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Douyin TikTok Traffic Mechanism and Algorithm

Updated: Aug 11, 2023


Douyin (TikTok China) is the largest social media platform in China. Since its launch in 2016, Douyin has grown exponentially, with over 809 million users.

According to the CEO of Douyin, the daily active users exceeded 150 million and monthly active users broke 300 million in January 2023. Also, the average daily usage time of TikTok China reaches a staggering 140 minutes per capita.

What factors have contributed to Douyin's exponential growth and viral spread? How does Douyin manage its massive pool of traffic and continue to grow? Probably, you can find the secret in its smart algorithm and traffic distribution mechanism.

What is the “Traffic Mechanism”:

Traffic refers to the exposure rate or the number of viewers of a video, which is mainly determined by factors such as completion rate, number of followers, engagement rate, likes, and comments. These data determine whether the video will be pushed to more people by Douyin.

If the data of your video reaches certain criteria, such as more than 100,000 likes and more than 1 million plays, your video will become a “viral video”. “Viral videos” not only drive users to buy products directly and increase sales but also greatly increase brand awareness.

The “funnel model”:

Douyin's traffic distribution mechanism can be described as a "funnel model." After a content piece is successfully published, the platform allocates basic traffic to it. When core indicators (completion rate, engagement rate, conversion rate, etc.) surpass certain thresholds, the content enters a larger traffic pool. If it continues to exceed the thresholds of the following levels, it will continue to advance and gain more exposure, just like an inverted funnel.

This "viral" approach is at the core of how Douyin manages its users' content and reaches success.

Organic traffic and paid traffic

Douyin's traffic can be divided into organic traffic and paid traffic. Organic traffic refers to the traffic obtained through followers' attention and algorithm-based recommendations. No additional payment is required in organic traffic.

On the other hand, paid traffic requires payment and includes various advertising products such as bidding ads, DOU+ placements, and brand advertisements, depending on the settlement method and display format.

How to gain more “traffic”?

According to the traffic mechanism of Douyin, you can gain more traffic by improving the key factors which determine whether you can reach the thresholds.

  • Completion Rate: It refers to the ratio of a video being played completely. In order to increase this ratio, you can reduce the length of the video or improve the content of the video.

  • Engagement Rate: When designing content, it is beneficial to incorporate interactive elements that resonate with the target audience.

  • Likes: The more people who like a video's content, the higher the number of likes it will accumulate. If your like rate is greater than 3%, the Douyin algorithm will judge your creation as a quality video and push your video to more people.

  • Comments: Including interactive elements in the video content is advisable to encourage more people to participate in discussions.

You can also purchase traffic to push your video to more people. As a professional e-commerce agency, RougeLink can choose the best settlement method and display format for the video, making sure our customers can maximize the benefits through paid traffic.

More importantly, content is the core focus of Douyin. Douyin is a content-driven platform with a “0.7 * content quality + 0.3 * social relationships” recommendation algorithm formula. To create the best content, we need to know the preferences of Douyin users, the best format of the video, the appropriate “tags”, the latest creative trends, etc. This "decentralized" algorithmic model offers great opportunities for new users and new brands, as there are no “monopolies”, everyone can succeed by creating great and impressive videos.

In addition, with high-quality content, a significant amount of the marketing budget including the paid traffic can be saved.

Recall Mechanism:

The "recall mechanism" refers to the process where, regardless of how many threshold levels a piece of content surpasses after publication, the platform eventually reduces its visibility and stops recommending it. Douyin has an exposure period of up to 90 days, and high-quality content can have its exposure period extended before being recalled.

A 90-day period is pretty much longer compared to other short video platforms such as AAuto Quicker, another giant short video platform in China that has only 48 hours recall period.

The extended recall period provides significant opportunities for users. If your video doesn't gain traffic immediately after publishing, you still have the chance to achieve success one or two months later, allowing for a smoother path to popularity.

Personalized and Accurate Recommendations:

Every action a user takes on Douyin serves as a “clear instruction”, allowing the platform to determine the user's preferences and categorize them as high-quality users, silent users, churned users, or recoverable users.

Douyin’s extremely personalized algorithm will match the characteristics of the video (the content, tags, publisher, etc.) with user characteristics. The aim is to match content producers with precise users while providing content consumers with relevant and interesting creations. This “accurate push” also helps the brand successfully reaches its target audience.

If you wish to know more about the livestreaming e-commerce analysis and tactics in China, please contact RougeLink for more information.

RougeLink offers e-commerce solutions, with integrated capabilities encompassing all aspects of the e-commerce value chain covering e-store operations, digital marketing, customer services, and logistics.

#ecommerce in China # china ecommerce # livestreaming # tiktok China #alibaba #live ecommerce # livestreaming ecommerce # douyin

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