Dominating Douyin Advertising: An In-Depth Guide for Brands

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GAB Team

Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, has swiftly risen to prominence with its impressive base of over 746 million monthly active users. Renowned for its innovative creative tools, extensive user engagement, and a diverse range of advertising formats, Douyin stands as a pivotal platform in the digital landscape of China. Douyin Advertising offers businesses a unique opportunity to reach and connect with a massive and engaged audience in China.

For brands seeking to broaden their market reach and tap into the dynamic Chinese consumer base, Douyin presents a wealth of opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the nuances of Douyin advertising and how it can be leveraged effectively to elevate brand presence and engagement in China.

Benefits of Advertising on Douyin

1. Massive Audience Reach:

With over 746 million active users monthly, Douyin offers an unprecedented platform for brand exposure. This vast audience isn’t just large in number but is also highly active, with users spending an average of over an hour daily on the app. 

While initially more popular among younger users, Douyin is gradually attracting a more diverse age range, including middle-aged and older users. This broadening appeal is expanding the potential reach for brands. 

Users on Douyin have a wide range of interests, from fashion and beauty to gaming and education. This diversity allows brands from various industries to find and engage with their target audience effectively.

2. Engagement Beyond Views:

Douyin’s format encourages active user engagement, not just passive viewing. Users often like, comment, and share content they find compelling. This means that ads on Douyin have the potential to not just reach users but to engage them deeply.

3. Targeting Precision:

Leveraging advanced AI, Douyin offers highly precise targeting based on user behavior, preferences, and geographic location. This ensures that your ads reach the most relevant audience, maximizing impact and ROI.

4. Brand Exposure:

Douyin Advertising provides an opportunity for brands to increase their visibility and build brand awareness quickly. With creative and captivating content, you can leave a lasting impression on viewers.

5. Diverse and Innovative Ad Formats:

From interactive challenges to AR features, Douyin’s array of ad formats allows for creative storytelling and immersive experiences, making ads feel less intrusive and more like a natural part of the user’s content experience. 

6. Cost-Effective:

Douyin Advertising can be cost-effective, especially when compared to traditional advertising channels. Advertisers can set budgets and bidding strategies to control costs while maximizing exposure.

7. Influencer Partnerships:

Collaborating with popular Douyin influencers is a strategic move to amplify your brand’s reach and credibility through effective Douyin advertising. These influencers possess the power to promote your products or services to their engaged followers, not only increasing trust but also boosting conversion rates.

When you tap into Douyin advertising with influencers, you harness the platform’s enormous potential to connect with your target audience and drive meaningful results for your brand

Douyin Advertising Formats

1. In-Feed Ads

These are short video ads that appear in the user’s feed, ideal for advertising on Douyin. They can be up to 60 seconds long, though shorter videos often perform better. They typically feature a call-to-action (CTA) button where people can click to either fill out the form or make a purchase.

A popular sportswear brand successfully leveraged in-feed ads on Douyin to promote a new line of sneakers. The ad, featuring high-energy music and dynamic visuals of people wearing the sneakers in various urban settings, led to a significant boost in website traffic and sales.

in-feed Advertising on Douyin


2. Brand Takeovers

These are full-screen ads that appear immediately when a user opens the Douyin app, making them an excellent choice for advertising on Douyin. They can be 3-5 seconds long, featuring static images or short videos.

A luxury car manufacturer effectively utilized a brand takeover ad to showcase their latest model with sleek visuals and a compelling tagline. This ad, which appeared for one day, generated immense buzz and a significant spike in inquiries on the brand’s website.

brand takeover ad on Douyin


3. Challenge Hashtags

Brands can create their own hashtag challenges, encouraging users to create content around a theme or concept. These hashtag challenges are highly engaging and have the potential to go viral, resulting in a significant organic reach. They can be a valuable and fun addition to your advertising on Douyin, boosting brand visibility and engagement.

Challenge Hashtags Ads

A cosmetics brand initiated a #MakeupChallenge, encouraging users to display their makeup transformations. This challenge rapidly gained popularity, attracting millions of participants and generating extensive content, significantly boosting the brand’s visibility and user engagement.

4. Branded AR Content

Brands can leverage Douyin advertising by creating custom augmented reality (AR) filters, stickers, or effects for users to apply in their videos. This highly interactive format encourages user participation and engagement.

For instance, a beverage company introduced a captivating AR filter that transformed users’ faces to resemble being underwater. This novel and fun filter gained widespread popularity, leading to its inclusion in thousands of videos and significantly raising the brand’s profile among Douyin users.

Branded AR Content Douyin

5. Customized Stickers and Filters

Similar to AR content, advertising on Douyin can include custom-made stickers or filters designed to fit the brand’s campaign or theme. These creative elements offer a playful and engaging way for users to interact with the brand.

For example, a fashion brand launched a series of animated stickers related to their new fashion line. Users enthusiastically incorporated these stylish stickers into their videos, sparking a trend around the brand’s latest collection.

6. TopView Ads

TopView ads, a compelling advertising option on Douyin in China, share similarities with Brand Takeovers. They appear in the first in-feed post after 3 seconds of opening the app, providing a high-impact introduction to users.

These ads can last up to 60 seconds, featuring sound and full-screen video. An entertainment company harnessed the power of Douyin advertising in China by using a TopView ad to promote a new movie. The ad showcased a captivating clip from the film, generating significant interest and ultimately leading to higher viewership upon its release.

7. Search Ads

Advertising on Douyin offers a diverse range of formats, and one important option for advertisers is search ads. This format is particularly valuable for brands looking to tap into the search behavior of Douyin’s users.

When users search for specific keywords within the app, search ads enable brands to position their advertisements at the top of the search results. This strategic placement ensures high visibility to users who are actively seeking content or products related to those keywords.

Advertisers have the flexibility to customize their search ads based on the specific keywords, ensuring that their content is not only visible but also highly relevant to the user’s search intent.

These search ads often feature direct links to the brand’s page or a specific product, making it easy for users to take immediate action and engage with the advertised content. To succeed in advertising on Douyin, utilizing search ads can be a powerful way to connect with your target audience effectively.”

search ads Douyin

A search for ‘UK overseas study’ leads to an advertisement for an overseas study agent service. Clicking on the ad directs you to a landing page where you can fill out a form with your contact details


A global fashion retailer used Douyin search ads to boost their new seasonal collection. They targeted keywords related to fashion trends and seasonal attire.

When users searched for these trends, the retailer’s ad appeared at the top, featuring engaging visuals of their latest collection and a direct link to their Douyin store. The campaign led to an increase in traffic to their Douyin page and a significant uptick in sales of the featured collection.

Douyin Advertising Strategies

Effective advertising strategies on Douyin involve a blend of creativity, understanding of the platform’s unique dynamics, and leveraging its features to maximize engagement and reach. Here are some key strategies:

1. Content-First Approach

Authenticity is Key: Douyin users favor authentic, relatable content over overtly polished or corporate-style videos. Brands should focus on creating content that feels genuine and resonates with the audience. Content that works in Western markets may not resonate with a Chinese audience, and vice versa. Content localization is also essential.

Leverage Trends and Challenges: Staying abreast of current trends and participating in popular challenges can significantly increase visibility. Brands can create their own branded challenges to encourage user-generated content.

2. Influencer Collaborations

Partner with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs): Collaborating with popular Douyin influencers can help brands reach larger audiences. Influencers can offer credibility and a loyal following, which can be invaluable for brands. Sometimes, partnering with smaller, niche influencers can be more effective, especially if their audience aligns closely with the brand’s target demographic.

3. Utilizing Douyin’s Advanced AI

Advertising on Douyin is made more effective through the utilization of Douyin’s AI algorithms, which provide the capability for precise targeting based on user behavior, interests, and demographics. Additionally, AI empowers brands to craft personalized content tailored to various segments of their audience, resulting in heightened engagement rates.

4. Interactive and Immersive Formats

Utilize the various ad formats like in-feed ads, brand takeovers, and challenge hashtags creatively to keep the audience engaged.

Make use of Douyin’s AR capabilities and interactive formats like branded stickers and filters. This not only enhances user engagement but also encourages users to create content around the brand.

5. Localized Content for the Chinese Market

When it comes to Douyin advertising, it’s crucial to customize your content to match Chinese culture, trends, and what Chinese consumers prefer. This involves using the right language, visuals, and themes that resonate with the Douyin audience.

Additionally, aligning your advertising campaigns with Chinese holidays and festivals can be highly effective in capturing the attention and engagement of your target audience on Douyin.

6. Continuous Testing and Optimization

Use the insights and analytics provided by Douyin to understand what works and what doesn’t. Continuously test different types of content and strategies to optimize performance.

A successful advertising strategy on Douyin requires a mix of creativity, strategic planning, and a deep understanding of the platform’s users and capabilities.

By focusing on creating engaging, relevant, and targeted content, and continuously refining their approach based on data and feedback, brands can effectively leverage Douyin to reach and engage their target audience.


Are you looking to maximize your brand’s impact on Douyin?
Contact Gab Marketing Agency for a personalized approach. Get your free consultation today to explore innovative strategies tailored to your brand’s unique needs.

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Douyin Q&A

1. How to Set Up a Douyin Account?

Setting up a Douyin account, especially for a brand or business outside of China, involves several steps and considerations due to the platform’s unique regulations and user base. Here’s a general guide on how to set up a Douyin account:

I. Download the App

Availability: Douyin is available for download in the Chinese App Store or via the Douyin website. If you are outside of China, you might need to use a VPN or have access to the Chinese App Store.

II. Sign Up for an Account

Phone Number: You’ll need a phone number to sign up. It’s recommended to use a Chinese phone number for easier access and verification. If you don’t have a Chinese number, some international numbers are also accepted.

Verification: Enter the verification code sent to the phone number you provided.

III. Set Up Your Profile

Username: Choose a username relevant to your brand. Keep in mind that usernames in the Chinese market often involve Chinese characters.

Profile Information: Fill in your profile information. Include details relevant to your brand, and consider translating this information into Chinese.

Profile Picture: Upload a profile picture that represents your brand.

IV. Convert to a Pro Account (For Businesses)

Account Type: To access business features, convert your account to a Pro (or business) account within the app settings.

Verification: You might need to provide additional information or documents for verification, especially if you’re operating as a business.

V. Explore Advertising Options

Ad Account: If you plan to advertise, you’ll need to set up an ad account. This usually requires a business license and additional verification.

Setting up a Douyin account as a brand requires careful planning and consideration of the unique aspects of the Chinese market. It may be beneficial to collaborate with a local expert or agency, especially for language translation and understanding cultural nuances.

2. How is Douyin different from Tiktok?

Douyin and TikTok, while similar in their basic functionality as short-video sharing platforms, have several key differences, primarily stemming from their respective target markets and regulatory environments. Here’s a breakdown of how Douyin differs from TikTok:

Target Audience and Market:

  • Douyin: Exclusively targets the Chinese market.
  • TikTok: Aimed at international markets outside of China.

Content and Cultural Focus:

  • Douyin: Tailored for Chinese users, the content often reflects local culture, trends, and values. It includes features and challenges that resonate with Chinese traditions and holidays.
  • TikTok: Global in nature, featuring a more diverse array of content that caters to international tastes and trends.

Functionalities and Features

  • Douyin: Offers some advanced features that are not available on TikTok, such as e-commerce integration, enabling users to shop directly from videos or livestreams.
  • TikTok: Generally focuses more on entertainment and less on e-commerce, although e-commerce features are expanding in some markets.

User Interface and Experience

  • Douyin: The user interface may include elements that cater specifically to Chinese users, including language and design choices.
  • TikTok: The interface is designed to appeal to a global audience, with localization in different regions.

Content Moderation and Censorship

  • Douyin: Operates under strict Chinese internet regulations, with content censorship and moderation aligning with government policies.
  • TikTok: Subject to the laws and regulations of the countries where it operates, which can differ significantly from those in China.

Algorithm and Content Discovery

  • Douyin: While the fundamental algorithm is similar, the content discovery is tailored to Chinese preferences and social trends.
  • TikTok: The algorithm is optimized for a global user base, promoting a more diverse range of content.

Data Privacy and Storage

  • Douyin: Adheres to Chinese data protection laws, with user data stored within China.
  • TikTok: Data storage and privacy practices are tailored to meet the standards of the countries it operates in, often outside of China.

Branding and Marketing Opportunities

  • Douyin: Offers unique marketing opportunities tailored to the Chinese market, including specialized ad formats and seamless e-commerce integration, making it an ideal platform for successful marketing in China.
  • TikTok: Provides global branding and marketing opportunities, with strategies and ad formats designed for a worldwide audience.

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