How to do livestreaming in China_Part 1
Simply put: Streaming is big in China. With more than 400 million online viewers in total, livestreaming in China has become the most popular video watching experience, according to The Chinese Livestreaming Report. As consumers crave immersive experiences and personalized recommendations, new and more niche platforms, have been created to satisfy these consumer demands to the point that the market has reached an incredible USD 4.4 billion – and this was in 2018 – according to the consulting company Deloitte.
While the end of 2019 saw an inclination that livestreaming was hitting its peak and a possible resurgence for more concrete shopping experiences and events, the COVID-19 pandemic in China and abroad in 2020 has realized a new, massive boom to the industry.
However, is this livestreaming boom a temporary phenomenon? Or will it continue to keep going strong in 3, 5, or even ten years?
During the pandemic, many of our daily outside-the-home activities that we never took advantage of have quickly pivoted from livestreaming to a ubiquitous fact of day-to-day life. From fitness gurus giving online classes to those in quarantine to children taking classes with a live teacher doing a whole lesson (to usually a classroom of young video watchers), the uses of livestreaming have quickly become many. Once a feature becomes so essential to daily living, the economic cost of moving away from it becomes greater and greater to the point that it is now here to stay, and businesses are seeing and taking advantage of this.
So, the question is: Why aren’t you?
The second question you are now asking yourself is how do I go about effectively tackling something like livestreaming?
Well, we are here for you.
China was an early adopter of livestreaming to the point that there are now over 200 platforms that are capable of hosting streamers to an audience far and wide. With the need for just a capable camera and a microphone (many just use a phone), livestreaming can easily function as a powerful marketing tool at an extremely low cost.
What makes livestreaming so popular is that it functions as a “real-time connection” that provides audiences near and far with a chance to interact as if they are having a Facetime-like call with the key opinion leader (KOL) or broadcaster. With the feeling of a closer engagement with the brand, the customer feels like they are right in the room. Potential customers can get answers to important questions and gain a further impression of the products, making promotional activities more convincing and compelling.
While some industries like luxury, fashion, and cosmetics were the early adopters and became well-versed on how to use livestreaming effectively, it has become an omni-capable tool for all sorts of products sold. One such example is rural live-streaming host Chen Jiubei helping farmers in her hometown sell two million kilograms of unsellable oranges in just 13 days. This is not just an outlier. Alibaba’s Alizila highlighted that a 2018 Taobao Live hosted more than 150,000 agriculture-related live streams drawing over 400 million viewers, and the most incredible. In April 2020, China’s “live streaming sales queen” Viya managed to sell a 40 million RMB rocket launch service on a single stream.
Case in point. It is how you use it.
Speaking of Viya, the combination of KOLs in Chinese livestreaming appears to be very, very effective, as product reviews and brand recommendations can be embedded in livestreamed videos hosted by KOLs or KOCs to increase exposure and brand recognition. Viya is the undisputed champion in China in this regard. She once broke her own single day’s sales record of 353 million RMB (or nearly 50 million USD) – yes, in a single day on a single stream. With this becoming larger and larger of a facilitator of sales, the increasingly used term of Live Commerce is coming into play (Livestreaming + E-commerce = Live Commerce). Live Commerce is basically any livestreaming channel that can now be embedded in an e-commerce platform, like Tmall and JD, allowing stores to sell through a livestream session. What once was just a couple of big players doing this embedded platform now has grown to a massive scale, and now its own term: Live Commerce.
While livestreaming began with the gaming industry through apps like Huya, Douyu, Chushou, and Panda TV, it grew through its infancy to larger counterparts in that of Kuaishou, Inke, and Momo, until it is now in adulthood with the like of Taobao, Tmall, JingDong (JD), Weibo, WeChat, Meipai, and even local governments are utilizing it at varying capacities.
After the lockdown ended in Wuhan, the first city to be in a lockdown , government officials used live streams to showcase their favorite local products. Even corporate heads featured on several streams for NetEase and Ctrip to sell smartphones, travel packages, and home appliances.
This is not a new thing, though. Western firms have long-held extended broadcasts or live events for the launch of a new product. Apple is famous for its livestreams of its bi-annual product drop, and it is not only the marketers up on stage speaking – it is often the CEO and the heads of division up giving key and concise talks about new products and why it is going to impact your life in a positive way. Google’s and Twitter’s CEOs have a history of doing this as well, as it allows a “face time” experience into the thoughts and practices of leadership at these mega-companies.
The potential to boost business in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in China has won newfound respect from the powers that be as The National Development and Reform Commission has since launched a plan to encourage newer business models, including e-commerce, and even President Xi Jinping has lauded live streaming sales as a way to help rural residents market their products to the more prosperous city centers and shake off poverty.
What are the indicators of a successful livestream?
Livestream metrics tend to be a lot more “honest” as just having a viewer count is never telling the whole story. Instead, two of the key metrics are Call to Action Responses and Average Minute Audience. Call to Action is simply as it is described: are your viewers taking action on your words? Are they buying your product as a result of your livestream? Why or why not? This is where it becomes a trial-and-error game until you hit the sweet spot. As for ‘average minute audience’, it is simply looking at concurrent viewership in an average minute of the stream. This practical metric lets you compare your live efforts to see which ones were the most effective and popular.
In the end: Why bother?
Livestreaming is here for the long haul, and who better than to help your marketing and livestreaming activities in this burgeoning sector in China than Melcher, a company that’s been here since 1866 – now that is the long haul.
How Melchers supports you in China
With 155 years of business experience in various sectors in China, we know that every company needs its unique approach to the Chinese market. China’s business world is continually changing and varies significantly from region to region in terms of prosperity, regulation, openness to business, and other factors influencing the business environment. Due to its size and diversity, China can hardly be compared to any other country in the world. To successfully master the regional differences, small and medium-sized companies need to have an experienced partner like Melchers in China. With locations in the most important economic centers in Greater China, we have a regional and holistic understanding of the Chinese market and can tailor your market strategy ideally to individual regions. By utilizing our expertise from many years of cooperation with numerous national and international companies in China, we can offer comprehensive services along the entire value chain and make your business in China a success.
To learn more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.