How to do short video marketing in China?

In the 5th session of’s ‘China – Let’s Talk Business’ webinar series we talked about how to do short video marketing in China. This webinar was hosted by Jiao who was joined by Yang Ding, a China digital marketing expert with more than 15 years of experience in the market, also running a Chinese digital marketing agency in Bath. He is one of’s vetted providers of digital marketing and therefore a trusted expert to give a brief introduction to the video marketing industry in China.


The short video marketing industry has been booming for the last 5 years in China, reaching a market value of 132 trillion in 2019 and a predicted value of 600 trillion by 2025. Data shows that in June 2020, there were 818 million short video platform users across all four major platforms in China, with 80% of users being in the 19-35 age group. These users are the new middle class in China and they are the target market for short video marketing in China.


The popular short video marketing platforms in China

Douyin and kuaishou video marketing

Douyin –

  • Douyin is Tiktok’s Chinese counterpart and is the most famous platform in the market, with 600 million daily active users making it the second most used app in China, after Wechat.
  • Users of this application are generally from tier 1 or 2 cities in China where purchasing power is strong.
  • There are over 15 million videos on the platform and the content is quite diverse; it started by being a platform for sharing dancing or singing, but now it is a source of knowledge sharing and content about art and culture.
  • Douyin has an interesting focus on Professional Generated Content (PGC) meaning there is a professional team, business or popstar that bring in views rather than user-generated content
  • Only able to have a short description and so you can pin additional key information to the top of the comments if needed
  • Douyin has its own built-in visibility boost tool called Dou+, where you can spend approximately £20 to get 5000 views on a video.


Kuaishou –

  • The biggest competitor to Douyin, Kuaishou focuses on User Generated Content (UGC). It encourages people to share their daily life on the platform.
  • A popular application in tier 3, 4, 5 cities in China
  • Puts a focus on live streaming, however, for overseas accounts this function still cannot be utilised.
  • Whilst at the beginning it is hard to get followers, once you do get followers their ‘stickiness’ is high, meaning they want to engage with you a lot more than they do on applications like Douyin.
  • Content optimisation relies on the platforms’ support; only if the platform likes your content will they make it widely visible and provide you with internet traffic.

WeChat and Little Red Book

WeChat –

  • WeChat Channel has been integrated into the Wechat interface and so relies on a previously acquired member base. For this reason, it is a good application to use for B2B purposes where you can share the videos with your contacts directly.
  • As it is an integrated function on Wechat, its editing functions are limited, and so it is recommended to have a professional video editing team to do the video editing before publishing on the app.


Little Red Book –

  • The Little Red Book user focus is very unique with 77% of users being female. This makes it a good application for the beauty industry, as well as the education industry, with mothers tending to be the main decision makers when it comes to their children’s education.
  • The platform regularly organises campaigns and so it is best to produce content in line with their campaigns because through supporting their campaign, they give you traffic support. This is the great way to receive exposure if you are new to the platform.
  • Little Red Book has its own shopping function so it is easy to link products that you want to sell, or link your online shop directly.


Billi Billi –

  • A video sharing website which focuses on UGC but with a very young target user group. It therefore makes it a good platform if you want to target schools or education.
  • It takes a long time to establish your own account with a following on this application and so using influencers will be better for ROI.


Through having a good understanding of each platform, you can see the similarities but also the distinguishing points between them and the focus group they target. Therefore, it is important to consider who your audience is and choose the correct platform accordingly. If you have a lot of contacts on Wechat, using this channel may be best to target your audience.

For a UK based business specifically, Douyin, Little Red Book and Wechat platforms are the best options for short video marketing. However, as for all short video platforms, they are consumed as a source of entertainment by the consumer and so the top priority is to make them interesting and visually appealing to grab the consumers’ attention quickly.

Ecommerce opportunities with short video marketing

The first way to integrate ecommerce into your short video marketing is to embed shoppable links within your videos and their descriptions. Douyin currently allows you to embed Tmall shop links so you can put out a Tmall product link with a video. Douyin has also launched its own ecommerce shop, but this function is currently only available in China. Overseas accounts may get this function very soon.  The second way to involve ecommerce on these short video platforms is through live streaming. This works well if you have an established follower base already. It is recommended that if you do only have a small following that you use key opinion leaders (KOLs) who can sell your products to their following. This is effective on Little Red Book for female focused products like cosmetics and edtech related products.


Benefits of having a verified Douyin account

Having a business or verified account will mean you have a unique account name that others cannot use at the same time. You are able to receive advanced analytics about your videos that stretches beyond how many likes and comments you have but also the reach you have had and for how long a user has spent watching your video. In addition, having a verified account means you can get extra platform support. When posting advertisement with links to buy something, you will not be prohibited as you would with a personal channel, and it is also more likely to be promoted to other members.


Tips on creating an effective video marketing strategy

  • The most important is the 3 second rule – you only have 3 seconds to grab people’s attention so make sure it is something interesting or impressive​
  • Good graphic design – to let viewers know immediately what you are talking about in the video and they can decide if they want to continue watching
  • Subtitles are essential – some people will watch without sound, for example, when on public transport, and so subtitles make your video accessible to all. The position of these subtitles is also important as you want to ensure it is in a clear place and not being obstructed by the description, or like and comment button on the video. For this reason, placing them around 2/3s of the way down the screen and keeping them short and concise is the most effective. In Chinese characters, this should be 8 characters per line.
  • Upload frequency – It will depend on your budget however, within B2C marketing on a healthy budget, making sure your account is constantly updated with 3 videos a week will keep your followers engaged. If you are in a B2B industry, it could be limited to one video per week.
  • Video length – the best performing videos are around 15/20 seconds. There are some cases where this can be extended to around 1.5 minutes as it is difficult to express the product or offer within a shorter time, for example if you are doing a book recommendation. For B2B clients who need more time for their videos, it is recommended to make 1-2 minute videos and share on Wechat channels where people will be more willing to spend time watching a video of this length.
  • Use appropriate #s – ensure they fit the platform’s purpose. If there are platform specific campaigns, use the # to reflect this in your content to increase your exposure. You can also tag your location as this will mean people nearby will be more likely to see your video, again increasing exposure.
  • Use trending background music and video effects – Douyin will publish background music each week and if you are a business account, playing on these trends, your content will receive more traffic.
  • Use KOLs – can be used as a one off to give you good exposure for a period of time or for a particular campaign, but are even more effective if you have a brand new account to combine KOLs with making your own video content to generate traffic. Of course, this works better if the budget for video marketing is healthy and there is a long term purpose for the account.


These are just a few useful tips on how to effectively do short video marketing in China. The most practical advice would be to set up a Douyin business verified account as well as consistent management of the account. Both of these services can be provided by and Yang Ding to support your business, ensuring your business utilises the best platform for the target audience and product being sold, and exploits the opportunities available in the short video marketing industry in China.



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