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TikTok Takeover: Crafting Engaging Branded Challenges for Gen Z Audiences

TikTok Takeover: Crafting Engaging Branded Challenges for Gen Z Audiences

Home Blog Social Media TikTok Takeover: Crafting Engaging Branded Challenges for Gen Z Audiences

These days, marketing success is contingent on how well you can interact with your audience on platforms like TikTok. That’s doubly true if your target audience members are mostly or entirely Gen Z !

One of the best ways to engage and build connections with Gen Z audiences is to develop and post branded challenges.

If you’re not sure what branded challenges are, how they work, or how you can maximize their effectiveness, read on; we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more.

Table of contents :

What Are Branded Challenges on TikTok?

Put simply, a TikTok challenge is any marketing campaign that invites viewers to create videos in response to a challenge. Some basic examples include:

  • Displaying a unique talent or ability
  • Mimicking a dance or action performed by one of your marketers
  • Showing off how a viewer uses one of your products

Technically, there are a few different types of TikTok challenges, including:

  • Branded challenges, which are challenge-based marketing campaigns specifically made by brands like yours. Generally, these involve partnering with creators or influencers
  • Community challenges, which are organic and crop up from viral questions, videos, or events and spread across TikTok like wildfire for a short time before fizzing out
  • Hashtag challenge trends, which are TikTok ads that use sponsored hashtags to drive engagement and challenge responses across the platform. In fact, they are by far the most popular ones.

In any case, using branded challenges on TikTok can provide your business with a number of major advantages.

Examples of Branded Challenges

Not convinced these are actually as effective as they seem? Many brands have used TikTok branded challenges in the past to excellent effect.

For example, Guess – a denim clothing brand – made the #InMyDenim challenge in the earliest days of TikTok. This brand invited TikTokers to wear denim products and show off how well they fit, resulting in tons of user-generated videos and millions of views over its run.

In My Denim Challenge


For another example, Scotts’ #DoTheScottsSlide challenge inspired creators to re-create a specific dance on their lawns outside, plus enter a sweepstakes contest.

The branded challenge was massively successful, resulting in billions of video views and millions of new user videos in two days.

As these examples demonstrate, branded challenges can do wonders for maximizing engagement with your marketing materials, especially among TikTok’s most populous group: Gen Z consumers.

How to Craft Effective Challenges for Gen Z Consumers

If you want to see the same results as the above brands, you need to know how to make popular branded challenges that resonate with your Gen Z target audience members. There are a few key strategies you should keep in mind to do this.

Understand Gen Z Audiences

First and foremost, you need to know who exactly Gen Z consumers are if you don’t already. Presumably, you’ve done some market research, you may not know what exactly differentiates Gen Zers from others. Generally, Gen Z audience members are:

  • More diverse; in fact, Gen Z is the most diverse generation to date, and they want to see appropriate diversity and marketing materials.
  • Socially conscious. Many Gen Z audience members are very socially conscious about things like welfare, the planet, etc.
  • Comfortable with technology. Many members of Gen Z started using smartphones and similar devices from when they were small children, so they respond well to marketing campaigns that let them flex their digital skills.
  • Highly educated, as more Gen Z consumers have completed high school and college compared to members of previous generations.

You can take all this information and integrate it into your challenge development process. After all, it’s best to market toward a targeted group, not the general public, if you want to see maximum success.

Double Down on Digital Connectivity

Given the above truth that Gen Z TikTokers and other audience members are highly digitally connected, it only makes sense to double down on digital connectivity for your branded challenge.

With that in mind, you might make a challenge on TikTok that:

  • Encourages viewers to use their smartphones and other devices to excellent effect, such as by making a user-generated video to post on social media
  • Asks users to sign up for an email newsletter or link their social media profiles to your site
  • Uses digital and techie terminology fluidly and easily; no Gen Z’er wants to think that your brand is technologically illiterate

Don’t hesitate to use advanced tools for your challenges. For example, you can use a PDF editor with features such as Dropbox connectivity or easy sharing to integrate PDFs and other files into your videos and challenge pages across social media.

Pay for Influencers

Many Gen Z consumers pay attention to what social media influencers say and recommend. Therefore, you should create your TikTok branded challenges with the assistance of influencers for your niche or industry.

Influencers on TikTok


The right influencer partnership could bring many more consumers to your brand than ever before, plus convince on-the-fence shoppers to give your business a try.

If you don’t have a big budget for a massively popular influencer, opt for smaller micro-influencers who are more affordable with smaller, but often more loyal, follower bases.

Emphasize the Experience

Gen Z’ers aren’t particularly interested in material goods, at least not to the same degree as their parents. So when crafting a challenge to get people interested in your brand, emphasize the experience element of what you ask them to do.

For instance, it’ll probably be more effective for you to create a TikTok branded challenge asking your followers to do something, go somewhere, or take a picture of something compared to purchasing something.

Gen Z’ers want to collect experiences, and they want to feel worldly. Incorporate these elements into your branded challenges, and you’ll find that many more followers take you up on their offers.

Social media campaign

Make the Challenge Social

Since Gen Z is relatively young, it’s also a very social group of people. Therefore, try to make your branded challenges social.

Invite people to perform dances, take videos, and carry out other activities with their friends and family members. Group challenges are particularly good for this point.

If you get enough social momentum going, you can convince Gen Z followers to get other people to join your challenge without any prodding from your marketing team.

You can make the challenge social by including the right hashtags, spreading word about the challenge on many social media platforms, and using a call to action like, “Invite your friends and make a video with them!”

But after spelling out the actionable and visible elements of your CTA, don’t just leave it there. Conduct A/B tests to determine which phrases or buttons get more clicks. Is it “Join Now!” or “Be Part of the Fun!” that tickles the fancy of your audience?

Use analytics to refine your call to action over time, making it even more effective. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to utilize analytics. We cover that below, so be sure to keep reading to learn more.

Gen Z audience members want to be able to show off their social media activities. Give them the opportunity to do so, and your branded challenge will spread across TikTok incredibly fast.

Leverage Data Analytics for Hyper-Targeted Challenges

If you’re keen on nailing your next TikTok branded challenge with Gen Z, you can’t ignore the power of data analytics. It’s your ticket to understanding the nuances of your audience and what makes them tick.

The Role of Data Analytics

Data analytics provides actionable insights about your audience’s behavior, engagement, and preferences. It’s the difference between hitting your target and missing it wildly.

Armed with this data, you can craft challenges that not only resonate but also convert, boosting both your brand visibility and bottom line.

tiktok analytics screenshot


Metrics to Focus On

While the universe of metrics may seem vast, zeroing in on the most relevant data points can give you a competitive edge. Here’s what you should be tracking:

  • User engagement metrics. These will tell you what types of content your audience engages with most frequently. Metrics to watch include likes, shares, and the all-important click-through rates
  • Audience demographics. Understanding the age, location, and other demographic factors can help you create a challenge that’s right up Gen Z’s alley
  • Previous campaign performance. Your past branded challenges serve as a treasure trove of dos and don’ts. Analyze them to avoid past mistakes and replicate successes

After gathering the crucial data points, the next step is integration.

  • Content customization. Use audience insights to develop content that speaks to Gen Z’s unique interests and values
  • Timing is everything. Utilize data on when your audience is most active to launch your challenge. You’ll want all eyes on you when you hit “publish”
  • Influencer synergy. If you’re thinking of collaborating with an influencer, data can help you pick one who truly resonates with your target audience

Data analytics is a cornerstone of effective branded challenges on TikTok. By focusing on the right metrics and applying them strategically, you stand a better chance of making waves in the Gen Z ocean without belly-flopping.

Optimize for Shareability: Design Elements that Boost User Participation

Creating a TikTok challenge that people can’t help but share is akin to hitting the marketing jackpot.

But what makes a challenge so irresistible that users will want to spread it to their circles?

Let’s dig into the design elements that can elevate your challenge from “just another TikTok video” to a viral sensation.

Visual Cohesion: The Look Matters

In the world of social media, aesthetics aren’t just superficial; they’re part of your brand identity. So, make sure your branded challenges have:

  • Consistent branding. Your logo, color schemes, and even the font used should be in line with your brand’s visual identity. It reinforces brand recall.
  • High-quality assets. Whether it’s images, soundtracks, or graphics, ensuring high-quality elements can make your challenge look polished and professional
  • Interactive features. Interactive features can create a dynamic experience for users, encouraging them to actively participate rather than passively scroll
  • Clickable elements. Use QR codes or links to webpages, where participants can find more information or even special deals related to the challenge
  • Polls and quizzes. TikTok now offers interactive elements like polls. Use these to make your challenge more engaging and to collect more data on user preferences

These design elements function not merely as isolated aspects but work synergistically to boost user engagement and shareability. By focusing on these elements, you lay the groundwork for a challenge that not only captures attention but also encourages active participation.

tiktok logo


Beyond Rewards: Creating a Multi-Layered Incentive System

Let’s go beyond the basic “contest and prizes” model. While it’s pivotal to have concrete rewards like gift cards or merchandise, a multi-layered incentive system can extend engagement even further.

After offering social recognition by featuring top videos, why not introduce tiered rewards or milestones that unlock additional prizes or features? This encourages prolonged engagement, turning your challenge into a gamified experience without having to develop an actual game.

Social media campaign

The Cumulative Effect: Crafting Challenges with Staying Power

So, what’s the takeaway from all these details? The sum of these components creates a branded challenge that’s not just visually pleasing but also irresistibly engaging.

Through the strategic integration of these elements, you’re not just creating a one-off event; you’re laying the foundation for an engagement powerhouse that can help your brand soar on TikTok.

Wrap Up

In the end, crafting engaging branded challenges for your Gen Z consumers could be the best way to make the most of TikTok and your social media marketing budget.

Keep the above tips in mind when making a new branded challenge, and it will be much more likely to take off and generate significant returns and engagement with your business.

Shanice Jones

Shanice Jones is a techy nerd and copywriter from Chicago. For the last five years, she has helped over 20 startups building B2C and B2B content strategies that have allowed them to scale their business and help users around the world.

Copywriter @Shanice Jones