As livestreaming has seen an explosion of mainstream popularity in China, beauty brands have been quick to see its potential.

Eighty percent of Index brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty China have engaged in livestreaming over the past year. The growth in adoption has been rapid, as this number increased from 69% in November 2016, when L2’s Insight Report China: The Rise of Livestreaming was published.

Unlike other forms of social media aimed at engagement, brands’ livestreaming marketing has a heavy focus on direct sales conversion. This is evident in the fact that the number one livestreaming platform for beauty brands is Tmall, which is used by over half of all Index brands. Other e-commerce sites are also popular for livestreaming; Taobao comes in second after Tmall, Jumei in fifth, and VIP.com in sixth place.

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Online shopping holiday Singles’ Day on November 11 was the main driver to participation in Tmall livestreaming in 2016. As of June 2016, only 10% of Index Beauty brands were livestreaming on Tmall, but that more than tripled to 35% after Alibaba encouraged brands to take part in celebrity-studded promotions for the e-commerce event. This increase was accompanied by a huge rise in engagement: the average number of interactions on each livestream jumped from close to 62,000 in June to over 5.2 million in October.

It’s not just e-commerce sites that attract brand opportunities for livestreaming. Without a clear frontrunner among the more than 150 available in China, Beauty brands are spread out on a wide range of other platforms. The well-known Meipai and Yizhibo are the most popular after Tmall and Taobao with Index Beauty brands, and are used by 23% and 21%, respectively. Beauty brands are spread across a wide range of companies that host livestreaming platforms including Nice, Tencent, Youku, and others that each attract a handful of brands.

L2’s recent China livestreaming Insight Report named several best practices that can be applied to all sectors aiming to engage in livestreaming in China. First, brands must find a balance between their business goals and budget constraints, especially when investing in high-profile celebrity or KOL hosts that will be appropriate for attracting a specific intended audience. In addition, livestream events need enough hype to attract viewers, making it crucial for brands to have a pre-event communication strategy. Finally, a broadcast should not be a one-off event, but rather a part of a broad and cohesive marketing campaign.

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