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Preparing for 618: How to Approach Influencer Marketing This Year

In the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce, brands are gearing up for the annual 618 shopping festival, the largest mid-year sales event in China. The importance of this event is undeniable, with brands investing heavily in stock preparation, marketing strategies, and promotional materials. The competition is fierce, and the challenges faced by brands in the marketing process are magnified. So, how can brands leverage their strengths, find a competitive edge, and achieve efficient conversions? The answer lies in influencer marketing.

Rethinking Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has evolved from being a mere add-on to a vital component of a brand's overall marketing strategy. Short video and live-streaming platforms have become key marketing tools for brands, covering the entire consumer shopping process from product discovery to final purchase. Influencer marketing has gradually upgraded from a channel to a marketing action, campaign, and even a growth strategy for brands.

  • Trend 1: Influencer Marketing as a Key Driver of Consumption

According to the 2022 Douyin Young People Observation Report, over 93% of users have discovered products (a process known as "planting grass" in Chinese internet slang) while browsing videos and live streams on Douyin (TikTok in China), and 95% of users have made impulse purchases after discovering these products.

  • Trend 2: The Integration of Product Discovery and Purchase

Traditionally, product discovery and purchase were two separate actions. Some brands focused only on product discovery, leading to a lack of brand stickiness. Others focused only on purchases, neglecting the importance of product discovery, and failing to provide adequate customer service, resulting in potential customers going elsewhere to make their purchases.

The concept of "integrated planting and pulling" bridges this gap. Consumers naturally transition from product discovery to purchase after viewing influencer content, a process that should be seamless and uninterrupted.

  • Trend 3: Influencers as Crucial Links in the Consumer Journey

Influencers serve as important entry points for consumers. Users can learn more about brands and directly access Douyin's shopping mall and brand sales pages through influencers, making the process of product discovery and purchasing more diverse and seamless.

  • Trend 4: Influencer Marketing as a Long-Term Strategy

Influencer marketing isn't just about immediate sales. It's also about building a brand and accumulating marketing assets. With deep, refined operations, the effects of influencer marketing can balance short-term and long-term benefits. High-quality content appearing frequently and in various forms can extend the effects of product discovery.

New Trends, New Misconceptions

Despite the proven effectiveness of influencer marketing, many brands still have doubts. High-profile influencers are expensive and scarce, while smaller influencers, though more cost-effective, may not deliver the desired quality.

  • Misconception 1: Only Top Influencers Can Drive Sales

Many believe that only top-tier influencers can effectively promote products. However, this approach can turn influencer marketing into a gamble. A multi-dimensional approach involving influencers of various tiers can often bring unexpected leverage effects to brands.

  • Misconception 2: Influencer Marketing is a "Spray and Pray" Strategy

Some brands worry that their marketing efforts will be lost in the vast sea of content. However, platforms have provided clear solutions to ensure that brands can effectively reach their target audience and achieve brand recognition and conversion.

  • Misconception 3: Influencer Marketing is a Short-Term Strategy

Many believe that influencer marketing is a short-term strategy, with effects disappearing as soon as the campaign ends. However, influencer marketing not only drives product sales but also builds brand and marketing assets. High-quality content appearing frequently and in various forms can extend the effects of product discovery.

How to Do Influencer Marketing Right

To help brands achieve growth during the 618 shopping festival, platforms like Douyin have proposed strategies for long-term conversion. They have created immersive shopping experiences, allowing brands to showcase their products and content in a department store-like setting. This approach enables consumers to naturally transition from product discovery to purchase, thereby increasing the depth of the connection between brands and consumers.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for brands, particularly during major sales events like the 618 shopping festival. However, it's not without its complexities. Brands must navigate a range of considerations, from choosing the right influencers to balancing short-term sales with long-term brand building. With a clear strategy and the right platform, brands can leverage influencer marketing to achieve significant growth.

If you want to start your influencer marketing or prepare a marketing plan for China 618, please contact us!

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