How Mobile Marketers Can Score Big in China | AppsFlyer
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Bytedance’s Toutiao On How Mobile Marketers Can Score Big in China

Danielle Blumenstyk Peterman Oct 03, 2017

When we began working on our guide to mobile marketing in China, we set out to create a comprehensive playbook for mobile marketers thinking about taking their app east.  In order to do so, we went straight to the source and asked some of the biggest players in the Chinese market for their tips and best practices.

The participation was overwhelming, and included huge companies such as Tencent, Baidu, and Bytedance’s Toutiao, to name a few. It became the industry’s most comprehensive guide on the subject matter, and demand has been massive, to say the least, which shows the level of interest China is generating across the ecosystem.

Toutiao, the Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., Ltd. flagship product, boasts 78 million daily active users. In their in-depth answers to our questions, Toutiao’s execs offer an insider’s perspective on mobile marketing in China, including important do’s and don’ts, specific examples, and actionable insights.


AppsFlyer: Why should advertisers start to look at acquiring users in China?

Toutiao: China has a very large number of mobile internet users, and great potential to dig out the market value. According to Chinese MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) statistics in October 2016, Chinese active mobile users hit 700 million. The highly developed mobile terminals, social networks and mobile information platforms, make today’s China a huge mobile market that cannot be ignored.

AF: What important tips can you offer to global advertisers who want to be successful in China marketing their mobile or app business?

T: We have faith that successful advertisers in the global market can also be successful in the Chinese market, if they follow these suggestions for reference:
1)Fully understand the characteristics of Chinese users: Their culture, habits, behavior and other aspects of the differences between countries and cultures. Fully understanding these differences is a prerequisite for success in the China market.

2) Localize your apps step by step: When looking to maintain the main product features, you can try making some small improvements to localize features with each update, or use popular local elements, including specific language choices, local culture icons, etc. This is a great way to make a good impression on users.

3) Leveraging China’s most influential promotion platforms, such as Toutiao: To find popular Chinese media sources, which are not only able to cover a large number of Chinese users, but can also reach your target audience, and provide you with marketing and ad performance optimization solutions.

AF: How can Toutiao help global advertisers in China?

Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., Ltd. was founded in March 2012. The company’s main product “Toutiao” is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered app. There is a massive number of users that open our app to read the news every day. The average usage is more than 76 minutes per user per day, and the average number of opens is nine times per user per day (as of the end of December 2016). Our machine learning techniques effectively provide users with the information they are most interested in. As such, Toutiao can help overseas advertisers with the following:

1) Massive coverage: Toutiao has a comprehensive coverage of Chinese users, from major metropolitans such as Beijing to smaller cities across the country. We have various ad formats which can reach all of our users, such as Open Screen Ads, News Feed Ads, etc. We provide multiple media buying options for Advertisers according to their preferences. For example, advertisers can choose time slots to distribute ads in as well as choose a CPM model for a preset number of guaranteed views.

2) Precise recommendations: The core of Toutiao is our machine learning techniques. We have thousands of engineers and 4000 servers working day and night. Through the accumulation of big data and algorithm calculations, we constantly perfect our understanding of the users’ needs, to ensure advertising content matches the user’s interests to increase performance. We help the ad find the right person, with the right words, for the right result.

3) A variety of advertising products and content cooperation: In order to continuously improve the advertising effect and maximize ROI, Toutiao provides advertisers with a wide range of advertising products. These can be divided into several categories: precise positioning of products for the target audience, creative optimization products, content cooperation products, and more. The advertising formats can be graphics, GIF or short videos, or many other types of diverse content. There is a great deal of potential for cooperation opportunities between overseas advertisers and Toutiao.

AF: Overall, is there a lack of measurement with mobile advertising in China?

T: In China, there are many, many media platforms in the playing field. Third-party testing companies and agencies are taking initiative to protect data, promote transparency and anti-fraud, and support data measurement and monitoring. It is within all of our best interests to maximize the protection of advertisers’ rights using a combination of our technologies.

Toutiao is one of the pioneers in this field in China. We have been fully supporting third-party measurement both on branding and mobile app ads, and we‘re fully integrated with AppsFlyer as our third-party measurement partner. I believe that with time more and more Chinese platforms will support third-party measurement, and with these efforts, China’s mobile advertising market will be more open and transparent.

AF: For Toutiao, why work with a third party measurement provider? What does Toutiao think about third-party measurement and its overall importance in the app marketing ecosystem?

T: If one media platform is playing both referee and athlete roles, it cannot be impartial. To involve third-party measurement is the only way to truly balance the advertisers and media platform, and to solve the problem of trust between the two sides.

“Since the very beginning of our monetized activity, Toutiao has always supported third-party monitoring, including clicks and impressions and many other actions. Open and inclusive is the consistent attitude of Toutiao.” said Zhang Lidong, a partner (co-founder) of Toutiao.

The development of the Internet provided a more efficient platform for advertisers, as they are able to more easily monitor and analyze ROI, but they still need to get more information regarding their UA activities. The only way they can get accurate performance data from their ads is with the data transparency, which strongly relies on an open attitude and trust between both parties. Third-party monitoring acts as an impartial referee, using their technology to provide services to advertisers, that are essential for the mobile ecosystem’s growth – which is why such agencies should be supported by all players in the mobile field. On the advertisers’ side, they should take the initiative to maintain the transparency of data to measure ad performance. On the publisher and Agency’s sides, they should open third-party measurement to detect ad exposure and clicks, to help advertisers understand the effect true, accurate measurement can have on their performance. Making every aspect of the process clear and transparent is the way to ensure the health of mobile advertising and its long-term development.

AF: Have you seen any early success for global advertisers using Toutiao and AppsFlyer for attracting app users in China? Are there any examples/stories you can share?

T: Uber entered China in 2016, struggling with the market for life and death. In order to quickly obtain users, maximize their market share, and compete with the local competitor Di Di, They cooperated with Toutiao for UA very closely. The specific promotion strategy was:

  • Divide users into different groups and target them
  • Test various creatives
  • Deliver ads with reasonable traffic allocation
  • Optimize campaigns in a real time and monitor CR


Uber used to spend $440000/Day with us. They got very positive ad performance results, that:

  • Brought more than 100000 registered drivers to the platform with more than 20% order taking over rate.
  • Brought more than 80000 new users and 60000 user registrations. Around 44% of users used the app to call a driver the first time they opened it.

About Toutiao
Beijing Bytedance Technology Co., Ltd. is the leading mobile internet company dedicated to connecting information with people. As of Dec 2016, Bytedance’s flagship product Toutiao serves over 78 million daily active users.