DTC Dive #2: How to go viral on TikTok with Adrian Balbegi, founder of SugarGang

TikTok has emerged as a meteoric force, captivating the imagination and screen time of billions. Unlike the slow burn of a blog post or the 24-hour lifespan of an Instagram story, a TikTok video has the potential to catapult creators into overnight sensations. But what does it take to capture the TikTok magic? Is it pure luck, algorithmic sorcery, or a meticulous craft?
Watch the second DTC Dive episode as we unwrap the SugarGang story and explore the sweeter side of going viral on TikTok.

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In this blog post, we'll dive deep into TikTok virality, demystifying the elements that can propel your content from mere bytes on a screen to the coveted 'For You' page and beyond. Whether you're a seasoned TikToker or just dipping your toes into its rhythmic waters, here’s all you need to know about going viral on TikTok!


How to get viral on TikTok: German-based DTC SugarGang shares unique insights

At Admetrics, we know that to win the e-commerce game, brands must go beyond distributing products and creating experiences that stay with their audience. We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Adrian Balbegi, the founder of German DTC SugarGang. From global candy distributions to TikTok strategies, the conversation spans the spectrum of building and scaling a brand in today's fast-paced digital world. 

Adrian's journey, from wholesaling to pioneering e-commerce avenues with brands Sugar Dad and SugarGang, is both insightful and inspiring. Beyond candies and e-commerce, SugarGang's presence on TikTok is nothing short of remarkable. Adrian delved deep into their content strategy, offering a glimpse into the intricacies of content creation, timing, and performance metrics. Read the interview below to get unique insights about turning a DTC TikTok channel into a virality success story.  

Markus Repetschnig, Admetrics’ CEO:  Hi, I'm Markus, co-founder of Admetrics. I'm here today with Adrian from SugarGang. Adrian, can you give us a brief introduction about yourself and SugarGang?

Adrian Balbegi, SugarGang’s Founder: Sure, Markus. As you've pointed out, I'm Adrian. Sugargang was something I began internationally several years ago as a wholesaler. However, for the last six years, we've shifted our focus heavily into e-commerce, predominantly under our brands "SugarDad" and "SugarGang". Our main activity revolves around sourcing candies from across the globe – from countries like Japan, Mexico, and the USA. These aren't just any candies; they're top-notch. We then import these, package them in our uniquely designed candy boxes, and ship them out to candy enthusiasts in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Markus: Sounds fascinating! How big is your team currently?

Adrian: Currently, we have an unspecified number of employees, splitting their roles between logistics and office work. Generally, things move comfortably, but come the Christmas season, it's a different ballgame entirely. Quite a rush, I must say.

Markus: I can only imagine. Speaking of your team, it seems everyone is hands-on right now.

Adrian: Precisely. Although roles within our organization are well-defined, the current scenario demands all hands on deck, whether in support or logistics.

Markus: Shifting gears a bit, let's delve into TikTok. Your brand has carved quite a niche there. Any tips you'd like to share based on your success on the platform?

Adrian: Absolutely. TikTok has been on my radar for a while. About four years ago, when we launched "Sugar Dad", our primary focus was Instagram, where we amassed 100,000 followers. However, sensing a paradigm shift similar to Facebook's decline and Instagram's rise, I quickly identified TikTok's burgeoning potential. Getting the hang of content on TikTok was initially a challenge given its distinct nature from Instagram. Fast forward to today, and we've got a specialized team: three individuals in front of the camera and two overseeing production. We even dedicated space for a mini-store setup exclusively for our TikTok content, ensuring the right ambiance for the creators.

Markus: How often does your team post on TikTok?

Adrian: We've earmarked three days of the week solely for production, but we ensure a daily presence on TikTok. For those just starting, we've found 20:00 on weekdays and 10:00 on weekends to be optimal post timings.

Markus: Any rationale behind these timings?

Adrian: Purely experiential. While the web is rife with differing opinions on ideal post timings, Sunday mornings have consistently worked wonders for us.

Markus: When you review your TikTok videos, what metrics stand out for you?

Adrian: The foremost metric I evaluate is the percentage of viewers who've seen the video through to the end. A 20% watch rate on TikTok is commendable. I then dissect potential reasons for viewer drop-offs: a prolonged intro, a belated climax, or lack of sufficient information. The golden rule: ensnare your viewer within the initial 5 seconds. Overly promotional content typically doesn't resonate on TikTok. Analyzing this, I often wonder, why did people skip? Was the introduction too long? That's something I sometimes struggle with. I'm not sure if we should always start with a bang to keep people engaged. Was the TikTok video too long, or did the punchline come too late? Was it not informative enough? Honestly, it's hard to generalize. On TikTok, you don’t always need the same kind of content. Sometimes I want to introduce a new box, or make an offer, or simply entertain. 

Markus: The variability of your content matters, as does its uniqueness. 

Adrian: Absolutely. I think you definitely need to grab attention in the first 5 seconds. If you start too slowly or focus too much on selling, it won't work. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try, especially if you intend to use the video as an ad later. I often debate whether to show a video to organic followers first or promote it right away. It's always a tough choice but I've decided to keep everything in the feed for organic followers and not solely rely on ads. Even if someone doesn't watch a video to the end, they get a sense of what we offer. 

Markus: What's your experience with influencers, especially on TikTok?

Adrian: TikTok influencers? That’s tough. The organic traffic drops rapidly if the platform senses you're trying to sell. You have to be subtle. You can't just advertise a product directly. For instance, instead of blatantly promoting a product, an influencer might showcase it in an authentic, personal context, like trying out a weird candy or blowing a massive bubble with our gum. Authenticity is key. Otherwise, it just won't resonate. There’s much more effort involved for the influencer, leading to higher costs. I once hired one of the biggest TikTokers in Germany for a campaign, and while we got millions of views, the sales weren’t as impressive. It cost a lot but didn’t have the desired return on investment. There's always a dilemma between seeking brand recognition or direct sales. With TikTok, it's easy to get lost. It's great that there are metrics to help gauge which influencers work and which don't.

Markus: Speaking of partnerships, you guys have a significant collaboration with Montana Black, right? How's that working for you?

Adrian: With Montana Black, we’re mainly on Instagram through story formats and Twitch with unboxing sessions. It works great because it fits him. He adds his humorous touch, tries out products, and his audience loves his genuine reactions. It’s not just about blatant advertising; it’s about the product experience.

Markus: That's the key, isn’t it? Authenticity. People know when something is genuine or just a sales pitch. It seems like a win-win for both the influencer and the brand.

Adrian: Definitely. And if he doesn’t like something, he says it outright. His community appreciates that, and it reflects in our sales.

Markus: Thanks, Adrian. It's always enlightening talking with you. Keep up the good work.

Adrian: Thank you, Markus. Always a pleasure.

How to Go Viral on TikTok: Virality Factors for DTCs

Navigating TikTok to achieve virality is both an art and a science. Let's explore the key factors that influence this journey:


  • The bedrock of any viral video is its genuineness. Content that stems from genuine passion or offers a fresh perspective tends to resonate more powerfully with viewers.
  • Overly produced or forced videos can often miss the mark.

Algorithm Understanding:

  • Recognize that TikTok's algorithm is your behind-the-scenes collaborator.
  • Videos that captivate viewers from start to finish, encouraging repeat views and shares, are algorithmic gold.
  • Delve into your engagement metrics to discern patterns and tailor your content accordingly.

Soundtrack Selection:

  • The music or sound bytes accompanying your videos play a dual role: setting the mood and amplifying reach.
  • Opting for trending tracks or sounds can often cast a wider net, drawing in more viewers.


  • TikTok is a two-way street. The more you engage with your audience through comments and collaborations, the more visibility you gain.
  • Participate actively in trending challenges and respond promptly to your audience's feedback.

Timing and Frequency:

  • Consistency is key. Regular posting can enhance your visibility.
  • Use TikTok analytics to identify peak engagement hours and aim to post during these windows.

Achieving virality is as much about these strategic moves as it is about the spontaneous magic of TikTok's vast and vibrant community. Read more about how to create your TikTok ads strategy.


How much time is needed to reach virality 

A study by Social Insider, a social media analytics platform, sheds some light on this enigma. The research suggests that, on average, a TikTok video takes about two weeks to reach its zenith in viewership. However, this timeframe isn't a universal constant. Not every video will witness its surge in popularity after precisely two weeks. The unpredictability of TikTok virality is intricate, driven by multiple algorithmic components—from the incorporation of trending music tracks to the strategic use of hashtags.

While views reign supreme as the most pertinent metric on TikTok, diverging from other platforms that prioritize follower count, the number of followers is not to be undermined. In fact, your follower base can serve as a testament to the value you bring to the TikTok community. Social Insider's data corroborates this, highlighting that an account's follower count can significantly impact the speed at which it achieves virality. To break it down: while videos from accounts with a smaller following tend to peak in viewership around 16 days post-publication, those from more substantial accounts tend to peak earlier, around the 13-day mark. 

FAQs: How to Get Viral on TikTok

What does it mean to go viral on TikTok? 
Going viral on TikTok refers to a video gaining a large amount of views, shares, and engagement in a relatively short period, often making its way to many users' 'For You' page.

How can I optimize my videos to go viral on TikTok?

To optimize for virality, focus on authenticity, engage with current trends, use popular soundtracks, and understand the TikTok algorithm to maximize engagement.

How important is authenticity in achieving TikTok virality?

Authenticity is paramount. Genuine content that resonates with viewers often garners more engagement and shares, increasing the chances of going viral.

Do trending soundtracks help in TikTok virality?

Absolutely! Using trending soundtracks can increase the discoverability of your videos, helping them reach a wider audience.

How does the TikTok algorithm work for virality?

The TikTok algorithm factors in engagement metrics such as watch time, shares, comments, and likes. Videos that keep viewers engaged from start to finish have a higher likelihood of being promoted and going viral.

Is consistency in posting crucial for going viral on TikTok?

Yes, consistent posting can increase your visibility on the platform and enhance your chances of having one or more videos go viral.

What role does audience engagement play in TikTok virality?

Engaging with your audience by responding to comments, participating in challenges, and collaborating can boost your video's visibility, enhancing its chances of going viral.

Are there optimal times to post on TikTok for virality?

While the best time can vary based on your audience, using TikTok analytics to identify peak engagement hours for your followers can be beneficial. Posting during these times can increase your chances of going viral.

Remember, while understanding these FAQs can guide you towards creating optimal content for TikTok, virality often has an element of unpredictability and luck. Stay genuine, stay consistent, and enjoy the creative process!

Unlock the Power of TikTok Analytics with Admetrics Data Studio

Equip yourself with the right tool for a seamless journey. With the ever-evolving challenges of the platform, it's vital for brands to harness accurate insights, steer data-driven strategies, and elevate ad performance. Enter Admetrics Data Studio: your ultimate marketing data compass.
Why Admetrics? Here's what sets it apart:

  • Comprehensive Tracking: Monitor customer journeys seamlessly across multiple browsers and devices.
  • Holistic Data Aggregation: Fetch data, be it paid or organic, from a plethora of sources and derive actionable insights on conversion paths and ad efficiency.
  • Advanced Features: Dive into Bayesian experimentation to test multiple variants or harness predictive audiences to boost your remarketing and prospecting game.
  • For all DTC brands and e-commerce platforms, Admetrics empowers you to delve deep into your TikTok metrics. Extract insights from over 100 key metrics like ROAS, POAS, CTR, CVR, CPM and add valuable CLV insights to your marketing strategy. Gain clarity on your entire digital footprint - covering paid, owned, and earned traffic sources.

TikTok-Specific Insights: Understand your TikTok ad's pulse. Track pivotal video metrics like the Thumbstop rate, view-through conversion rate (VTC), view-through add-to-cart rate (VTATC), social media reactions and many more. Uncover the magic behind your ads that captivate audiences mid-scroll. Let these insights guide your creative strategies, optimize conversion potential, and steer informed decisions when scaling your TikTok ads and expanding across all digital channels.

Ready to leap beyond conventional TikTok reporting? Harness the full power of your TikTok ads. Make informed, data-backed decisions. Install Admetrics Data Studio for free and revolutionize your TikTok analytics journey.