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The NBH Guide: Meet Douyin, the mother of Tiktok. How can you as a marketer use Douyin for your  China online presence?

The NBH Guide: Meet Douyin, the mother of Tiktok. How can you as a marketer use Douyin for your China online presence?

If we say Doyin it might not tell you much, but if we say Tiktok I hope you are on it!

Although Tiktok is the western version of Douyin, there are many big differences. As often when it comes to digital China, new platforms are faster adopted by the users and quickly acceptable to use as a marketing tool. In the west, Tiktok is mainly an app for young adults and teens but Douyin is used among all ages and all types of persons.

The app has in a short time, since it appeared in 2016, sprung out of no wear, as an incomparable success. It is fair to argue that it’s the most successful digital phenomenon in China ever.

But what is the key to the success, and how can it be used for you as a marketer in China?

NBH gives you a brief insight and presentation!

The background of Douyin

Douyin was originally launched in 2016 by the company ByteDance. The western version of Tiktok was released in 2017 but wasn’t booming until 2018. It’s vital to understand that Tiktok and Douyin are two different but similar apps, hosted on different servers, and has no other connections to each other than the mother company. 

Douyin is in many ways a very simple app that gives the user the ability to record short (15 seconds to 10 minutes) videos with filters, and watch (15 seconds to 10 minutes) videos in a continuously never-ending flow. The user-friendly functions make it easy for ordinary people to be creative and playful. In fact, most of the content on Douyin is produced by ordinary users.

The founder Zhang Yiming has created an AI-based algorithm that learns user behavior to adjust and tailor the content. In addition to Douyin, Zhang Yiming has also created the news app Toutiao, which has also been widely spread in China. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to return to it later in our insights series.

Some figures

  • Douyin reached over 180 million active users in only two years from its release
  • It is estimated to have over 600 million daily users by the end of 2022
  • It’s predicted to have over 800 million daily users in 2025
  • The average user of Douyin spends about 120 minutes a day on the app
  • The everyday user time has increased by 25% a year since the release

The key to the success

The simple explanation for Douyin’s great success lies in the well-developed technical platform with sophisticated algorithms. The algorithms direct the content towards the specific user’s behavior pattern in order to arouse as much interest as possible. Because the content is adapted to the user, no feed is exactly the same as another.

The user also has limited opportunities to influence the content through, for example, searches. A video is displayed and can either be viewed or clicked away. The algorithms receive direct information about which material is appreciated or not.

Douyin has also been marketing the app to just the right target group, early adapters. Initially younger women in their middle or early 20s. With increased popularity, the app has since then been spread among different ages and genders.

All of these factors together can be summed up in the fact that they released a well-developed app, to exactly the right target audience, at exactly the right time. And let’s be honest, isn’t a good product and the right marketing the recipe for success?

Picture: Appstore. Douyin taking over the scene of e-commerce.

Why use Douyin for marketing

The first and most obvious reason to include Douyin in your marketing plan is that no other app can get as large a visibility in such a short time frame as Douyin.

They also have many suitable solutions such as:

  • Direct linking to e-commerce shops, if you have more than 10 videos posted
  • A self-developed native e-commerce ecosystem where the user is able to make purchases directly in the app

With its constantly growing userbase and its e-commerce ecosystem it’s fair to think that it’s mainly for B2C. And of course, you can’t hide the fact that it is huge for B2C. Clothes, cosmetic, and food is by far the most popular e-commerce categories on Douyin. But on the other hand, it also brings lots of opportunities for B2B.

Since the competition is not as tough when it comes to B2B companies that market themselves via Douyin, there are opportunities to reach out to their customers in a creative, new, and fun way. Why not film from the production or film a tutorial with the pros and cons of using your product?

How to use Douyin for marketing

There are different accounts that can be used for marketing on Douyin. There are both certificated accounts and business accounts. If you want to brand yourself, a certified account is the way, but for companies, a business account is the easiest way. There are many advantages by getting a business account, among other things, the possibility to make longer videos, get access to advertising, sticker-adds, and more visibility through the algorithms.

Another big advantage of having a business account is that once you get approved by Douyin, you get a lot of credit. It simply becomes more trusted.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Doyin is first and foremost a video app with music. In order to capture interest and create visibility, it is therefore important to adapt to the platform. Create creative and exciting materials that feel genuine and well-produced.

Work with KOL:s

The most effective way to get visibility on Doyin is to work with KOL:s. The KOL already has its fan base and the algorithm reaches out to its followers. If you which to do a collaboration with a KOL it’s therefore important to pick someone that reaches out to our targeted audience.

NBH has years of expertise in working with digital marketing in China. Our expertise is available in both Europe and China.

Get the latest China news by registering for our newsletter, contacting us or why not booking a meeting. Find more info about us, book a meeting and sign up for our newsletter.

The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO

The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO

Intro

Companies, especially within B2B think it’s a challenge to reach the Chinese market, what platforms are there, and which ones to prioritize?

In this guide, we will talk Baidu! In the West, we talk Google and the term “let’s google it” has become normalized. Maybe you think this is a standard fraise all over the world? But like everything else in China’s digital world, everything works a little bit differently.

Baidu is China’s largest and most used search engine. Baidu can easily be described as “China’s Google”. If you take a quick look, there are many similarities, partly in appearance, but also in functions, such as maps, videos, images, etc. In terms of search engine and SEO there are a lot of differences.

What is Baidu?

In China, unless you have a VPN to break through the firewall, Baidu is the first search engine of choice and the 6th largest operator in the world, according to StatCounter 2021. Baidu is not only the first choice due to limited options, Baidu also has a high level of trust among its users.

Baidu Vs. Google – SEO

As we mentioned earlier, at the first glance, Google and Baidu seem to be similar. One might think that your Google strategy might work just as well for Baidu, but that is not the case.

The SEO for Baidu simply works differently. So how to optimize your Baidu SEO? NBH will guide you through the 10 most important steps (without ranking).

1. Domain

Baidu ranks the Chinese domains higher in the search result than the global domains. Use a Chinese domain, either .cn or .cn.com.

To get an even better result, also add a keyword to your domain name, to indicate what your website is all about.

2. Host your website in mainland China

To get a faster loading speed and a high user experience, we recommend hosting your website in China. The great firewall slows down the speed of externally hosted websites.

3. ICP license

Websites that are hosted in China need an ICP license (internet content provider). The ICP license can be purchased from the Chinese government and it’s important to display it in the footer of the website.

When it comes to different licensing, there is a major difference between Baidu and Google.

Google does not require any license to get indexed and climb the ranking results.

Baidu also indexes sites that don’t have an ICP license but it prioritized China-hosted sites, and to get a Chinese-hosted website the ICP license is required.

4. Crawling

Baidu script is not as advanced as Google’s. So, you can forget JavaScript and flash, Baidu simply can’t crawl it. Instead, we recommend using HTML static pages.

5. Use the right language

Baidu only index Simplified Chinese. Chinese users prefer using the Chinese language when searching on Baidu, even though they search for international topics. The use of Chinese language will gain the trust of your customers and clients.

6. Meta tags  

Unlike Google, Baidu uses meta tags as an important ranking factor. Choose a meta description that contains at least two keywords and a branded term. You can use up to 78 meta descriptions in Chinese characters.

So, make sure to optimize your meta description, meta image tags, meta keywords, heading tags, and other tags that you find important.

7. Links

Baidu prioritizes backlinks from domestic websites higher than external websites. Make sure to use internal links in order to get a better result, and use many of them, the more the better!

8. Mobile using

In China, people prefer using mobiles, therefore it is important to make sure that your website also is optimized for mobile use. Baidu’s mobile reach is over 1 billion active users, so mobile-friendly is important in order to deliver a great customer experience.

9. Be updated with your content

As always, make sure to always deliver fresh content! Not only for your followers but also for better ranking at Baidu, updated content sends a signal to Baidu and the chances for better ranking are higher. Keep your content alive, publish new articles, pictures, and videos, and make sure that your existing content also is up to date.

10. Optimize your SEO by using Baidu’s own site

Baidu owns several websites and unlike Google, Baidu chooses to prioritize them high in the search field than external websites. Pages that often comes up when scrolling on Baidu are:

  • Baike  (Baidu’s answer to Wikipedia)
  • Tieba (Online discussion forum, similar to Reddit)
  • Zhidao (Question and answer platform, a lot like Quora)

To optimize your SEO it is recommended to also be seen at these sites. Like, Google, it is good to have updated info on Wikipedia, for better ranking. This is the same for China, one way to optimize SEO is to be on Baike (China’s Wikipedia), especially since Baidu owns that site.

To summarize – Why succeed on Baidu?

To get started with Baidu, there are simply a lot of steps to be aware of, not least licenses and documents. But keep in mind that Baidu has over 1.1 billion users and billions of searches per month. Baidu is the leading search engine on the market.

If you take a closer look at Baidu’s app, there are 580 million activated users, so make sure that your website is mobile-friendly!

To succeed in China a Baidu strategy is a must-have!

NBH has years of expertise in working with digital marketing in China. Our expertise is available in both Europe and China.

Get the latest China news by registering for our newsletter, contacting us or why not book a meeting? Find more info by clicking here.

The NBH Guide: Get started with WeChat Mini Program!

The NBH Guide: Get started with WeChat Mini Program!

WeChat Mini Program has shifted the paradigm of mobile use, how can WeChat Mini Program be your solution?

NBH has created a Complete Guide to WeChat Mini Program. Learn everything you need to know by downloading our FREE 16 pages guide:

What is it?

Why Mini Program?

Mini Program for B2B / B2C?

Who is the user?

How can you benefit from WeChat Mini Program?

Get started with WeChat Mini Program! Click below to get full access.

The NBH Guide: Little Red Book – The social fusion app where the UGC community meets eCommerce

The NBH Guide: Little Red Book – The social fusion app where the UGC community meets eCommerce

Little Red Book (LRB), also known as Xiaohongshu 小红书 and RED is China’s largest social shopping platform. It is China’s go-to platform to share product reviews, beauty tips, daily outfits, overall lifestyle photos, etc. LRB is the Chinese equivalent of Instagram and Pinterest together, it is one of the hottest social media platforms in China, an important platform for B2C brands to be present.

The story behind Little Red Book

The platform is based in Shanghai and was originally developed in 2013. The founders Miranda Qu and Charlwin Mao’s goal was to provide a user-generated content (UGC) platform for consumers to share and review products and shopping experiences, discover new products, and exchange style tips. In 2014 the platform began to focus on connecting Chinese consumers with retailers and making it possible to link posts with brand official stores. The launch of its cross-border e-commerce platform RED Store in 2014 opened up the possibility for Chinese customers to buy international brands directly through the app.

Today Little Red Book is one of the fastest-growing social e-commerce platforms on the market and has formed strategic partnerships with brands like Lancôme and Swiss.

In 2020, almost 100,000 new products were added to the app every day with a total number of over 780 million exclusive products.

The company is today valued at over 6 billion US dollars.

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What is it?

According to its official website, Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is a lifestyle sharing platform.

Its mission is to “inspire lives”.  They do this by being a platform that connects people to a range of diverse lifestyle content.

Some might call it a pure e-commerce site but a better description is a search engine. A search engine to easily make a shopping decision or get inspiration.

Users visually showcase things from their everyday life, such as:

  • Makeup- beauty tips
  • Travel experience
  • Outfit of the day
  • Fitness and workout tips

Everything is visually exposed, with a variety of formats, including photos, videos, text, and live streaming.

LRB is user-based and content-driven. The platform is reminiscent of Pinterest in the look of the feed, there are features such as bookmark your favorites, and create your own boards of inspiration. Like Instagram, there are stories and you have the function of sending private messages. Users can also interact via “likes”, cute emojis, comments and follow specific users or brands.

To target content to individual users, Xiaohongshu uses a recommendation algorithm based on the user’s search history and browsing habits.

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So, who is the typical profile user of Little Red Book?

The latest official statistics from Little Red Book show that the platform has about 300 million registered users, and 100 million monthly active users.

The typical user profile on Little Red Book is a young female shopper living in top-tier cities, 56% of its users live in first- and second-tier cities.

The platform is mostly targeted by females, counting for +85% of its users. And the platform is most popular among the younger generations, such as Gen Z:s and late millennials.

The company has been clear that its next step is to engage and attract male users to the platform. In order to do so, investments have been done in articles and commerce on training and grooming products.

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The importants of KOL:s on Little Red Book

KOL:s are extremely important for branding on the Chinese market. And since Xiaohongshu is so much driven by reviews, they might have a greater impact here than on any other platform in China. People with good taste and the ability to communicate their purchases can quickly grow into micro-influencers.

China’s new generation, led by Genzs, tends to look for authenticity in a different way than before. They are focused on sustainability, health, balance, and group affiliation. Maybe that’s why Xiaohongshu has become so big in this age group, simply because they are more compatible with that customer group.

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Influencer (KOL) Kakakaoo- on Little Red Book

The creative RED

The success behind Little Red Book a.ka. RED is a user-driven community where people share comments and give reviews of their shopping and life experiences. The unique design creates a user experience that is more authentic and trusted than other platforms.

One problem that Little Red Book originally had was getting users to go from seeking inspiration and window shopping to actually making active purchases. To deal with this, the company has, among other things set rules for how products may be linked.

In 2020, 8% of the users reading a review on Little Red Book makes an order, this can be compared to Tmall (China’s largest marketplace for brand good) where only 2.6% do the same and go through with a purchase.

RED also has a high level of trust among users as they work directly with the brands’ own online stores. Brands also have the opportunity to set up their own digital shop within the app. Little Red Book then offers companies full logistics service, customer service, and full access to data insights.

LRB has also released its own brand REDesign and opened a physical flagship store in Shanghai. With this, they hope to cross the line between e-commerce and online stores.

Summery

Little Red Book is definitely something different from what we have seen in the “western” social media landscape. Instagram and Pinterest together as one, can it be better?

Overall the search function, the recommendation algorithm, and the user-driven content create a strong sense of credibility and a sense of belonging to a specific community or subculture, a lifestyle sharing platform.

With a large and strong user base, Little Red Book is definitely a platform to keep in mind if you want to introduce or expand your brand on the Chinese market.

The NBH Guide: Are you using WeChat with its full potential?

The NBH Guide: Are you using WeChat with its full potential?

NBH has created a full WeChat Guide where you can learn everything you need to know about WeChat. WeChat with all its features it is sometimes difficult to get a grip on how it can be used both from a user and business perspective. In this Insight, have we summarized the topics of the guide. To get access to the (free) 19 pages guide you can download it here right away, or at the end of this summery!

What is WeChat?

WeChat which once started as a “micro-messaging” app is today beyond more than “just” a messaging app. WeChat has become a big inspiration in the global tech world, it has built its own digital landscape and seems to continue booming.

WeChat got launched in 2011 by Tencent. It started as a “micro-messaging app” and has today all kinds of features such as WeChat payment, networking, find location, WeChat mini-program, etc. For those who’s been in China, especially the recent years, WeChat is not an app you can escape from. For the others, it might be a bit difficult to understand how this MonsterApp (as it sometimes refers to) works, and especially how important its features can be when doing business in China.

WeChat has today 1,25 billion users (Tencent, 2021), which is huge if you compared to the China population that is 1.4 billion.

Simply say, WeChat is more than just an app.

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Different versions

When it comes to doing business in China, and using WeChat as a marketing tool, it is important to understand its structure.

WeChat exists in two different versions, a domestic version that is only available in mainland China and an international version that can be downloaded and used worldwide.

The domestic version operates in a separate system and has access to completely different functions than the one that is available internationally. The international version lacks many of the features that make WeChat unique, and is more limited, it can therefore be more likened to a traditional micro-messaging app.

Official Account Vs. Private Account

WeChat has two different types of accounts, personal accounts or Private Accounts that you as an individual user to access all the functions that the app offers. The other type of account is the Official Account. Official accounts are for companies, brands, and high-profile people. The purpose of an official account is to be able to communicate directly with publishers or customers and redirect them to their own website or online store. Official accounts can be further divided into three subgroups.

  • Service account is for communicating with customers and stakeholders. The account has a lot of sales and service-oriented functions
  • Subscriptions account focuses more on marketing and external communication. This is the only type of official account that can be opened by individuals as it does not require a company license.
  • Enterprise account can be seen as a digital workplace platform or intranet. It has functions that are more adapted for internal communication. In many ways it is possible to compare it to Slack or Teams.

QR-Codes

You have probably used QR codes before, for example, to add friends on Snapchat or open up links to web pages. But in China, QR codes are much, much more and are a major contributing factor to WeChat’s major success. QR codes are used for payment, adding friends, exchanging business cards, accessing public services, tipping at bars, and much more.

The QR code is a fundamental part of WeChat’s ecosystem and virtually everyone who does business in China uses them in one way or another.

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Lots of features and even more possibilities

WeChat is unique in many ways and the fact that it is used both privately and in business means that its potential is enormous. But the potential does not just lie in the ability to communicate. With its various functions, WeChat has gone from a micro-messaging app to a Mega-App that, in simple terms, can handle almost anything.

Some of these key features include:

  • WeChat Networking: By networking, we mean all kinds of networking. Between friends, family, co-workers. Email has in China become a bit “unfashion”, people rather use WeChat when doing business. Create group chats, video, send documents etc.
  • WeChat Moments: Moments acts as a newsfeed similar to Instagram or Facebook. The difference is that you can only see comments and interact with those you have connected to.
  • WeChat Pay: WeChat pay is directly linked to the user’s bank and is used for payment or to send money to friends.
  • Mini-program: Mini programs can be described as an app within the app and are completely cloud-based. This means that the user does not have to download the applications directly to the mobile phone, it exists within WeChat’s own ecosystem. Today there are Mini Programs for everything you can think of, e.g. order taxis, e-commerce, hotel bookings, pay bills and much more.

Conclusion

WeChat has succeeded in creating a unique ecosystem and in many ways redefined the concept of an app. With its huge spread and popularity, it is a must for anyone who wants to do business or market themselves in China.

Are you interested in immersing yourself even more?

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The NBH Guide: What is the success behind Bilibili and How can it be a tool for online marketing?

The NBH Guide: What is the success behind Bilibili and How can it be a tool for online marketing?

We have seen it before, when a platform becomes big it does not take long before it becomes very big. A rapidly booming platform that we need to observe is Bilibili, especially if you want to understand the China e-landscape and even more important if you want to do business in China. Because, how important is it to be visible on social media in China?

Yes, you are right, just as important as it is in the West.

However, as we know there is a range of platforms available for social media marketing in China, Bilibili is one of them.

The online video market in China has long been dominated by three companies: Youku (owned by Alibaba), iQiyi (owned by Baidu), and QQ Video (owned by Tencent). Now Bilibili is up for the challenge, the hype is big both by users and marketers.

NBH will guide you through the story of Bilibili, its innovative features, who’s using Bilibili, and how to use it as a marketing tool?

What is the story behind Bilibili?

You may think of Bilibili as a “new” platform in China, but their story dates back to 2009.

Bilibili, also mentioned as “B-site” or “B-station” (B站), started as a niche platform for the ACG community (“Animation, Comics and Games”). The platform was regarded as a heaven for youth subculture and anime fans. However, in recent years the users aged up and the content has become more diversified.

The founder of Bilibili, Xu Yi (徐逸), on the internet known as “bishi”, started with creating the website mikufans.cn, a website regarding to the ACG community. 2010, Xu Yi relaunched the website into Bilibli and managed the operation of Bilibili, Chen Rui (陈睿) in 2014, became the CEO and Chairman of the Board.

The two biggest internet companies in China are Tencent and Alibaba. These two giants are traditionally competitors, but Bilibili managed to capture investment from both companies. Alibaba has 12.6% ownership and Tencent has 6.8%.

Bilibil started as a niche platform for the ACG community

New Innovative takes and features

Since its creation in 2009, Bilibili has gone from an ACG content platform and grown into having a wider online video community. Nowadays the content is ranging from anime, music, games, movies, to fashion, lifestyle, science, and technology, etc.

Many people compare Bilibili with YouTube, there is similarities, but Bilibili has features and a unique community that distinguishes it from many other similar platforms. 

One of these features is “Danmu (弹幕)” or “bullet chat”. Danmus are comments that appears directly on the video screen, like floating live comments while watching. Danmus is very popular and likable by the younger generation, Millennials, and Gen-Zers. Danmus creates a stronger feeling of belonging and sharing.

Danmu or bullet chat showcase

Another feature is that the users have the option to use B Coins (硬币) and Shells (贝壳), a digital currency that is unique for the platform. It can be used to tip and support creators and brands. This feature adds an alternative to “Likes” and “Favorite”. In this way, Bilibili has created its own innovative ecosystem, that results in engaging content and dedication from its users. 

Bilibili has an innovative business model that creates quality content, organic reach, and high returns on marketing investment.

Who is using Bilibili?

According to QuestMobile TRUTH 2018, Bilibili was listed to be the most favorite App used by young Chinese people under the age of 24. Statistics from iiMedia Research 2021, show that the platform has 202 million monthly active users, 86% of them is under the age of 35 years old. The average time spent by the users is more than 80 min per day, which generates 4.7 billion interactions per month.

The platform also has an almost equal attraction to both male and female users.

Bilibili has become the birthplace of the younger generation’s popular culture and this generation is also becoming the engine of domestic consumption growth.

How to market your business on Bilibili?

There are different ways to market your brand through Bilibili, NBH will list the two most common: 

KOLs

Bilibili is mainly a KOL ecosystem and most branding goes through collaboration with KOLs, as an example only 504 brands have their own brand page on the platform. There are mainly different ways to work with KOLs: 

  1. Yaoyue (邀约), meaning “invite”. Brands collaborate with KOLs and inserts e-commerce links through their video content. This can drive sales-driven traffic directly to e-stores such as Tmall and JD. Brand can measure the clicks and sales from each campaign.  
  2. Xuanshang (悬赏), meaning “reward”, can be explained as a collaboration through a multi-brand e-commerce catalogue. Brand can upload their products that they want to promote and KOLs can voluntarily choose to collaborate and get a commission.

Bilibili advertising

Depending on your campaign or product, Bilibilii offers different ad placements. It can for example be “Splash Screen Ads”, ads that appear when the user opens the app.

“Feed Ads”, encourages users to follow brand accounts, download App or drive users to a landing page. The ad can be shown as an image or video with a promoted “ad” icon.

Biliblii has a creative audience with creative content. Content should therefore be planned carefully and think quality over quantity.

Quality content demo of Bilibili
One good example of quality content, is Fendi’s “Peekaboo Bar” that illustrated a comic for their campaign. The brand was looking to reach Chinas Gen-Z.

To succeed with your branding at Bilibilii, there is a need to engage and interact with the community. Successful marketing on Bilibili requires you to think a bit outside of the box in order to stand out.

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