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Introducing The Bytehouse
What is the Bytehouse?
The Bytehouse is the UK’s first TikTok influencer house. Right before nationwide lockdowns in the UK, our talent agency, Bytesized Talent, moved six of the UK’s most popular influencers (the ‘ByteSquad’), who have a combined following of 25million+ fans into one house.
The aim? To create enjoyable, fun content keeping the nation’s Gen Z population entertained, especially over lockdown when TikTok traffic spiked. While the initial focus was quarantine entertainment and coronavirus safety tips, The Bytehouse now regularly collaborate with brands, and continue to make ‘Big-Brother’ style content to help brands become a part of the conversation on the platform.
Who’s in the Bytehouse?
The Bytehouse is home to six top Gen Z influencers from the UK: emandloz (1.9M followers), SebbyJon (2.9M followers), Monty Keats (763.4k followers), KT Franklin (2.4M followers), and Lily–Rose (1.3M followers). They’re all aged between 17 and 22, and include one couple, a pair of best friends, as well as a pair of exes turned best friends.
Their content varies: everything from ‘story-time’ videos, to pranks, dances, and comedy skits. The aim is to create ‘alternative TV’, reflecting changes in how Gen-Z have moved away from traditional TV to shorter videos on YouTube on TikTok. The Bytehouse exist to create content “for Gen Z, by Gen Z.”
Bytehouse videos can reach up a whopping 90 million per week. For comparison, top British TV show Love Island peaks at six million viewers, while Big Brother hit a high of eight million.
What has The Bytehouse achieved?
Mental health content in partnership with Rise Above
The house was formed right before the coronavirus lockdown. As a result, initial content focused on promoting mental health messages to a teenage audience, in partnership with Public Health England’s ‘Rise Above’. This drove 3.6M views, and 2.2M hearts on TikTok alone.
During lockdown, they continued to keep fans entertained with quarantine activity suggestions, keeping people laughing as we all stayed home.
Since then, their content has evolved and includes joining the exciting world of brand partnerships. They’ve guest edited popular publications, showing off their wide influence across industries: fashion&beauty, LGBTQ+, toys and games and music. And they’re constantly in the press, from BBC Newsbeat to The Guardian.
The Bytehouse has worked with amazing brands across different industries.
They’ve worked with legendary brand Rubik’s (of the Rubik’s Cube) for their 40th anniversary. Their creative approach blends their personal styles along with brand work: for example linking solving a Rubik’s Cube to figuring our identities during Pride Month. This approach makes their content extremely popular: gaining 3.3M views on Rubik’s cube videos.
They’ve continued to work with popular British brands, including Compare the Market and boohoo.com, as well as international fashion brand SHEIN. Across campaigns, they’ve delivered incredible reach and engagement, but also keep their content genuinely interesting. We talk a bit more about these campaigns further down.
Have you ever seen a bunch of influencers guest edit a whole issue of a famous publication before? Well, there’s a first for everything. The Bytehouse has guest-edited the October 2020 issue of The Drum, a popular marketing and ads publication.
When lockdown first started, many influencers felt the impact as brand partnerships became increasingly difficult to execute on. They talk about how they’ve managed to sustain (and in fact increase) their popularity throughout lockdown, and how they work together. Everything from lockdown life in the UK’s first TikTok influencer house, how they balance work and play at home, the rise of TikTok during lockdown, to an in-depth look at the platform, this issue gives you exclusive access to TikTok from 6 creators’ perspectives.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen everyday. This should tell you something about their ability to live, breathe, and now write TikTok.
Campaigns The Bytehouse has worked on
As mentioned above, the Bytehouse have worked on campaigns across industries. However, their approach really stands out in the below three case studies:
Rubik’s: The iconic brand
The Bytehouse partnered with iconic toy brand Rubik’s, for their 40th anniversary, attempting to set a Guinness World Record, which drove 3.3M+ views, 441K+ likes, and a high engagement rate of 13%. The videos drew a lot of love from fans, particularly because of the unique approach taken and the creative execution.
In one video, Jake and Shauni ‘turn a Rubik’s cube into Skittles’ and in another, the house ask each other “Who’s most likely to” questions using the cube, a common and entertaining game idea loved by the masses on TikTok. They also link solving a Rubik’s cube to figuring out one’s identity, which is especially topical during Pride month.
The Bytesquad’s deep understanding of TikTok content aided the campaign. By incorporating what is perceived by Gen Z as an ‘old school toy’ into relevant, popular TikTok conventions, Rubik’s successfully became a part of the exclusive conversation on TikTok and was able to avoid being branded as “cringy” or “out of touch”.
Zuru's Mini Brands: Gen Z toys
Zuru’s mini brands were no stranger to TikTok. After going viral on TikTok with 700 million views in the US, they were looking to capitalise on this demand, and collaborate with Playtime PR and The Bytesquad to deliver a three-phase campaign.
The first activation utilised the ‘mini’ aspects of these toys and duped their fans into thinking they were moving into a new house. They filmed each ‘room’ of the new house and at the end of the video, reveal that is was a mini brands toy all along. This was also combined with content on their individual profiles where they are seen making and decorating the mini Bytehouse as well as unboxing the Mini Brands products. This activation drove 1.6million+ views and a 25% engagement rate.
The second activation leveraged a classic TikTok challenge, which appeals to the masses on the platform. They challenged the Bytesquad to go to Tesco and find the real brand products to match with the Mini Brands ones. Whoever was to find the matching brands the quickest, wins. What’s more, they took this content and combined it with paid ads to distribute. This managed to drive 898k+ views and a 13.95% engagement rate.
The third phase is yet to be completed, but we’re excited to see how it all pans out.
Erika, International Marketing Director of Zuru has expressed: “Fanbytes has a proven record of deliverables alongside the algorithms to demonstrate how best to meet our business and communication objectives for growing our UK TikTok presence. From 1st September until mid-October, we will be introducing TikTokkers to a TikTok first with the Mini Bytehouse, plus a variety of challenge, prank, and comedic-led content all designed with a Gen Z audience in mind.”
How can brands work with The Bytehouse?
The Bytehouse are comfortable going from working with huge brands like Rubik’s, to established players like Compare the Market. While their core following is on TikTok (with a combined 10 million daily views), brands have the amazing opportunity to leverage several networks at once, because they also have followings across Instagram (1.3M followers) and Youtube.
This makes them an excellent choice for brands who want a multi-channel approach. They collaborate often with other popular influencers, who they’re also friends with. They’ve even worked with musicians like JC Stewart in the past, making them incredibly versatile in terms of industries. Brands have an amazing opportunity to forge genuine connection with Gen-Z by working with the Bytehouse. After all, in 2020 – if your brand isn’t on TikTok, you could really be missing out.
Something you won't get elsewhere
There are other TikTok houses, such as LA’s Hypehouse, which was the first of its kind, as well as a couple new UK TikTok houses that have been created over the last couple months. The premise is really similar, where a bunch of young influencers move in together to collaborate and create content.
The one obvious difference is that the Bytehouse is the first UK TikTok house. This is important to the influencers themselves, since they feel this gives ‘the UK TikTok scene’ a chance to be taken as seriously as its American counterpart. However, that’s not the only thing that makes the Bytehouse special. Let’s take a look.
Reflective of Gen-Z
Gen-Z is the most diverse and identity fluid generation to date, including ethnicity, sexuality and income factors. The Bytehouse is reflective of this, with a diverse makeup including members of colour and part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s special because it feels like holding up a mirror to Gen-Z: watching real teenagers tackling real life.
Two of the members are a popular gay couple: Sebby Jon and Monty Keats. Their content gives Gen-Z important insight into healthy gay relationships, featuring heavily in both mainstream and LGBTQ+ media, for tackling ‘taboo’ topics like body image and gay rights.
All Bytehouse members were friends before moving in together, giving their content a natural feel that’s almost impossible to replicate. Two members, Lily-Rose and KT, used to be in a relationship but are now best friends. The other two members, Em & Loz, are also best friends. These dynamics make the house members relatable to Gen-Z, as well as giving their content a ‘Big Brother’ style, intimate feel.