultimately garnered 31.8k likes and $36.9k EMV. Additionally, in October 2022, Tiffany & Co. posted an TikTok ad featuring social media personality Kate Bartlett (@katebartlett), which featured the creator directly addressing viewers as she tried on trinkets at a Tiffany store. While simple, the video has also proved effective, accumulating over 5.2M views.

The main takeaway? Every marketing strategy is a piece of a larger picture that includes owned, earned, and paid media—a multifacetedness that’s especially true when it comes to influencer marketing on TikTok. These channels don’t function in a mutually exclusive manner; instead, brands will see the best results when they reuse and repurpose marketing material. Each marketing channel works in tandem to amplify one another, granting influencer marketing the potential to combine the benefits of all media forms, ultimately building maximum credibility and delivering maximum ROI for brands. 

Want to learn how to measure the impact of creator-led campaigns on TikTok? 
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