Douyin is one of the most popular social media platforms in China — with a wealth of advertising opportunities for brands operating in a wide range of sectors. And its audience is growing rapidly!
Its recent move towards ecommerce, helping users to make purchases with far fewer clicks, makes it an even better and more attractive platform for brands than it already was.
Here we get to grips with exactly what Douyin is and how you can get started with Douyin advertising. Trust me, it’s not that complicated, it’s actually really fun to get started on this vibrant platform!
What is Douyin?
If you’ve been anywhere near the internet over the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard of TikTok App. This social media platform is owned by Chinese multinational internet technology company ByteDance and hosts a vast selection of user-generated, short video content.
These short videos (lasting up to 15 seconds, 60 seconds and 5 minutes) have introduced the world to dance crazes, hashtag challenges and a ton of great tutorials. They’ve also been of keen interest to brands looking to promote their products and services.
So, what is Douyin?
Douyin is Chinese version of TikTok, and the only version of the platform available to people living in China. It’s also owned by ByteDance and it’s been around since 2016.
Like the international version TikTok, Douyin also provides users with a feed of video content tailored to their interests and preferences. Light on text and images, Chinese Tiktok Douyin is all about entertaining, easy-to-consume video content.
What’s the difference between Douyin and TikTok?
Douyin and TikTok look largely the same. They are both entertainment platforms that host video content and they support a lot of the same basic features. However, there are some key differences between the two video apps.
Firstly, even if you have an account on TikTok app, you need to create a separate account on Douyin if you want to reach a Chinese audience. As far as users are concerned, the two apps operate completely independently of one another, with TikTok accounts inaccessible to Douyin users.
Secondly, Douyin offers more advanced features than TikTok.
It offers in-video search, meaning users can search someone’s face to find more videos in which that person features. The platform also makes it easy for users to search for and buy products or clothes featured in a short video. And it allows brands to incorporate their ecommerce offering into their Douyin account.
How do you create a Douyin social media account?
Want to get started with Douyin marketing? First you need to download Douyin and create an account. Then, if you want to link your account to your website or ecommerce sites — you need to get your account verified.
It can be a tricky process so get some help! Click to check out our step by step guide to creating and verifying your Douyin account.
The Latest Douyin China Stats and Trends
Since Chinese company ByteDance launched Douyin in September 2016, the social network has gone from strength to strength.
- As of early 2021, Douyin had on average 600 million daily active users.
- Douyin is one of the most popular social media platforms in China, with 41.1% of all internet users having used it.
- The majority of Douyin users (35%) are aged between 21 and 30. Over half of all users are aged under 30 so a Douyin presence is a great way to reach millennials and Gen Z.
- Unlike the international version, TikTok — there’s a considerable amount of content for older generations too. Forty one to fifty year olds make up nearly 20% of Douyin’s user base.
- Just over half of all Douyin users are female, and users tend to live in bigger rather than smaller Chinese cities.
- As of March 2020, Douyin users spent an average of 88 minutes per day on the video app.
- Douyin now rivals Alibaba for ecommerce transactions – in 2020, Douyin’s GMV topped $77 billion and aimed for a GMV of $150 billion in 2021.
Thanks to its recent investment in ecommerce features, Douyin is now a major ecommerce player in China. With a growing user base and relatively wide demographic appeal, TikTok’s China version is an excellent marketing tool for brands looking to connect with and sell to the Chinese market.
How To Start With Marketing on Doyuin App?
Douyin marketing isn’t the same as TikTok marketing. If you want to engage a Douyin audience you need to tailor your marketing strategy to its Chinese audience and the features of the Chinese video app.
On Douyin, live streaming is not as popular as the short videos, but, it is a feature that you should still pay attention to. Loads of celebrities and KOLs in China are using this to engage with their followers.
Create authentic and engaging content on Douyin
Compared with TikTok, brand accounts on Douyin have an advantage. Verified enterprise accounts on Douyin are ranked higher than basic accounts — which means you have a much better chance of being seen by your target audience.
Nevertheless, you need to create authentic and engaging content—and post regularly—if you’re to win over the Chinese market. This means creating short videos with your Chinese audience in mind, rather than simply translating promotions designed for the western market.
Get to know the platform and its capabilities. And get to know exactly what makes your Chinese audience tick. Then create snackable, shareable content with a focus on entertainment. For instance, hashtag challenges work very well.
Some recommendations for you:
- Start a challenge, asking users to post short videos on a particular theme using your branded hashtag.
- Join in with existing trends and challenges by creating videos and using relevant hashtags.
- Create your own live stream to showcase your products and new releases, and to share product information.
Work with KOLs on Douyin
KOLs (or key opinion leaders) are Chinese influencers and they have a huge impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions. International brands who aren’t widely known within the Chinese market have a lot to gain by working with them. KOLs can help to build trust and awareness around both brand and products.
A few KOL tips?
- As you would for any kind of influencer marketing, choose KOLs in your niche, with an audience that matches your own target market.
- Accept that KOLs have their own creative direction. You can offer suggestions as to what you want the content to look like, but ultimately it’s better to choose a KOL whose style fits with your brand and trust their ability to connect with their audience and showcase your brand. Hashtag challenges with KOLs are popular in China.
- Expect to pay more to work with KOLs with a large number of followers. As in the west, there are both micro and macro influencers. Micro influencers in China are known as KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) and whilst their following is smaller, their content and recommendations come off as more authentic than some of the bigger players.
Link to ecommerce platforms
With Douyin, brands can link directly to products listed on sites like Tmall, Taobao and JD. You can do this through your own video content and video content created by KOLs.
In a bid to compete with big ecommerce players, however, Douyin no longer supports live stream links to third party stores. To link within livestream, you have the option to build a native Douyin store.
With its Douyin Pay service, the platform is enhancing user experience and making it as easy as possible for Chinese users to buy products while they browse video content on the site.
Brands who embrace these opportunities by linking to both third party and native Douyin stores and incorporating their products into video content — break down the barriers between product discovery and purchase. This can translate into a greater number of impulse purchases and greater sales.
Use paid-for Douyin advertising
The Douyin platform offers a range of paid advertising opportunities to brands. And some great targeting options too. You can target your ads based upon the location, age, gender and interests of users.
There are three main times of ad available on Douyin. Some of them appear as soon as you get on the app while others appear between video auto plays.
Open screen ads
Open screen ads appear every time a user opens the Douyin app on their smartphone. You can choose between static image and dynamic video ad options. These are full screen ads displayed on every use.
As their name suggests, feed ads are native ads that appear in a user’s Douyin feed. Brands can place shareable video content that lasts up to sixty seconds alongside content from accounts that users already follow. These ads appear in a full screen format, between feed video auto plays and link back to a brand’s Douyin account.
Douyin users can choose from a wide selection of stickers, which they then add to their video content in order to customize it. Brands can create their own stickers and incentivize people to use them as a way to promote the brand. In order to get their stickers noticed and used, brands can pay to feature their stickers in the first row of the Douyin sticker column.
Douyin ads are charged on a CPM basis. Prices vary depending on the industry you’re operating in and the audience you want to reach. Most ads start at around $10.00 for every 1000 impressions.
A Douyin marketing case study
Want to see Douyin marketing in action? Here’s how an international brand used Douyin ad features as part of their Chinese marketing campaign.
A European sports nutrition supplement brand selling innovative protein products.
To increase brand awareness amongst their target market and to increase both traffic and sales at the brand’s Tmall store.
This European brand didn’t have a lot of experience with the Chinese market. They had struggled to find the Chinese channels that would enable them to reach their audience.
Whilst they had run previous advertising campaigns in China, they hadn’t had the tools to track them properly. This meant they didn’t know where things had been going wrong.
The brand partnered with AdChina.io to get expert Chinese marketing advice and support.
We picked Douyin as the best social platform to reach their target audience of young fitness fans. There we ran in feed ads to attract the attention of users as they scrolled. These ads linked directly to the brand’s Tmall store.
In conjunction with Douyin advertising, we ran Tmall platform ads and developed content on other social networks, including WeChat and Xiaohongshu.
So what did the brand achieve as a result of its Chinese marketing campaign?
- They experienced a 10% higher conversion rate than the health supplement industry average.
- Their Douyin and Tmall ads achieved a 51% lower cost per conversion than the industry benchmark.
- They increased their campaign ROI by 84% in the first three months.
This Chinese marketing campaign — with Douyin advertising a key part of the mix—was a successful and cost effective way for the brand to reach their audience segment and increase sales.
Take a look at the growth in Douyin users in China, the advertising and marketing opportunities are undoubtedly unlimited! If you are looking to target specific audience groups in China, for example reaching the millennials, Gen Z and the silver-haired — using Douyin for marketing in China will help brands to reach a big number of these customer groups.
AdChina’s Douyin advertising service—meet your advertising goals in China
The Chinese market is huge — and there are lots of incredible advertising opportunities on Douyin (and a range of other popular platforms).
So what’s the catch?
Unfortunately, when you’re an international brand, advertising in China isn’t easy. There’s a huge language and culture barrier to overcome, as well as advertising rules and regulations to learn. Advertising on Douyin is no exception.
Douyin has no English interface, which makes setting up an international enterprise account incredibly tricky. Even if you download Douyin, you could end up getting confused with its onboarding and account setup.
That’s before you even navigate the platform’s ad features. And before you start trying to create content that will resonate with a Chinese audience.
Without an understanding of the language, Chinese culture and Douyin trends, you simply can’t guarantee a good ROI.
That’s why many international brands turn to local Chinese advertising specialists—like AdChina.io—to create and launch their Chinese campaigns.
What does AdChina’s Douyin advertising service include?
Make use of AdChina’s Douyin advertising service and you get:
- Douyin account setup
- An easy-to-use English interface for all your Douyin advertising activity—we’ve made it as easy to run Douyin ads as it is to run Facebook ads
- The ability to set up and manage Douyin campaigns by yourself—or with our expert help
- Real-time campaign reports in English, with lots of actionable insights
- A dedicated customer support rep for all your Douyin marketing questions
We created AdChina.io to help brands like yours unlock the most important and rewarding digital advertising channels in the world—with all the right insights and without any of the hassle.
Create your free account today to discover how we can supercharge your Douyin advertising strategy and deliver powerful results for your brand.