In the West, viewers expect even minor influencers to produce high-quality videos. But with China video KOLs’, lower production value often equals better results. Why?
Because barebones content seems more authentic.
For international brands who’ve worked with influencers in Western countries, this might take a little getting used to. Competition on YouTube has become incredibly fierce, and tightly-edited videos are now essential.
“Produce content for your audience, not for yourself” – Gary Vee
In China, there are many examples of China video KOLs who keep their videos low-production even after becoming very successful. That’s what their followers prefer.
Kat and Sid
Kat and Sid became famous for their talking-head videos where they discuss cultural differences between the US and China. Their content is five to 10 minutes long and mostly show Kat sharing her opinions with Sid occasionally chiming in.
While their videos look unedited and casual, the two of them put enormous time and effort preparing each episode as is evident from the depth of the content.
Kat and Sid’s videos became so popular that they caught the attention of China’s most famous video KOL, Papi Jiang. Earlier this year, the couple signed on with her and her production company.
Although they now work with a multimillion-dollar production company, their videos have hardly changed. Both Papi Jiang and Kat and Sid understand the appeal of their simple production style. Viewers feel like they’re sitting in the room with them.
Dalin不是Linda is a fitness and health influencer with more than 1.2 million followers on Meipai. Her exercise videos don’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. They include simple exercises, use amateur lighting, and have little editing. But Dalin’s fans don’t care.
Dalin has become successful because she is extremely good at being relatable and creating a community that trusts her. In her videos and live streams, she refers to herself as “your big sister” and her husband as “your brother-in-law”. She also holds fitness challenges where viewers can join her in daily workouts and get fit together.
Kwai Features the Lowest of the Low China video KOLs
But nothing showcases the potential of low-quality video in China more than the recent success of short video platform Kuaishou (aka Kwai). Kwai has over 400 million users and has become one of the most popular social apps in China. Yet to many, the videos on Kwai are “vulgar” and “unrefined”. The majority of the app’s users live in 3rd and 4th tier Chinese cities and the countryside. For them, the polished, professional content found on other apps is not relatable.
Our High-Quality Conclusion
Brands must rethink what successful video production can entail if they want to succeed in China. That means a willingness to adapt to the local environment and letting Chinese influencers hold the reigns during campaigns. After all, these influencers understand what appeals to their audience, which is what allows them to remain authentic.