Douyin marketing guide

Getting Started with Douyin Marketing [Account Setup & Insights]

Last Updated on June 24, 2024

Among China’s popular social media platforms, the Douyin app is the most reliable channel for connecting with a younger target audience.

The country’s largest short-video-sharing app caters to over 755 million monthly active users, one-third of which are dominated by local Gen Z and Millennials.

In this post, we’ll walk you through proven-and-tested Douyin marketing strategies and discuss different insights to help you better understand the Chinese consumers using the app.


What is Douyin?

While many call Douyin the Chinese version of TikTok, it was released a year earlier (2016) than its international version. It’s an app initially focused on allowing its users to upload and engage with short videos.

However, as the Chinese digital ecosystem evolved, the Douyin app slowly became an all-in-one platform. Beyond social networking, the Chinese TikTok eventually introduced features for advertising and e-commerce.


Douyin social media China


Beyond public figures and brands, Douyin users are typically regular people who like to watch videos and share their own content. Because of the app’s high organic engagement rate, Douyin’s algorithm seems to favor user-generated content and gives them better chance of going viral.

Douyin’s diverse and wide-ranging creative tools are part of the reason why it is among the biggest marketing channels in China. In fact, most marketers take advantage of trending music, soundtracks, hashtags, and challenges within the platform to increase brand awareness and attract potential direct sales.


Douyin desktop version


Who uses Douyin in Mainland China?

In Mainland China, male users cover 51.7% of the Douyin’s overall population. On the other hand, 48.3% of the platform’s account holders are part of the country’s growing She Economy.

Among the 755 million active Douyin account owners, 35% are 18 to 24. Meanwhile, the second largest demographic on Douyin is consumers aged between 25 and 30, covering around 27% of the user base.

Looking at the number of Douyin users in the Chinese market, it’s evident that most of its online population came from first-tier and second-tier cities. Furthermore, particular regions like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have a higher percentage of users than others.


Douyin Consumer Profile


How to Create Douyin Account Profiles for Your Business in China

1.    Download Douyin App

When foreign users search for Douyin on Google Play Store and Apple Store, they’ll likely find the app’s international version. For iOS users, the quick solution is to change their App Store’s region to Mainland China.

This verification process requires a Chinese phone number and local billing address. Once you have access to the app’s Chinese version, you can search for the term “Douyin” or抖音and begin the installation process.



For Android users, the download process can be initiated through Chinese app stores like Huawei App Store or Xiaomi App Store. Alternatively, you can also download the Douyin app through an APK file from the platform’s official website.

When you press the “Download Now” (立即下载) button, most Android devices will send a warning notification, but you can ignore that because the file is from an official source.

After the APK is downloaded, click the file to open it. For a smooth installation process, go to Settings on your Android phone and click “Allow from this source.”.


2.    Create a Douyin Account

After downloading, the account creation process typically starts with providing Chinese phone numbers. However, since it’s the local version, you may get confused because all the app’s menus are in Chinese characters.

First, locate the “Me” or “at the bottom right corner of your device. Once you click on it, you’ll be directed to another page where you’ll provide a linked mobile phone number for your Douyin account.

From there, click the pink “Send Verification Code” or 验证并登录 button. Once you receive the code, enter it into the text box and press “Login” or 登录”.



3.    Business Account Verification

Having a verified Douyin account gives your brand more credibility in the eyes of Chinese consumers. However, foreign brands must apply for business accounts to access the platform’s advanced advertising and marketing solutions.

Here are the requirements you’ll need for the verification process:

  • A registered account with at least ten thousand followers
  • A Douyin account with at least one video uploaded
  • A copy of your business license
  • Chinese ID card, Chinese phone number, and Chinese bank details of the company’s Douyin representative
  • Yearly fee payment requirement of 600 yuan


If brands intend to open native Douyin stores in the app, they must also apply for a Chinese business ICP license. This additional requirement is in accordance with the new Chinese law, obliging all businesses engaging in e-commerce to comply.


How To Use Douyin To Market Your Brand in China

1.   Collaborate with Key Opinion Leaders or Key Opinion Consumers

If you download the Douyin app, the first thing you’ll notice is the barrage of video content from regular users. These user-generated short videos often feature influencers with thousands or millions of followers.

Their fanbase often trusts their recommendations and opinions more than paid advertisements. These consumers view KOLs and KOCs as reliable sources of information and genuine product reviews.



When working with a KOL account on Douyin, always select ones with an audience reach that matches your target demographic. You can leverage different strategies to get their followers to engage with your brand.

For example, Michael Kors collaborated with three prominent KOLs on the Douyin app to showcase their products. This campaign featured doing a catwalk in different urban sceneries, which resonated well with Douyin’s young consumer base.



On the other hand, KOCs are everyday consumers with a smaller but highly engaged following. Because they don’t often engage with partnership deals or sponsored posts, they usually drive more trust and relatability than KOLs.


2.   Open an in-app Douyin Store for your products and services

To open a store on Douyin, the brand must have a registered business entity. The setup process involves creating a brand profile, verifying your business credentials, and getting approval. It takes about 20 working days and requires the submission of documents like business licenses and tax certificates.

With a dedicated Douyin store, brands can keep customers within the app for a seamless shopping experience. These built-in features include access to e-commerce tools that better help marketers handle customer support, sales event planning, and in-app purchases.


Clarins' flagship store on Douyin

Clarins’ flagship store on Douyin


The Douyin store links can also be integrated into your posted videos, so it’s essential to create content that highlights the selling points of your products and services. Always remember that utilizing trending music, hashtags, and trends can drive more traffic to your promotional videos.


3.   Utilize Douyin’s Advertising Options

Douyin’s advertising ecosystem includes various formats, such as in-feed ads, brand takeovers, and search ads, each tailored to maximize engagement and conversions.

Brands can choose from various ad formats to suit their marketing goals and budget. For example, vertical video ads, which appear between users’ content feeds, are effective for engaging customers and increasing brand awareness.

These ads support multiple formats, including static images, GIFs, and videos up to 15 seconds long, allowing brands to create visually appealing content that captures attention quickly​.


Douyin wide range of ad formats for businesses


To maximize the impact of these ads, you can create content tailored to Douyin’s unique user base and algorithm. The platform favors creative, high-quality videos that resonate with viewers’ interests, often determined by their past engagements.

Therefore, brands should focus on producing content that is not only visually captivating but also relevant and engaging to their target audience.

Moreover, leveraging analytics tools to monitor ad performance and optimize campaigns is crucial for achieving the best results on the app.


4.   Take Advantage of China’s Preference for Livestreams

Livestreaming is a critical aspect of digital marketing in China, and Douyin is at the forefront of this trend. Did you know that 89.8% of the platform’s population is utilizing this real-time content feature?

With this Douyin marketing strategy, brands can interact with audiences through comments, Q&A sessions, and interactive features like polls and games. This direct engagement helps build a community around the brand, fostering loyalty and increasing the likelihood of conversion.


L'Oréal live streaming on Douyin

L’Oréal live streaming on Douyin


Douyin’s live streams are also tightly integrated with e-commerce functionalities, allowing users to purchase products directly from the real-time content.

Zara is among the many global brands that tested the Quiet Live-Selling strategy on Douyin. They created content that resembled a private fashion show, allowing them to attract 1.2 million views and 267,000 in a single live stream.


Zara live streaming on Douyin


Quick Q&A

Can non-Chinese users download Douyin?

Yes, non-Chinese users can download Douyin. However, it’s primarily available through Chinese app stores, and some features may require a Chinese phone number for verification. They can also try downloading the app’s APK file from the platform’s official website.

Why is Douyin so popular in Mainland China?

Douyin’s popularity in Mainland China stems from its engaging and interactive content, advanced AI-driven personalization, and seamless integration with e-commerce platforms. It offers users entertainment and shopping experiences through features like live streaming and mini-programs, catering to various interests.


Your Trusted Douyin Marketing Partner in Mainland China!

With its massive user base and extensive content creation tools, Douyin is a highly valuable marketing channel for foreign brands. As long as you utilize it with the right strategy, it can be instrumental in making your business more familiar and credible in the eyes of online Chinese consumers.


You may want to read:

Douyin Ultimate advertising guide


From creating a business account to planning your first marketing campaign, Sekkei Digital Group is here to lend you a helping hand. Our team has extensive industry experience to guide your brand into becoming an industry leader in the Chinese market.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether you need assistance opening a Douyin account or intend to launch an e-commerce store, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact our team today, and let’s start talking about your vision!


contact us SDG



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