China Marketing: How To Track Douyin & KOL Beauty Brand Performance

Launchmetrics Content Team

Every day, millions of beauty-obsessed consumers open up the Douyin app and scroll. Users are hungry for content to watch, engage with, and make purchases from. For beauty brands looking into Douyin marketing, and China marketing in general, this presents an unprecedented opportunity. 

You don’t want to jump into Chinese social media waters without first getting a strong China marketing strategy in place. Douyin marketing requires a tailored approach. That approach must align your brand with the right influencers and be sensitive to the cultural differences between East and West.

So, in this post, we’ll look at why Douyin is so important for beauty brands and share some tips for nailing your KOL marketing. We’ll also dive into a case study from YSL beauty. Read on for insights into how major beauty players are using the Douyin network.

How Important is Douyin Marketing for Beauty Brands?

Beauty content is voraciously consumed on Douyin, the Chinese counterpart to TikTok. Last year, makeup tutorials alone were viewed on Douyin 100 billion times per month on average. And that’s not even taking other types of beauty content into account. 

A hotbed for beauty creators, Douyin has become a major go-to for beauty brands looking to partake in influencer marketing in China. To reach audiences, brands partner with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). KOLs are Chinese influencers - superstars of the social media world. 

KOLs have high trust levels and vast followings. They can reap extremely high ROI by creating and sharing content that elevates brand awareness. shapes brand image, and drives product sales.

On top of that, Douyin can be used by beauty brands’ Owned Media accounts to build a community of fans and capture sales through social shopping.

Social Shopping Is On The Rise

As of 2021, online retail sales of cosmetics began to surpass in-store sales in China. Social shopping is accounting for an increasing share of the pie. 

Looking at Douyin specifically, beauty product sales on the platform increased 164% in the first quarter of 2022. Douyin has the advantage for brands of making shopping easy for consumers. Thanks to Douyin Pay, the platform's in-app payment solution, followers can complete their entire purchasing journey without leaving the app.

Between the immense power of Douyin’s beauty KOLs and its social shopping capabilities, the platform must be a key focus for any beauty brand’s China marketing strategy.

Douyin Marketing Requires a Tailored Approach

Before jumping into Douyin marketing, beauty brands must be aware of—and avoid—one crucial mistake. That is, failing to tailor their social media strategy to the Chinese audience. It’s not enough to simply duplicate a strategy that has worked in a Western market (e.g, on US TikTok). 

The brands who achieve maximum ROI in their China marketing are the ones who become intimately familiar with the nuances of Chinese platforms; Understanding key demographics and where to find them, singling out the best KOLs to work with, tapping into the types of content that resonate, and tracking and measuring every campaign to create a process of constant optimization. 

Case Study: YSL Wins On Douyin With a Tailored Strategy

For this campaign, YSL Travel Retail leveraged China Duty-Free (CDF) to be the host of the Douyin Challenge, ultimately raking in ¥5.0M in MIV® from Douyin alone.  

Tracking Douyin and China Marketing performance for beauty brands
YSL TR Case Study - Data from Launchmetrics' China Influencer marketing platform

From the China Influencer marketing platform, we saw that 124 posts across Douyin, Red, and Weibo reached 60M+ netizens and generated 500k+ engagements.

However, with only 18% of the posts, Douyin contributed to 50%+ of the reach and 70%+ of the engagements. 

Our data shows that YSL TR used a balance of KOLs from different tiers in their Douyin marketing—much more so than with Red and Weibo. We tracked 22 posts across: 

  • 4 Top-tier KOLs 
  • 5  Mid-tier KOLs
  • 11 Micro KOLs/KOCs
  • 2 Retailers

YSL also broadened the campaign’s reach by engaging different types of KOLs, adding male KOLs, art & design KOLs, and female/beauty KOLs into the mix.

By striking this balance of Voices, the brand was able to generate 380.2K engagements and 32.3M reach. For example, a post by top beauty KOL @甜七不是小仙女 mentioning a CDF product promotion generated 38.3K engagements—the equivalent of ¥1.6M in MIV®.  

From the data, we can see that collaborating with a range of KOLs across different tiers and categories to generate a variety of content created broad appeal and was a winning strategy for YSL TR on Douyin.

Tracking Douyin and China Marketing performance for beauty brands
YSL TR Case Study - Data from Launchmetrics' China Influencer marketing platform

3 Tips for Tracking KOL Marketing on Douyin for Beauty Brands

Setting up your China marketing campaign is just the beginning. It’s by effective tracking and measuring that you’re able to determine what’s working and what’s not and optimize your existing and future campaigns. Here are three tips for tracking your KOL marketing on Douyin.

1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Setting clear goals for your campaigns helps you identify which metrics and KPIs to pay attention to. For example, if your primary goal is building brand awareness, data like reach, engagement, and hashtag uses will be beneficial. If you want to increase your brand’s own social following, you’ll give more weight to tracking direct mentions and follower count. 

Maybe you want to build social proof by driving positive reviews or attracting a new target market. By knowing your objectives and laying out measurable, actionable goals from the start, you’ll not only create more successful campaigns, but you’ll also be better equipped to measure and optimize results.

2. Track Against Both Competitors and Past Performance

All your marketing decisions should be data-driven, and that means tracking data across multiple dimensions. As well as tracking against your own past performance, use competitive benchmarking to see how your brand is performing against the competition and to better understand your own position in the market.  

Remember that a standardized metric can help you with both types of benchmarking by giving you a directly comparable value to work with.

3. Use The Right Tools

These days, there are various influencer marketing tools available. But are you using one that’s specifically designed for the Chinese market? With a tool like LaunchMetrics’ China influencer marketing platform, the hard work has already been done for you: with an exclusive database of 350K+ verified KOLs in China and a wealth of data available on each, it’s the perfect way to single out the best KOLs for your brand.

From there, you can monitor the performance of your KOLs on Douyin and other Chinese networks using the variety of metrics at your fingertips, giving you the data you need to optimize your campaigns and maximize your ROI. 

With an industry-specific and market-specific tool, your brand gains a valuable competitive edge in a lucrative and ever-growing beauty market. What are you waiting for? Contact our team today for more information.

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