Few foreign brands are using one of the largest based AI-powered news content platforms of Toutiao, missing out on a huge opportunity to market to potential Chinese consumers. Are you one of them?
Tenba Group unveils the serious reading power of the platform that makes Toutiao an excellent digital marketing tool for Western businesses and how to best use Toutiao to convert Chinese users into lasting customers.
What is Toutiao?
Those that are familiar with Flipboard will find the AI-based news platform of Toutiao, a similar Chinese platform. Using an algorithm that learns about a user’s content preferences, ByteDance’s Toutiao provides endless feeds of articles, videos, and advertisements smartly curated to each user.
Launched in 2012 and known as Jinri Toutiao, or “Today’s Headlines”, the platform has become the most popular social platform for news and information in China. In fact, Toutiao has more than 279 million monthly active users.
The platform utilizes location, reading history, link clicks, and even types of mobile devices to narrow down the best content to show each individual and does not rely on the preferences of a user’s extended network to display suggested content.
With the individual’s interests in mind, users have an unlimited supply of digital content that fits them the best and changes over time with the development of new or changed reading experiences.
Toutiao has made a strong impression in the Chinese market and records nearly 200,000 newly published content daily. This success has pushed the platform to be a strong and quickly-rising competitor to digital news giant, Tencent News.
Luckily for digital marketers, the targeted capabilities of the algorithm ensure that their content doesn’t get lost in the crowd but instead is viewed by the online users that are specifically interested in the type of content a business has to offer.
Who is Using the Platform?
Content creators have the power to harness Toutiao’s machine learning capabilities to reach users around the world with personalized content delivered directly through artificial intelligence to Toutiao users. The popular news app selects the relevant contents to show in its endless newsfeed, which seems like a dream come true for digital marketing solutions.
But who exactly makes up the audience and how are they different from other popular platforms released by Baidu and Tencent?
The Beijing-based company appeals to marketers simply because the user base is mostly younger, wealthier, and more educated on average than users on other platforms. 85% of the daily users are under 35 years old and more than 40% of them have degrees or are currently enrolled in university. In comparison to Weibo or WeChat, 37.8% of Toutiao users have their own business or freelance.
When searching for 塞浦路斯房产 (Cyprus properties) on your laptop or desktop computer, you will see the results pages with the following structure:
- tabs at the top: (1) grouped, (2) information, (3) videos, (4) images, (5) users, (6) Q&A, (7) micro headlines, (8) encyclopedia
- hot video news at the top and further news below
- related news at the top right and 10 top stories below
The difference in age, education, and income translate to users that are more internationally aware and have disposable income that they can allocate to purchase goods and services online.
Moreover, users are more committed to serious reading and expanding on their interests than the more lighthearted, fun offerings of other social platforms. This can be seen in the lengthier amounts of time users spend daily on Toutiao, equivalent to approximately 70 minutes each day.
How to Use Toutiao for Your International Business?
The great news for digital marketers is that Toutiao offers plenty of free or affordable ways to market to Chinese users. The platform shows articles with text and images, a video platform, Livestream options, answers, and even blogs. There are also spaces for advertisements, but these are not necessarily shown as obvious ads but rather a part of the newsfeed content.
In May 2015, Bytedance also launched its own video app, and in 2016 launched TikTok, or Douyin, swiftly becoming an international sensation for short video creation and sharing online on its social media platform.
This is to say that Toutiao has changed the way that international brands can target and engage consumers around the world and more importantly access the Chinese market quite easily. While the readership is educated and intent on serious content, content creators can still use a variety of media to inspire lead generation, such as infographics, question and answer content, and short video clips.
Further, the platform provides the option for businesses to diversify their content. A brand may share their weekly blog posts, generate useful images that address specific interests or problems, and release mini video ads that capture the attention of a user all on the same platform.
Keyword focus and audience-based content drive up the likelihood that your content is going to be seen by those most interested in it, which translates to better lead generation. If you are already using search engines by Baidu, Sogou, Shenma, and Qihoo 360, then incorporating Toutiao Search into your China SEO marketing strategies is a breeze. If you aren’t yet taking advantage of this digital marketing tool, Tenba Group can get you set up with Chinese SEO in no time!
Once a user begins to engage with your brand, they will continue to see the content that you post, establishing long-term relationships with the consumers that will make a difference for your brand. With Toutiao, digital marketing strategies provide real-time results from your ideal consumer and allow better analysis into the type of content consumers prefer.
3 Useful Marketing Tips for Toutiao
As an international business focused on marketing to digital users in creative and dynamic new ways, brands can utilize the unique AI-based news platform of Toutiao to reach more Chinese internet users and convert them into long-term consumers. These three tips help you craft a manageable and profitable Toutiao experience:
1. Keep it short and sweet
Although Toutiao is a news platform, online users aren’t necessarily eager to read lengthy pieces. Keep your articles brief with engaging, creative content.
Often, providing everything about your brand or a product is overwhelming. Instead, stick to a focused, quality piece of content that gives your audience something to resonate with and inspires them to take action.
2. Remember who your potential customers are
Most consumers know when they are being marketed to and clichés or ‘sneaky’ marketing doesn’t always hold up. While online consumers know there are many advertisements online, they are still active and willing to engage with the right marketing advertisements if it appeals to their lifestyle or helps them solve a problem.
Success on Toutiao depends on your ability to put forth meaningful marketing content and solutions for Chinese consumers. Tailor your content to a younger, wealthier, lifestyle-oriented audience, and provide solutions for them.
3. Diversify high-quality content
From articles to short videos or ads, Toutiao provides free digital marketing space to any brand that is willing to put in the work to generate quality content targeted for the right audience.
As most of the users are younger but well educated, understanding the preferences, lifestyles, and even age range of your ideal customer helps you create the type of content they want to know about in an elevated, educational format. Mix the presentation of your information – use video, images, and text.
The Takeaway – Power Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Using AI technology, Toutiao makes it easy and affordable for any foreign business to get noticed in China and among global Chinese communities. The platform learns about the user and delivers more content related to their preferences, which translates to better marketing potential for curated content by online businesses.
Using similar SEO strategies to those you should be using on other Chinese search engine platforms, such as Baidu, Shenma, Sogou, and Qihoo 360, international businesses can take advantage of the Toutiao platform and direct connection with Chinese businesses and consumers.
Get started on focusing your digital marketing approach on Toutiao with the help of the team at Tenba Group and begin reaching the Chinese consumers that strengthen your business. Contact us for a free consultation and we will show you how to journey into the Chinese market successfully with SEO solutions for China!