TikTok was launched as a version of the original app--Douyin (抖音 dǒuyīn)--but adapted for the international market. Since then, TikTok has taken the Western social media world by storm, becoming one of the most popular social networking platforms for business and personal use. According to the Business of Apps, “TikTok was downloaded 850 million times in 2020 and is the first non-Facebook app to reach three billion downloads”.
With millions of monthly active viewers, Douyin and TikTok achieved tremendous success in their respective markets. While both platforms focus on providing similar short video entertainment, some notable differences exist within the underlying algorithms:
TikTok is a platform for international users. Statistics reveal that it has a high concentration of Gen Z users with half of them being under the age of 24. If a brand is reaching out to this audience, TikTok is a platform that business owners cannot ignore. On the other hand, Douyin, the predecessor of TikTok has slightly older audiences, with 29.4% of its users between the age of 24 to 30. Furthermore, about 85% of its users are located in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. They are also predominantly female with strong academic backgrounds and disposable income.
In contrast to the almost 50% of Gen Z users on TikTok, only 20.5% of Douyin’s users are younger than 24. Though the overwhelming academic demands may have highly contributed to the numbers, students are too burned out to find Douyin entertaining. The extra features on Douyin that makes it one of the best marketing tools, also makes it less personal. It may be one of the reasons why the younger crowd who have yet to have spending power find it redundant to be on the platform.
Unlike TikTok, where the content is usually personal, Douyin is more integrated for businesses. With multiple features that the international users can look forward to, Douyin is more similar to a marketplace. Just imagine Taobao as a social media platform or if every profile on Instagram was a shop.
“With three taps on Douyin, you can buy a product featured in a video; you can book a stay at a hotel after watching a video shot there; you can take virtual tours of a city’s stores and restaurants, get coupons for those establishments, and later post geo-tagged video reviews.” There will also be a column within a business profile that public users can access to view all the hashtags the business started. It allows the public to access the brand’s content quickly and lets the business owner keep track of their hashtag performance too! Finally, there’s also the interactive live session where hosts can give out vouchers to consumers, and they can place their order right away to receive the best deal!
One of the most significant differences between Douyin and TikTok is the content people produce and consume. TikTok’s content consists of more fun and entertaining videos. The content is usually more personal and laid back. For example, there are many dance challenges, lip-syncing, and relatable audio that other users can apply to their content to be part of a trend.
On the other hand, Douyin has more educational and knowledge-based videos. For example, government officials are on Douyin spreading awareness of topics like extinguishing a fire. Many on Douyin also use the platform as an online study room, and there are even live streams where past years’ examination papers are analysed.
Unlike Douyin, where there is more learning-based and comedic content, TikTok has more personal “blog-like” content.
Cultural differences play a huge role in creating this difference.
TikTok focuses on the organic interactions between people. Whether it is dance challenges, filters, hashtags, or trending audio, it helps to create a common ground for like-minded people. When streaming a live session, users can purchase gifts for their favourite TikToker. It is a genuine, direct, and two-way interaction.
However, Douyin—an app considered the perfect marketing tool for the current market—is more commercial. It is the go-to platform for brand and content creators to brand and establish themselves. With Douyin Shop and the easy-access marketplace that gives users the ability to access any products, including fresh vegetables and fruits, Douyin is no longer just a social networking or entertainment platform like TikTok. It is an app with many hats, and it directly affects how Douyin’s users behave. Unlike the two-way interactions on TikTok, the Douyin’s creators create, and consumers consume. Less organic fun, but more sales.
5. More than TikTok
While TikTok currently only focuses on its short videos, you can scroll through your feed on your phone and desktop; Douyin has become a multifunctional platform. On the desktop version of Douyin, users can access the latest news, trending topics, anything that you may want to know about Covid-19 regulations between states in China, and... FREE MOVIES! Furthermore, instead of scrolling through a mixture of content, users can also select a topic of their liking and only view the content they are interested in.
And yes, they have some English movies as well! All HD, with subtitles and original sound! You’re welcome! www.douyin.com/vs
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References https://www.adchina.io/douyin-marketing/ https://www.businessofapps.com/data/tiktok- report/?utm_source=tiktok&utm_medium=click&utm_campaign=infogram https://supchina.com/2019/09/25/the-difference-between-tiktok-and-douyin/