How Zilla Hit 9.2 Million Views, 58K Paid Clicks, and Became Their Target Customer’s Lifelong Brand


Zilla’s One Chance to Lock Down a Lifelong Customer

There’s probably a lot you don’t know about reptiles, including: 

  • The giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands can live up to 250 years old
  • The black mamba snake can travel up to 12 MPH
  • Once a reptile owner chooses a reptile supply brand, they stick with them forever.

Reptiles are sophisticated creatures. Although they’re harder to care for, they make for incredible (and loving) pets — and no brand knows this better than Zilla

Zilla supplies high-quality products for reptiles and has been in the game for nearly 10 years. But throughout that decade, there’s one problem they’ve consistently faced: Nailing their timing. 

The thing about the pet industry is once customers choose a brand, they rarely switch (people are creatures of habit). This meant Zilla had one chance to become their target audience’s preferred — and only — choice. 

Cue: TikTok. Zilla knew the platform could help them connect with customers, especially Gen Z and younger Millennials who’d just become reptile owners and would be using TikTok as a search engine to answer their reptile-related queries. 

If Zilla did TikTok right, it’d net them hundreds of new — and crucially, lifelong — customers. So, Zilla reached out to Ubiquitous to help slither 🐍 that possibility into reality. 

Leaping From Instagram to TikTok

Zilla had experience with organic content on Instagram, but collaborating with creators on TikTok? That was uncharted territory. 

It would be a major lift. Locating reptile creators (Spoiler: ⚠️ there aren’t many) meant dozens of hours of research. Factor in the hundreds of emails, personalized creative briefs, contracts, and payments that go into the typical influencer marketing campaign, and Zilla knew it couldn’t go at it alone. 

Enter: Ubiquitous. Four Ubiquitous experts — Erin Orcutt, Zach Fitch, Natalie Stone, and Corey Pettit – would become an extension of Zilla’s marketing team and handle the campaign. Zach, Ubiquitous’ Director of Campaign Strategy, pitched the game plan: 

“Let’s turn every single person that you see on TikTok who is a responsible reptile owner into a Zilla ambassador. Anytime anybody needs anything reptile-related, they only see Zilla and only have heard of Zilla.” 

Here's where you get the stuff we don't  put  on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.

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Zilla’s Goals and Objectives

Zilla chose TikTok as its main advertising channel since its target audience was Gen Z and younger Millennials.   

If Zilla could secure this demographic before their competitors, they’d not only have dedicated customers but immediate profits as roughly 80% of the biggest expenses for reptiles (habitat, decorations, lamps, etc) happen upfront. 

Zilla’s goals were: 

  • Undeniable Brand Awareness: At least one million views for each “wave” (phase) of the campaign. 
  • Reasonable Budget: Zilla sought a CPM lower than $13. 
  • Sky-High Revenue: Increase online sales on Zilla’s website. 
  • Thumb-Stopping Content: Collaborate with content creators who are responsible reptile owners so they can educate and entertain Zilla’s target audience. 

The Blueprint For Turning Zilla Into The Reptile Household Name

Finding (And Making) Reptile Creators 

Ubiquitous had one major hurdle before it could start: Find reptile creators. 

It would be no stroll through the tulips. There aren’t many reptile owners and even fewer who upload content. But this minuscule pool didn’t mean Zilla would collaborate with the first reptile creator they found. 

Zilla needed responsible reptile owners who followed PETA’s guidelines for reptile care (i.e. never use your reptile as a “prop” and dress them up). This careful selection was key to maintaining Zilla’s image as an authority in the reptile space. 

Zach sought accounts that were creating reptile content for fun – but hadn’t done brand collaborations before: 

“For these reptile owners, becoming sponsors or earning income from their content doesn’t even cross their minds. Our job was to spot their potential – and connect them to Zilla for a win-win partnership.” 

After two weeks of scouting, Zilla selected 18 reptile creators. Erin became the point of contact for Zilla while Natalie Stone, Content Production Manager, handled outreach and creator communications. 

Prepping Each Wave 

Ubiquitous proposed a seven-wave campaign: 

  • For six of those waves, 5–6 creators make 2 videos each (10–12 videos). 
  • For the traffic waves (wave 5), 5–7 creators would make 2 video each (10-14 videos). 
  • All creators would provide 90-day usage rights so Zilla could use the content for:some text
    • Advertisements 
    • Posts on their social media pages (Instagram, Twitter, etc) 
    • Internal and external purposes 
    • Spark Ads to convert viewers and get trackable data. 

Why Spark Ads? Zach explains: 

“Spark Ads target specific audiences meaning your content gets in front of exactly who it’s supposed to. If you’re dealing with a niche group of creators and content, Spark Ads gives you that extra leverage. Best part? It’s the cheapest CPM out there right now.” 

Diving Deeper into Zilla’s Seven Waves 🔎

For a year, Ubiquitous deployed seven waves. Let’s take a closer look at each one: 

Waves 1–3: Brand Awareness 

The first three waves were all about brand awareness. Ubiquitous suggested a combination of educational and pet-focused content to get as many views as possible. 

It’s safe to say the strategy worked. Zilla saw: 

  • 4.5 million views. 
  • 2.97% engagement rate. 
  • $9.20 CPM. 
  • Over 4,000 video shares

Aside from metrics, Zilla now had two indispensable things: 

  1. Long-term partnerships with creators who adored their brand. This would strengthen Zilla’s credibility, community, and conversion rates: 
“A creator’s audience isn’t going to fully trust the product from just a single collaboration. A creator has to showcase the product again and again over several months to prove they truly believe in the product –which always leads to better conversion rates down the line. ” – Erin Orcutt, Ubiquitous
  1. Proven templates of high-performing videos, such as…some text
    1. A storytime about the adoption of their pet. 
    2. “MTV Cribs” style video showing off their reptile’s habitat. 
    3. Inviting them to “come eat” with them and their reptile. 
    4. Fun facts about their reptile and their personality. 
    5. Why having a reptile is better than any other pet. 

Wave 4: Brand Awareness with a Twist 

For wave four, Zilla wanted to promote their slogan, #repyourself. The message? Embrace your uniqueness and individuality through reptiles. 

Ubiquitous proposed collaborating with makeup creators. From geckos to poison dart frogs, these artists wouldn’t just bring Zilla’s slogan to life – Zilla would get new exposure and fun, thumb-stopping content. 

  • 6 makeup creators made 1 video and 3 UGC photos (6 videos and 18 photos total) with usage rights that Zilla could use for future ad campaigns.  
  • 1.1 million views. 
  • 1.59% engagement rate. 
  • $12.14 CPM. 

Wave 5: Generating Traffic 

It was now time to slide down the marketing funnel and double down on traffic. 

To generate high-intent traffic to Zilla’s website, Ubiquitous suggested the creators make two types of videos: 

  1. Product-focused with an explicit product placement. 
  2. Organic with complete creative freedom to naturally integrate Zilla’s products. 

Here’s what happened: 

  • 5 creators made 10 pieces of content on TikTok. 
  • Hit 1.1 million views. 
  • 4.67% engagement rate. 
  • $12.79 CPM. 
  • Nearly 900 shares. 
This TikTok from creator @through.the.lleaves hit over 120K views and 3,500 paid clicks.

Wave 6: Brand Awareness  

After a successful traffic wave, Ubiquitous suggested Zilla return to brand awareness to avoid giving Zilla’s audience product fatigue. 

“If an audience is constantly being peddled or sold to, that’s when it starts to feel inauthentic. Our goal is to find the perfect balance between promotion and storytelling so the audience doesn’t feel like they’re watching an ad.” – Erin 

Creators made videos about their cold-blooded companions and why they make the best pets. 

  • 5 creators made a total of 9 videos for TikTok. 
  • 1.3 million views. 
  • 1.41% engagement rate. 
  • $10.39 CPM. 
A TikTok pushed during wave 7, which hit half a million views and 879 paid clicks.

Wave 7: Traffic Campaign with Spark Ads 

Ubiquitous decided to go with the same strategy as wave five: A blend of content that was 50% product focused and 50% let creators have total creative freedom. Only this time, Ubiquitous added two new reptile creators to the mix (without increasing Zilla’s budget!): 

  • 7 creators made a total of 14 videos for TikTok. 
  • 5.9% CTR. 
  • $15 CPM

The biggest win? Zilla saw over 38,000 paid clicks – an increase of 288% from its previous traffic campaign. 

Overall Results and Campaign Insights

Influencer Campaign Performance

• Over 9.1 million views (and counting). 

• Nearly 253,000 engagements   

$11 CPM

58,826 paid clicks 

Three Campaign Insights After Seven Waves 

✨ Small niche? No problem. Zach and Erin’s pivot to collaborate with makeup creators proves an ultra-specific niche (in this case, reptiles) doesn't have to be constricting. With a bit of ingenuity, you can engage new audiences. 

📈 Multi-wave campaigns FTW. There is a time and place for one-off campaigns. But it’s the long-term, multi-wave campaigns where brands can strategically move down the marketing funnel to establish trust with — and eventually, convert — their target audience. 

🤳 A 50/50 campaign strategy with product-focused *and* full creative freedom videos led to great traffic results.  The mixture of organic content and product placement amplified impressions and click-throughs to a greater scale. 

What The Future Holds For Zilla

Was Ubiquitous the right choice for Zilla?

We’ll let Zilla tell you about their experience: 

“Working with Ubiquitous has been a game-changer for us. Their seamless process and expert guidance have made working with influencers effortless. The content produced is not only exceptional but also perfectly aligned with our brand goals. Thanks to Ubiquitous, we've seen significant expansion in our digital footprint and reached new heights in audience engagement. They're not just an agency; they're a key partner in our success story!”  — Mayra Damien, Associate Brand Manager at Zilla 

Today, Zilla has hundreds of new customers that’ll shop with them for life (and considering reptile life spans can go up to 200 years, that’s a *long* time). Because here at Ubiquitous, that’s just what we do: reach your target audience so you can be their number one brand, forever. 

If you’re ready to have us do your heavy lifting and become a key partner in your success story (Zilla’s words, not ours 😉) shoot us a line. We’re ready to create magic with you whenever you are. 

Here's where you get the stuff we don't  put  on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.

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