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Douyin vs TikTok: what are the differences between the two Chinese platforms?

With the exponential success of TikTok, the video app is no novelty for marketers, but have you considered getting active on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok? At Kolsquare, learn what the differences are between the two social networks belonging to ByteDance and how to take advantage of each for your influencer marketing strategy.

Seated person holding a phone that shows a TikTok logo
Seated person holding a phone that shows a TikTok logo

Key Takeaways

  • With an expected 639.4 million users in 2022, brands can reach a large portion of the Chinese population through Douyin.
  • Douyin’s features are more advanced than TikTok. For example, users can search for more videos via facial recognition. For TikTok, this is not allowed.
  • E-commerce is flourishing because buying products on Douyin is particularly easy; users can purchase products with just three clicks.

TikTok belongs to the Chinese parent company ByteDance and is popular worldwide. But the Chinese multinational Internet technology company owns another social network that, like TikTok, offers a vast library of user-generated, short video content. In 15-, 60-second or five-minute videos, creators on both apps show tutorials, food videos, pet videos or other funny videos. But what are the differences between TikTok and Douyin? And how can you leverage the respective strengths of both apps for your promotional strategies? Read it now on the Kolsquare blog.

Douyin's Key Statistics in 2022

First, let’s clarify what Douyin is in the first place. The Chinese version of the TikTok we know, which has been around since 2016, is only available for the Chinese market. Douyin is also all about entertaining and easy-to-consume video content.

Short videos are trending, and have been for some time. This can be seen not only in the increasing user numbers for TikTok, but also in the fact that other social networks are upgrading with regard to this feature. Read on the Kolsquare blog:

In 2022, the number of Douyin users is expected to increase to 639.4m. This figure shows that a large part of the Chinese population uses the platform, which in turn can be an opportunity for brands. Insider Intelligence predicts that TikTok will probably have close to one billion users by 2025. These two Chinese apps therefore hold great potential for influencer marketing campaigns.

At 89%, the majority of Douyin users are under the age of 40, while another 49% are under 30. With 50.8% of the Chinese population having an account on Douyin, the app is a great platform for global companies to position themselves in the Chinese market, with 90% of users using the app multiple times a day.

Also interesting is how much time users spend on the app: The longest average monthly usage time is 1,794 minutes (almost 30 hours), according to China Internet Watch. Douyin also promotes live stream offers. In 2021, livestream views during Singles’ Day events totaled 39.5b.

The app is also attractive in terms of Douyin’s topics and features. For example, most of the user-generated content on Douyin is in Mandarin, which is something you also need to be aware of in your marketing strategy. Also, platforms like Douyin are changing the world of e-commerce, which is why Douyin is investing in shopping features. For example, businesses can also link their account to their online store.

Douyin vs TikTok: what is the difference?

Both apps have a similar user interface. As mentioned, it’s mainly about sharing videos for entertainment. However, while there is little difference in the design and idea, the content on both apps differs greatly. Accordingly, you need to adjust your hashtags

Furthermore, you should know that both apps work autonomously from each other. So, if your brand already has an account on TikTok, you will still need to create a new account on Douyin.

Douyin integrates goods from Taobao and Jingdong through the app, which is currently the most popular way to make money on Douyin. In addition to product sales, which, by the way, can be done on Douyin in just three clicks, businesses can use Douyin for influencer marketing, customer interaction and more to establish themselves in China.

Unlike on TikTok, users can find more videos of the respective influencers via facial recognition. Douyin is also trying to become the number one media platform for entertainment and thus the Chinese Netflix. Finally, the algorithms of the two Chinese apps are also different. While on Douyin large accounts are more weighty, on TikTok even small amounts on the “For You” page can go viral. Read how to master the TikTok algorithm in 2022 on the Kolsquare blog.

Is Influencer Marketing Useful on Douyin?

Similar to TikTok, it is increasingly GenZ that is using Douyin. As the first people of this generation will soon also enter the job market and then earn money themselves, they will be central to Sales in the coming years. This is also a reason why many brands are interested in TikTok but also in Douyin, are you?

Read also about the three golden rules of influencer marketing on TikTok.

Looking at the app from the user perspective, Douyin symbolizes youth, innovation, rebellion and uniqueness. Make the image work for you, as long as it’s compatible with your brand values. Based on your brand identity, does it make sense to launch an influencer marketing campaign on Douyin?

The first idea for content on Douyin is to launch a challenge. This way, brands can directly integrate a CAT and engage with their followers. Make sure to make the challenges realistic so that users actually want to do them. Trends on Douyin are similarly fast-moving as on TikTok. You need to keep an eye on the app regularly to see what’s going viral. Feel free to jump on one of these trends, as this will help you increase your engagement rate.  

Of course, it is a good idea to cooperate with KOLs, i.e. bloggers, influencers, or online stars. Since the size of the accounts is already relevant on Douyin, you can generate more reach and visibility, especially if you have only been registered on the app for a short time.

Especially luxury brands like Dior, Prada or Tiffany & Co want to open marketing and advertising accounts on Douyin. Even if the typical Douyin users do not match their target group at first glance, there are some reasons to start an influencer marketing campaign on Douyin. According to a 2017 study by OC&C Strategy Consultants, the demographics of luxury consumers in China have changed dramatically. Both Millennials and GenZ have developed tremendous buying power compared to previous generations.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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