China’s need to know video apps

The global rise in popularity of visual apps such as Instagram, where you can post snapshot videos of anything from cooking through to kittens, is testament to the fact that people love watching fast, accessible bursts of content. The Chinese market in particular has taken to short video apps with a great deal of enthusiasm, and, naturally, brands with their fingers on the pulse of popular media have been quick to take advantage of a very willing and engaged audience.

Of the many apps on offer, some stand out in terms of reach and attraction – these are four of the top performers for fashion and beauty brand campaigns:


Users: 150m daily

Audience: Gen Z, male and female – 85% are under 24

Launched in 2016, Douyin was the world’s most-downloaded non-gaming iOS app in Q1 this year. Loved by young users and internet celebrities alike, it offers smart recommendations and ‘sticky’ content with filters, backing tracks and visual effects. Particularly attractive is its ‘Challenge’ feature, where themed hashtags act as creative prompts for users – brands can set their own Challenge contests from interpretations of their ads and slogans to lip-syncing jingles.

Michael Kors was the first luxury brand to use Douyin, challenging users to create their own ‘city catwalk’, with inspiration provided by short videos from celebrities including Yang Mi and Mark Chao. Their clips were streamed more than 5 million times, and 30,000 users posted their own 15-second catwalk videos.



Users: 152m monthly

Audience: Female, affluent – 76% are women, average age 23 

Established in 2014, Meipai has a well-established audience of relatively well-off young women, making it popular with beauty and fashion brands. With the option to live-stream as well as upload videos up to five minutes long, the app is very popular with KOLs including HoneyCC and Jingqiaoniu – a select few are now able to create product links that appear in the middle of their videos, making it easier to shop the products they’re promoting.

L’Oreal used Meipai to run a campaign which asked users to upload and share their Hallowe’en makeup videos, with the chance to win a free gift as an incentive. More than 11,000 users took part, and their videos had more than 60 million views.



Users: 70m daily

Audience: Wealthy millennials, male and female – 30% are from first-tier cities


Thanks to its partnership with Weibo, Miaopai is one of the most successful short video apps for brands, and it has a lot of clout with Chinese celebrities and brands because of its performance track record and the status and spending power of its audience. It also offers a unique ‘reward’ service – brands can launch campaigns with money rewards for participation/uploading content that are paid out as red packets.

Skincare brand SK-11, known as a champion of women’s rights, collaborated with Chinese actresses Jiangxin and Tang Wei to run a short video on Miaopai encouraging women to follow their dreams. It received 17 million views in two days and was mentioned in more than 100 influencer posts.



Users: 50m monthly

Audience: Gen Z – 74% are under the age of 24

Originally a video platform for gamers, anime and comics fans, Bilibili reinvented itself as an online entertainment company when it went public earlier this year. According to the company, it has a ‘young and culturally aspirational user base’. While not traditionally known for its short-form content, brands wanting to engage a young audience with a strong community have adopted its key themes, including its signature fly-in user comments, to build short video campaigns and become part of their culture.

Nike used Bilibili to promote its Hyperdunk basketball shoes – ‘The Miraculous Player’ used comics, cartoons and anime-inflected images as well as live action to engage the community with exactly the kind of content they want to experience as part of their fandom.

With identifiable, readily-targeted audiences hungry for snackable content as well as celebrities and KOLs eager to get involved with the format, brands should certainly consider short videos as part of their social strategy. They’re an incredibly engaging – not to mention cost-effective – way to extend reach and consolidate influence.


For more insight, head to WGSN’s Marketing in China: Industry Interviews report.

Like this guest post? Red Ant is a digital solutions provider providing social, e-commerce and mobile experiences for clients with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London.

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