How to leverage Douyin for advertising ?

Seeing the impressive influence of Douyin among Chinese people (Douyin is not only attracting the youngest ones but also adults), a lot of brands started to make “Douyin-style ads”. Let’s take a closer look at how they are leveraging a social media app for their promotion.  Douyin reaches 400 Million active users in 2020, according to Bytedance’s new press release.

What is Douyin and why is it so popular?

Before starting, let me introduce you quickly Douyin. This is a social app for music short videos (generally around 15 seconds), launched in September 2016. It became very hot along with the rap competition show “The Rap of China”, which has promoted this application at the same time.  This app has been launched on Android’s major app stores and itunes App store.

Quite similar to Dubsmash, users can base on a BGM (background music), an audio recording, a soundbite from movies, or any internet trends to easily record a video of themselves. It provides also powerful beautifying features (to perfect the face, making it more smooth and fine), color filters, and animations to add amusement. As the video duration is very short, it reduces the performance time and makes it easier to create a video. Short videos are trendy in China because it doesn’t take a lot of time to watch one and it increases the interest of the content by focusing on the main point.

The app is also a kind of online community that focuses on young people. Users are very actives both for comments and for shooting videos. Trends on Douyin seem to never end … Before one stopped, it’s already replaced by another one.  Also, videos and content are spread a lot over the Chinese network. WeChat has two months ago blocked the sharing of Douyin videos on its platform because « it affects the use and the customer’s experience on WeChat Moments and group discussions” (while netizens said this is in order to foster the use of WeChat video).

Douyin undoubtedly became the trendy app in China. More than 85% are users born after 90, with a male/female ratio of about 4:6. More than 70% of users come from first and second-tier Chinese cities. Some marketers and advisers had already felt the trend and taking measures to leverage this app as a marketing tool.

Read as well: Introduction to Douyin Marketing

How to leverage this app for advertising ?

First, you have to know how to play Douyin. The essence of the application is a short video that’s right, but many advertisers who do not really understand DouYin’s charm just broadcast their promotion video normally, thinking that they are following the trend. Obviously, this is not.

For example : the brand Mai Dong (脉动)

Mai Dong is the brand of a sports vitamin drink that targets consumers aged 18-35, mainly living in urban cities.  The brand has its official account on Douyin, with now 2,2k followers and 2 videos broadcasted. The first one is its promotion video.

200 likes and 7 comments, which is not very engaging DouYin’s users.

The second video presents a contest launched by the brand. The rule is to create a video, using the BGM provided by the brand and with the hashtag #StartYourSpectacle (#请开始你最嗨的表演). Mai Dong will reward the challenger with the highest number of likes an Ipad Air and the top 30 challengers a box of MaiDong’s new drink.

74614 people joined the challenge and the top challenger has now 63,5K likes with 352 shares.



So, what should you consider to promote on Douyin ?

  • Innovation: There are a large number of new generation users on DouYin (including the post-90s, the post-95s, the post-00s and even the post-10s generation). This group of people is becoming the main force of consumption now and for coming years. This is also why many major brands are interested about this app. Douyin, in its user’s mind, represents youth, innovation, rebellion and the fact to be unique. The innovation should be on products, but also on the video’s making (the shooting technique).
  • Challenge : Many brands bring a challenge on Douyin to engage users and make their brand’s promotion widespread. In my opinion, the challenge has to be easy to realize in order to attract more users to imitate. It has to be short but surprising, in that way people will spend time to watch each challenger’s performance.
  • Trend : If you don’t have the idea to launch your own challenge, it doesn’t matter as you can participate in existing trends on Douyin. To catch the latest trends can also be a solution.
  • Time : generally speaking, it’s better to post your video on week-end, the morning, during the lunch time or midnight to get better results. The video that is sent at ordinary times with no special creative idea, may not have a lot of views neither reactions from other people.
  • KOL : Key Opinion Leaders are Chinese bloggers, influencers or web celebrities. Douyin also has its KOLs. When these people release a new video, it is more willing to be on Douyin’s main page.

We are a social and digital marketing agency in China

GMA is the most visible marketing agency in China. We have developed many successful projects because we know how to effectively promote your business in China by using the latest digital tools. Chinese people are very connected online, in order to reach these consumers, you need to adapt your strategy.

Chinese Social media

We can help you with community management. Social media represent the best way for you to increase your e-reputation and brand awareness in China. Our team includes effective Chinese staff who can answer all questions and requests from users. Also, we can choose together and operate a suitable strategy for your brand in China.

China KOL marketing

Collaborating with KOL is a way to promote your brand. They have often a huge number of followers and are daily in touch with them. There are Kols on each social media platform.  GMA can help you to contact and choose the right person, depending on your positioning and your target.

If you want to learn more about our services, you can take a look here and here.

If you have a business to develop or to launch in China and want to have further discussions, feel free to contact us.

Read also :


  • Douyin Is Becoming the Next Battleground for Marketing.
    How the hottest Video-streaming Platform is Electrifying the Chinese Social Media and e-Commerce Scene within 6months?

  • CyrieLLE

    Do you have example of Douyin influencers (or KOL) , any idea of price?

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