Holy Dupe: Duplicates on TikTok

by Susan Mullin

Up next in our TikTok series is the “dupe” phenomenon that has made hundreds of “unreachable” products accessible. Whether it’s about TikTok users wanting to achieve a certain “aesthetic” (check out our last blog on that) or joining in on the trend of trying out a new fashion staple, dupes are a great way of making viral trends accessible to all.

tiktok screenshot showing that an ELF brand makeup primer is a dupe for the Milk Makeup hydrogrip primer

What are dupes?

A dupe, short for duplicate, refers to an alternative of a popular product. The “dupe” trend on TikTok is not just about finding cheaper alternatives. It’s also about accessibility and inclusivity. Not everyone can afford high-end products, and by sharing “dupes,” TikTokers are making sure that everyone can participate in the latest trends, regardless of their budget. It also allows for those with particular moral attitudes, like the want to shop cruelty free, to fit in. This trend also encourages critical thinking and comparison shopping amongst consumers, a healthy practice in any consumer market.

Various creators are catching on to the fact that videos about dupes attract views, and subsequently create their brand around finding these dupes. Users with the term “Amazon finds” in their bio, for example, have made it their mission to find the best dupes of popular products for their followers. Some examples include dupes of Kim Kardashian’s “Skims” brand, Bottega Venetta earrings, Free People dresses, and more.

Influencer incentives

Creators have double the incentive to create these videos because:

  • Dupes are great for views. Users want to find cheaper alternatives to the latest “it” products without having to do all the work themselves.
  • Users can link these dupes through their Amazon storefronts and with affiliate links. Creators then earn a commission from viewers making a purchase because of their videos.
tiktok screenshot of creator compaing skims brand slip dress to an amazon dupe

A TikToker makes a video comparing the original Skims dress and it’s “dupe” from Amazon

Put simply, there’s quite a big market in the “dupes” world of TikTok.

If TikTok users are already identifying your product as a dupe, you can leverage these user reviews in your marketing efforts. Share these reviews on your own TikTok account or other social media platforms to show potential customers that your product is a popular and affordable alternative to high-end products. Spark-style ads, in particular, are a great way to leverage UGC on TikTok. Maybe even contact the creator pushing your product to create a partnership.

Why does it matter?

TikTok’s marketing landscape offers incredible opportunities for marketers. Leveraging User-Generated Content (UGC) to fuel product virality, aligning with popular aesthetics, and embracing the “dupe” trend for accessibility are key strategies for thriving in this dynamic platform. By understanding and harnessing these elements, brands can tap into TikTok’s massive audience and redefine their marketing approach for remarkable growth.

Interested in learning more about marketing on TikTok? Check out the rest of our three-part series. Learn how to use TikTok “aesthetics” to promote your product, and make use of UGC to go viral.

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Posted in , Digital Marketing