Social media platforms are the gateway to KOL marketing. According to Accenture, up to 70 percent of Chinese born after 1995 prefer buying products directly through social media rather than other channels. In the rest of the world, this sits at 44 percent. Additionally, McKinsey China states that 50 percent of the mainland’s digital consumers use social channels to do product research or get recommendations.
When it comes to social commerce, making full use of everything that China’s popular platforms have to offer is the way to create impact with KOL campaigns. While it varies by sector, certain apps work better with KOLs than others, generating more Media Impact Value™ (MIV®) in return.
Xiaohongshu, for example, had 42 percent more distribution for top beauty brands than top fashion labels, while these latter had 58 percent more on Weibo. If we take Tom Ford Beauty, their MIV® distribution had a 67 percent MIV® share on platform Xiaohongshu and 24 percent on Weibo whereas Burberry Fashion came out with 55 percent on Weibo and 20 percent on Xiaohongshu. Beauty naturally finds a strong resonance on platforms like Xiaohongshu which allow more space for educational content such as beauty tricks, styles, trends, or even product reviews.
It is interesting (though not shocking) that for domestic players, the trends are different. Beauty firms witnessed 69 percent more in MIV® share on Douyin than those in fashion. Perfect Diary, for instance, had 96 percent more in MIV® distribution on the application than sportswear giant Li-Ning. Alternatively, fashion houses saw 68 percent more in MIV® distribution on Weibo — local clothing name Shushu/Tong had 49 percent more in MIV® than its compatriot in the beauty sector, Into You. Short-form video platforms such as Douyin have also proven to be resonating well with beauty as KOLs and creators have more freedom over the type of content shared, and that content is easily digestible by their audience. Douyin is the leader in its field and the homegrown companies using it have naturally understood its power.
Taking it a step further, if we analyze campaigns featuring KOLs, these generate 85 percent more MIV® than the top fashion outfits. Look at Lancôme, which generated 152 percent more MIV® than Chanel Fashion. Interestingly, this gap was even wider among domestic businesses; globally, Chinese beauty establishments generated nearly nine times more MIV® than their counterparts in fashion, with Florasis’ MIV® being 20 times more than Icicle’s. This goes hand-in-hand with the growing strength of the country’s beauty brands today. Oushiman (OSM) demonstrates this well. The group generated $13.3 million (92.1 million RMB) in MIV® in Q1 2022 versus $1.4 million (9.7 million RMB) in Q2 2022 locally, showing an incredible growth rate of 848 percent in just a year. Comparatively, Chinese fashion lines haven’t been seeing the same treatment, as the market remains dominated by western competitors.
Finding the right platform and the right KOLs for a campaign can be a long and difficult journey. This makes it even more important to always have the campaign’s goal in mind. Whether it’s driving sales, increasing awareness, or building brand image — keep the vision clear.
This is an op-ed article that reflects the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Jing Daily.
Kim Leitzes is MD of APAC at Launchmetrics