For those internet celebrities who are committed to become a KOC “Key Opinion Consumers” we do not deny the concept of KOC or the value of the social relationship chain. But just as KOLs need to always maintain a high level of content output, KOCs also need to come up with a high level of content-making.
“Now customers are all picking us, how can we pick customers? Being able to receive jobs is the most important thing. As for the content of advertisements, it is not the primary consideration.” Said the person in charge of an MCN agency in Shenyang in live broadcast and short videos.
A few days ago, the account of @张雨晗YuHan which has received much attention was blocked and all accounts that affiliated to the MCN organization, Swarm Culture have also been suspended for commercial orders. At this point, the incident that was dubbed by the media as “a liar was cheated by another liar” has also come to an end. However, even though the accounts of the Internet celebrities who have been hacked been blocked, the topic of the post is still trending.
1. Zhang Dayi at the front and Li Jiaqi in the back
“My God!” “It’s white and good looking!” “Buy and buy!”
These are the most common words Li Jiaqi, a top-rated cyber star says online every day. He tries 380 lipsticks during five and a half hours of live broadcasting and can make more than 23,000 orders with a transaction value of 3.5m yuan. The post-1990 boy has more than 20m Douyin followers and caused the public opinion to lament over and over again the terrifying power of cyber stars.
While Mr. Li was still experimenting with lipstick of all colours in front of the live camera, the top cyber stars were already standing on Nasdaq and ringing the IPO bell. On April 3rd, Zhang Dayi -who has thousands of microblogging followers and Taobao fans- who is known as Taobao’s No. 1 took control of the official Nasdaq and became the first domestic online e-commerce stock.
Despite falling share prices after the listing and a recent class action lawsuit in the US, Mr. Zhang, who owns 15% of Ruhan, still has more than CNY 600m. The power of role models is infinite. With the success of Mr. Zhang and Mr. Li, countless Internet users, big and small, raised all sorts of products in front of the camera and became “spokespersons”.
No one outside of the e-commerce platform could predict that live broadcasting and delivery can create such a powerful new wave of e-commerce. The reason is the explosion of live streaming and short-video users over the past two years, as well as changes in the online shopping habits of young consumers.
Under the impact of such a huge traffic, internet celebrities and MCN agencies have sprung up. According to statistics from Crawley, a self-media value data detection platform, as of December 2018, the number of domestic MCN institutions has exceeded 5,000, and more than 90% of the top celebrities have been included in the MCN, or they have established an MCN. The competition between Internet celebrities and MCN agencies has also become intense. The competitiveness within the internet celebrity market is not limited to the top internet celebrities only. While a large number of MCN agencies are benefiting from the existing and well-known internet celebrities, creating a new generation of internet celebrities has also become an important task for them.
In fact, when a large number of MCN institutions poured into the market under the centralized operation of the capital, manpower and material resources, internet celebrities also became “products” that could be manufactured in batches. According to the “2018 China Internet Celebrity Economic Development Insight Report” jointly released by iResearch and Weibo, the number of Internet Celebrities with more than 100,000 fans continued to grow in 2018, an increase of 51% over last year; among them, the number of fans exceeded the top internet celebrity of 1 million people has grown by 23%.
Since both internet celebrities and selling goods have shown great vitality, the options for advertisers and their interest in advertising have also increased. At present, social platforms and KOL and KOC promotion have become the most concentrated and preferred marketing channels for advertisers.
With the rapid growth of the entire market, more young users are also willing to consume in the form of “Internet celebrities + live streaming”. According to a survey report previously published by Forbes magazine, only 1% of millennials said that large-scale advertising bombardment would make them believe in a brand; only 3% of respondents were affected by books, magazines; and more than 33% of respondents said that they were influenced by well-known fashion bloggers before shopping.
This shows that Internet celebrities can indeed sell goods, and it is not surprising that “Li Jiaqis” are crazy sought after by advertisers. But the reality also tells us cruelly that not all of them are Li Jiaqi. In the Fox Magazine survey, the well-known bloggers mentioned by the interviewees are only a very small part of the “head V”. Therefore, although there are more and more Internet celebrities, the number of advertisers has not skyrocketed. When the “Li Jiaqis” can choose which lipstick or bag they recommend today, countless other celebrities are doing their best to “fight” for an advertiser.
2. The level of KOC is not low
Director Ao, a well-known master in the game zone of Station B, with 6 million fans, was recently demolished by fans because he received a game advertisement contract. Fans at station B have always been harsh. However, compared to the past many users now have a great deal of understanding and support for the issue of the master. But why does this promotional video arouse public anger? The reason is that the advertisement received by Director Ao this time was not recognized by most viewers, thinking that this is a game with a title of 3A masterpiece, but the overall quality is very average. Therefore, as soon as the video came out, a large number of viewers were dissatisfied, and angry fans called him “just bad money”. Following waves of criticism, Director Ao subsequently deleted the promotional video and apologized to the fans.
This shows that advertising is risky, and one must be cautious. Otherwise, even a well-known person like Director Ao who has always maintained an excellent reputation would be overwhelmed. Risks always exist but under the stimulus of the market and revenue, the major platforms are still rushing to promote their own commercialization process. On traditional e-commerce platforms like Taobao, live streaming has long become an important traffic conversion channel. In the past, shopkeepers were thinking about what new promotional plans to make every day. Nowadays, a large number of Taobao shopkeepers spend a lot of time every day, hanging out in the live broadcast rooms for their shopping.
As a social platform, short video applications are constantly expanding new commercialization channels. Among them, Kuaishou even put forward a new concept in the process of commercialization-KOC, that is, “Key Opinion Consumers”. Yan Qiang, vice president of Kuaishou business, said that the revenue target of Kuaishou marketing platform will increase by 50% from the tens of billions at the beginning of the year, focusing on brand decentralization, private domain traffic value and social asset precipitation.
Compared with KOL we often say, KOC has fewer fans and less influence. The advantage is that it is more vertical and cheaper.
But the problem is that although there are a lot of internet celebrities selling goods, there are very few who can really become KOCs. Prior to this, Liu Yishou, the head of Kuaishou, publicly stated that he believed that Kuaishou has 5 first-line celebrities and 4 second-line celebrities. Among these internet celebrities, he did not mention himself.
Even so, the few top Internet celebrities are still under scrutiny of traffic. Prior to the recent ban of Zhang Yuhan’s YuHan account, including Liu Yishou and other big-V headshots and real hammers, they continued to outline the so-called false highs of top traffic.
At the beginning of this year, Liu Yishou broke the record during a live broadcast saying that the popular price in the live broadcast circle was “It costs nearly five thousand yuan to hang an agreement of 50,000 yuan for one hour”, and Liu Yishou admitted that he sometimes hangs an agreement of 100,000 yuan. This also means that the so-called 100,000 plus popularity in its live broadcast room is likely to be less than one-tenth of the real popularity.
Of course, these internet celebrities’ owned “cheating” methods will not affect the unique marketing attributes of the major platforms. Regarding the user relationship of its own platform, Yan Qiang, vice president of Kuaishou Business, once said: “From the data point of view, the density of our social relationship chain is much higher than the industry average.” This also shows that most of the current online products are selling goods. Hong and the “old irons” mainly rely on their social relationships, not that they really understand the product, or that their unique analysis and comments on the product impress the audience.
In a sense, it’s like TV shopping in the early years, where the hosts on TV sang and talked and talked but these hosts didn’t even understand the true meaning of these products. They just needed to memorize them “lines”.
Regarding the confusion of selling goods, Mr. Zhang, the head of the MCN agency with more than a dozen internet celebrities said that their agencies in Shenyang are relatively well-known so they still have a certain right to speak: “The number of fans directly determines your advertising cooperation. One of our artists has the most fans over 2 million. He has never worried about cooperation. Under the premise of meeting the price, we will also select advertising partners but not those with too low cooperation because it is not good for the artist’s image.”
When talking about the signed internet celebrities with an average number of fans, Mr. Zhang said: “Whether it is on Weibo or live broadcast platforms, including short video platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou, an internet celebrity must have at least 100,000 fans. I will find cooperation, 100,000 is considered a limit.” But he also emphasized that even for artists with more than 100,000 fans, there are not many opportunities for commercial cooperation today.
“In such a situation, we do not choose products that look particularly inferior, particularly low at a glance, and are extremely inconsistent with the image of our artists. To be a bit bitter, there is also a price war in the market. There are so many internet celebrities, and you don’t get to pick people. Big internet celebrity advertisers with more than one million fans can’t make appointments, don’t the small celebrities choose casually?” Mr. Zhang shook his head and smiled bitterly.
3. Taking Goods with Multiple Eyes
Of course, the whole market of red tape fierce competition and the status quo, is the inevitable outcome of the continuous development of the market. This live streaming does contribute to a large extent to the growth of commodity consumption and markets. In addition, many poor counties and towns in the country also need to sell local products through such a new way of delivery to promote local economic development.
According to previous statistics from the Southern Metropolis Daily, there are currently more than 50 impoverished county heads in China who have made their hometown’s agricultural products sell well through e-commerce platforms such as live webcasts and short videos.
Perhaps, there are only more than 50 county chiefs who really bring goods but there are countless internet celebrities who do not understand the goods but trying to sell it. A closer look at the major complaint platforms and websites, you can see that a large number of users complained that the products they bought from internet celebrities had problems such as poor quality, false brands, and lack of after-sales guarantees. In January last year, the internet celebrity “Pi Mao Niang” with hundreds of thousands of Weibo fans was subjected to rights protection complaints by more than 1,600 people for selling counterfeit glasses and was pursued by Shenzhen police transnationally. After 48 days of escaping overseas he finally chose to return home and surrender.
Therefore, all commercial markets need to be regulated and sellers need to be more mindful, and selling goods is no exception. Last week, the relevant domestic regulatory authorities publicly stated that they will make heavy strikes against internet celebrities’ food safety violations, among which violations such as “swiping orders” and “fake comments” will be investigated and dealt with. In the near future, perhaps we will see the implementation of relevant laws and regulations for internet celebrities selling goods which will fundamentally restrict the barbaric growth of the market.
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