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Interviews

How One App Used Lil Nas X to Pop Their TikTok ROI

April 15, 2021
Mae Rice

“The [Venn diagram] of people that are interested in Lil Nas X and… hologram technology is pretty much a circle." Here's how one app discovered that overlap.

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This spring, you may have spotted Lil Nas X popping up in random people’s TikToks, wearing red feathered wings and saying things like “Hey, are you okay?”, “Oh my god!” and “Oh my god!”

But was it really him? 

Yes and no. It was a hologram of him, capable of six lines of dialogue, which TikTok creators downloaded and interacted with using the Jadu app

Jadu’s holograms are “kind of like duet 2.0,” Jake Sally, COO of Jadu, told MarketerHire. Instead of making a video that plays alongside a celebrity’s, creators use Jadu to bring celebrities into the frame with them.

Here’s how Lil Nas X helped Jadu blow up:

Holo Nas X started off as guerrilla marketing… 

Sally and his team want holograms to be “the bedrock for creative chaos,” he said. “You want people to create things that you have never thought about.”

So, initially, the Jadu team sat back and watched what fans and creators did with the Lil Nas X hologram on TikTok. 

… and it was a hit. 

The UGC poured in. No one ignores Lil Nas X on the platform that made him famous, because: 

  • He has a huge TikTok following. Current count: 16M. That’s more than he has on Instagram and Twitter combined
  • He posts a lot. Like, four times a day. Often, he’s reacting to or resharing content from fans. 
  • His fans post about him a lot. The #lilnasx hashtag on TikTok has 2.8 billion views. 

Basically, he’s at the center of a giant, endless TikTok conversation — and Jadu let creators put some “special hologram sauce” on their contributions, as Sally put it.

Next, Jadu launched a paid ad campaign that “crushed”…

Jadu launched its first ever paid ad campaign on TikTok — a 15-second walk-through of its technology, featuring Lil Nas X as the example hologram.

It sparked a “huge influx” of interest, Sally said. The click-through rate (CTR) on the ad was 5%, vs. TikTok ads’ typically see 1.5-3% CTR.

… and got a celebrity TikTok shoutout.

To Jadu’s surprise, Lil Nas X even dueted a TikTok featuring his hologram — a surrealist conversation involving both angels and “booty juice.” (Hey, I’m just quoting!) 

Our takeaway?

Advertising new technology on TikTok — especially if it helps users make TikToks — can pay off big. The platform is still dense with early adopters. 

And, clearly, “The [Venn diagram] of people that are interested in Lil Nas X and… hologram technology is pretty much a circle,” Sally observed.

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is senior editor at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she enjoys interviewing marketing experts and learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture. She also loves any ad that makes her say "Huh?!" — especially Tim and Eric's ad for Totino's pizza rolls, which she watches way more often than you would think.

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