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Real Estate Marketing in China: How to Engage with High-Value Chinese Audience on Douyin

Short-form videos and live streams nowadays have seamlessly integrated into every real estate buyer’s decision-making process, encompassing information exposure, touring properties, etc.

In China’s real estate marketing ecosystem, Douyin has emerged as a key player along with a continuous rise in the number of real estate creators on the platform. Over 80% of China’s top 200 real estate developers (based on sales) have established Business Accounts on Douyin.

If overseas real estate brands want to reach audiences in China, they need to understand how China’s real estate marketing ecosystem operates online. In this content, we will dive into the data and product capabilities of the Douyin platform, combining localized marketing methods and best practices to help you discover high-quality customers in the Chinese market, propelling your businesses to new heights.

What is Douyin?

Douyin is China’s leading destination for short-form videos. Over the years, Douyin has evolved beyond short video to become a platform that incorporates livestream, e-commerce, longer-form video, and more. The plarform tracks whether a user watches each video in full or if it’s skipped after a few seconds. Every input is a data point: the next video that appears in a user’s feed is shown based on that user’s prior actions.

>> Learn more about Douyin

Key Drivers Behind the Overseas Real Estate Boom in China

Chinese high-end consumers exhibit the highest economic outlook and happiness index scores in a decade, fueling their pursuit of enhanced consumption experiences and global perspectives.

As the global travel market recovers, the number of Chinese buyers is expected to increase further. Buyers prioritize factors such as local tourism resources, educational opportunities, amenities and infrastructure surrounding the property, and potential for rental income and property value appreciation. In addition to traditional markets like the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Canada, Chinese buyers are increasingly exploring opportunities in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

China Real Estate Marketing Landscape

Three Hot Destinations for Douyin Real Estate Users

Based on content views and magnitude of engagement, we found the users has the highest interests towards real estate and properties in Japan, the US and Dubai.

  • Douyin users show the greatest interest in real estate content for Japan, ranking it first for both views and engagements.
  • Real estate content for the US has a good chance of surpassing Japan. It ranks second for views and engagements, with active searches for US content increasing by 166% YoY, indicating rapid growth.
  • Dubai real estate content is currently experiencing rapid growth, with users showing increased willingness to interact with this content.

Three Types of Overseas Real Estate Content on Douyin

  • Overseas real estate knowledge: Barriers to entry for real estate investment, introductions to local culture and community amenities, guidance to help avoid investment mistakes

  • Overseas virtual home tours: Home tour vlogs, home exploration, house type analysis, overseas lifestyle.

  • Actual real estate investment cases: Property buying experiences, investment experiences, mistakes to avoid.

Douyin Audiences Are Interested in Overseas Markets

Douyin is a content platform where high-net-worth Chinese investors learn about the dynamics of overseas real estate markets. Here are a handful of characteristics such users share:

Age, gender, and region distribution

  • Age: Douyin users interested in overseas real estate are mainly under 40, accounting for over 90% of this age segment, which aligns with wealthy Chinese households’ age distribution.
  • Gender: Douyin users interested in overseas real estate are predominantly male, with males accounting for over 60% of the audience. Male users also show a higher interest in real estate compared to female users.
  • Region: Guangdong users make up the largest audience share, while Shanghai and Beijing users exhibit the highest interest levels。

Interest Group Preferences

Audiences interested in overseas real estate also follow financial management, travel, and smart homes, and are highly correlated with fashion and technology audience groups. Focusing on Douyin real estate users, interest group preferences tell us the following about real estate users:

  • Among groups with high interest, conservative financial managers, frequent travelers, and beauty enthusiasts who like high-end consumption show a clear preference for real estate content.
  • Among groups with moderate interest, those who interested in smart home renovation and home theaters are prominent.
  • Among groups with low interest, individuals include young entrepreneurs who have returned to their hometowns, passionate fans of trendy fashion and health insurance planners.

Marketing Methodology for the Real Estate Industry

The O-5A model connects the entire conversion path for high-value lead acquisition

Ocean Engine divides brand audience assets into 2 groups: the O (Opportunity) audience and the 5A brand asset audience. Using the O-5A audience asset model, brands can intuitively see their audience sizes at different levels in the conversion filter, such as the Aware, Appeal, Ask, and Act audiences. Then, based on the conversion status at these levels, brands can adjust their advertising strategies and ad spend.

The analysis and industry verification of Ocean Engine’s O-5A audience methodology found that the A3 audience contributes the most to customer acquisition value.

Taking a leading real estate company as an example, the A3 audience contributed nearly 40% of leads. Among all the audiences that converted from visitors to leads, over 50% of the A3 audience visited the company’s page and submitted their inquiries.

How can we accelerate the construction of high-quality A3 audience assets and fundamentally increase lead value? Nativex marketing experts offer 3 general solutions to real estate brands based on their operational capabilities and marketing goals:

Solution 1: Verified Douyin Account + Native Performance Ads to accelerate initial contact information acquisition

Suitable for real estate brands that have outstanding project selling points, are relatively attractive to the target audience, and want to quickly generate and convert leads.

Compared to domestic real estate, foreign real estate brands not only need to introduce the location of their properties and its culture, real estate market, and living environment, but also need to engage in brand marketing, long-term operations, awareness building, solicit authoritative endorsements to build trust and instill brand recognition.

Douyin Native Ads are more acceptable to users and allow brands to explore additional traffic, thereby accelerating traffic, rapidly increasing followers, and improving lead acquisition efficiency.

Solution 2: Good content & good leads, high-quality KOL content accelerates brand breakout

Suitable for real estate brands that: want to further improve advertising performance and boost traffic acquisition and lead quality.

  • Partner with creators to produce high-quality real estate content

Brands can use Ocean Creator Marketplace and other tools to acquire follower profiles for different creators, track user engagement and  marketing performance.

  • Good content creates good leads

Brands can choose to set a “search word” at the top of the comment area of creator videos, where users interested in the video can tap it to follow the brand account or participate in a discussion on the topic.

Solution 3: Brand and performance synergy, cleverly using special-event marketing to maximize traffic

Suitable for real estate brands that: are industry leaders and want to gain sustained influence in the Chinese market and maximize their traffic pool for lead generation.

  • Asset allocation, children who will study abroad, and vacation homes are the 3 main motivations for buying overseas property.

By using popular hashtags that are strongly associated with travel and education and have a high degree of overlap with the target audience, brands can develop more differentiated pitches for their real estate projects that better resonate with users. 

  • Ocean Engine ad products such as Brand Takeover, TopView, and Mission for All can build popular product bundles from hot hashtags.

Through real estate creators, precise user traffic, and cash incentives, brands can quickly produce high-quality custom video and livestream content. 

Nativex: Start with real estate, but don’t stop there 

Nativex marketing experts believe that brands can use the preferences of their potential audiences to expand and extend their content. Rather than focusing only on real estate properties, they can use other aspects of real estate to broaden the content they offer, such as producing content on local culture, daily life in the community, the job market, children’s education, senior living, and investment ROI. This will attract the sustained attention of users, gradually deepen their understanding of local real estate, and ultimately increase conversions.

Regarding content format, because the overseas real estate sector does not normally have high levels of awareness or trust, Nativex marketing experts suggest that real estate brands mainly feature real third parties such as creators, KOLs, celebrities, and non-professionals to convey information. This, paired with official ads and interest-generating content from the brand will allow the brand to use the feeling of familiarity users have with local third parties to quickly close the gap between themselves and users, enhancing users’ interest and trust in their content.

[FREE WHITE PAPER] How Global Real Estate can Find the Perfect Audience in China? 

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