Useful Douyin marketing tips for fashion brands in China

As a fashion brand in China, you’re probably already aware of the power of Douyin (Chinese version of Tik Tok). But are you using it to its full potential? With over 600 million active users, Douyin is one of the most popular social media platforms in China. And it’s not just for posting funny videos any more – brands are increasingly using it as a powerful marketing tool to reach out to Douyin users.

In this guide, we’ll show you the most important things to know about Douyin marketing and why you should use them as soon as you can to sell on Chinese market.

What is Douyin and why is it interesting for fashion brands in China?

You’ve probably heard of TikTok. Chances are, you are also using it to entertain yourself and even create some fascinating short-video content. China also has a version of it, and it is hugely successful. The platform, used by over 600 million users from affluent backgrounds, is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in recent years.

Douyin platform is not only for young people anymore, and when you enter the app you’ll see many marketing campaigns from well-known brands being carried on there. In recent years Douyin went from an entertainment platform to a great place for spreading brand awareness, which many luxury brands use for their benefits.

Douyin is developed and managed by ByteDance, which is also the same company that gave birth to TikTok. Douyin was released before TikTok, and the latter was just Douyin’s international version, that caught on in the West. The video platform was launched in 2016, and by 2021, it has crossed 600 million monthly active users in China.

Many brands believe that Douyin users belong only to young generations, but as you can see above, only 20% of them are under 24 years old. Most of the active Douyin users are older, which is important for brands to be aware of while crafting marketing strategies for this platform.

Can fashion and luxury brands benefit from Douyin marketing?

Douyin is easily one of the best platforms to advertise your fashion brand to luxury consumers in China. It has integrated native e-commerce system with platforms such as Taobao and TMall in its short video app. This means that brands can just integrate marketing on Douyin and facilitate a seamless shopping experience with their target audience of young and affluent people.

Furthermore, Douyin also allows its users to sort through a magnitude of high-quality content by category. They have categories such as pets, education, dance, makeup, and yes, even fashion.

Douyin short videos app

This is the reason why Douyin is extremely valuable for fashion brands that seek to establish a presence in China. Although before it was mainly used by consumers from major cities, nowadays Douyin is one of the short video apps with the most extensive user base across the whole country.

The platform’s main demographics are Gen Z and Millennials from affluent backgrounds. These demographics constantly seek authority in the lifestyle and fashion space, which presents a huge opportunity for international brands to expand their reach by doing brand promotion and building brand awareness on the platform.

Douyin marketing features for business accounts

There are a lot of Douyin marketing and content features that can help you scale your brand if you have a Douyin brand account.

There are a few key reasons why brands should have an official account when marketing on Douyin. First and foremost, having an official account lends credibility to your brand and shows that you’re serious about engaging with your audience on the platform.

Additionally, having an official account allows you to tap into Douyin’s massive user base and reach a wider audience than you would if you were only marketing through individual users’ accounts. It’s very important when it comes to Douyin marketing campaigns, as you can reach more people.

Finally, by using Douyin’s official channels for marketing, you can take advantage of the platform’s powerful tools for tracking analytics and measuring the success of your campaigns. And, what is more, you can also invest in ad content, like ad banners, open screen ads, Douyin feed ads, sticker ads and so on.


For example, if you want to create a more extended version of video content instead of just a 15-second clip, then you can do it. Douyin offers verified accounts with long-form video content creation. You can also use hashtags as a form of brand strategy to reach more Douyin users or to amplify your brand campaigns.

You can even use Douyin’s payment solution which is just like Alipay, and WeChat Pay. Use this in your video content and your live streams so your audience can automatically proceed to buy your products directly from your content or your Douyin Store. Just like other social media platforms, Douyin also wants to leverage e-commerce in China and make it easier for brands to sell products on the platform.

Best practices for an ideal Douyin marketing strategy

Douyin marketing can be tricky since its algorithm does not necessarily guarantee content success despite establishing a solid presence on the platform. Instead, there are a few ways to make sure that your fashion brand will flourish within this Chinese space.

Use eye-catching visuals to attract Douyin users’ attention

You probably might be familiar with how those visually appealing apps work. In the West we have Instagram and Pinterest, that attract their audience with beautiful landscapes, pretty interiors, fashion photos or food plates. As there are multiple platforms that Chinese people scroll through everyday, the content sometimes might become boring.

To attract their attention, you need to work on the visual side of your videos, so that when they see covers of your short form videos, they will be tempted to watch the whole thing. Chinese people also like when there is a lot of things happening on the screen, as they don’t like to ‘waste the space’. You can therefore add links to your own flagship store on Douyin, to direct web traffic there. You can also add some frazes or words highlighting the content.

If you’re looking for inspirations, it’s best to check some of the biggest brands and how they perform on Douyin, or accounts of Key Opinion Leaders, which are Chinese influencers. As they are professionals when it comes to any marketing campaign on the platform, you can observe how they introduce new brands on their videos or how they promote Douyin stores.

Partner with Chinese influencers for a bigger reach

Influencer marketing through KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) partnerships is easily one of the best ways to expand your online presence in Douyin. Because of their established audience base and their content that goes viral every single day, KOLs are viable for your Douyin marketing strategy. If you look at the success factors of Douyin, you’ll see that KOLs played a huge role in it.

Elite fashion brand Michael Kors also used KOLs in its first dive in Douyin marketing by using “The Walk” challenge. This encouraged their audience to use the cityscape as their version of a runway.

Be sure to get to know the KOL that you are partnering with and the audience that they cater to. This is to ensure that the communities that you are reaching actually have the possibility to entertain your company and buy the products you’re offering.

Leverage the power of Livestreaming

When it comes to KOLs, we cannot miss mentioning live-streaming, which became very popular in China, especially during Covid-19 pandemic. Live-streaming is one of the most powerful e-commerce tools nowadays and many premium brands take advantage of it, by working with live-stream influencers to promote their brand and products.

If you want to reach out to affluent Chinese consumers and grow consumer engagement, live-streaming is one of the best Douyin for marketing tools.

Make use of hashtags

Hashtags are very useful for brand accounts, as they can direct traffic to their pages through search bars. You can also organize a hashtag challenge, a great tool for enhancing your position in Douyin. Michael Kors used hashtags in their campaign to reinforce their brand.

Hashtags serve as a reinforcement to improve your brand recall and strengthen your brand awareness campaigns. Brands like Adidas Neo or Pizza Hut also use their brand hashtags throughout their content on their official Douyin account.

These hashtags can be used for your sponsored challenges or through your regular content, whichever fits your Douyin marketing strategy.

Try to get yourself some viral content

You should also create your own content as part of your marketing strategy. Fill your wall with viral content that you think best resonates with your audience.

You can do this by researching the market such as your competitors, their audience, and what behaviors you usually see there. You can then create a blueprint of your content from your research. Constantly churning out content will help Douyin’s algorithm recognize who you want your target audience to be. While this may take some time and effort, this is a necessary step to improve your Douyin marketing presence.

Invest in Douyin paid advertising

Douyin marketing is not just all about organic reach, though. The platform also offers robust advertising options for brands to touch as many of the demographics as you want. Douyin has three paid ad types to offer:

Douyin Paid Agency

Open Screen Ads

The first one is the open-screen ad, which is exactly what it sounds like. As the user opens the Douyin app, an advertisement will be displayed on their screen which they can either watch or scroll past.

These dynamic ads usually last from 3 to 5 seconds and leave a strong visual impression on the user. In fact, you can display these advertisements unlimitedly for each user.

Feed Ads

Feed ads are quite like open-screen ads. However, instead of being displayed as the application opens, feed ads are integrated seamlessly into a user’s feed, just like how you would see regular Douyin content.

Furthermore, feed ads can be displayed for as long as a minute instead of just 5 seconds. This gives you more time to be creative in your advertisement.

Sticker Ads

One other feature that you can access with a verified business account would be customized stickers for your brand. You can use these custom stickers in your ad campaigns.

Users can then use these static ads in their own content which helps your fashion brand in reaching more audiences.

How to create a Douyin business account

Most of Douyin’s marketing features can only be maximized or used at all if your account is verified by Douyin.

We said it already, a Douyin verified account status will grant you access to these and more marketing features by Douyin. This is not the only benefit that you would get from it. You will attract more consumers to your account by establishing your credibility through that simple checkmark beside your account. This is because Douyin, like many social media platforms in China and beyond, is vulnerable to counterfeit accounts.

To prevent being a victim of impostor accounts, we strongly suggest that you get your Douyin account verified as soon as possible.

Here are the steps that you need to take to get a verified business account in Douyin:

  1. First, you would need to get a Mainland Chinese business license. You can acquire this from your company’s local Administration for Industry and Commerce (IAC). At least 9,000 USD is needed to get this license, which may be higher depending on the type of company that you own.
  2. You will then have to acquire an Internet Content Provider (ICP) License if you are operating a website in China. Specifically, you will need a Commercial ICP License that allows you to advertise, make online sales, and conduct business transactions through Chinese-owned Internet servers. This is necessary if you want to establish a serious online presence in Mainland China.
  3. You will then have to apply a letter to Douyin to get your business verified.
  4. Lastly, you will need to pay an annual fee of 600 CNY to maintain the verified status of your account.

The verification process

Once you have all the requirements, you must go through Douyin’s official account platform to start your verification process. Just complete the form on their website by filling out your company information such as:

  • Account Type
  • Content Category
  • Region of Company Operations
  • Business License
  • Name, Phone Number, Email Address
  • Any Details for Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Click submit after filling in the form and wait for your verification request to be completed. This process usually takes at least one week to complete.

Douyin marketing: final thoughts

Fashion and lifestyle are easily one of the biggest spaces in China’s social media sphere. Consequently, there will be a lot of competition that your brand will face as part of your journey to expand.

These Douyin marketing tactics, however, are proven to scale brands in all industries within the platform. Use these strategies wisely to reach your target demographic.

Want to get started with Douyin marketing? Hire a digital marketing matching service!

We have solutions for you! With 10 years of experience assisting fashion and luxury brands in the Chinese market, we are on top of the latest marketing trends in China. We can help you from setting up in China to the most niche marketing tools you would like to try out for your brand.

We can help you with China market entry, web-design, social media accounts set up, public relations actions, branding and e-reputation building, e-commerce platforms launch as well as crafting marketing strategy best suited for your brand.

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Contact us and let’s schedule a free consultation to discuss your project in China!

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