Proya’s Bubble Mask has epitomized the potential of social media marketing and social commerce in a way few other products have in recent years. The quirky mask’s runaway success is an outstanding example of how brands can deploy a multi-pronged marketing strategy to create incredible demand for a new product, making it a must-have. In this case, Douyin was the key channel driving the bubble mask’s success. PARKLU highlighted Proya’s use of Douyin as a China influencer campaign case study here, so let’s look in-depth at why Chinese consumers fell so hard for the bubble mask.
The top-selling product on Tmall
Over the past year, the Bubble Mask has hit the top of Tmall’s top-selling product list several times over, selling more than 3 million units by the end of 2019. But why? The mask’s unique feature is that after being applied to the face for several minutes, bubbles form on the black mask. The amount of bubbles generated is said to depend on how much work the mask needs to do to clean your skin—essentially, the more your pores are clogged with dirt and oil, the more bubbles form on the outside of the mask.
In the era before social media, this may have seemed like a throwaway gimmick. In the age of user-generated content (UGC) and social media virality, any distinctive, visually interesting experience or product can be the spur for an outpouring of creativity and discussion among netizens.
China Influencer Campaign Case Study: 5 key points
1.Conversational and fun products.
The product checks a number of boxes that make it a huge hit with Chinese consumers. First, it’s novel and fun, sparking curiosity and conversation. This makes consumers want to try it, but also to share and create content relating to the bubble mask. It also promises functional benefits, both in terms of cleaning and brightening the skin. And then when customers buy and try the mask, they’ll want to compare notes with their friends to see whose mask generated the most bubbles.
2. The price point: low unit price
In other words, Proya’s Bubble Mask offers Douyin users multiple entry points for conversation, and the discussion can extend over repeat interactions. The price point for the bubble mask is also set within the comfort zone of consumers on Douyin, where the most popular products tend to retail for around RMB 10—products that are much more than that tend to be too expensive for the type of impulse buying inspired by Douyin’s short-form videos.
All this is reflected in the rich variety of content Douyin users generated and shared relating to the bubble mask. A search for the mask on platform throws up countless videos, ranging from influencer endorsements to reviews by grassroots users and even humorous takes on the mask’s benefits.
It’s not enough just to know that Douyin was the key driver of the Bubble Mask’s success. Simply being “on” Douyin isn’t any guarantee that a campaign will gain traction, and user-generated content doesn’t just appear by magic. So any brand hoping to come close to replicating Proya’s success with the Bubble Mask needs to understand the mechanics of the campaign in more detail.
3. The Pyramid strategy on influencer marketing
The strategy of this China influencer campaign case study can be visualized as a pyramid. At the top, the brand collaborates with top-tier influencers like Austin Li, as well as mainstream celebrities. The goal of these partnerships is to raise the brand’s profile and spread awareness among the mass audience these high-profile stars command. Proya’s CEO Fang Yuyou also appeared in a livestream with high-profile Chinese actress Annie Yi that sold out of masks allocated for the event.
At the next level down, Proya works with influencers in specific content verticals – for example, skincare and cosmetics. These influencers have expertise in their specific field and as such their recommendations make an impact on consumers. When these influencers say that the Proya Bubble Mask is not only fun to use but also good for the skin, their followers or viewers take notice and willingly act on the endorsement.
While topic-specific influencers help drive product knowledge among beauty enthusiasts, which in turn seeds the sales funnel, Proya also works with influencers who have a more general, broad-based audience. Influencers in the entertainment field are particularly effective in helping brands to reach a much wider range of consumers than influencers working within a particular content vertical.
4. The power of influencer (KOL & KOC) marketing
One of the key insights from the viral success of Proya’s Bubble Mask is how effectively the brand tapped the potential of key opinion consumers (KOCs). Many brands are still missing out on the extra dimension KOCs can give a campaign, but Proya showed how it’s done, working with 2,000 KOCs to promote the bubble mask. By identifying customers who are already clearly enthusiastic fans, who want to deepen their relationship with the brand and whose choices have an impact on their friends and family, Proya has been able to generate an enormous amount of engagement from this cohort.
Through this China influencer campaign case study, it is clear that there is no choice between influencers (aka KOL) and KOCs – each serves a different purpose, and the two categories of influencer complement each other to turbocharge a product’s appeal. While consumers saw big-name influencers promoting the bubble mask, they also saw relatable, down-to-earth KOCs using the mask, affirming a sense that the product enjoyed widespread popularity among regular people and stars alike.
5. Advertising service
Finally, in this China influencer campaign case study, we can see Proya used supplementary tools to boost the reach of it’s bubble mask marketing. For example, the brand took advantage of Douyin’s Dou+ platform, which helps boost traffic to popular influencer posts. Each platform has their own advertising service, and brands should consider investing in these to amplify their campaigns and compound results.