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Toutiao: an Emerging Social Media Platform in China that You Can’t Afford to Ignore

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Toutiao: an Emerging Social Media Platform in China that You Can’t Afford to Ignore

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Marketers in UK who care about the China market may be very familiar with the famous abbreviation “BAT”, which refers to the top 3 internet giants in China: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

However, the term of “BAT” has become somewhat outdated and the new popular abbreviation is “TMD”, which refers to Toutiao, Meituan-Dianping and Didi. Some professionals in internet and marketing profession even refer them as “representing the future” of China’s internet industry. This article is to introduce “Toutiao” and describe its important meaning to one’s marketing efforts in China.

What is Toutiao

Toutiao, which literally means “Today’s Headlines”, is an emerging mobile platform of content creation, aggregation and distribution, featured by machine learning techniques. It’s a product of Bytedance, a company founded in 2012. By analyzing the features of content, users and users’ interaction with content, the company’s algorithm models generate a tailored feed list of content for each user. By March 2018, the Toutiao App’s DAU (Daily Active Users) reached over 200 million, with an average opening it 9 times per day and using it 76 minutes per day. Known as the No. 1 intelligent content distribution platform in China, it has got over 1.1 million accounts, which update over 380,000 pieces of contents and achieve 4.2 billion views per day.

Besides text content, Taotiao also boasts a series of video platforms, including “Watermelon Video”, “Volcano Short Video”, “Douyin”, etc. Among them, Watermelon Video’s users reached over 100 million by June 2017, and Douyin’s daily views reached 3 billion。 Thanks to the fast growth and cutting edge technology, Toutiao, which was founded in March 2012, now values at 75 billion US dollars!

Toutiao’s Advantage Compared with Other Apps

1) Easy to use:Toutiao has been designed to be an easy-to-use, personalized, informative, and addictive mobile-first app. Unlike Weibo, WeChat and other Apps which require download and registration, Toutiao is extremely easy to start using – all it took was a download. You do not need to create an account and password, or to link it to social media (unless you want to do that), or to provide any personal information (name, gender, age, hobbies, etc.). In another word, you do not need any knowledge or tutorials before you use Toutiao.

2)Personalised content feed: The most significant selling point of Toutiao is its “intelligent news feed”, where artificial intelligence and machine learning software tailor content. “We strive to become the information platform that knows each individual best,” Tina Zhao, vice-president, ever told Financial Times. “No two users’ feed lists are alike.” It is betting that a personalised user experience will give it an edge over its competitors — Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

3) Pushed content based on AI-powered information/content platform. Unlike SEO and SEM with Baidu, which are known as pulled marketing, and Weibo and WeChat, which require users to follow an account if he/she likes its content, Toutiao is known for its pushed content based on users’ preferences, selected categories and browsing history, etc. Actually, its AI-powered information/content platform means, the more people use it, the more frequently people use it, the more data people can contribute. The more data people contribute, the smarter Toutiao will be.

4) Short-video-focused business that cater to the needs of a highly fragmented mobile era. One of the most significant feature of the mobile era is fragmentation, which makes it difficult to catch people’s attention. Users leave and go in split seconds if they are not interested. Consequently, short videos have arisen as a new popular form of content. Toutiao runs maybe the best short video platforms in China, as it has connections with most of the Chinese users’ favorite short videos apps. It is able to aggregate these videos all in one place! Following are the two major short video platforms owned and run by Toutiao:

DouYin is a platform beloved by Chinese youngsters. It allows users to watch and produce funny music videos. These 15 seconds clips make it easy to catch user attention. Users can lip sync or dance to the music, while the app provides special effects or filters for editing. Even the latest trending meme the ‘Karma is a bitch’ challenge is from DouYin, showing how influential the platform can be. It is similar to Musical.ly, which Toutiao acquired and later decided to combine with Douyin to expand the user base.

Watermelon Video. The slogan is: ”Give you all the fresh and exciting videos.” It has over 100 million users by June 2017 and daily active users surpassed 10 million.

If you want to know more about Toutiao and how your business can take advantage of it, you may reach Digipanda Marketing

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