How to begin using Toutiao advertising in China

Toutiao (头条) – or Jinri Toutiao (今日头条) – which translates as “Today’s Headlines”, is an AI-based news app that uses machine learning to deliver highly relevant and tailored content to users, based on their reading preferences. If you’ve not yet heard of it, prepare to discover one of the biggest digital phenomenons in China – and a superb route for your digital advertising.

Owned by ByteDance, the firm behind TikTok / Douyin, Toutiao is already a top content platform in China, using cutting-edge technology to maximise engagement through diverse news content and targeted interest-based information. Not only is it a tech leader, but it’s vast, hugely powerful – and growing fast.

What Western brands need to know about Toutiao

– As China’s leading news app, Toutiao has over 700 million users and 220 million active monthly users.
– As the most addictive media in the world, its users also spend 76 minutes on the platform each day – opening the app nine times to check for the latest news content.

Why advertise on Toutiao as a Western brand?

China is such a vast market that Western brands can find it difficult to reach their target Chinese audience with more traditional advertising methods. The culture can represent a challenge, international and more familiar advertising tools and digital platforms are often blocked, and there isn’t an obvious data flow to benefit from. But Toutiao is easy to use, convenient and cost-effective. What’s more, it has an immense audience and potential marketplace and is hugely attractive in its reach and targeting capabilities.

How do Toutiao advertising work?

Adverts live on a highly addictive news feed that is powered by AI. Toutiao adverts are delivered according to rich data on each user’s interests and online behaviour. This means that advertisers will have their adverts shown to the most interested, relevant users for optimised targeting – removing waste and improving conversions.

In terms of format, the news feed contains large impressions of image ads, short video and video ads that are shown across the daily user base of over 150 million daily users. Each user will see highly relevant adverts shown just like pieces of news and seamlessly blended with organic content. Toutiao aims to make its adverts as interesting as content so that its users enjoy reading them.

There are two different types of advert for advertisers to choose from. These are:

1. Feed ads, which are shown nested within organic content, and
2. Full cover open ads which fill the entire screen as one large image or multiple small images.

Both are easy to target and personalise so that your content is only shown to users which have expressed an interest in it. The main buying model for Toutiao advertising is oPCM – bidding that uses AI and precise targeting.

Is it easy for Western brands to run advertising campaigns on Toutiao?

It is – ONCE you are set up and registered on the ByteDance’s advertising platform. Setting up an advertising account itself can be time-consuming and rather difficult for Western brands. Many Western businesses use a Chinese marketing agency to make this process as easy and simple as possible, and it’s a service that Market Me China offers to clients who wish to access the platform and its advertising power rapidly and smoothly – without a hitch.

Powerful ad management

Once your brand has set up an advertising account on the ByteDance’s advertising platform, you can create and manage Toutiao advertising campaigns, as well as any advertising campaigns on other apps owned by ByteDance, such as Douyin, Xigua.

Even better, the ad management platform is available in English so that international users can easily place adverts. Within this intuitive and powerful advertising platform, Western brands can create adverts and schedule their targeted placement, manage their budgets, see real-time reports, and access cross-channel analytics in one place. However, most will still use the customer insight and experience of a Chinese digital marketing agency, who can manage the entire process end to end and take care of all the administration of the campaign, from advertising planning and scheduling through to post-campaign evaluation and analytics, to ensure the best possible results from their campaigns. his is especially helpful if Toutiao advertising is being delivered as part of an integrated and holistic digital marketing campaign, designed to deliver returns on a number of fronts.

Precise targeting

With granular targeting options, it is very easy to really pinpoint the type of Toutiao user you want to show your advert to, with options that include age, location, gender, interests, educational attainment, online device, online behaviours, and more. The experience is very similar to managing a Facebook online advertising campaign in the West, with similar parameters and online processes.

The help you need

Market Me China is here to assist with all of your Chinese digital marketing needs. Whatever your industry or goals, we can help your brand to succeed in this complicated, vast and hugely enticing market! Our team of digital marketing professionals possesses native Chinese language skills and plenty of valuable experience, and we work on a flexible basis with our clients to offer the services that they need. Please contact us in the first instance to find out more.

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