The 3 Best TikTok/Douyin Advertising Strategies

3 best TikTok / Douyin Advertising Strategies

If there is a teenager around you, you have surely heard of TikTok/Douyin advertising. But this Chinese video-sharing platform is more than a teen favorite. It holds many opportunities for your business to raise awareness and create leads with simple and engaging marketing strategies.

Did you know that in 2019, TikTok was the most downloaded app of the Apple app store? As of today, it has been downloaded more than 1 billion times. This makes TikTok one of the fastest growing social networks in the world with currently 500 million monthly active users. It was also the 7th most downloaded app in the decade of 2010-2019 and is becoming one of the most profitable ones.

Developing TikTok/Douyin advertising strategies surely is fun. But it also requires a lot of insight and know-how. Fortunately, you have come to the right place. This week, the China marketing experts of China Gravy reveal all you need to know behind this trending entertainment app. Learn how to lift the potential of TikTok/Douyin for your business.

Also find out more about ByteDance, the Chinese internet technology company behind TikTok/Douyin, which leads global internet trends in the social media universe, formerly dominated by Western companies. Now, let’s dive into this revolutionary app that everyone can’t get enough of!

Douyin Advertising: How It All Started

TikTok was originally launched by the Chinese tech-giant ByteDance as Douyin (Chinese: 抖音 “shaking sound”) in 2016. In the following year, TikTok was launched internationally for iOS and Android via the Apple app store and Google Play store. Today, Douyin and TikTok both use the same software, but run on separate servers to comply with the censorship in China. In 2017, ByteDance purchased to enter the US teenage market.

Douyin is more focused on the local Chinese market, while TikTok targets an international audience. Looking at Douyin, part of its popularity comes from marketing campaigns, where Chinese celebrities and influencers engage with their fans. For example, the Douyin advertising campaign for the 2018 Spring Festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year brought an increase of 70 million daily active users.


For your business, this means you will find your Chinese audience among Douyin users and your international customers on TikTok. Tencent applies a similar system. Its universal super app WeChat (微信, Weixin) also offers a Chinese and an international version.

What is TikTok/Douyin?

In the jungle of social media platforms in China and worldwide, this app truly stands out. TikTok’s mission is “to capture and show the world’s creativity, knowledge, and valuable life moments, directly from mobile phones. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator.” With this strategy, TikTok competes with the world’s leading social media giants Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Today, TikTok is available in over 150 markets, and in 75 languages.

TikTok users can create 15-second videos of long lip-sync, comedy, and talent short videos with music, filters, hashtags, and other features based on their personal data. TikTok lives up to its slogan “Make Your Day” – it is creative, entertaining, fun, and lighthearted. And highly addictive. Celebrities like Michael Kors, Tony Hawk, Jimmy Fallon, who started one of the most popular challenges on Douyin/TikTok, also have popular TikTok/Douyin accounts.

Although Douyin and TikTok are quite similar, Douyin is a bit more advanced in terms of e commerce. You can buy a product featured in a video, book a hotel room after watching a video shot there, take virtual tours, get coupons, and more. Douyin now even has an in-video search feature.

Besides, Douyin presents information in a full-screen format. This format, which is different from other short-form video apps (listing format), creates more immersive engagement opportunities.

Features in a New Era

Did you know that 41% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years of age and 56% of TikTok users are male? For Generation Z, TikTok is a new subculture. Users can create short videos of themselves with music in the background. They lip-sync to it, speed it up, slow it down and edit it with filters. There are “react” and “Duet” features. All features, which other social platforms also offer. But, TikTok made them perfect

TikTok uses artificial intelligence to analyze the interests and preferences of their audience through their interactions with the content, and display a personalized feed to each user.

A challenge that TikTok may face in the future is figuring out how to pay or compensate their content creators. If there is no solution found, TikTok could share Vine’s fate, Twitter’s short-video app which eventually was discontinued in 2016.

Beyond TikTok/Douyin

Another hit by ByteDance is Toutiao or Jinri Toutiao, a news and information content platform. It is one of China’s largest mobile platforms for content creation and distribution supported by machine learning techniques with more than 200 million daily active users.

But there’s more beyond the ByteDance universe. Tencent, the tech-conglomerate and creator of WeChat and QQ, also offers a Chinese video-sharing app called Kuaishou.

Kuaishou (快手, “fast hand”) aka “Kwai” outside of China is TikTok’s number one competitor. It offers a similar platform and features. In 2019, Kuaishou had 200 million daily active users. In cooperation with People’s Daily, they are experimenting with artificial intelligence in the news.

The battle between these two short video apps has recently reached a milestone: Kuaishou won the pitch to broadcast the live stream for the spectacular and highly-anticipated Spring Festival Gala 2020 on the eve of Chinese New Year – 24 January 2020.

The Best TikTok/Douyin Advertising Strategies

Marketers value TikTok and Douyin as an effective tool to engage with youth around the world in a fun and entertaining way. It sets trends, is endlessly popular, and highly engaging.

Your TikTok marketing strategy

Here are the top strategies to get your brand, products, and services noticed on TikTok and Douyin – smart and sharp!

1. Influencer Marketing

Big and small brands love working with authentic brand ambassadors, who create original content to grab their follower’s attention and promote your brand. In China, in particular, key opinion leaders (KOL) and Wanghong have significant power and influence on social platforms.

Therefore, this is maybe the most important and effective method in the Chinese social media world. Consumers trust their peers, who feature their products, more than official accounts from brands. Plus, Chinese youth simply love social media.

TikTok and Douyin superstars can create entertaining and engaging content, for example, a hashtag challenge, for your brand too! Create corporations that authentically boost your brand and turn your fans and followers into loyal customers.

2. Brand Takeover

This ad will appear immediately when a user opens TikTok/Douyin. It is usually a 3-5- second video of pictures or GIFs, or regular video content.

Users tap the screen and arrive at a landing page, which is opened in the web view. This can be either an internal or external link, another video on TikTok, an external website, or an app. At the moment, this ad type is limited to one advertiser per day.

3. In-feed ads (native)

The newsfeed in the TikTok/Douyin app is basically a scrolling adventure that never ends. Videos play automatically when you scroll past them, this makes it so addictive, as users are simply drawn to video after video without pause.

The in-feed native ad promotions are part of the organic newsfeed. The TikTok/Douyin ads appear after the fourth refresh and can be an image or a 15-60 second video. It can include a message and an external link to your landing page, website, or app.

With an average cost of 10 USD per CPM (cost per thousand) this tool creates great ad revenue.

So, if you don’t have TikTok yet, we only have one recommendation for you: download the app now and take a look for yourself!

The Specialities of Advertising on Douyin

Now you’ve created a whole lot of buzz around your brand. But in the end, you want to sell a great product or a convincing service to your fans.

So, since social commerce is dominating in China, you will want to link your social media activities with your e commerce features. Douyin, in particular, capitalizes on its strong and active young users to help brands generate sales.

Selling on Douyin

While having fun and watching videos, users can now spontaneously buy the things that they see. Here’s how:

  • In China, linking to a Taobao (Alibaba) store is the most common way Douyin influencers sell their offers. Any person with 10 videos can drive traffic to a Taobao store.
  • ByteDance now also offers mini-programs (originally introduced by WeChat), with which merchants can sell goods directly to their users. With this, buyers can purchase an item without leaving the app. By providing a better shopping experience, mini-programs boost Douyin’s social e commerce functions and make it an all-in-one entertainment and shopping platform. Douyin has partnerships with Kaola,, Suning, Tmall (Alibaba), and others to launch e commerce mini-apps on their platform. These mini-programs can also be shared externally to WeChat through QR codes.
  • You can also activate “Douyin Merchandise Sharing”, the most widely used feature, to sell products from Taobao’s own sourcing platform. However, make sure you have at least 10 videos posted!
  • Besides, Douyin has a native e commerce system. You are also able to purchase directly in the Douyin app. You can easily link the store to other apps in the ByteDance ecosystem, for example, Toutiao, and Xigua Video.
  • If you have more than 1,000 Douyin followers, you can set up your own “Douyin Store” as an individual (Chinese citizen only) or as a company. To create the store, simply visit Douyin Store’s official store page.
  • Also, consider TikTok/Douyin sicker ads as an engaging way to interact with your followers.

The most popular categories on Douyin for e commerce are women’s and men’s clothing, cosmetics, and F&B products.

Douyin Advertising – The Takeaway

Now you’ve learned all about Douyin and TikTok videos, trends, as well as TikTok/Douyin advertising strategies. Plus you know how to sell your products on these platforms. If you are interested in lifting the potential from these viral apps, which surpassed Twitter and Snapchat in popularity, you should first ask yourself: Is my business right for the TikTok/Douyin target audience?

If you answer yes, start now! There is a huge market on TikTok and Douyin for youth-related products and services like fashion, sports, and music.

Is your brand looking to enter the Chinese market and to target young people in China? Then, advertising on Douyin is a great way to promote your brand. You’ll have to work smart, not hard, as the user-generated content takes off by itself once it receives the right little spark.

If you’re not sure where to start or simply want to outsource this digital marketing activity, China Gravy is here for you! We are happy to show you how to implement the best Douyin and TikTok marketing strategy for you, and monetize these channels for your brand! Contact us today for your individual and FREE consultation.

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