Matthew Brennan

Content creation has been key for short-form engagement, writes the Jing Daily. And for  Bytedance’s Douyin/Tiktok it has paved the way from its original base of millennials to mainstream engagement, adds Matthew Brennan, author of  “Attention Factory: The Story of Tiktok and China’s Bytedance.

Jing Daily

For Douyin, the presence of arts content as dominant verticals echoes the attentions of the platform’s early millennial adopters. “It started with a core user base of trendy urbanites and art students in the early 20s demographic,” says Matthew Brennan, author of Attention Factory, a book chronicling the rise of parent company ByteDance. “By 2018, Douyin had gone fully mainstream.” Douyin’s warp speed growth was encapsulated by October 2017 during which the app’s users jumped from seven to 14 million and the average time spent in the app doubled to 40 minutes. The growth signaled a reach far beyond the initial Millennial and Gen Z users, and prompted a change of slogan to the all-encompassing “Record Beautiful Life.” Three years on, that vision includes “more than the classic dance, lip-sync, and comic content categories,” says Brennan, and touches upon the full spectrum of cultural content.

Embroidery is one such area. “I had some craft skills before, but I’ve really learned a lot through watching short-videos [on Douyin and Kuaishou],” says Han Yunyin, a retiree in Shanxi province. “Seeing other people’s [embroidery] abilities inspires me to buy more materials and continue making more myself.”

This cultural focus is increasingly driven by ByteDance itself. With more than 600 million daily active users, Douyin appears to have saturated the domestic market — though such predictions in the past have proved premature — and the Beijing-based company’s focus has turned to maintaining its audiences and extending user time, stickiness in industry parlance. Similar to YouTube, Douyin’s appeal rests with content not socializing, says Brennan, and with product teams having seemingly exhausted in-app innovations, the focus will rest on ensuring Douyin platforms unique, quality content. Arts and education are key to this strategy with Douyin self-identifying as China’s largest knowledge, culture, and art platform with nearly 15 million knowledge-based content videos in 2019.

More at the Jing Daily.

Matthew Brennan is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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