This story is part of our Digital Deep Dive series, which we worked on with our friends over at Hylink Digital who provided today’s piece on Yizhibo. The rapid rise of the outbound Chinese travel market has brought with it a host of digital platforms and services. Learning who these companies are, and how they operate in the Chinese tourism space is becoming more important all the time for destination marketing organizations and non-Chinese travel companies. 

Yizhibo, the live-streaming app of choice for Chinese millennials, has proven to be a major force in the current Chinese information-sharing ecosystem; in 2017, the app ranked #1 in user acquisition among competing platforms. The makers of Yizhibo, who have undoubtedly capitalized on the booming short video and live-streaming trend, are focused on content marketing, e-commerce collaborations, and information sharing from sports properties, media, celebrities, and government municipalities.

Much like its Western counterparts, the live-streaming app Yizhibo tends to appeal to a younger audience

With respect to the user base, Yizhibo’s demographics are largely skewed toward China’s young adults, with a majority of users falling under this designation. Users also tend to be predominantly female, many of whom reside in first and second-tier cities. Spending power is mid-level or higher, making the live-streaming app an ideal environment for influencer or content marketing.

By way of contrast, the platform interface and functionality are comparable to the rest of the world’s Instagram Live, or Periscope. Yizhibo also has filters, similar to Instagram and Snapchat, which can be utilized by e-commerce for branding and interactivity; Tmall and Olay have recently created tailored filters that users can overlay as they live-stream.

Part of Yizhibo’s success lies in its integration of content with Weibo

Yizhibo also integrates with Weibo. When a user is logged into their account, a Yizhibo live-stream video can subsequently be posted on a user’s Weibo. So if followers miss a live-stream on Yizhibo, they easily navigate back to the live-streamer’s Weibo account and share, comment, and like the post after the fact.

On the app’s home feed, users are able to tailor results based on their gender and location and includes recent live-streams of all the accounts a user follows. Additionally, there are categories on the home feed that feature trending live-streams in their respective categories, including:

  • Overseas
  • Fashion
  • Gaming
  • Teaching Skills
  • Music/Singing
  • Government

Yizhibo is also a place where key opinion leaders (KOLs), and their clients’ brands, thrive, as KOLs are able to endorse products or places through live-stream content. Chinese users often appreciate and deeply trust KOLs’ opinions. If a KOL is live-streaming on Yizhibo about a given topic, viewers are able to listen, ask questions, and engage in real-time to learn more about the given topic.

Yizhibo is a key branding tool for DMOs, even if it can’t directly lead to sales

For destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and travel brands, Yizhibo is an essential branding tool within the Chinese market, enabling impactful awareness-raising activities. While there isn’t necessarily a direct conversion, it’s an ideal buzz-making apparatus. Since many Chinese outbound travel-seekers aren’t familiar with U.S. destinations outside of major cities, the platform presents the perfect opportunity for users to have an up-close view into places unknown.

San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA) was the first DMO to hold a consistent live-streaming program to promote their destination to Chinese travelers. Beginning in December 2016, SFTA started holding Yizhibo live-stream events at locations such as San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Napa Valley, and Yosemite.

The most recent was held at a “wine and paint” event in Yosemite, where one of our Hylink team members hosted a live-stream that garnered a total 148,000 total views. Users were able to ask questions in real time, such as “How much is this activity?” or “How close is Yosemite from San Francisco?”

More than ever, Chinese consumers are buying into live-stream and short-form video formats. It keeps brands honest, allows room for KOL and user input, and provides people with a glimpse into the lives and experiences of others. For DMOs, in particular, it is a fantastic way to showcase a particular destination, by offering experiential content that is both informative and inspirational for prospective travelers.

Hylink Digital is China’s largest independent full-service digital agency, internationally based in Santa Monica, Calif. For more information, visit www.hylinkgroup.com, follow @hylinkdigital on Twitter, or drop us a note at pr@hylinkgroup.com.

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Travel Tech & Social Media