Introduction to Douyin Marketing

Douyin logo

There is probably no need to introduce the famous app Douyin, but for those of you that are outside the loop, Douyin is China’s version of Tiktok and was launched in 2016 by ByteDance. The number of monthly active users exceeds 500 million and it continues to grow. Douyin is no longer just a platform allowing Internet users to share moments of life in video format with each other, or for bloggers to make their product placements. Indeed, companies and agencies have now joined the big family of Douyin, and have already started to take advantage of this huge audience and the influx of traffic that the platform offers. Among these companies, it is possible to find in particular: Alibaba, Xiaomi, JingDong, or even NetEase Music. In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps to become a certified user as well as Douyin Marketing best practices.

Douyin: China’s most popular short-video platform

What is Douyin?

The Douyin app offers to capture and disseminate creative entertainment content and global knowledge, as well as the precious little moments of life. Douyin empowers everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passions and creativity through their videos. In this, it competes with the giants of social networks such as WeChat or Weibo.

Douyin stands out from the competition, thanks to its positioning as an entertainment platform rather than dedicated to lifestyle. Its ease of use makes it very attractive since anyone can easily become a content creator. That’s why it attracts so many fans all over the world. On Douyin, anonymous people became stars overnight, allowing them to monetize their services as part of influencer marketing strategies. This platform now offers a wealth of opportunities for brands and entrepreneurs in e-commerce, dropshipping, and even print-on-demand.

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The content of Douyin is categorized into several themes which each correspond to the preferences and expectations of the audience. The music category is central, it is at the heart of the application. Most influencers take a selfie and add music to the background, this is called “Playback” which is the flagship format of the app. The comedy category features videos with themes related to Chinese women’s preferences: love, celibacy, separation, and obesity. In the dance category, you can find parodies of famous dance choreographies of the moment. There is also unsurprisingly a pet category because the Chinese love cats and dogs. There are also other categories like makeup, education, and celebrities.

Why should you use Douyin Marketing?

Douyin allows companies to bring them different values.

  • First of all, it is the platform that will offer the most visibility in the shortest time frame thanks to its algorithm which can highlight absolutely all types of content without necessarily needing to have a large community.
  • Logging into the Taobao store is the most common way to sell KOL products from Douyin.
  • Anyone with 10 video posts can drive traffic to a Taobao store.
  • You can enable the Douyin merchandise sharing feature to sell Taobao products. This is the most used feature in Douyin stores. However, make sure you have at least 10 videos posted to your Douyin account before using this feature.
  • Douyin also has a native e-commerce system. You will be able to purchase directly in the Douyin app.
  • The store could be linked to other applications in the Bytedance ecosystem, such as Toutiao, Huoshan Video, and Xigua Video.
  • The most popular e-commerce categories on Douyin are women’s clothing, men’s clothing, cosmetics, and food products.

Who are Douyin users?

The main users of Douyin are young and belong to Generation Z. They come from an educated background, are predominantly female, and with high incomes. About 85% of users are under the age of 24, and these users live in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Tian jin.

The majority of the Douyin users are from tier 1 and tier 2 cities, which are the developed metropolitan regions in China. It is a great platform for businesses having young and affluent people as their target audience.

How to create your Douyin Certified and Business account?

1. Who can get a certified account? 

For individual accounts:

  • A minimum of one video published
  • At least 10,000 followers
  • A phone number linked to your account

What type of individuals should be getting a certified account?

The content creators: Artists, KOLs, Sportsmen. Douyin is an amazing tool for personal branding.

Steps to apply for a certified account on Douyin

For business accounts:

  • A Mainland Chinese business license
  • An ICP license if you want to link to your website
  • Submit an application letter
  • Pay a 600 CNY yearly fee


2. What are the benefits of having a business account on Douyin?

  • Create longer video
  • Have an access to paid ads
  • Have an access to customized stickers
  • Exposure: Thanks to the platform’s algorithms, verified accounts have the potential to reach maximum account
  • Authority and legitimacy: Once verified, your account becomes officially trusted by Douyin as a trusted thought leader, strengthening your brand’s authority on the platform

3. How to create a certified Douyin account?

Step 1: Go to Douyin’s official account platform

Step 2: Start the verification process

Step 3: Complete the verification form

You’ll then be taken to a form that asks for the following information:

  • Type of account you want (company or individual)
  • Category
  • Region of registration and operation
  • Details of any offline stores
  • Business license (scanned copy)
  • Operator details (name, phone number, email address)
  • Click “Submit” when it is complete

Step 4: Wait for approval

How to use Douyin for Marketing?

  • To establish the best marketing strategy on Douyin, we must not forget that the content on this social media is dominated by music videos. It is important to adapt to this type of format to push the curiosity and interest of consumers.
  • Bet on originality. In order to get noticed, find the ideal frequency to broadcast your content. And to engage your community, engage with users.
  • Like the hashtag system on Weibo, on Douyin influencers can use a “challenge” to be more visible to targeted users. They are used by users because they increase the popularity of your account.
  • Create a partnership with one or more influencers. This strategy is less expensive than the other, but it also gives you less visibility because Dou Yin is not technically involved. The idea here is to attract the influencer’s followers. This method requires a very good knowledge of the Chinese market and an excellent Chinese to interact with the influencer in order to define a strategy regarding your brand’s content.

How to create engaging content on Douyin?

Techniques for engaging users with our content may vary depending on location. In China, for big cities, the tips are different compared to the international level.

For a video to work you have to prioritize creativity and content, unlike Instagram which has stable and regular statistics, Douyin highlights videos based on content that will generally speak to three different targets. To be able to define these targets, you have to create as much content as possible, be regular, and post once a day if possible. Following these posts, you will have to look at the different profiles that emerge from the comments and identify their characteristics. After identifying the audience, it is possible to adapt the content and vary it so that it speaks to the users as much as possible.

Watch-time is also important, this is what will allow the video to have a good ranking and that the algorithm puts it forward. There are several tips for this, such as: putting a very short text at the end of a video (for example a promo code, a joke, the fall of a story) so that the user watches the video several times.

Making lives once the content is created is very interesting: you need a minimum of 1000 subscribers. You need an attractive title and a live stream that offers content: a live just to answer questions does not keep users on it and can create blanks. Creating content that exudes as much emotion as possible to speak to the widest possible audience helps to engage users as much as possible.

Working with KOLs on Douyin: the most important tool to increase visibility

Using influencer marketing on Douyin is an effective way to build awareness of your brand. This social media marketing strategy allows you to quickly increase your visibility on the social network and expand your community in record time. Plus, you can more easily track your audience engagement rate. Before entering into a partnership, first, make sure that the influencer community matches your target audience. For best results, choose a professional specializing in a particular topic.

Learn more about Kols Marketing in China

Several possibilities are available to you when you want to use a KOL to advertise on Douyin.

  • The first possibility is to use one or more large KOLs, bearing in mind that large accounts (eg accounts with more than 10 million subscribers) are very rare and therefore become very expensive. Your advertising should be very organized and the content will be more automatic but will necessarily be seen by a large number of users.
  • Conversely, if you use KOLs mics, advertising will be cheaper and influencing it will take more time on your content. He will not offer a more researched and original video later, which may therefore go viral.

Li Jiaqi is a very famous blogger on Douyin. He made himself known to the general public thanks to a video where he tested and recommended lipsticks that were directly out of stock after the publication of his video which made the “buzz”. From now on, Li Jiasi has become a reference especially with the female public and the young generation.

Douyin Paid Advertising

It is estimated that about 57% of the Douyin users are based in China and that, it accounts for eight out of every 10 minutes spent on Douyin. The application makes for a good place to attract fans and win new customers. There are many ways to integrate your advertising on the platform.

  • Open Screen Ads: Open Screen ads are displayed each time the application is opened. There are two types of Open Screen ads: static, in poster form, and dynamic, in video form. Static ads display for three seconds and dynamic ads display for four to five seconds. An advantage of this type of ad is the absence of interference and a strong visual impact.
  • Feed Ads: Brands can promote short videos from 5 to 60, which are displayed in the native ad style in the Douyin feed. It is perfectly integrated into the Douyin flow, helping advertisers achieve the goal of marketing promotion. The feed announcements are again free of interference. Stream ads allow users to share advertising content with friends or on other social platforms. It helps spread brand awareness across multiple platforms.
  • Sticker Ads: Brands can make customized stickers to promote a product or their company. Users can add these stickers to their video clips and create funny and engaging content. Videos with sticker ads inspire other users to try out themselves, which expands the reach.

Read more on Paid Advertising on Douyin & Paid Advertising in China

Examples of Campaign on Douyin by international brands:

  • Cartier: The French luxury jeweler decided to use the Douyin platform to promote the “Pasha de Cartier” series of watches. To promote this, the brand launched a “Square round battle wait for you to dance” dance challenge for users. A total of 96,000 videos were posted and the number of total views on the hashtag reached 440 million.
  • Lancôme: On its professional account Douyin, the French brand Lancôme not only has video content, but also has direct access to buy its products from the main page, close contact with consumers, or even the origin of the products presented. Thanks to this, the page catches the public eye which leads to an increase in the purchase volume.
  • Michael Kors: The brand created a challenge with the goal of increasing the scale of their event “The Walk Shanghai event”. To do this, the brand asks people to invent their own Michael Kors fashion show with a personalized video filter. Michael Kors also appealed to KOLs, asking them to stage their own fashion show wearing the brand’s clothing.

eCommerce: Douyin’s Flagship Stores

In March 2021, Douyin launched its flagship stores, available for brand accounts on its platform, marking a major step into e-commerce. Brands are now able to create their own flagship store directly on Douyin, which will allow them to increase their conversion rate. This feature also includes the possibility to create campaign banners, send vouchers and recommendations, but also offline store information.

Consumers are then able to claim these vouchers, which can be used both online and offline. Since the launch of this new service, more than 220 brands like Huawei, Winona, Peacebird, and Perfect Diary, have already introduced their flagship stores, including international brands. The purpose of Douyin is to reach one trillion yuan at the end of the year, in order to be amongst the top e-commerce players in the Chinese market.

It is possible to find four major types of flagship stores on Douyin:

  • Brand’s Flagship Store: A store operated directly by a brand to sell its product.
  • Retailer’s Flagship Store: A store operated by distributors or retailers with an authorized trademark.
  • Specialty Store: A store operated by a reseller of a brand that has been given distribution authorization.
  • Franchise Store: A store operated by a reseller of brands with distribution authorization. Franchise stores must represent at least two brands in operation.

Read more about eCommerce on Douyin

To conclude this Douyin Introduction

Douyin is a marketing tool that companies must take into account considerably in 2021. Used by young people, it is today the rallying point between entertainment, influence, and e-Commerce. It is preferable to create a certified account to promote yourself in the best conditions and to use hashtags, create challenges and make partnerships with KOLs and KOCs.

In addition, many advertisements are available to companies that can unleash their creativity through open-screen ads, feed ads, or even stickers. The most important thing is to stand out and to know your target well and to be as original as possible.


Feel free to contact us to learn more about our Douyin, Social Media, and Digital Marketing solutions in China. We will be happy to have you in our offices for a talk and a coffee or through a phone call if that works better for you.


  • Mike Edwards

    I have a Douyin account with nearly 9000 followers.

    I have a Wechat mini program that has been designed by Weimob to provide Early Years English Guides and resources for parents to teach their children English at home.

    I would like to know the best way that I could use Douyin (once I have 10,000 followers) to market the Wechat mini program.

  • Anil Baral

    Thank You for the article.

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