How Olaplex is looking to ‘fuel’ its organic growth on TikTok with a paid approach

Earlier this month, Olaplex ran its first paid hashtag challenge — the haircare brand asked users to show how using its products helped their hair health with before and after photos tagged with #Olaflex — on TikTok generating 3 billion views in 72 hours.

The effort is the brand’s “most major campaign on social media so far this year to date” in terms of  “spend, resources, time and influencer support,” explained Charlotte Watson, Olaplex’s CMO. While the brand has been on TikTok for the last two years, generating roughly 1.1 billion views for the Olaplex hashtag over the course of 30 months on the platform, much of its success on the platform has been organic as the brand has focused on community building.

Investing in a paid approach on TikTok now comes as the brand is aiming to “continue to drive awareness of our brand” for new consumers, said Watson, adding that the hashtag challenge shows how the product works and is a form of educational entertainment. “It’s a natural place to begin with organic resonance. It made sense to fuel that with paid investment given the organic success we’ve had.”

Aside from the paid hashtag, Olaplex worked with more than 400 influencers for the effort though much of that was unpaid; the brand sent many of those influencers its product in exchange for posts. It’s unclear how much Olaplex spent on the effort as Watson declined to share figures or percentages of the brand’s overall ad budget.

Olaplex has spent $378,800 on advertising so far this year with the majority of that monthly spend dedicated to Instagram, according to Pathmatics data. According to the data on the brand’s monthly spending, 47% went to Instagram, 31% to Facebook, 15% to TikTok and 8% to desktop video.

Given the brand’s organic success on TikTok, it makes sense for Olaplex to push that further with its ad dollars to continue to keep the brand culturally relevant, according to industry analysts. 

“Modern brands have to have both cultural relevance and cultural resonance,” said MB, executive creative director at consultancy Landor & Fitch. “TikTok has one of the most engaged audiences on the planet and is quickly becoming the most influential place brands can engage with audiences that move the collective cultural pulse.” 

MB continued: “For the beauty industry, in particular, social media has proven to be an extremely important tool as people share tutorials, tips and tricks and looks that celebrate the versatility of the medium and the creativity of the individual.”

Following the hashtag challenge, Olaplex is digging into its results to see which influencers generated the most reach for the brand, according to Watson. Going forward, the brand will continue to invest in TikTok as well as broader initiatives to keep the brand top of mind as it seeks to continue its growth with new consumers.

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