Douyin, known as China’s TikTok, has seen immense growth since its launch in 2016. The app now boasts an impressive 500 million monthly active Douyin users and continues to grow bigger by the day! Companies such as Alibaba, Xiaomi, and JingDong are among those who have taken advantage of Douyin’s large audience base and a huge amount of traffic. It is no longer only a space for people to enjoy sharing moments or bloggers promoting products; big businesses have tapped into this platform with great success!

In this blog post, we will introduce you to the Douyin app and show you the best Douyin marketing strategy options for international brands wanting to leverage this short-video app.

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Douyin: the most popular Chinese app for short-videos

Douyin is a unique platform, as it is not inspired by Western social media like all the others, but instead, sets the standards for all short video platforms available globally. The popularity of the Douyin platform resulted in the creation of Tik Tok, which is a more simple version of the app meant for Western users.

The app is owned by ByteDance, one of the Chinese tech giants, and it was introduced in the Chinese market in 2016. Since then it became one of the most popular social media platforms in China and in the world, with more than 800 million monthly active users (as of 2022).

The app is based mostly on user-generated content, attracting Douyin users to be creative, but also luxury brands and Key Opinion Leaders working on Douyin marketing campaigns and brand promotion with 600 million daily active users watching the content.

The average time spent on Douyin is 45 minutes per day and the number of users increased by more than 200% in only two years. Although Tik Tok is available everywhere and Douyin is an app focused on the Chinese market, Douyin has more users (57%) in China, than Tik Tok worldwide. This should give you an idea of the popularity of this platform among Chinese consumers.

Douyin content

Douyin content can be categorized into several themes and the popular categories are not the same as on Tki tok. Chinese Douyin users are mostly fond of educational videos with life hacks or skills, in comparison to Tik Tok’s content focused on entertainment and artistic videos.

Apart from education, Chinese users also enjoy the comedy category, like dance challenges, daily pranks, and more. It all depends on the preferences of the specific audience, as many categories are on the rise due to increasing interest, like pets, makeup tutorials, celebrities, music and more.

Douyin demographics

It will be no surprise that Douyin users are mostly from Gen Z. Douyin’s public is young, and educated. Approximately 85% of Douyin users are under the age of 24, with the majority of them living in first-tier cities like Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou (as opposed to Kuaishou’s audience, the biggest competitor of Douyin, with the audience in second, third and lower-tier cities).

Those users belong to the middle and upper-middle class with a disposable income that they want to spend on themselves. This is a great target audience for many luxury brands selling goods perfect for young consumers in China, like fashion, cosmetics, electronics, kids’ products, and more.

Douyin: A big success story

The success of this app can be explained by the fact that the format has been proven by the musical scheme. This scheme is a good option because it allows you to be more visible thanks to an organized communication campaign related by several influencers but it is still a bit expensive. Like the hashtag system on Instagram, influencers can use “challenge” to be more visible to the users targeted. They are popular among users because they increase the popularity of your account. In this way, you can be more seen.

The second option is to create partnerships with one or several influencers directly. This strategy is less expensive than the other one, but it gives you also less visibility. Douyin is not technically involved. The idea here is to get organic reach that stems from the influencer. This method requires a very good knowledge of the Chinese market and a good Chinese speaker to exchange with the influencer and define a strategy regarding your brand content. One positive aspect of the influencers is their ability to advertise your brand. Actually, they can put links that lead to your e-commerce website in their videos.

How to promote your brand with a good Douyin marketing strategy?

There are many ways to promote a brand on Douyin but you need to be aware that the app is dominated by short videos and live streaming. This means that in order to enter the app, you must be ready to prepare relevant brand strategy and content for the Douyin audience. But first, in order to be able to develop marketing campaigns for this platform, you need a business account.

Create your Douyin business account

If you are a company wanting to enter business accounts area on Douyin, you will need to provide:

  • An ICP license if you want to link to your website
  • A Chinese business license
  • Application letter

You will be also asked to pay 600 RMB yearly fee for a certification of your account.

In order to create a business account on Tiktok Douyin you will need to start the verification process on the Douyin platform. The registration process is fairly easy and after submitting the form and all necessary documents, you will need to wait for the review of your application (might take up to a week).

As you can see above, business account on Douyin offer many features helpful in spreading brand awareness and generating leads, either through organic content, influencer marketing, in-app stores, branded hashtags and challenges, native e-commerce system integration and Douyin feed ads.

Offer good quality of visual content

To ensure your Chinese audience is intrigued by your short form videos, it’s crucial to make sure the visuals are captivating. This means that when viewers see covers of your content they will be eager to watch – with lots going on in each frame! It’s also advisable to put short text at the end of videos, so that viewers will be eager to read it, watching the video few times, which increases the statistics of your content.

Get creative and incorporate links directing traffic back towards any official stores you have set up too; this could involve phrases or words emphasising what’s on offer. If you need ideas for inspiration then take a look at some brands which thrive on Douyin as well as key opinion leaders – expert marketers who can teach us all something new about tackling campaigns effectively!

Collaborate with Key Opinion Leaders

In our opinion, from multiple platforms available in China, although all of them are very saturated with influencers, Douyin influencer marketing seems to be the biggest filar of the platform. It might be actually hard to be noticed on this platform without the help of Chinese influencers.

Collaborating with influencers will help your brand in building brand awareness and addressing the target audience with a marketing campaign carried out by their favorite influencer. KOLs are usually specialists in their field, gathering a huge following around a specific niche, like makeup, parenting, high-end fashion, electronics etc. This means, that by collaborating with the right KOL, you are able to address your potential customers and attract them to your brand.

Learn about live-streaming on Douyin

Live-streaming came to China in recent years and in short time became one of the most effective form of digital marketing, especially thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. As people were locked at home, unable to see products in real life, they wanted to make sure they are buying original items (as opposed to counterfeit product that are a big problem in China). Live-streaming allows consumers to see products they are interested in better, and helps them in purchasing decision.

Live-streaming is linked with influencers, as they are the people that usually stream the products to their followers. As Douyin has it’s own online marketplace now and a new Douyin Pay option, it becomes very easy to promote and sell products on the platform using live-streaming features. But, With its new e-commerce policies, brands have to use Douyin’s own digital marketing matching service to determine key opinion leaders (KOLs).

Try Douyin paid advertising

Apart from organic Douyin marketing options, companies that have business accounts on the platform are allowed to use the advertising option. There are three different advertising types;

Open screen ads

Open Screen Ads present a captivating way to advertise, with visuals that are sure to leave an impression. Whether static ads or dynamic ads in form, these ads guarantee three and four-to-five second views respectively every time the application is opened; this uninterrupted exposure creates maximum impact without interference from other content competing for attention.

Sticker ads

Customized stickers are an innovative way for brands to engage their audiences. By adding these unique visuals to video clips, users can create fun and entertaining content that encourages others to take part in the experience. This boosts visibility far beyond traditional promotional avenues, leading towards a wider reach than ever before!

Feed ads

With Douyin Feed Ads, brands can promote their story in a native ad style with videos that range from five to sixty seconds. These ads are seamlessly integrated into the natural user flow of Douyin and come without any distracting interferences – plus they’re free! Users then have the capability to share these advertisements on social platforms or with friends, cultivating brand recognition across multiple channels.

Douyin e-commerce – sell through your own flagship store

Douyin, the leading short video platform in China, recently expanded its business offerings with their Flagship Store feature. Brands ranging from local to international are now able to create personalized stores on Douyin that include targeted campaigns and vouchers for consumers. In just one month since launch of this service over 220 brands have already joined onboard including well-known names like Huawei and Perfect Diary.

Douyin e-commerce makes promotion and sales easier for brands, that can integrate all the steps on their marketing strategy in one platform. Now brands can promote their products via original visual content or influencer collaboration, and then put links to the store within the app, where consumers can pay using Douyin Pay. All without the need of leaving the app.

Contact us to start promoting and selling on Douyin!

Douyin is one of these new apps that shouldn’t be ingored anymore, especially when it comes to premium brands wanting to address young generations, as Douyin users belong mainly to Millennials and Gen Z. This app is a mix of entertainment, education and e-commerce, offering its users experience that no other social media platforms offered before.

We are a China digital agency based in Shanghai, with more than 10 years experience in the industry. We have experience with Douyin marketing and we helped many foreign brands with best marketing strategies for this app. We are one of the best-known certified digital agencies in China. Our team of foreign and Chinese experts will help you every step of the way, so that you can grasp the full potential of this application.

We offer many different services, depending on your company’s goals, values and budget. Here are some of our services;

Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us to discuss the opportunities for your brand on the Chinese market. We offer a free consultation with one of our experts that will lead about your brand and offer the most-suitable solutions for your business in China. Let’s keep in touch!

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  1. Douyin,(Tik Tok) the biggest short video platform in China, do you know if it can be used by small businesses to drive sales to ecommerce Shop?

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