If there’s one event of the year that makes marketing on Tmall and Taobao a no-brainer, it’s Singles’ Day. Brands that participated in the Singles’ Day Global Shopping Festival under Alibaba Group last year were in for a treat—the annual discount holiday reached a whopping 213.5 billion RMB in total sales. But how can brand marketers truly take advantage of Tmall and Taobao influencer marketing, the content-rich interface, and Alibaba’s use of big data to reach the right customers on such a vast e-commerce platform?
Marketing your brand or products on Tmall and Taobao is no longer as simple as getting an ad on the home page. These days, about 60 to 70 percent of Tmall and Taobao’s mobile apps are all about content, including short-video, live streaming video, photos, and more. Alibaba hopes to use content to encourage shoppers to “hang out” on Tmall and Taobao’s apps as if they were on a social media platform, which spells opportunity for brands if they learn how to leverage the right influencers in the right places.
The growth of Tmall and Taobao social media
Tmall and Taobao for mobile continue to grow their user bases, according to data on the growth rate of platforms with over 50 million daily active users from QuestMobile’s China Mobile Internet Fall 2018 Report. This active user increase is no doubt related to Tmall and Taobao’s investment in building a social content platform and network. In fact, Tmall and Taobao’s social media content platform has already gathered more than 1.6 million content creators who have created value for sellers through live broadcasts, short videos and graphics. They also took away nearly 3 billion RMB in commissions.
At present, there are many channels open to Tmall and Taobao influencers, including Taobao Headlines, Weitao, Taobao’s flash sale platform (Tao Qianggou), “good goods,” “love shopping,” “must-buy list,” Taobao Live, Tmall Live, “fashion big shots,” My Tao My Home, “shopping the world,” “affordable goods,” “trendy cool play,” “life research institute,” “convenience store” and more. Of these, Weitao is one of the most important channels for Tmall and Taobao influencer marketing because brands can greatly improve consumer sentiment and conversion rates by creating targeted campaigns with influencers informed by big data like the user’s browsing history and purchasing habits.
“Today, apart from hosting a large number of merchants, Weitao continues to introduce celebrities, influencers and other groups that are not directly related to transactions,” says Weitao operations specialist Xiao Lu. “This kind of rich atmosphere can really open up the landscape for digital touch points that engage online shoppers.”
What is Weitao?
Weitao is similar to Weibo, but with an e-commerce twist. On Weitao, Tmall and Taobao influencers use their expertise to provide users with product recommendations. Higher-level influencers have the opportunity to be featured on the Weitao section of Taobao’s homepage, giving them an extra boost of free exposure.
How Weitao accounts help brands
If you are a brand with a Tmall or Taobao store, you can use a Weitao merchant account to promote your own store.
In one example, a menswear store, which currently has nearly 7 million fans, added over 6 million new followers in 2017 alone by using Weitao to release content about its new products.
But most of the time, brands only get a few pageviews for Weitao posts. So how can they effectively and quickly attract attention?
As well as operating their own Weitao account, brands can partner with Weitao KOLs for promotional campaigns. Compared to platforms like Douyin and Weibo, the conversion rates of commerce-related campaigns on Weitao and Taobao Live are relatively high. Below, we’ve explored a few recent case studies of successful Weitao promotions.
Case Study: Converse
In late September 2018, Converse used its Taobao brand account to try a fresh approach to marketing.
Partnering with the Taobao mobile content ecosystem allowed Converse to seek out a targeted audience. Converse’s brand account launched a campaign on Taobao’s “hot product” platform (which features limited edition products and promotions), with a warm-up period starting at 10am on September 21. Fans could then join the “queue” for the lottery to purchase the product from 10am on September 22, which ran until 11pm on September 24. Then, on the morning of September 25, the winners were able to complete their purchases.
During the warm-up period, Converse teamed up with influencers to promote the hot product campaign on Weibo and Weitao. Converse fans eager to join the queue could connect with the brand account through multiple channels. The brand account was also prominently displayed on a variety of sections on the Taobao app, including “good goods,” news, “guess your favorite” and Taobao Live.
According to Converse, the average daily increase in the brand’s follower numbers was 41.2 percent higher than normal during the campaign. The “hot products” campaign accounted for almost 30 percent of the brand’s recently added followers.
Case Study: NARS
In August 2018, NARS joined Tmall and immediately began regularly inviting its makeup artists to conduct live tutorials on different topics on Taobao. Weitao influencers including @-Hani 月哥小海盗-, @YunyUnyuN_你芸, @Janicekidd, @肉芸子, @lam方美丽同学 recommended products through image-heavy posts; other influencers, like @鱼酱的美妆 and @甜颜_, put out videos testing colorful lip pencils.
One of Weitao’s top 10 beauty influencers, @逢丁吉吉, also recommended NARS products on Weitao, and previewed the “Qixi” Chinese Valentine’s Day Beauty Festival with a live broadcast for the brand. Weitao influencers added a link to products on NARS’ Tmall store on their posts, and in just over a month, NARS had gained 486,000 followers on Taobao.
Case Study: Bobbi Brown
In July 2018, Bobbi Brown teamed up with Tmall to open a makeup tutorial pop-up shop in Beijing APM mall. Beauty influencers including @狐小狸 and @Miss沐夏, among others, took part in live broadcasts and offline activities.
Weitao influencer @长颈鹿小姐ss received 186,700 likes in Tmall’s live broadcast. This was just one campaign—in fact, Bobbi Brown often broadcasts live makeup tutorials on Weitao, and invites Weitao influencers to try out a variety of its products.
Tmall and Taobao influencer marketing rates
Unlike influencer fees on other social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat, standards of cooperation for most Tmall and Taobao influencer marketing campaigns are based on what channels the influencers use. Their rates thus also depend on prices for using each channel (with the exclusion of KOLs or content with “super IP” status). For example, the cost of each post on Taobao channels like “good goods,” “must-buy list,” “love shopping” and Taobao Headlines will be factored in.
Options for Tmall & Taobao influencer marketing
Ali V Mission
Ali V Mission is Taobao’s official content creation and service platform, aggregating a large number of influencers and organizations that distribute creative work and resources. Vendors can filter their search for suitable influencers according to categories, content format, distribution channels, influencer ratings and quality of service. On this platform, searching for Taobao influencers is basically just like online shopping.
Ali V Mission’s functionality is not completely seamless, and when problems do arise, communication and after-sales service aren’t completely reliable.
Taobao and Tmall’s app
Browse various channels accessible via Taobao and Tmall’s app to seek out relevant influencers: channels include Weitao, “good goods,” Taobao Live, and other content sections. Browse the appropriate categories, and when you find a candidate, click on their avatar to enter the influencer’s page to see the number of followers, data on their posts, and more. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can approach the influencer directly.
Although it is possible to track down an influencer directly, it is usually difficult to actually make contact with them.
Brands can find Taobao and Tmall influencers or brokers in online forums, WeChat or QQ groups, on Weibo and other e-commerce vendor communities.
With this method, brands are searching for influencers in the absence of the oversight provided by Taobao or Tmall, and trust between the brand and the influencer is established solely through online communication. This approach demands caution.
PARKLU is the only platform in China to service Tmall and Taobao influencer marketing. Our Tmall and Taobao influencer marketing database is growing rapidly, and even though PARKLU tracks 40K+ influencers across 12 social media platforms, we take a curated approach to sourcing influencer so that our clients have access to the best. On top of our end-to-end campaign solution and influencer search engine, we have a robust influencer analytics tool that gives users a deep dive into influencer data.
PARKLU is a premium solution designed for brands, agencies, and distributors that want to do influencer marketing at scale. So if your brand is only looking to dabble in influencer marketing, we probably are not the right solution.
Our recommendation is to initially search for influencers using more reliable platforms and methods, then after gaining more experience, you can more confidently make your own judgments on the influencers that are right for your brand.