Toy Marketing Strategies: 3 Viral Hacks To Try On TikTok

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Toy Marketing Strategies on TikTok

The Toy Industry in 2020

It’s been a mixed bag for toy marketing this year. Toys built around franchises (like ‘Trolls World Tour’ or Scooby Doo and friends from ‘Scoob’) have suffered since the cinema industry came to a halt. These products have been left in ‘limbo’. However, coronavirus lockdowns have been good news for other toys, particularly games and educational toys. With families staying at home with kids to entertain, toy industry sales saw mild growth this year despite COVID-19 disruption.

Toy Marketing in 2020

We believe the toy industry has left the world of digital untapped, especially when it comes to Gen Z. Toy brands have been slow to hop on TikTok, despite this channel being crucial to their audience. TikTok is unique because it skews towards a younger demographic: 70% of the app’s audience is under 24, with 30% of users aged under 17. That’s a lot of teenagers and younger children, and 90% of them are tuning into the app everyday, for an average of 52 minutes a day. TikTok’s short videos continue to replace traditional TV-watching, for both young Gen Z members (who wield $143 billion in spending power), and their parents.

In short, TikTok has a lot to offer toy brands. At Fanbytes, we’re best-placed to help toy brands kick off viral marketing strategies on TikTok. We’ve worked with iconic toy brands like Bandai, Rubik’s, IMC Toys and Zuru – some of the biggest players in the industry. Our unique approach has been featured in ToyWorld Mag, and ToyNewsOnline. It’s safe to say we know a thing or two about marketing toys to Gen Z. 

In this article, we’ll take you through top toy marketing strategies on TikTok, hopefully inspiring your brand.

Strategy #1: Tap into ASMR and current trends

The ASMR niche

Toy brands are well-placed to benefit from several viral trends on TikTok. The ASMR genre is a great example: these are relaxing or soothing videos usually featuring satisfying sounds and visual elements. The #ASMR hashtag has an incredible 47.4bn billion views, at the time of writing, on TikTok. Offshoots of this genre like #ASMRsounds and #ASMRvideos have 4.7bn and 3.5bn views respectively- making this an incredibly popular format for TikToks. ASMR is becoming so popular that huge brands like KFC, Pepsi and IKEA have used it in their ads. The ASMR trend is huge in light of COVID because Gen Z don’t just use social media to connect with friends – they also rely on it for entertainment and stress relief.

Keeping up with relevant trends

ASMR is just one example of trends that can elevate your toy brand. Taking advantage of current trends can exponentially boost reach. In fact, it’s so important that we’ve built our own analytics tool, Bytesights, to identify current trends for our client’s campaigns. Bytesights is industry-leading, one-of-a-kind, and gives brands an almost unfair advantage on TikTok.

We’ve put this tip into practice: we recently collaborated with Playtime PR to deliver a stellar campaign for IMC Toys, bringing their VIP Pets brand to TikTok. The TikTok audience is off-put by traditional advertising, so we had to find a way to bring up this product ‘organically’. We used Bytesights to find trending topics, in this case; hair styling ‘transformations and ASMR. We partnered with both Gen Z and parent influencers who would introduce and show off the product, giving the audience a chance to see all its features and accessories. Influencers were given full creative control, making the final content diverse and genuinely interesting. The campaign was incredibly popular with 5.7M views on TikTok.


check out the channeI in my BlO😻🔥 @vippetsofficial ##vippets ##collectible

♬ original sound - Shauni 🦋

Strategy #2: Leveraging influencer communities

Gen Z pay attention to influencers

You can’t talk about TikTok without mentioning influencers. 87% of Gen Z follow an influencer, and 44% have made a purchase decision because of an influencer. As you’ve seen in our work with IMC Toys, collaborating with influencers not only boosted our campaign reach, it also gave product videos an air of authenticity, allowing all of its features to shine.

Influencers are trusted by their fanbases, and they’re effective at speaking to the audience on their level. In our experience, brands have benefited hugely from collaborating with influencers from Bytehouse (our own TikTok influencer house). Our influencers from Bytehouse have a joint 25+ million followers between them, and their videos regularly reach 90 million people a week. Bytehouse has worked with iconic brands like Rubik’s, JBL and Boohoo.

Influencer partnerships drive results

Collaborating with the right influencers pays off. Our case study with Rubik’s is a great example of successful influencer partnerships. Firstly we used our analytics tool Bytesights to identify trends, in this case a hugely popular sound (“vibe for this year”). Secondly, we asked our relatable Gen Z influencers to take control of content: resulting in original, interesting videos. Two of our influencers used the iconic Rubik’s cube to play the popular ‘Expose Yourself’ game, switching the portrayal of Rubik’s cubes from old-fashioned, to relevant and current. These videos did incredibly well with our influencers’ audiences: resulting in over 3.3M views, nearly half a million likes and a whopping 13% engagement rate. 

So, the lesson here: partnering with influencers works.

Strategy #3: Encourage participation with challenges, and optimize for longer watch times

Young people enjoy interactive aspects, and 1 in 5 will promote a brand when they feel involved in some way. Core to TikTok culture is the aspect of a ‘challenge’ – where users are asked to replicate something they’ve seen in a video, or do something for a prize. People love watching challenges because there’s an integral element of satisfaction, and they’re curious about the outcome.

On TikTok, the algorithm measures ‘watch times’ to recommend your content to people. So, the longer your video is watched for, the more people will discover it. In short, it’s worth making sure your videos can be watched, rewatched and watched again! 

Combining a ‘challenge’ approach and optimising your content for longer watch times works wonders. We’ve seen this work really well in our campaign for toy brand Zuru’s Minibrands products. We collaborated with Playtime PR to launch a campaign for Minibrands (miniature versions of everyday products). In our first phase, we partnered with the Bytehouse who pretended to do a ‘tour of the house’, later revealing that everything in the tour was actually mini toys in a toy house. Bytehouse influencers also posted about the products they used, and unboxed them on TikTok. This alone resulted in 1.6M views.


here’s our new house tour! @minibrands

♬ original sound - ByteSquad

In the second phase, we used a challenge: the Bytehouse was challenged to purchase real products at Tesco, to match the Minibrands collection. This communicated where one could buy Minibrands, but also encouraged people to watch the videos for longer. People were curious about how ‘realistic’ Minibrands looked, where to find them, and what products were available. All of this encouraged repeat views.


Toy brands are a little late to the party, but there are incredible payoffs for them on TikTok. While it can be intimidating to know where to begin, we hope these toy marketing strategies show you what’s possible for your toy brand on TikTok. Every strategy is tried-and-tested: at Fanbytes, we’ve consistently delivered incredible results for major toy brands. Could your brand be next to go viral?

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