China is the Holy Grail when it comes to brand marketing - and the best way to penetrate this market is through Douyin (Chinese Tiktok).
Nowadays, the most effective way for brands to get their name out is through social media - and right now, Tiktok reigns supreme. With over 1 billion active monthly users across the globe, Tiktok has become one of the largest social media platforms in existence.
According to statistics from Wallroom Media, the United States has 80 million monthly active Tiktok users. However, this is only a fraction of what China brings to the table in terms of audience size.
Yet, China doesn’t have Tiktok. Instead, it has Douyin, China’s version of Tiktok. With over 600 million active monthly users, Douyin could be one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. And, to sweeten the pot, data analysts forecast that by 2025, the app would surpass 800 million monthly users.
So, if you want to advertise your business, product, or brand to over 600 million potential consumers, then Douyin is where you want to be!
But, how exactly can brands outside of China take advantage of the platform's massive market and popularity?
In this article, we’re going to answer that question and more! Additionally, we’re going to go in-depth on what it takes to succeed in the Chinese market through Douyin and the viral trends you can jump into this 2022.
But before that let’s learn a bit more about the platform to fully grasp how we can effectively use it.
What Is Douyin (Chinese Tiktok)?
First of all, Douyin is not a Tiktok clone for China. On the contrary, we can call it Tiktok's Chinese sibling or counterpart. While Tiktok is accessible worldwide, Douyin was created specifically for China. As such, Tiktok isn’t available within China and Douyin can’t be accessed outside of the country.
Both platforms are owned by ByteDance - one of the most profitable startups in the world. However, with the viral success of Tiktok on a global scale, why did ByteDance even create Douyin in the first place?
Why Does China Have A Chinese-Specific Counterpart To Tiktok?
Back in 2016, Bytedance released Douyin to the Chinese market. Meanwhile, Tiktok was released to the U.S. market in 2018 after it acquired Musical.ly - merging features from both apps together.
Still, Douyin isn’t just a simple domestic version of Tiktok. The platform caters to a large variety of competitive niches such as e-commerce, gaming, live streaming, and of course, its bread and butter - short videos.
However, despite the broad range Douyin covers, China is known to be strict when it comes to foreign media platforms and international content. Therefore, even when ByteDance, a Chinese company created both Douyin and Tiktok, the latter can’t be used within China due to restrictions.
Furthermore, Douyin also blocks international content and has limits in place to control children’s usage of the app. On top of this, an article from Time notes how the China state owns a stake in Bytedance which manages its domestic Chinese social media and information platforms.
Now that we know a bit more about Douyin and Bytedance, let’s take a look at Global brands that are already reaping the rewards of Marketing on Douyin.
Global Brands Advertising On Douyin
Historically, Mcdonald's has dominated the fast-food market, especially in the west. However, a close competitor, KFC, surpassed it after excellent marketing campaigns in China through Douyin.
According to an article from Campaign, Mindshare China did a 6-month campaign and built a new business model for the Colonel from the ground up. Thanks to creative and engaging content, KFC’s sales skyrocketed.
Another famous brand that’s on the platform is Oreo which integrated its intellectual property with the short-video sharing platform. Currently, Oreo leverages data to identify their relevant audience and created a broadcast room to convert audience interactions to consumption.
With that in mind, here are benefits brands can enjoy when utilizing the platform.
Global Cosmetic, Beauty, & Fashion Brands Found In Douyin
The great thing about Douyin is its versatility as a platform. Not only is it a social media app, it’s also one of the fastest-growing e-commerce platforms in China.
For this reason, several global brands, especially those in the beauty industry, already have accounts. In fact, Douyin has already surpassed Alibaba’s GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) for beauty and skincare products.
Just in January of this year, Douyin’s market share surged by 364.5% accounting to 6.243 billion Yuan or US$982.6 million.
So, let’s take a look at some of the top brands in beauty and cosmetics brands that are aggressively marketing on the video-sharing platform and how they got their success.
Lancôme is one the best examples of effective marketing in China. The exponential growth the brand had after opening its store in Douyin was unparalleled. In just 10 days after it launched, it became one of the top beauty brands on the platform.
They achieved this by careful planning, strategic collaborations with top beauty influencers, and a consistent live streaming schedule. Furthermore, they added inclusivity to their brand by creating a membership program.
Now, only those with memberships can enter private chat rooms for the brand and influencers to reach their target audience. Thanks to their efforts, content around Lancôme, Lancôme 196, and Lancôme 888 already had over 2 billion views on Douyin in the month of May.
How did Estée Lauder, a cosmetic brand from New York City, do so well in the highly competitive Chinese beauty market? Well, the answer is quite simple - effective social media and digital marketing.
It took a long while but thanks to strong P.R. moves with top influencers on social media platforms like Douyin, the brand is now cemented as one of the most sought-after cosmetics lines in China.
Estée Lauder used a combination of a strong social media presence, a digital marketing strategy that caught the attention of an affluent audience, and optimization of their mobile platforms.
Among the brands, Estée Lauder owns include Origins, Aramis, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, M.A.C., Aveda, Aerin, and Smashbox. And, each one of these has its own social media accounts and separate strategies for marketing campaigns.
During a conference call with media outlets, Coach CEO Joanne Crevoiserat said:
“Our ongoing efforts to sharpen our focus on the Chinese consumer once again led to meaningful growth, with benefits from innovative product assortments, enhanced marketing, and expanded reach across both direct channels and third-party online distribution”.
When Coach entered the Chinese market, they set up innovative brick-and-mortar stores. However, the brand surged in popularity and sales after committing to a strong digital marketing campaign on Douyin. Specifically, Coach targeted Gen Z customers.
According to their CEO, Coach was the first fashion brand to effectively capitalize on this innovative way to reach out to the Chinese market.
5 Benefits of Marketing in Douyin
Thanks to its short-video format, content is pushed to users at an unprecedented pace. And, if these engaging videos are capitalized on, Douyin can catapult a brand’s visibility in a short amount of time.
With the right marketing strategy, you can hop on trends and reach a wider range of users without the need for creating an established community or fanbase for your product, brand, or service.
That said, here are key reasons why brands should invest their efforts in Douyin to penetrate the Chinese Market:
1. Douyin Provides Incredible Opportunities For E-Commerce
During the pandemic, Douyin and Bytedance took advantage of the lockdowns and grew exponentially. They did this by aggressively pushing new e-commerce features on their short-video sharing platform while people were still locked indoors and stuck consuming content.
Due to this, Douyin has a more advanced e-commerce platform than Tiktok. As it stands, the platform is slowly catching up to big competitors such as WeChat, JD, and Tmall.
2. The App’s User base Targets Gen-Z and Millenials
Despite being the younger age group, statistics suggest that Gen Z has massive spending power. That’s why it’s empirical for marketers to advertise to them. Meanwhile, millennials - who are most likely already in the working class, will be more open to spending higher amounts on products.
Overlays, visual effects, and music in the short-form videos have proven to be marketing gold for influencers and brands alike. As evidence of this phenomenon, look no further than the recent TikTok and Douyin.
Douyin is a critical component of any brand's strategy to connect with Gen Z and millennials in China, with over 600 million users.
An estimated 85% of the overall Douyin audience are from highly developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Interestingly, the demographic has an overwhelming number of females compared to males.
More importantly, a large percentage of users are also affluent with high incomes, good academic backgrounds, and careers. For this reason, you can see luxury brands like Gucci, Michael Kors, and Estee Lauder advertising on the Chinese video-sharing platform.
3. Douyin Users Respond Well To New Brands With Good Advertising
Douyin users are always excited to learn about new brands. More importantly, they also respond favorably to advertisements. More than 40% of their audience said they don’t mind product placements when watching content.
In addition, the Douyin platform provides brands with various avenues to advertise and market their products. This includes banner ads, hashtag challenges, stickers, music, and filters.
4. The Platform is Trend Focused
The great thing about Douyin is its algorithm that focuses on pushing viral content to its user base. So, as marketers, all you need to do is hop on one of these already popular trends as opposed to creating your own.
However, jumping into one of these trends may be difficult especially when it comes to the Chinese Market. Brand advertisers need to understand the culture and demographic of a large Chinese user base which in itself will be an extremely tedious task.
Luckily, SODA Global Marketing can help you bridge the gap and connect to the Chinese Market. Talk with us today and learn more about how we can help with Sales, Marketing, and overall Brand Strategy.
5. You Can Capitalize On Livestream Trends in China Through Douyin
Based on studies from Statista, there are approximately 703.4 million live streaming users in China. What’s more, is that this accounts for a whopping 68.2% of China’s internet users.
As marketers, you can capitalize on this through communicating with influencers, hopping on trends, and providing engaging content to your target audience.
How To Succeed In Douyin Marketing Campaigns?
Understand The Culture & Demographics
It’s not surprising that there’s a large culture gap between China and Western countries. That’s why marketing strategies that work in countries like the United States won’t work inside China.
Chinese consumers prefer KOL (Key Opinion Leader) marketing as opinions or reviews from peers are generally considered more genuine and trustworthy. According to a Mediakix survey conducted at the end of 2018, 49 percent of consumers rely on KOL recommendations for purchasing decisions. The figures are even more prevalent for Millennials and Gen Z.
Create Brand Awareness Through Engaging Content
You may entice your leads to get in touch and learn more about your brand by offering engaging information that benefits the visitor. A compelling piece of content may draw consumers in, keep them interested enough to make a decision, and eventually move them further down the marketing funnel.
The best way to do this is product integration on videos that users can identify with. That’s why an effective marketing strategy for this involves the encouragement of user-generated content.
Capitalize on Influencer Marketing
Because it makes use of strategies like social proof and word-of-mouth advertising, which are now essential components of every effective marketing strategy, influencer marketing is effective. Customers are more likely to trust their peers, acquaintances, and role models than the businesses that sell the goods and services they use and purchase.
Influencers work autonomously, producing their own material while incorporating the promotional requirements of a business. The brand's message is in the influencer's hands; they get to decide how they want to present it. This encourages authenticity and may make it easier to speak to a particular target market. The size of an influencer's social media following and the platform they use are frequently used to determine how much money they are worth.
Douyin being China’s leading video-sharing social media platform, developed several avenues for brands to advertise products and services. Here are the common types of brand advertising you can use on Douyin:
Open Screen Ads - Open-screen advertisements come in two flavors: static (poster) and dynamic (video). Full-screen and split-screen video playback is supported by the dynamic type. The screen shows a static image for three seconds then a video for four to five. In the beginning, when there is no traffic, they are accessible to new accounts and businesses. Your adverts can only be displayed on the recommended page once per day for each user, and the video length must be between 5 and 30 seconds. In the feed stream, the Ad is displayed in position 4.
Feed Ads - They can be found on the "recommended" page of Douyin. You'll see an advertisement with the term "advertising" in the lower right corner after swiping a few times from video to video.
Sticker/Filter Ads - Users can apply personalized stickers and filters to their video clips thanks to businesses or brands. Among users of Douyin, amusing and creative stickers are fairly common. The business can also post a theme or challenge and ask users to submit original ideas for sticker designs. For instance, Vivo advertised their new phones with stickers a few years ago. Users were instructed to record videos that included any purple components while using particular music and sticker. Participants who received the most likes could receive a trophy as compensation.
Cooperative Ads - It implies that you will work with a KOL who will be responsible for marketing your items and brand to its audience. He or she can set up a live broadcast or submit a brief video immediately to the app.
Utilize the E-Commerce Features on the Platform
Douyin, how about it? Everyone can share any type of video on the social site Douyin, which specializes in short films. In terms of the nature of transactions, customers would enter keywords to search on Taobao or JD if they want to purchase specific goods, which makes online shopping active.
In contrast, the majority of the user's purchasing behavior in Douyin is unintentional or passive. They will unintentionally be drawn to the information in the brief film or the product seeding from KOLs.
As such, Douyin’s algorithm is far more effective at identifying customer demand and offers users specialized material that is pertinent to their interests and preferences.
Because of this, we have the product sales model for "interest e-commerce" being "Products looking for people instead of the other way around.
When Should You Advertise Or Market In Douyin?
The best marketers know that the perfect time to use Douyin for brand awareness was yesterday! Douyin is an app on its way to becoming the lead innovator in e-commerce and digital marketing in China.
That said, Douyin is primed to grow exponentially in the near and foreseeable future. Unfortunately, tapping the Chinese market through Douyin comes with several difficulties.
But, don’t worry! SODA Global Marketing has got you covered! Book a Free Meeting with us today and learn about how we helped various brands find their footing in the consumer-rich Chinese Market.