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How to Create Viral Hashtag Challenges on TikTok for Midcore and Hardcore Games

How can you get your midcore or hardcore game in front of millions of TikTok users? One thing that has proven to be extremely effective is using hashtag challenges. That’s exactly what we did to help one of our partners and their campaign generated 1.3 billion+ plays, 1 million+ user-generated videos, and had 300,000+ people participating. We’ll talk more about how we managed to achieve this in our next article, so make sure you check back soon! In the meantime, let’s talk about how you too can get results like these.

Why TikTok hashtag challenges are the key to success

First of all, it’s important to understand why they are so effective. The most important reason is their positioning – hashtag challenges occupy the app’s top entry points including TopView ads, in-feed ads, challenge pages, sticker library, and more. In other words: your content will be viewed by virtually everyone on TikTok.

The second reason is the way hashtag challenges are designed: as they tend to inspire users to generate their own content based on the original, you’ll get users to essentially become your brand ambassadors – user-generated content that promotes your brand, what more could you ask for?

The central element of a TikTok hashtag challenge is the ad creative: from the theme to all the creative elements (stickers, background music, etc.), and the interactive mechanics of your challenge, the ad creatives can basically make or break your campaign. So how can you get the right ad creatives to ensure your hashtag challenges are successful?

Key resources for TikTok hashtag challenge advertisers

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We can help you run your campaigns on TikTok. Get in touch with our team today and we’ll also give you the best tips on how to run viral hashtag challenges.


3 steps to planning your TikTok hashtag challenge

Now that we’ve established why they’re so important, let’s look at the steps required planning a hashtag challenge. There are 3 main steps to consider:

1. Choose the theme that best reflects your brand/product

This should be the first thing you should try to confirm before doing anything else. Your chosen theme needs to go hand-in-hand with your brand or product. Keep in mind: once you’ve got a theme decided, it will be virtually impossible to change it, so make sure that what you choose remains consistent throughout your hashtag challenge campaigns.2. Pick the elements you’re going to use in your creatives

There are several elements you’ll want to pay attention to at this stage:

  • The name of your hashtag challenge: keep it simple and make sure it resonates with your brand/product
  • Ways to interact with your challenge: find the right balance between your brand/product, your audience, and the popular content on TikTok; common examples include character imitation, dancing, dressing up, etc.
  • The stickers you and your audience will be using: choose between popular sticker types (2D, 3D, AR, special effects, etc.); make sure your stickers fulfil these 4 conditions: a)they showcase your brand elements, b)they are relevant to your challenge, c)they highlight key brand/product features, and d)they have nice animation effects
  • Background sound/music: the music needs to match your challenge, so pay special attention to elements like the tone and rhythm; remember: you only have 15 seconds, with the first 1-2 seconds to be used as “warm-up” 
  • Challenge rules: you can’t have a challenge without rules, so make sure it’s clear to your users how they can participate and how the winners are chosen
  • Prizes: a good challenge has good prizes, so make sure the rewards are good to stimulate as many users as possible to join; be mindful of the markets you are targeting, to ensure your prizes are localized

Most common sticker types and where they tend to work best

3. Use the right TikTok ad formats for your hashtag challenge

Creating a good hashtag challenge is only half the battle: the other half is advertising it. 

While TikTok offers a variety of ad formats to choose from, there are two main formats that tend to work extremely well: TopView ads and in-feed ads.

By using these ad formats at the same time as your hashtag challenge, you can quickly increase your exposure and reach a huge audience to gain the momentum needed to go viral.

Samples of performance ads we ran in parallel with the hashtag challenge

Want to achieve success on TikTok?

If you’re looking to get your campaign TikTok-ready, then we have some good news for you: as a certified TikTok for Business ad agency, we have the knowledge and the resources to provide you with end-to-end marketing solutions that will generate strong, sustainable campaign ROI. Contact the Nativex team today and we’ll show you how to reach millions of TikTok users quickly and easily.

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We can help you run your campaigns on TikTok. Get in touch with our team today and we’ll also give you the best tips on how to run viral hashtag challenges.