2023 Double 11 highlights evolving e-commerce trends, platform strategies, and...Read More
Table of Contents
Welcome to our guide to Douyin, the major Chinese short video app. Douyin, known worldwide as TikTok, serves as a podium for users to create and share short videos, complete with music, filters and unique effects. Douyin engages millions of people every day and offers users an original way to showcase their talents and connect with their audience. Beyond just social interaction, Douyin is a commercial giant. With one billion monthly users and far-reaching e-commerce potential, Douyin has become an indispensable platform for brands looking to increase their reach.
What is Douyin?
Hailing from the stables of ByteDance, Douyin made its debut in 2016. Douyin is the Chinese counterpart of the global sensation, TikTok. Initiated as a short video social media platform, Douyin has carved its niche, second only to WeChat, China’s omnipresent super-app. As of 2023, a staggering 72.3% of participants in a survey admitted to being active on Douyin, a figure that surpasses many of its competitors like QQ, Baidu Tieba and others.
Why Douyin? Benefits for Brands and Businesses
Douyin isn’t merely a video-sharing platform. It’s a dynamic ecosystem that provides brands with an opportunity to tap into an expansive audience. Its compelling content, potential for viral trends, personalized recommendation algorithms and robust e-commerce functionalities have lured over 300,000 brands to its e-commerce platform within the first half of 2022 alone. Sales have witnessed a meteoric rise with a YoY increase of 20%. The commercial potential is evident, with brands registering an impressive 150% growth in sales and a 142% surge in volume. Moreover, integrating e-commerce with social media offers an unprecedented opportunity. With China’s social e-commerce market projected to touch 430 billion USD by the end of 2023, Douyin’s e-commerce integration signifies its imperative role for brands and businesses.
Douyin vs. TikTok: Key Differences and Implications
While Douyin and TikTok might seem indistinguishable on the surface, dig a little deeper, and the disparities become evident. Each app operates within its unique regulatory environment, shaping different ecosystems. Douyin’s algorithm is tailored for the Chinese audience, offering precision and personalization. Unlike TikTok, which gives emerging creators a platform, Douyin tilts towards well-established accounts, transforming it into more of a media platform. Content trends differ too. While TikTok content leans towards personal and entertaining, Douyin offers content that often leans towards the educational sphere. These differences guide brands and marketers on how to strategize their content for each platform.
Douyin Demographics and User Profile
Douyin’s magnetic appeal predominantly resonates with millennials and Gen Z. As of 2023, a third of Douyin’s 730 million monthly users were below 26, making it the preferred channel to reach the next-gen consumers. Initially, the majority of Douyin’s users were young, urban and female. However, its skyrocketing popularity means that today, its demographic is broader, though it still skews younger and more urban. A sizable chunk, about 46%, hails from China’s lower-tier cities. This geographical spread is complemented by varied interests. Users are highly engaged, spending over an hour daily on the platform, with diverse content ranging from beauty and humor to educational insights. This makes Douyin a fertile ground for brands to strategize their outreach and engagement.
By comprehending Douyin’s vast ecosystem, its audience demographics, and its unique positioning vis-à-vis TikTok, brands and businesses can tailor their strategies to harness its immense potential fully.
Setting Up on Douyin
Douyin Official Account
What is a Douyin official account?
A Douyin official account is the gateway for businesses and individuals to establish their presence on the platform. Douyin provides three primary official certifications:
- Individual Certification: This is tailored for celebrities, experts, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), artists, and sports personalities. The objective is to enhance personal branding and engage with a larger audience.
- Organization Certification: Designed for companies, media, national institutions, and non-profit organizations to build their official presence and promote their agenda.
- E-commerce Certification: E-commerce organizations and top KOLs leverage this certification to enhance their sales and market presence.
Why brands should open a Douyin official account?
Brands aiming to penetrate the Chinese market and tap into Douyin’s vast user base should consider opening an official account. Here are the reasons:
- Branding: Establish a distinct brand image and heighten brand awareness among millions.
- Engagement: Attract and amass a dedicated follower base.
- Marketing: Use the platform for product promotions and innovative marketing campaigns.
- Sales Boost: Harness the power of live-streaming and time-bound campaigns to elevate sales.
- Analytics: Verified accounts gain access to advanced analytics features, providing deeper insights.
- Community Management: Engage and manage the community of followers effectively.
- E-commerce Capabilities: Open an integrated Douyin store and drive sales directly from the platform.
Additionally, verified accounts can create longer videos, avail paid advertising opportunities, use customized stickers for branding, and are poised to have a broader reach due to Douyin’s algorithms. Once verified, the brand gains an authoritative status, positioning it as a thought leader in its domain.
Steps to open a Douyin official account via PC and App:
- Navigate to Douyin’s brand account website: douyin.com.
- Click on “start immediate certification” to initiate the PC certification process.
- Using the Douyin app, scan the presented QR code to log into your account.
- Ensure you meet the required criteria; if not, follow the blue captions for guidance.
- Once criteria are met, fill out the application form, pay the service fees, and await validation.
- Upon approval, access the management back page to harness the full potential of your brand account.
Via Douyin App:
- Launch the Douyin app and tap on “Me” at the bottom bar.
- Expand the side column and select “Douyin Creator Service Center”.
- Tap on “All” followed by “Open official account”. Instantly, an on-trial brand account is activated.
- Begin the 60-day free trial with limited functionalities.
- Complete the application form by providing details such as the type of account, industry category, regions of registration and operation, offline store details, business license, and operator information.
- Post submission, await account verification and approval.
To ensure your account is successfully verified, ensure you meet the prerequisites such as a Mainland Chinese business license, the stipulated number of followers, and relevant criteria specified by Douyin.
Leveraging Your Douyin Store
Douyin offers versatile opportunities for brands to sell their products on the platform. Brands can leverage their Douyin store in several ways:
- Open Shop Windows with External Links: KOLs can generate commission fees by using their influence to direct fans to products. These shop windows can link to third-party platforms like Taobao and Tmall.
- Integrated Douyin Store: E-commerce brands can opt for an in-built Douyin store. This option eliminates the need for customers to transfer to a different platform. Douyin provides comprehensive support to merchants, ensuring they have all the necessary tools to succeed on the platform.
Costs and Fees of Operating a Douyin Store
Operating a Douyin store involves a few costs:
Technical Service Fee: This fee encompasses both a “basic technical service fee” and “stepped technical service rates”. The basic fee ranges from 0.6%-5% commission sales depending on the industry. The stepped fee is contingent upon the unit price of the commodity settlement.
Margin: The margin ensures that merchants adhere to platform rules and guarantees product and service quality. It consists of a “basic margin” and a “floating margin”. The basic margin is set by the store’s qualification type and operational category, ranging from 2,000 RMB to 300,000 RMB. The floating margin is based on the store’s online sales in the previous 30 days, and can vary between 0 RMB to 20,000 RMB.
Technical Service Fee
Douyin’s technical service fee is bifurcated into:
- Basic Technical Service Fee: A commission ranging between 0.6%-5%, dependent on the industry. For instance, skincare & makeup and female clothing might be charged at 4% and 5% respectively.
- Stepped Technical Service Rates: These rates vary according to the commodity’s unit price.
Merchants deposit a margin with the platform to ensure they adhere to all rules and agreements:
- Basic Margin: Determined by the store’s type and operational category. The amount can range from 2,000 RMB to 300,000 RMB based on industry specifics.
- Floating Margin: This is calculated based on the store’s online payment sales over the past 30 days, with a range from 0 RMB to 20,000 RMB.
Features and Functions
Douyin stores are equipped with a suite of tools designed to optimize business operations:
- Campaigns & Promotion: Engage your audience with targeted promotional campaigns.
- Customer Service: Address customer inquiries and concerns in real-time.
- Data Analysis: Harness the power of data to make informed decisions about your store’s strategy.
- Product Management: Organize, track, and manage your product listings with ease.
By understanding and leveraging these features, merchants can ensure a seamless shopping experience for their customers and maximize their store’s potential on the Douyin platform.
Douyin Marketing Strategies
Douyin, unlike its global counterpart TikTok, presents an expansive set of e-commerce functions. Navigating this platform requires a blend of engaging content and effective e-commerce strategies to reach the target audience effectively.
Creating Engaging Content on Douyin
- Douyin vs. TikTok: Douyin’s e-commerce prowess is more evolved than TikTok’s. While TikTok has partnerships with Amazon and Shopify, its reach is limited by region. In contrast, Douyin seamlessly integrates with e-commerce giants like Taobao and Jingdong and also offers its in-app e-commerce platform.
- Livestream Sales Integration: Douyin Live has a sophisticated livestream sales feature, allowing for one-click buying options during live streams, optimizing the user experience and streamlining the purchasing process.
Mini Programs in 2023
Mini programs are not unique to Douyin; other Chinese super apps like WeChat, Alipay, and Baidu have also adopted them. These programs function as lightweight, integrated apps within the main app, granting users access to third-party services without necessitating any additional downloads. Douyin’s mini programs are equipped with e-commerce capabilities and now encompass traditional services such as ride-hailing and food delivery, as well as avant-garde features like augmented reality makeup try-ons.
Tips for Engaging Content
For content to captivate the Douyin audience, it must stand out:
- Content Over Consistency: Unlike platforms like Instagram that reward consistency, Douyin prioritizes creativity and content quality. To ascertain your target audience, churn out diverse content regularly, ideally daily.
- Engage the Audience: Monitor audience reactions to your posts. Adapt and tailor your content based on user engagement and feedback.
- Boost Watch-Time: Longer watch-times improve video rankings. Embed captivating short texts, promo codes, or punchlines at the end to encourage multiple viewings.
- Leverage Live Streams: Engaging live streams can amplify user interaction. Ensure your live content is appealing and emotionally resonant, not merely Q&A sessions.
Douyin’s Flagship Stores
In 2021, Douyin introduced its flagship store feature for brands, elevating its e-commerce game. Brands can now curate their exclusive stores on Douyin, enhancing their conversion rates. This feature also empowers brands with campaign banners, voucher distributions, and offline store information. Since its inception, over 220 renowned brands, both local and international, have established their flagship stores on Douyin.
Types of flagship stores include:
- Brand’s Flagship Store: Directly operated by the brand itself.
- Retailer’s Flagship Store: Managed by authorized trademark distributors or retailers.
- Specialty Store: Operated by a brand reseller with distribution authorization.
- Franchise Store: Run by a reseller representing at least two brands.
Quality content is the backbone of any successful Douyin marketing strategy:
- Professionalism and Creativity: Douyin’s algorithm prioritizes popular content, making it crucial to produce professional, visually appealing, and original content.
- Engage Actively: Challenges are a great way to foster engagement. Encourage users to tag your account or use specific hashtags in theme-centric posts.
By mastering these strategies, brands can effectively navigate Douyin, tapping into its vast e-commerce potential and engaging its massive user base.
Collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
KOL/KOC Marketing on Douyin
In the vast expanse of Douyin’s digital landscape, one strategy that stands out prominently is KOL (Key Opinion Leader) and KOC (Key Opinion Consumer) marketing. While direct platform marketing requires hefty payments, collaborating with KOLs provides a more organic pathway to engage the audience.
- KOLs as Brand Amplifiers: Partnering with a KOL means leveraging their expansive follower base for brand promotions. Thanks to Douyin’s algorithm favoring major accounts, KOLs can effectively drive traffic towards brand pages, showcase products via ecommerce links, and even anchor livestream sales.
- KOC Marketing or Product Seeding: This strategy involves gifting products to KOCs for reviews. With Douyin’s robust ecommerce features, these influencers can easily incorporate product links, seamlessly redirecting viewers to product purchase pages.
- Hashtag Challenges with KOLs: Brands can further their reach by initiating hashtag challenges and getting KOLs and KOCs on board for participation and promotion.
Douyin Live and Livestream Sales
Livestreaming has transformed the digital shopping experience, with Douyin leading the charge in China. With its tight ecommerce mesh, Douyin Live offers an interactive space where audiences can simultaneously view and purchase products.
- Collaboration with KOLs & KOCs: For brands that are still budding on Douyin, it’s practical to have KOLs and KOCs introduce and sell products during their livestreams. These influencers, with their vast reach and on-camera expertise, handle sales while getting a commission from the total revenue.
- Brands Going Live: Established brands with a considerable Douyin presence can venture into hosting their own livestream sales. Iconic brands like Coach, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton have effectively utilized this strategy.
The Power of Influencer Marketing
The immense potential of KOLs on Douyin can’t be stressed enough. They serve as the bridge connecting brands to a wider audience.
- Strategic KOL Selection: It’s imperative to choose KOLs whose follower demographics align with the brand’s target audience. While mega influencers (10 million+ followers) guarantee vast exposure, they come at a steeper price. On the flip side, nano influencers or KOCs might require a lower budget and offer content with a personal touch, giving it potential virality.
- The Viral Potential of KOLs: A case in point is Li Jiaqi, a Douyin sensation who rose to fame after a lipstick recommendation video. Post his endorsement, the lipsticks flew off the shelves, underscoring the powerful influence of KOLs.
- Tailored Collaborations: Douyin facilitates brands in locating suitable KOLs through its unique digital marketing matching service. Whether it’s a live product demonstration or a series of video promotions, brands can craft collaborations based on their requirements.
In conclusion, collaborating with KOLs and KOCs on Douyin is a pivotal strategy for brands aiming to make a significant impact on the platform. Their powerful reach, coupled with Douyin’s dynamic features, paves the way for effective brand promotions and sales.
Douyin Paid Advertising
Douyin provides brands with opportunities to amplify their reach and engagement through paid advertising. With approximately 57% of its users based in China, the app is a lucrative platform for brands aiming to tap into the Chinese market. Let’s delve into the specifics of Douyin’s advertising options.
Overview of Douyin Ads
Douyin’s Paid Traffic (Dou+):
Douyin recognizes the challenge new brands face in building a follower base and gaining traction on the platform. Thus, they offer the Dou+ service to enhance the visibility of your content. Unlike dubious bot followers, Dou+ promotes genuine engagement, allowing brands to pay for likes, comments, or followers. However, brands are advised to prioritize content quality before resorting to paid traffic.
Sponsored Posts on Douyin:
Ocean Engine (巨量引擎) is the platform through which brands can purchase sponsored posts on Douyin. This platform, exclusively for businesses, offers variable pricing with a minimum spend of 5000 CNY. Brands can opt to pay for exposures, clicks, or shares, with the latter being recommended due to its higher return on investment.
Cost of Douyin Advertising
The cost of advertising on Douyin varies based on multiple factors, including the type of ad format, duration, and targeted demographics. There isn’t a fixed cost for Douyin ads; however, for sponsored posts, the starting rate is 5000 CNY. Brands can choose to pay for exposures, clicks, or more preferably, shares due to its impressive ROI.
Step-by-step Guide to Douyin Paid Advertising
Determine Your Objective:
- Clearly define your marketing goals. This could be enhancing brand visibility, driving website traffic, lead generation, or sales conversions.
- Conduct audience research to comprehend the demographics and preferences of your target users on Douyin.
- Develop engaging content tailored to Douyin’s audience. Use trending hashtags, participate in popular challenges, and employ different video formats to pique interest.
Brands can opt for various ad formats:
- Open Screen Ads: Displayed each time the app is launched, they are available in static (poster form, 3 seconds) and dynamic (video form, 4-5 seconds).
- Douyin Feed Ads: Integrated within the Douyin feed, these short videos range from 5 to 60 seconds.
- Sticker Ads: Brands can create custom stickers that users can incorporate in their videos.
Utilize the creative tools offered by platforms like Dou+ to craft unique and captivating ads.
Select the Right Platform:
- Douyin has two major platforms for paid advertising: OceanEngine and Dou+. While OceanEngine is more suited for e-commerce marketing, Dou+ is ideal for promoting content engagement. Choose the platform aligning with your campaign goals.
- OceanEngine offers diverse ad formats, from in-feed ads to brand takeovers and hashtag challenges. Meanwhile, Dou+ boasts advanced features like audience insights, custom audience creation, programmatic advertising, brand safety measures, and a plethora of creative tools.
Collaborate with Influencers:
- Partner with popular content creators and influencers on Douyin for sponsored content or brand challenges. Their endorsement can magnify your brand’s reach and credibility.
Campaign Execution and Optimization:
- Launch your ad campaign after selecting your desired targeting options, such as location, age, gender, interests, etc.
- Continuously monitor your campaign’s performance. Utilize Douyin’s analytical tools or third-party analytics software to evaluate metrics like views, engagement rates, and follower growth. Adjust and refine your strategy for optimized results.
- After your campaign concludes, review its performance to determine the effectiveness of your strategy. Assess metrics like engagement, reach, and ROI. Use these insights for future campaigns.
Brands looking to exploit the potential of Douyin must leverage both organic content strategies and paid advertising for maximum reach and engagement. Given the platform’s vast user base and advanced marketing tools, Douyin is poised to offer brands a substantial return on their marketing investments.
Diving into the exciting world of Douyin – known as TikTok outside China – we’ve explored China’s top short video app in depth. But Douyin isn’t just about sharing videos; it’s a buzzing place full of chances for businesses and brands.
This guide has shown Douyin’s huge growth and its role as a big player in the market with over one billion monthly users and a strong e-commerce side. We pointed out the main differences between Douyin and TikTok, showing why it’s important to change your content and approach for each platform. With its focus on younger users like millennials and Gen Z, Douyin is a great way to connect with the new wave of consumers from many different backgrounds. For brands wanting to get noticed on Douyin, setting up official accounts and shops is a must. We also talked about how to make great content, the benefits of working with popular figures (KOLs), and how to use paid ads on Douyin.
To sum it up, Douyin is a place full of opportunities for brands to reach their audience, boost sales, and make a name for themselves in China. To really succeed on Douyin, it’s key to keep up with its changes and newest features.
Managing Director Europe