The Best Douyin Marketing Guide in 2021

The Best Douyin Marketing Guide in 2021

July 14, 2021 | Skyler Wang


Since the COVID-19 epidemic emerged in 2020, more people have had to stay at home. Shopping centers and malls have been suspended or have shortened their business hours, resulting in many sectors experiencing a downturn in the on-premise sector.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the national online retail sales from January to May of 2020 are 4017.6billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 4.5%.

The pandemic has also spurred the innovation of China’s social media marketing. For Chinese young people, they tend to spend much of their time on China’s largest short-form video app, Douyin.

Douyin will undoubtedly become the most important video marketing channel for overseas companies or universities looking to enter or grow in the Chinese youth market. Short-form videos are key to expanding brand awareness and educational and lifestyle decisions.

What is Douyin?

In China, when you see a person smiling while looking at their phone on the subway, maybe he’s not chatting sweetly with his lover but watching videos on Douyin.

Douyin short video app
Douyin short video app

Douyin launched on September 20, 2016, is a short-form video social app released by Chinese company ByteDance. The same company went on to launch TikTok in markets outside China. So their logos even look similar. TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but no access to each other’s content. 

It focuses on mixing music with user-generated video content, forming a vast online community led by young people. Users can choose songs and add their own short videos to create their own work. This is a similar concept to the original app before it merged with TikTok, and there is also another similar Chinese app called Xiaokaxiu.

Douyin users can make videos more creative through adjusting the video playback speed, editing, and a myriad of special effects (repeated, flash, slow motion), scene transitions, and other innovations based on automatic animations from uploaded still photos.

The background music for videos is mainly based on electronic music and dance music, meaning many videos have a strong sense of rhythm to engage the viewer.

In essence, the Douyin App is a social sharing app. Through Douyin, users share their life experiences, meet friends, and learn and engage with the latest trends in popular culture, fashion, and music.

Douyin is “Inevitable” in China

Since its recent emergence towards ubiquity in recent years, Douyin has grown a huge user base and daily traffic. According to Ocean Engine statistics, the daily active Douyin users in 2020 reached 600 million. Douyin can almost confidently say like Thanos “I am inevitable.” As a new content creation channel, Douyin is the dominant prominent short video platform and so grabs the attention of a large number of users, which also points out the direction for its business performance.

Needless to say, where there are viewers and eyeballs, there are business opportunities. Luxury fashion brands such as Dior and Chanel, sports brands such as Adidas neo, restaurants such as Pizza Hut and Haidilao (a famous Chinese “hotpot” brand), and gaming companies such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – have all started to use marketing in Douyin.  To seize an opportunity to engage with young Chinese people, marketing in Douyin is essential.

Douyin is “Inevitable” in China
Douyin is “Inevitable” in China

How to Prepare for Your Douyin Marketing Plan?

Douyin short videos are so popular that both individuals and companies want to figure out the best way to make money using them. However, Douyin has now entered a mature stage, which means the era of uploading a video that trends overnight with little effort has passed. Without good ideas, content, and operating strategies for long-term maintenance of the audience, it can be hard to achieve successful Douyin marketing. So what do you need to prepare for a good Douyin marketing plan?

Learn How the Douyin Algorithm Works

It is vital to understand the algorithms and rules of the Douyin platform for becoming a successful content creator on Douyin.

(1) Douyin Recommendation Algorithm

Douyin is popular across China. Its traffic is huge and it also attracts a lot of content creators. With so many creators uploading videos to Douyin, it is impossible to recommend every video to users. Based on this, a recommendation algorithm is used to allow users to provide easier access to content that appeals to them individually, out of the huge mass of videos uploaded daily.

The best way to make your videos appealing to Douyin’s algorithm, resulting in more recommendations, is to keep in mind the following five dimensions in the order of importance:

  1. Completion rate
  2. The number of likes
  3. Comment count
  4. Number of followers
  5. Reposts and shares

Your videos will compete with those having a similar number of views, and whichever has a higher total score in the above dimensions will be ranked higher in recommendations. Douyin will stop recommending your videos when they drop down on these metrics.

How does the Douyin algorithm work?
How does the Douyin algorithm work?

(2) Douyin Review Mechanism

Douyin has a large number of creators posting videos every day. In China’s unique Internet ecosystem, content moderation is the norm to filter out videos that don’t meet the rules. Currently, there are two approaches to moderation – machine-driven audits, and manual filtering.

Registering and Content Positioning

After understanding the Douyin algorithm and rules, the next step is to register an account and position your content.

(1) How to Download Douyin?

It is not possible to download Douyin from the international app stores. But there is a way around it. For android devices, you can download it from the APK Mirror. Your phone may block it, make sure you have tapped the button-“Allow from this source” in the settings of Google. While for IOS devices, change your Apple ID country to China mainland first, then you can find Douyin in the Apple app store. Using Douyin is generally simple, and there is a guide in the user interface. The language can be changed by clicking Me, Settings, General Settings, respectively. 

How to use Douyin? Simple!
How to use Douyin? Simple!

(2) Account Registration Stage

The next stage is to register an account. There is a choice to make: a blue V account, or a personal account.

· Enterprise Accounts have a blue V sign and require officially recognized certification information. These also have nickname lock protection, meaning duplicates are not permitted. When a user searches for the account or company name, it is displayed at the top. The blue V certification fee is about £70/Year. Note that no refunds are due in case of failure to pass the certification.

· Personal accounts do not have the above premium features but are free of charge.

· If resources permit, you can register multiple accounts.

Douyin personal account
Douyin personal account

(3) Account Setup

· Top background image design

· Avatar design

· Nickname setting

· Signature

· Other information settings

If it is an enterprise Blue V account, you can add the link to your official website, and a contact phone number.

How to get a Douyin enterprise account with a blue V
How to get a Douyin enterprise account with a blue V

(4) Account Positioning

The best approach is to focus on a single vertical field for your content. For example, if the account targets food, insist on posting only food-related videos. The more professional and targeted the content, the more loyal fans you can attract, so that your account can continue to grow more users. 

To understand this point, you can observe successful accounts with a large number of fans. The content they publish is typically focused on one area and has similar characteristics. If publishing several videos about cooking healthy low-fat food, attracting legions of fitness fans or those who are trying to lose weight, then obviously do not start to include junk food in your videos. Not only will you confuse the recommendation algorithms, but your existing fans may not only unfollow but also harbor resentment.

Therefore if your company has a lot of business verticals or products, we would suggest registering different accounts, with each account only focuses on a single area.

Tools You Need

Tools Needed for Shooting Videos

(1) Equipment

For most novices, a mobile phone is enough to shoot videos in your early stages, but the resolution of the mobile phone is recommended to be as high as possible. When recording, set the video resolution to 1080p or above. If 4k is supported this should be used, with 30 frames per second or higher.

What shooting equipment do you need for Douyin?
What shooting equipment do you need for Douyin?

(2) Stabilizer

The video can shake when shooting purely by hand. To improve the quality and stability of shooting, it is recommended to employ additional equipment, such as:

  • Mobile phone shooting tripod
  • Mobile phone shooting handheld gimbal
  • Bluetooth controller (making it more convenient to control start/stop)

(3) Microphone

Use one to enhance the clarity of speech or music, resulting in a much better audio quality.

(4) Fill light

Shooting video requires sufficient light sources. Particularly indoors, a fill light is recommended.

The above tools are sufficient for basic video shooting.

Tools Needed for Video Processing

The slogan of Douyin is to record beautiful life, so there is no need to use professional editing software like PR, AE, etc. Of course, the video effect will be better with them. If you can’t use them, the official Douyin editing tool Cap cut is also a good choice.

Capcut: the official Douyin editing tool
Cap cut: the official Douyin editing tool

9 Tips for Getting your Douyin Videos Seen

(1) Title

An important factor that attracts users. When people see a fresh and appealing title, they are more likely to watch the video you post. If the title accurately reflects the content shown, it can also guide them to leave messages and interact with likes.

(2)Video thumbnail picture 

It is best to eye-catching but not too complex.

(3) Background music 

Tailor this according to the theme e.g. happy, humourous, or sensational music.

(4) Free promotion via your staff

Motivate your own staff to register a personal account. They can then like,  comment, share, and engage with your video, providing an early catalyst for success. Then promote your account through other social media platforms.

(5) Paid promotion methods

Dou+ is the official way from Douyin to increase traffic through targeted ads. This brings a larger audience for the brand, saving a lot of energy and time. Investing ¥1000 (CNY), approximately£100 typically brings a minimum of 5000 views. Having said that, they may not be your targeted viewers if you don’t set your campaign goals properly.

If you want to find out more about How Douyin can work for you? Speak to the Enlybee specialist team:

(6) Release time 

Schedule your videos with some forward planning. If in your genre there are particularly popular content owner competitors, aim to avoid the same release times of these key influencers.

(7) Release frequency

It is best to set a fixed release schedule. Douyin’s backend algorithms will remember your publishing frequency. Regular releases will add weight to your account’s standing. This is conducive to an increase in your viewers.

(8) Video quality 

High-definition videos are best for getting recommendations. Experience shows that videos with a resolution of 1080p or higher get the most traction.

(9) Video duration 

15 seconds to 30 seconds is preferred. Although you can post a one-minute video if you have a blue V certification or if you have more than 1,000 fans. However, usually few people will watch a video of more than 30 seconds.

How do Brands Market on Douyin?

So far, we’ve mentioned handy tricks to get companies or individuals started in Douyin marketing. Now let’s take a look at how a big brand conducts Douyin marketing.

KFC and Douyin

With insight into the brand’s marketing demands for new products, the Douyin e-commerce department has created Douyin New Product Day, a marketing resource aiming to help brands make full use of emerging marketing tools such as short videos and live broadcasts. 

Recently, KFC and Douyin New Product Day launched the new marketing of KFC Double Down.

KFC Douyin marketing
KFC Douyin marketing

What Has KFC and Douyin New Product Day Achieved?

· User-centered, invite influencers to try products and recommend, to truly spread the “no bread, double meat” feature of the new KFC product Double Down.

· They used celebrity resources to stimulate interest and consumption and invite famous Chinese actor Gong Jun to participate in the pre-video preheating by entering the live broadcast room with Douyin influencer Fu Peng. After the live broadcast, the topic drives fans to participate;

· With a combination of short video + live broadcast + celebrity hot topics, content marketing is used as the axis to open up the entire marketing link.

In general, brands cooperate with Douyin New Product Day to optimize brand communication and product recommendations. The establishment of the platform includes short videos display, brand/personnel attention, interaction with consumers and, stimulating them to make purchases and interact with the brand.

The Difference Between Douyin and Other Short Video Apps

Douyin VS Kuaishou(Backed by Tencent)

Douyin VS Kuaishou
Douyin VS Kuaishou

Kuaishou is a competing video-sharing app that attracts a different audience. In China, cities are broadly classed into different tiers based on their size and prosperity. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou are first-tier cities.

(1) User group positioning

  Kuaishou: Dominant in third- and fourth-tier cities, accounting for 64%, with a high school education or below, and men and women are broadly balanced.

  Douyin: Over-represented in first-tier and second-tier cities, accounting for 52%, college degree or above, more women.

(2) Content creation

  Kuaishou: Focus on the third, fourth, and fifth-tier cities to show real life.

  Douyin: Deeper expression, better decoration, focusing on the cities, and advocating quality of life.

(3) Subject

  Kuaishou: Emphasize that everyone’s life is worthy of being recorded, pay attention to third-, fourth- and fifth-tier cities, and pay attention to society.

  Douyin: Emphasizes content, prefers to push content in vertical fields, pays attention to design and entertainment.

(4) Active time

  Douyin: 8 to 11 pm.

  Kuaishou: 6 to 9 pm.  

Douyin vs TikTok

Both TikTok and Douyin are short video platforms created by ByteDance. They only target different geographies. Douyin was the first to be launched for the domestic Chinese market, while TikTok followed and is purely for the international market. Content is not shared between the two – they are in all aspects apart from corporate ownership entirely separate.

What is the difference between TikTok and Douyin?
What is the difference between TikTok and Douyin?

(1) Register, Log in, and Download

Douyin’s registration and login methods are typically QQ, WeChat, Chinese mobile phone number, Toutiao account, Weibo account, and other third-party logins.

Whereas TikTok is mainly authenticated via international mobile phone numbers, Facebook, Instagram, Line, or Twitter accounts.

In terms of account types, Douyin provides enterprise account with blue V certification. TikTok provides Bluetick “verified badges” to certified accounts, a similar approach.

(2) Search Rules

Douyin: its search rules mainly rely on keywords. Accounts with more fans and likes are ranked above. If it is an enterprise blue V account, it will be ranked higher than the general account.

TikTok: users can search global accounts and tend to be optimized locally per country according to different languages and regions.

(3) The way to make money

How to make money on Douyin and TikTok is the concern of most people. For Douyin, one way is through Douyin’s window or using third parties to channel traffic to WeChat or other platforms to build their private domain traffic pool. Another way is to sell products through live broadcasts.

As for TikTok, users usually jump to Amazon for purchasing through the “Link below” videos, but this function is not supported in all countries. Those who cannot jump to Amazon can only use Instagram, Twitter, and some other social platforms.

(4) Content Style

There is a big difference in content style between Douyin and TikTok. For Douyin, there are all kinds of skills, film and television editing, travel, scenery, funny videos, cute pets, etc. And the user group is also gradually expanding across the age ranges.

As for TikTok, it focuses on sharing among young people, meaning the youth cultures of various countries are displayed vividly. But it lacks the wider categories of content that might attract more mature audiences.

Of course, there is no absolute boundary between the content of TikTok and Douyin. In particular, many companies or university branding videos on TikTok can also be released on Douyin through repurposing similar content. However, for maximum effect, professionals are needed to adjust subtitles, music, and options for interaction.


Video marketing on Douyin is essential for foreign brands wanting to enter youth-oriented markets in China, to win the trust of Chinese users and expand their business. The Enlybee platform is dedicated to assisting companies and organizations enter the Chinese market and engaging Chinese users. Contact us to find out about more authentic social media engagement via Chinese Douyin short video marketing services.

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