With tens of millions of followers, China’s online influencers rival celebrities in their ability to drive brand awareness. As livestreaming becomes increasingly popular on major e-commerce platforms, many brands are hiring influencers to boost digital engagement and conversion.

However, L2’s The Rise of Livestreaming report finds that influencers (often referred to as Key Online Leaders, or KOLs) fail to match the influence of traditional celebrities. The average Tmall livestream campaign featuring a celebrity attracts four million interactions—three times the interaction count of a campaign featuring a KOL. In October, the celebrity Tmall livestream with the most engagement, a Pure & Mild event featuring popular actress Zhao LiYing, garnered 28.9 million interactions. Meanwhile, the most-engaged KOL livestream, an MG broadcast with mega-vlogger Papi Jiang, received only 10.9 million interactions. Given the high cost of hiring a brand ambassador, brands should think carefully about their investments in influencer and celebrity content.


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