Social Live Streaming Trends

Social live streaming in China has gone mainstream since last year.

Roughly 46 percent of China’s internet population used a live streaming app in June 2016. CNBC reported that live streaming revenues in the country between June and August 2016 reached US$246 million, according to China Tech Insights. Credit Suisse also believes that the market will be worth US$5 billion this year, making it nearly as big as the China’s movie or mobile gaming market.

You may be wondering how social live streaming platforms even make money. Well, one of the most popular ways is virtual gifting, which viewers use to appreciate the broadcasters’ content. Virtual gifts range from virtual flowers (US$1.50) to virtual sports cars (US$45). The platforms take a cut of the transaction and the rest goes to the broadcaster.

Live streaming has certainly become a way for many youngsters in China to make easy pocket money. And for the audience, it has become a new form of entertainment that is interactive and more real.

Social live streaming is a great and innovative business model. It is a clever way to monetize virtual social interactions using existing technology. It also satisfies people’s craving for interesting and original content. Below are some trends of social live streaming in the Southeast Asia.

  1. Virtual travel

A lot of people like to travel and discover new places but not everyone can afford to actually go on tours. The solution is virtual travel. Here, viewers can request for destinations that they want the broadcasters to visit. The live streamer can pick the most requested destination and broadcast his or her travel experience in that place.

This is a much richer experience for viewers compared with traditional travel shows on TV. In virtual travel, people can interact with the broadcasters and even influence their itinerary.

Broadcasters can monetize their streams by requiring an upfront virtual gift as a subscription fee. This can also cover their travel expenses. Actually, one Chicago start-up called Georama has started playing in the virtual travel space, with professional tour guides as the broadcasters who live stream tours. But to facilitate the development of such start-up, live streaming platforms will need to offer new and more relevant types of virtual gifts or payment methods.

Virtual travel can be deemed as an extension of today’s travel industry that can fill the void people experience between their physical trips.

Image Credit: Infinite Legroom


  1. Cross-border e-commerce

One unique way live streaming can impact e-commerce is through cross-border virtual shopping. Broadcasters can physically go to stores and live stream the shopping experience there. Viewers can request broadcasters to try on certain items or buy the items on their behalf. This certainly sounds like a new and exciting way for cross-border shopping.

In Southeast Asia, the opportunity is especially ripe in Singapore and Malaysia, where 55 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of the total e-commerce sales are cross-border. These are higher than South Korea’s (25 percent), Japan’s (18 percent) and China’s (4 percent).

One key challenge is the development of the necessary infrastructure such as payment solutions and shipping logistics. These are critical for cross-border virtual shopping to fulfil orders and scale.

Image Credit: The Green Divas

  1. Brand-sponsored content

Another way social live streaming can impact e-commerce is through brand-sponsored content, which could be produced either professionally or by endorsers from practically wherever. The professionally produced content can be similar to online video advertising, except it is live and interactive.

Some big brands have already started experimenting with this. In May 2016, Maybelline ran a successful live streaming campaign on Meipai, featuring Chinese celebrity Angelababy. The cosmetic brand sold 10,000 lipsticks in just two hours.

Brand-sponsored content on live streaming platforms can become a mainstream advertising channel because live content is seen by many as more persuasive than traditional advertising, which is generally heavily edited. The interaction with broadcasters is a huge plus as well.

As for live video content produced by the endorsers themselves, it will be very similar to video blogging or vlogging. The only difference is these key opinion leaders’ content is live and interactive.

Opportunities abound in the social live streaming space in Southeast Asia. We hope the ideas above gave you some inspirations on how you can incorporate live-streaming as part of your marketing plans in your business.

Source: Tech in Asia