How Cash App went viral on TikTok by leveraging an original song and hiring influencers who it advised to make fun of ‘how broke you are’

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Cash App TikTok campaign

  • Cash App, the mobile payment platform run by financial services company Square, has gone viral on TikTok. 
  • The company paid creators thousands of dollars each to promote its mobile payment app on TikTok using the hashtag #cashappthatmoney.
  • Cash App’s TikTok marketing push, which launched in December, drove over 136 million video views and generated 9,600 paid and organic videos to-date.
  • Business Insider spoke to multiple creators and an influencer marketing agent who worked on the campaign to learn how it came together.
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Cash App, a mobile payment platform run by the financial services company Square, has gone viral on TikTok. 

The company launched an influencer marketing campaign on TikTok in December, paying dozens of high profile creators — including residents of the TikTok “collab houses” Sway LA and the Hype House — to make videos promoting its mobile payment app. It’s one of several fintech companies that have been advertising on TikTok in the past year.

To help its campaign spread on the app, the company worked with the musical artist and influencer, Shiggy, who has a background making viral content on social media.

Shiggy first rose to fame when he posted an Instagram video of himself dancing to Drake’s new single, “In My Feelings,” in 2018. The video generated 7.4 million views and sparked an international dance challenge that helped bump the song to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

Cash App used Shiggy’s music and dance clout to promote a brand-friendly original song, “Cash App,” for its campaign. The company’s TikTok marketing push drove 136.5 million video views with the hashtag #cashappthatmoney, and generated 9,600 paid and organic videos with Shiggy’s “Cash App” playing in the background.

While other companies like Samsung and the cosmetics brand e.l.f. have created custom songs for TikTok ad campaigns, Square said it didn’t write “Cash App.” Shiggy first posted the track on SoundCloud in 2018 without any involvement from Square. He re-released the track on popular streaming platforms like Apple Music and Amazon Music on November 27, 2019, roughly two weeks before the #CashAppThatMoney campaign kicked off on TikTok.

Shiggy worked with the music distributor company, UnitedMasters, on the song’s re-release. The company said it was responsible for connecting Shiggy and Cash App for what eventually became a sponsorship deal.

While Shiggy wasn’t initially commissioned by Square to make “Cash App,” his decision to create a song about the brand poses an interesting question about the degree to which influencers can use original music to score sponsorship deals with companies in the TikTok age.

Shiggy is one of several artists to release a song centered around the mobile payment app in the past two years: Artists Dreezy and Teejayx6 both produced “Cash App” tracks last year, according to a sponsored story that Cash App promoted on the lyrics site, Genius.com. 

“Cash App” has millions of plays on TikTok, but remains relatively obscure on other platforms: It has just over 17,000 Spotify listens, around 13,000 YouTube plays, and roughly 36,000 streams on SoundCloud to-date.

Seeing multiple artists write songs about the Cash App may have inspired Square to create a music-centered ad campaign. The company declined to comment for this story and Shiggy did not respond to a request for an interview.

Business Insider spoke to multiple creators and an influencer marketing agent who worked on Cash App’s TikTok campaign to learn how the company approached running sponsored content on the platform. Most asked to remain anonymous in order to not violate their agreements with Square.

Square gave content recommendations to creators participating in the campaign

Business Insider reviewed the campaign brief that Cash App sent to creators who were producing sponsored content for the company.

“Create a TikTok with your best interpretation of the catchy song in everyday situations,” the company wrote, referring to Shiggy’s “Cash App” single. “And use hashtag #CashAppThatMoney.”

The company offered a set of “starter ideas” for the types of videos a creator could produce: 

  • Making fun of how broke you are.
  • Window shopping (online or in real life).
  • When your friend clearly owes you money.
  • When you win a bet by doing something dope.

A quick survey of videos created with the #CashAppThatMoney shows that many creators used Cash App’s suggestions for their sponsored posts.

 

Cash App paid thousands of dollars for individual posts from popular creators

Square hired dozens of TikTok creators to create content for its #CashAppThatMoney campaign, including the Hype House’s Chase Hudson, Addison Rae, Tony Lopez, and Ondreaz Lopez, and Sway LA’s Josh Richards, Kio Cyr, and Griffin Johnson. These seven creators alone have a combined 59.6 million followers on TikTok.

While Square declined to comment on how much it compensated influencers for each video, one agency told Business Insider that the company paid $5,000 for a video for one of its clients with more than one million TikTok followers. Another creator who created a #CashAppThatMoney video confirmed that a 4-figure payment was on par for the campaign. 

Other brands like the milkshake company F’real Foods said they pay between $400 and $450 for a sponsored post on TikTok.

Square’s higher rate for sponsored content could be tied to the fact that it hired some of TikTok’s most popular creators who command top prices for promoted videos. Fintech companies have also seen a high return-on-investment from influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok, potentially making it worth it to pay a bit more to reach a larger audience on the app.

The financial technology company, Tally, told Business Insider that TikTok ads have been 300% more efficient than Instagram ones in driving downloads of its automated debt management app. 

For more on how brands and influencers are interacting on TikTok, check out these other Business Insider Prime posts:

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