How Influencer Marketing Drives Sales Growth in China


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Influencer marketing has grown bigger and trendier in China’s marketing. It has been one of the best ways to swiftly build your brand online, engage your target Chinese consumers and drive robust sales growth in China’s market.

Indeed, there are vast differences when comparing influencer marketing in China with that in overseas countries. Chinese consumers have more trust in KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), whereas KOCs (Key Opinion Customers) has become a new trend for brands to foster brand engagement in China’s digital landscape. Also, Chinese social media platforms namely WeChat, Douyin and Xiaohongshu in China are seamlessly integrated with E-commerce functionalities and digital payment gateways, thereby driving higher conversion rates and exponential sales growth.


Based on recent statistics, nearly 90% of marketers said that influencer marketing offers Return on Investment (ROI) that is comparable or better than other marketing channels. Up to 41% of marketers said that influencer marketing’s ROI is comparable to other marketing channels, while 48% said it is better or even much better than other channels.


Recently KOCs have become a new choice for businesses to build brand engagement in China’s digital landscape. KOCs is a new type of influencers in China, who essentially focus their expertise on testing products and giving reviews. Since their expertise is to give reviews, KOCs have a clear brand preference and their voices are more authentic credible as compared with KOLs – who are viewed as brand agnostic and less authentic.

If your business manifests influencer marketing to upscale business growth, it must be done strategically. Working with a few KOLs on a one-off marketing campaign will not create a significant impact in China. It is best to foster collaboration with KOLs, leverage soaring influences of KOCs and build private domain traffic to encourage consumers to purchase your brand’s products, as well as experiment with versatile types of content to drive revenue growth.

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Make KOLs Your Brand Ambassadors

Most key opinion leaders are either Chinese celebrities or popular social media users who have created viral content and developed a large following on various social media websites. Among the sought-after KOLs are Zhang Dayi, who is considered to be the No.1 KOL in Chinese e-commerce, with some 12 million followers on Weibo, and beauty KOL, Li Jiaqi, who began his streaming career on Taobao and his popularity grew exponentially when he began posting on Xiaohongshu.


Choosing the right KOLs to reach your target audience can help your brand to deliver significant sales growth for your business. The reason KOLs have such large audiences is that they are typically very skilled at creating high-quality content.

At NDN Group, we have collaborated with various KOLs to help our clients promote brand visibility and boost sales revenue. To tap into China’s vast market, AJ Hackett Macau Tower has partnered with our Shanghai team to build its brand identity and online presence, luring more Chinese young customers to experience the bungee jumping games.

We have partnered with young Chinese KOLs, including renowned travel blogger “维维任意门” and traveller “潇洒的头叔” to create viral content and immerse young people over the thrilling games on Weibo and Douyin platforms. As a result, AJ Hackett’s posts on Chinese social media platforms received 10 million exposures among young Chinese audiences within a year. The number of AJ Hackett’s fans growth grew by 250% and the number of Chinese adventure lovers playing the games at the Macau Tower has hugely soared.

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More brands recognize the value of KOCs

While it is tempting to court the KOLs with the biggest followings for endorsements, more brands have recognized the value of KOCs. These micro-influencers have smaller followings, but they have powerful impacts on the decision-making process of readers due to their authentic and reliable content.


In comparison, followers of KOLs are aware of the paid collaborations between brands the influencers, hence the authenticity is not as strong as KOCs. Optimize your marketing plan by activating new KOCs to review your brand’s products.


Leverage private domain traffic to connect with consumers  

In China, there are several large traffic pools that have large flows of users including Weibo, WeChat, Douyin and so forth. Public domain traffic China relies on platforms and it requires high cost on getting traffic and makes brands have less control over the traffic.

Brands can obtain what is known as private domain traffic from these platforms through private chats and group chats where users with similar buying habits or interests are grouped together.

One of China’s top-selling beauty brands, Perfect Diary, is an exemplary showcase of leveraging private traffic to drive sales growth.  Perfect Diary has created WeChat groups of KOCs to share its brand news, then watching as these superfans disseminate promotions through their own private channels.

When a customer buys a Perfect Diary product, they will receive a card featuring a special offer. To redeem the offer, the customer connects with the “personal” WeChat account of an avatar who acts as a kind of brand ambassador. Perfect Diary uses content to foster a sense of community while regularly offering discounts and offers that encourage customers to keep buying to drive revenue growth.

In conclusion, social media platforms will continue to tweak formats and creators will experiment with different styles of content across platforms like Douyin, Bilibili, and Kuaishou. E-commerce live streaming has blown up and proved rewarding for its leading exponents and so more influencers to be pivoting to live-streaming.

Influencer marketing will remain one of the best promotional methods in China. Brands and marketers should keep a close eye on the changing influencer market and novel approaches when developing their strategy.


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