The digital retail landscape in China is shifting. Social commerce is quickly eating away at the market share of traditional e-commerce giants, with Douyin at the fore. No longer just about generating brand awareness, content on Douyin stands to directly drive sales and conversions thanks to its superior e-commerce functionality and inbuilt Douyin Pay service.
So, how can beauty brands capitalize on this opportunity? In this post we cover Douyin marketing in China and what strategies you can use to maximize your Douyin marketing campaigns.
In this article you’ll learn…
What Is Douyin & Why Does It Matter?
Douyin is China’s version of TikTok. Both apps are owned by Chinese tech company Bytedance and they allow users to create and share short videos and live streams. The biggest difference between them? Douyin is only available in mainland China (Chinese users cannot access TikTok).
But why is Douyin so crucial for China’s marketing industry?
- The platform is accessed by over 600 million users daily.
- As of 2021, around half of its users are under 30 years of age, with around 90% aged under 40.
- 35% of Douyin users are located in China’s richest cities.
- Douyin’s e-commerce features are much more advanced than TikTok. For example, users can purchase items they see in a video with just a few clicks.
The e-commerce functionality in particular makes Douyin a more powerful marketing platform than TikTok. Partnerships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) not only generate brand awareness but can also drive direct product sales. If you’re a Fashion, Luxury or Beauty (FLB) brand looking to reach Chinese consumers, Douyin is a crucial space to dominate.
How FLB Brands Are Using Douyin for KOL Marketing
It’s no surprise that FLB brands are tapping into the enormous potential of Douyin for KOL marketing in China. If we look at the beauty sector, for example, Douyin is especially fertile ground: In 2021, part of the app’s strategy was to expand its beauty video volume. As a result, the channel’s hashtags #makeup and #skincare have been collectively viewed more than 150 billion times!
Lancôme rakes in $1.5M in 10 days
Lancôme offers one example of how powerful Douyin marketing can be.
In May 2022 the brand launched its first beauty flagship store on Douyin, selling 35 skincare and beauty products. Within just ten days the brand had raked in around $1.5 million (USD) in sales.
KOLs are a key part of Lancôme’s Douyin marketing strategy. Makeup blogger Xianmu and beauty influencer Yizhi Nannan teamed up to appear in the brand’s inaugural live stream, attracting 200,000 viewers. Keeping that momentum, Lancôme has continued to host regular live streams in collaboration with top 20 beauty KOLs.
Douyin Marketing in China: Key Strategies for FLB Brands
So, what steps should FLB brands take to succeed on Chinese social media? With Douyin, it boils down to several key strategies:
Leverage influencer marketing
Beauty influencers on Duoyin hold tremendous clout with their followers, making them the number one bridge between your brand and consumers.
Having an ever-evolving influencer marketing strategy in place is paramount, singling out the right KOLs to work with based on the style of your brand and the demographic you want to reach. Consider top beauty influencers for maximum reach, but don’t forget the mid and long-tail influencers who have built a strong level of trust with their follower base.
Keep in mind that these are collaborations. Influencers who are given autonomy are better equipped to transmit your brand message in a way that’s authentic and resonates with their audience. Building loyal partnerships with influencers will allow you to truly reap the rewards.
Create hot topics
With a Douyin marketing strategy, the work starts before the launch. In the lead-up to presenting your brand or product on the platform, utilise your influencer relationships to generate buzz and excitement. Tracking trending hashtags and topics can also help your brand to get an idea of what audiences are craving while riding the wave of current trends.
Utilize private domain traffic
Private domain traffic is a growing phenomenon in China marketing. The concept is for brands to build digital communities and create direct communication channels with customers, allowing for stronger relationships and repeat purchases.
Douyin launched a private domain concept in 2021 as a way for businesses and KOLs to connect privately with follower groups. By building private domain traffic, brands can deliver content in a closed, non-competitive environment where follower retention is higher. For this reason, it’s important to understand and incorporate tools such as Douyin Groups and live streaming into your Douyin marketing plan.
Remember that content is king
Social commerce works differently to traditional e-commerce. Instead of seeking out specific products, purchasing behavior is often spontaneous or unintentional. The right type of content pulls in the viewer while simultaneously introducing them to a product, prompting them to make an instant purchase.
Additionally, because Douyin’s algorithm is adept at understanding each user’s interests, you have a situation where products find people instead of the other way around. To capitalize on this, whether it’s owned content or KOL-partnered, your brand needs to be creating content that’s highly attractive.
Douyin’s large Gen Z user base offers marketers a finger on the pulse of what new generations are interested in and how they communicate.
Create a truly omnichannel marketing strategy
No FLB brand can compete in today’s market without a truly omnichannel strategy. That means understanding how your customers move between channels and using your marketing efforts to strategically direct their movements.
For example, driving customers from traditional e-commerce to Douyin can give you an additional – and highly powerful – way to spread your brand messages, engage directly with consumers, and stay top of mind.
KnowYourMIV: How Much Value Can a Douyin Post Offer?
In order to better understand Douyin’s impact on beauty industry brands, the Launchmetrics team wanted to look at the cases of Avène and Amore Pacific. For this reason, we conducted an analysis of their brand performance from July to September 2022.
Avène obtains 51% of its Media Impact Value through Douyin
In the case of Avène, Douyin was the main Chinese social platform in terms of MIV®. The platform accounted for 51% of the brand’s total media value (among Chinese platforms) and generated 19% more MIV® than Weibo, which falls in second place for Avène.
Not only that, Douyin also seems to be more efficient at garnering media value for Avène. With half the number of placements, the platform has an average MIV® of $15K per placement (56% higher than Weibo). The fact that Douyin is the most valuable platform is supported by the fact that Avène’s top 10 placements came from it.
For Avène, the impact of influencer marketing is huge, with 85% of its content being created by the influencer’s Voice. 8/10 top Voices for Avène Brand Performance Voice Split on Douyin are influencers, while the number rises to 9 when looking at top placements.
When looking at Douyin’s growth during this last quarter, we can see an increasing trend in MIV®, with September’s media value being +88% higher than July’s.
Douyin is the main source of influencer content for Amore Pacific
Douyin was the main Chinese social platform for Amore Pacific in both MIV® statistics and the number of placements – even though its number of placements are -58% than that of Weibo. This is due to the platforms highly valuable placements, which have an average MIV® of $14K per placement, making the platform more efficient at generating value for the brand. 9 out of the top 10 placements for Amore Pacific come from Douyin, with the top placement worth $41K in MIV®.
Douyin was the main source of influencer content for the brand. Being the key Voice on the platform, 69% of all influencer MIV® for Amore Pacific came from Douyin.
Without a doubt, Douyin is a key channel for any beauty brand wanting to improve brand performance and consumer connections. However, it’s important not just to understand the essence of this platform, but also to be able to benchmark against competitors and track the ROI of your campaigns.
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