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Why Marketers In China Are Tapping into Short Video Apps

The rise of Douyin is particulary interesting

Live streaming and short videos have become a greater focus for marketers and media agency professionals in China over the past year, according to a survey by AdMaster and TopMarketing.

In 2017, 22% of respondents said this medium was one of the leading social media marketing tactics they used. Fast forward one year later, and 62% of respondents said they use it.

While many are focusing on other tactics as well—including influencer marketing and social CRM—the shift in short videos and live streaming is a significant one.

So why the refocus?

Since the end of 2016, short videos—which typically last for about 15 seconds to a few minutes—are one of the fastest-growing mobile app categories in China.

Consumption of short video content is simply more suitable for consumers seeking bite-size entertainment in today's on-the-go lifestyle. So it's no surprise that marketers are focusing their attention on short video apps as the ideal storytelling medium to convey their message, whether it is through endorsements from key opinion leaders or advertising.

Among the many short video apps, the rise of Douyin—also known as Tik Tok in some countries outside of China—is particularly interesting.

Originally launched in September 2016 by parent company ByteDance, Douyin saw its daily active users more than double between December 2017 and March 2018, jumping from 17.4 million to 45.6 million, based on data from Jiguang.

March 2018 data from Cheetah Mobile found that Douyin users are primarily female (60.7%), and 66.7% are between the ages of 18 and 24.

Douyin's concept is simple. Users can produce video of themselves lip-syncing and dancing to their favorite tunes, and share it on the app or other social platforms. Users can also apply filters and other editing features to video.

In terms of ads that might be most effective on short video platforms, a March 2018 Tencent survey found that both male and female short video app users are most tolerant toward those that feature creative and interesting content, while they are least interested in ads that feature "traditional" celebrities.