The Beginner’s Guide to Toutiao Advertising in China

toutiao advertising guide in china

China has become an incredibly valuable market for foreign businesses over the past decade, particularly as consumer spending continues to rise. 

For example: On 2018’s Singles Day (a major online shopping holiday in China), sales across all platforms beat the previous year by 31% — exceeding both Black Friday and Cyber Monday figures combined. In fact, 2019’s Singles Day led to more than $30 billion in sales in less than 24 hours.

Such immense spending power is a major incentive for companies targeting Chinese consumers. 

But…how do you reach these consumers?

To put it plainly: an effective advertising strategy — on the right advertising platform — is crucial to make an impact in such a competitive market. 

In this article, we’ll be walking you through one of the most powerful advertising platforms available in China today: Toutiao.

So, what is Toutiao advertising and what can it do for your business? 

So… what is Toutiao? 

Toutiao (AKA Jinri Toutiao, “today’s headlines”) is an online platform dedicated to sharing diverse news stories and information. It uses machine learning to analyze individual reading preferences and tailor content to each user, boosting relevance to maximize engagement. 

Toutiao is owned by ByteDance, the firm behind the global phenomena TikTok. The apps collectively have more than 1.5 billion active users each month (or 700+ million per day!).

Toutiao provides users with a convenient way to read the stories they genuinely want to read based on their preferences. As Toutiao aggregates both news stories and videos (from the popular video-sharing platform, Douyin), there’s an extensive variety of media to consume. 

Why advertise on Toutiao?

Businesses from outside China can struggle to reach their audience with traditional advertising methods. International tools are often blocked, the culture can be difficult for newcomers to penetrate, and there’s a lack of data flow to consider. 

But Toutiao offers an easier, more convenient, more cost-effective way to advertise in China. The app connects brands with an audience of more than 260 million monthly active users, creating a valuable opportunity to access this immense marketplace. 

What’s more, Toutiao offers numerous ways to target users, including: 

toutiao targeting

The major benefit of advertising on Toutiao is its AI-driven personalization. 

The app automatically finds the users that are most likely to take an interest in your products or services. So your ads are always shown to the right users, helping you to avoid wasted time and money.

Since Toutiao’s ads are presented blended with organic content, people are more likely to engage with them. 

Better still, Toutiao advertising works for businesses across diverse industries, including:

best industries for toutiao advertising

What types of ads are available on Toutiao?

Brands advertising on Toutiao can take advantage of multiple ad formats across two main types:

Feed ads (featuring text with image, carousel or video)

toutiao feed ads

Full cover open ad

These ads fill the device screen, with a choice of large banner format or multiple small images

The two ad formats offer businesses a huge range of flexibility, allowing you to build ads tailored to specific consumer preferences. 

How much does Toutiao advertising cost?

Toutiao charges advertisers in the following ways:

  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA) — brands using this method pay only after a successful conversion. 
  • Optimized Cost per Millennium (OCPM). This kind of bidding uses AI technology and provides better targeting for your ads. 
  • CPM and CPC
  • Cost per View — This is for video ads, and counts views when an ad is played for at least 10 seconds

Each payment type offers its own benefits. To make sure you pick the right set up for your business, tools like can guide you from campaign start to finish, keeping your ROI in mind.

Read our post on cost of advertising in China to learn how different channels compare to each other.

How can I set up a Toutiao account?

Setting up a Toutiao account can be a complicated process for businesses, especially those based outside China. 

Why? Well, the app asks users to submit and confirm their Chinese phone number early on in the process. That’s obviously a major issue if you’re operating in, say, the US or Europe. 

On top of this, the rest of the registration process involves uploading a picture of an ID card, a Business license photocopy and more.

All these factors can make setting up a Toutiao account a time-consuming challenge for brands. 

But working with makes advertising on Toutiao easy. 

You can set up your Toutiao ads within a few quick steps, track your campaigns, measure your results, and understand your ads’ performance in a full-English platform. 

Our advanced reporting dashboard empowers you with simple access to easy-to-understand data. You can make informed decisions about your Toutiao advertising and enjoy maximum bang for your buck.

Looking to get started in China? is one of the easiest ways to get started with advertising on 10+ channels in China. Run campaigns on multiple platforms from a single dashboard to reach your target audience. Create a free account to get started.

How can I start running successful Toutiao ads? 

The first step in creating successful Toutiao ads is understanding your target audience, as with any form of marketing. Besides this, there are 3 more factors to keep in mind to run successful Toutiao ads:

Ad placement 

Different businesses might choose different channels available with Toutiao like Douyin (Tiktok in China) and Xigua, and Huoshan. While channels like Douyin are most suitable for the entertainment industry, Toutiao is more suitable for consulting and education brands.

Ad placement also needs to differ based on your goals. While Full Cover ads are more suitable for branding campaigns, feed ads are a lot more conversion-focused.

Marketing creatives

Marketing creatives play a major role in the success of your campaign. Most foreign brands don’t have a clear idea about which kind of imagery will resonate with the Chinese audience. However, without a clear idea about this, your ads will not be successful.

Based on which channel you are running your campaign on, your marketing creatives need to differ.


Toutiao can help you reach your most important consumers in China based on their gender, age, location, behaviour, and more. Set the right targeting to reach your most valuable customers.

Your turn

Now that we’ve gone through the basics of advertising on Toutiao, it’s time to hear from you. Have you considered advertising on Toutiao before? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

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