‘Looking to grow with it’: How TikTok is becoming a staple in Dr. Squatch’s social spend

Illustration of a rocket launching with the TikTok logo on the side.

After experimentation and initial success, advertising on TikTok has gone from a nice-to-have to a have-to-have for Dr. Squatch’s media mix. 

Over the last year, the men’s natural personal care company, has spent big on the platform, carving out between 10-15% of its ad budget to advertise on the short-form video app, according to CMO Josh Friedman. As TikTok has reportedly surpassed 1 billion users with ads that work, Dr. Squatch is leveraging both a paid and organic presence to reach newer, younger customers there.

“TikTok had crazy, incredible growth, especially among younger users,” Friedman said. “We wanted to be able to reach this demo in the right place, with the right content.”

Dr. Squatch initially launched its TikTok presence back in 2019 and has since racked up more than 120,000 followers. Per Friedman, half of Dr. Squatch’s customers from TikTok are under the age of 25, while about 15% of the brand’s customer acquisition comes from the app. 

Content comes by way of an in-house team, supplemented by influencers, agency partners and brand partnerships, including the current brand partnership with Halo video game. For paid posts specifically, the brand mostly utilizes TikTok’s self-service ads. Friedman points to Dr. Squatch’s investment in both organic and paid strategy as the key to the brand’s success on TikTok. 

“Notably, YouTube was the first platform where we really cracked that code [of going viral],” he said. “In some ways, we were a brand that was ready for TikTok, ready to jump in once it became an opportunity.”

Friedman declined to share any details how much Dr. Squatch spends on TikTok. In Q1 and Q2 of this year, Dr. Squatch spent more than $7.6 million on media, down from the nearly $30 million spent in 2020, per Kantar. (These figures do not include social spend as Kantar does not track that. Also, figures for network radio only include Q1.)

Dr. Squatch is just one of a number of brands that are starting to see TikTok as a staple of the social budget, per earlier Digiday reporting. As more brands look to diversify their media spend, TikTok may be a solid alternative, according to Brandon Biancalani, manager of paid advertising at Modifly social marketing agency.

“You can really get those fundamentals of advertising down on TikTok. It could be a really powerful platform, where we’re coming with a marketing plan,” he said. “You have to be safe and keep the brand in mind. But you also have to be adventurous.”

As TikTok continues to roll out shopping capabilities and improve its ad suite, spending big on the platform makes sense, per Biancalani, who noted that before shelling out ad dollars, advertisers need to understand their target audience to see if they mesh or overlap with TikTok’s niche communities. 

“Understanding your demographic, not just going after your basic interests, but finding new ones and creating content for it, that would be part of my big spend with TikTok strategy,” he said. 

When it comes to testing new channels, Dr. Squatch isn’t risk-averse. Earlier this year, Digiday reported that Dr. Squatch started to put ad budget toward Snapchat to diversify its media mix. Facebook still eats up the majority of the brand’s ad spend, per Friedman, but TikTok is seemingly growing as a more credible alternative option.

“It’s very rare you find things that come close to [traditional digital channels],” added Friedman. “We see tons of additional potential as TikTok continues to grow and improve their platform. We’re going to be looking to grow with it.”

Update: After this story was published, Dr. Squatch disputed Kantar’s figures and said that it is spending more on media in general this year than it did in 2020. Dr. Squatch again declined to provide more specific figures.


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