Influencers & KOL Marketing In China – Key Facts & Stats

KOL & Influencers Marketing In China

Navigating through the dynamic landscape of KOL & influencer marketing in China can leave you feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been there, too – lost in the sea of statistics, trends, and a billion-plus consumer market! With an alarming growth rate of 44% in the last few years, this strategy is reinventing Chinese marketing as we know it.

In this blog post, I’ll lay out key facts and figures to help you understand just how big this wave truly is. Ready for a deep dive into China’s booming influencer economy?

Key Takeaways

  • KOL stands for Key Opinion Leader, who are big stars on social media in China and helps promote products and services.
  • Many people trust what these KOLs say more than ads or company talk. Almost half of shoppers find it easier to choose what to buy when a KOL talks about the product on marketing channels.
  • The use of influencers is growing fast in China with almost half of the young people listening to them for buying advice.
  • Some apps like Douyin, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Bilibili are popular places where this type of marketing happens in China.
KOL Marketing in China

Overview of KOL & Influencers Marketing in China

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) have taken the Chinese marketing landscape by storm, emerging as critical components in driving consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Known as influencer marketing, this strategy leverages the popularity and reach of prominent online figures to promote products or services.

KOLs are more than just influencers – they’re experts or professionals revered in their fields who’ve gained public trust with valuable insights and advice. The success of this soft-selling strategy springs from China’s unique social media environment where followers number in millions for popular KOLs, making them potent agents in any advertising campaign.

Unlike their Western counterparts, Chinese KOLs maneuver a varied range of platforms including text, photos, live-streaming sessions, social commerce promotions, and short videos; diversifying their impact on prospective consumers.

As such, businesses can harness these dynamic digital narrators whose value lies not only in their large followings but also in authenticity that resonates with target audiences.

pinduoduo live streaming kol

What is KOL Marketing?

Key Opinion Leaders are people who have many fans on social media. Fans look up to them and trust them a lot. This makes them perfect for advertising! Companies partner with these popular people to promote their products or services. Best Key Opinion Leaders have millions of followers and are far more efficient than traditional advertising.

So, instead of companies telling you why their product is good, it’s your favorite online star doing it! It’s like getting advice from a trusted friend instead of an ad. And that feels more authentic and convincing right? That’s the magic of KOL marketing! In China, this type of marketing has grown big time over the years.

The use of live streams, short videos, and social shopping makes ads come alive even more.

Importance of KOLs in the Chinese Market

KOLs hold a lot of value in the Chinese market. They work hard to connect with young people who like to shop online and are on social media a lot. Many shoppers trust KOLs more than ads or brands talking about their own goods.

This is why word-of-mouth marketing from these influencers can really help sell products. Nearly half of shoppers think having KOLs talk about a brand’s stuff makes it easier for them to choose what to buy.

With so much trust, businesses look up to KOLs in China as an important way they can be seen and heard more by the targeted audience. In basic terms, if you want better sales results and more ‘buzz’ around your brand in China’s digital space, you’ll need a good KOL marketing campaign and influencer marketing strategy to boost your visibility and generate sales.

In China, influencer marketing investments vary, but a larger portion, around 43%, allocate budgets ranging from $150,000 to $420,000 for influencer collaborations.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

  • Number one, it builds trust and feels real. People see influencers as friends. They listen to their advice and use it.
  • KOLs play a big part in creating this feel-good factor. In China, around 48% of young people – Generation Z – rely on these online stars to help them decide what to buy.
  • Another plus is that influencer marketing pulls in high-quality customers. Marketers say that 82% of customers who come through this channel are top-notch.
  • Online marketing KOL campaigns in China can put a spotlight on brands in a less pushy way than traditional ads. The trick here is to focus more on promoting the brand rather than sales talk.
  • Finally, there’s growth. The rising trend of using social media influencers means more online stars – we call them creators – are popping up daily on popular platforms like Douyin.

Key Facts & Statistics

There’s no denying the impressive growth of KOL marketing in China. A glance at market statistics shows astonishing results, with key trends pointing to social commerce, short videos and live streaming as significant driving forces for this rise.

Not only are Douyin influencers enjoying increased popularity, but an analysis of ad techniques reveals a shift towards softer selling strategies targeting precise audience demographics.

Growth of KOL Marketing in China

The growth of KOL Marketing in China has been phenomenal in recent years, transforming the digital marketing landscape. This rise can be illustrated through some key stats and facts, as highlighted in the table below.

Projected Market Value in 2023The influencer marketing market in China is projected to reach 3.9 trillion yuan by the end of 2023.
Influence RateThe substantial influence rate of KOLs on consumers, especially Generation Z, who make up 48% of the consumer population, contributes to the rapid growth of the market.
Utilization by BusinessesKOL marketing is not restricted to any scale of business – small businesses and large corporations alike employ this strategy to increase brand awareness and reach.
Annual Growth RateThe Chinese influencer marketing industry has experienced a consistent annual growth rate of 44% from 2018 to 2021.
Top Influencer Marketing StrategiesThe most effective influencer marketing strategies include sponsored influencer activations, product seeding/gifting, and product giveaways, with 54%, 21%, and 17% adoption rates, respectively.
Crucial Influencer Selection FactorsThe key factors to consider when choosing an influencer are audience engagement (67%), brand affinity (78%), aesthetic alignment with your brand (53%), and cost (47%). These aspects play a crucial role in influencer selection and campaign success.

These facts demonstrate the substantial growth and the growing potential of KOL marketing in China’s digital marketing landscape.

Influence of KOLs on Chinese Consumers

Key opinion leaders are changing how brands talk to Chinese people. They act as a bridge between the brand and the target audience. Their voice can hit right at home for a lot of key opinion consumers, especially those aged 20 to 30 years old.

Fake followers are a big problem in social media marketing. But only 45% of KOLs’ followers in China are fake. These real fans tend to trust what their favorite KOL says more than an ad on TV or radio.

This means they can influence consumer behavior and get people to buy products or services.

The fashion industry has seen much success with using KOLs, too! Lots of Chinese webstars owe their fame mainly due to these influencers promoting them far and wide throughout the internet landscape.

qixi festival valentino campaign with kols
Actress Tang Yan and singer Zhang Yixing for Valentino (© Valentino)

Finally, it should also be noted that leads from KOL advertising usually result in higher quality customers compared with other methods used by businesses! Win-win for all involved – brands get greater sales traction while audiences fall deeper into love with their beloved influencers’ recommendations.

Top Influencer Marketing Branding Platform in China

For branding and awareness, Xiaohongshu stands out as the top performer, chosen by 59% of brands for its superior impact on brand building and KOL marketing strategy. Additionally, Weibo secured the second position, with 37% of brands acknowledging its effectiveness in branding activities.

Top Social Commerce Platform in China

Xiaohongshu leads in social commerce, especially for smaller brands with limited budgets and niche audience. It offers a unique blend of product discovery, post-purchase sharing, and affordable influencers for KOL marketing campaigns, making it a top traffic source for e-commerce platforms.

Douyin comes second with its growing e-commerce ecosystem and vast user base. Although campaign costs are rising, it still offers a favorable ROI for more established brands with the budget.

Varied Industry Preferences and Objectives in Influencer Marketing Campaigns

This table appears to outline the primary marketing goals and common activations in various industries, particularly in the context of influencer marketing. Here’s a brief breakdown:

IndustryCore Marketing ObjectivesFrequent Marketing Initiatives
Automobile, Luxury,
Enhancing Brand Image in Consumers’ MindsProduct Launches
Beauty & Personal Care,
F&B, 3C, Home Appliances
Trust Building, Awareness Boosting, SOV Increase, Sales ConversionConsistent Content Seeding, Product Launches, Sales Events, and Offline Event Promotions
Games, Apps, FinanceConversion GenerationPromoting Products

These industries have distinct marketing objectives and strategies when it comes to influencer marketing. While some prioritize brand image and trust-building, others aim for conversions and product promotion. Common activations are tailored to meet these specific goals within each industry.

Successful Examples of KOLs in China

Chinese Social Media and Kols Pyramide

Li Jiaqi

Li Jiaqi holds a top spot in China as a Key Opinion Leader. With his role as a megastar influencer, he rules the Chinese market. He is one of the most famous Chinese KOLs, who brings new life to influencer marketing in China.

His magic lies in social media platforms where his vast fan base hangs on every word he says. In various successful campaigns, Li Jiaqi has shown how strong and effective Chinese KOL marketing can be.

Li Jiaqi on Wechat Live Streaming - Chinese Social Media and Kols

Zhang Dayi, Eve

Zhang Dayi, or Eve as some know her, shines bright in China’s fashion scene. With 12 million followers on Taobao alone, she is a power player in e-commerce influencer marketing. Zhang has turned her popularity into a booming business.

It seems she found the perfect way to make people want to buy what she sells.

Her success makes her more than just an online celebrity. She feels like a friend to those who follow her every move! Brands love working with Zhang because of this bond with her fans.

They see it as their golden ticket to reach that huge market of hers, ready and waiting for recommendation!

Future Trends in KOL & Influencers Marketing

In the ever-evolving world of influencer marketing, the future holds exciting trends in China – think virtual influencers powering up their game and the seamless blend of KOL advertising with e-commerce platforms.

Virtual influencers have become very strong tools for marketing in China. But some may wonder if they work as well as traditional influencers do. Yet, there is no doubt that these digital beings give lots of power and savings to the ones using them for advertising.

Top KOLs in China now work with e-commerce. This is a big trend. Brands use Chinese social media like Weibo and WeChat for this. It helps them sell their stuff better by reaching out to Gen Z who make decisions based on what KOL influencers say.

The importance of creating genuine engagement and exhibiting authenticity is growing exponentially – making it a critical aspect to keep an eye on! The more real and inspiring your message, the more it attracts high-quality customers in China’s market.

Virtual KOL in China

We Have Experience Working With Chinese Influencers

KOL and Influencer marketing in China is fast growing. More people listen to KOLs for ideas on what to buy. This has a big effect on the items they choose at the store. Moving forward, we will see more of this type of marketing in China.

Should you desire to involve Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in your marketing efforts but find yourself uncertain about the initial steps, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We stand ready to assist you at every phase of KOL marketing. We will craft an effective KOL marketing campaign by selecting the right KOLs for WeChat, Xiaohongshu, and other marketing channels. Let’s start today!


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