5 Ways Hilton’s TikTok Ad Changed the Social Marketing Game

ICYMI: In February, Hilton Hotels & Resorts released a 10-minute TikTok video—yes, you read that correctly—that took viewers on a sprawling journey, spanning dozens of locations and multiple genres, featuring appearances from more than half a dozen beloved TikTok creators.

Not only did the spot earn some 4 million views within its first two days online, but that pace actually accelerated, with the video averaging over 2.2 million views a day in its first two weeks.

Engagement was also sky high, with about 500,000 likes and nearly 30,000 comments in the same timeframe. And most importantly, enthusiasm for the spot has been absolutely unparalleled. To put it simply, the crowd went wild.

How exactly did the 104-year-old chain of brick-and-mortars that started out in the era of newspaper advertising leapfrog the competition, demand 10 minutes of unbroken attention from some of the most distractible viewers on Earth, and quite possibly cement itself as Gen Z’s favorite place to stay for years to come?

The reasons are simple, clear and reproducible—but brands and agencies who think they can replicate the success of this spot without putting in the same amount of legwork will be sorely mistaken. Only those who invest the time and energy to understand and engage with their audience on a deeper level the way Hilton did will be able to replicate their spectacular results.

Platform fluency 

Instead of opting for a faster and cheaper multi-platform approach—making a generic vertical video and publishing it everywhere—Hilton chose to create a video that was custom-made for the specific social channel where they wanted to make inroads.

From start to finish, Hilton’s spot demonstrates a deep understanding of TikTok trends and culture by making expert use of the unique features that made the app popular in the first place—things like stitches, duets and the constant jump cuts that are a holdover from the platform’s 15-second days. Not to mention common editing techniques like the dramatic punch-in and, of course, the device of having a single influencer perform multiple characters in dialogue with each other.

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