With over 900 million users, China is the world’s biggest social media market.
But whilst you might be familiar with Douyin (or TikTok) — you might be less familiar with Kuaishou: the short video app that’s taking the Chinese media industry by storm.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down the key facts about Kuaishou, and why it’s time for brands across the world to start paying attention to it.
So, let’s get started.
What is Kuaishou?
Originally launched as a GIF creator app in 2012, Kuaishou has since evolved into one of China’s biggest short video platforms where users record and share videos about their everyday lives.
Users can also buy products directly from the app through branded stores and partnerships with Chinese e-commerce giants, including JD.com, Taobao, and Pinduoduo.
Think of it as Douyin but with a slightly different user base, more engagement, and more opportunities for e-commerce brands, in particular, for reasons we’ll be outlining.
Live streaming is also more prominent on Kuaishou, accounting for more than 50% of its $7.2 billion annual revenue. This creates a core difference between itself and Douyin, which we’ll be breaking down a little later.
But first, why is Kuaishou suddenly becoming so popular?
In 2020, Kuaishou reached over 300 million daily active users — a huge increase of 41.5%, year-on-year.
There are a number of reasons for this unprecedented growth.
First, as a result of lockdowns and social isolation, Covid-19 has led to a large increase in digital adoption, which Kuaishou has directly benefited from.
Take live-streaming, for example.
In the first six months of 2020, the platform reported that it had reached 170 million daily active live-stream viewers; a surge of over 70 million since December 2019.
This indicates that brands turned to Kuashiou to connect to their customers via live-streams during lockdown, which resulted in not just a significant increase in live engagement, but also an increase in the overall popularity of Kuaishou.
The impact of Covid-19 is further evidenced by the platform’s huge gains in the e-commerce market.
Daily e-commerce users exceeded 100 million in the first half of 2020, and generated over 500 million e-commerce orders in August alone — making Kuaishou China’s fourth largest e-commerce player, following Alibaba, JD.com, and Pinduoduo.
This isn’t just the impact of Covid-19, however.
Kuaishou has actively accelerated its e-commerce profile by:
- Launching its own shopping festivals
- Forming lucrative retail partnerships
- Collaborating with KOLs (social media influencers) to drive traffic to the platform
It has also invested more than $460 million into its live-stream infrastructure, building an all-new 5G ecosystem in Chengdu, which has had a big impact on the platform’s capacity for new content.
What’s more, the huge growth of Douyin in China has led to a significant increase in the popularity of the short form video market, which is one of the biggest reasons for Kuaishou’s rise.
All-in-all, then, each of these forces have driven Kuaishou to new heights:
- Covid-19’s impact on digital adoption
- Investments in e-commerce and live-streaming
- The rise of Douyin and the short form video market
Who uses Kuaishou?
Kuaishou has a predominantly young user-base concentrated in China’s lower tier cities.
The approximate distribution of users by city looks like:
- 1st tier: 15%
- 2nd tier: 30%
- 3rd tier: 24%
- 4th tier: 31%
This means that the majority of Kuaishou users have lower disposable incomes than those who might use Douyin.
That said, the platform is actively encouraging a more affluent user-base by forming retail partnerships with the likes of JD.com. This has led to a significant increase in the monetization of the platform, as we’ve outlined above.
In terms of gender and age, 48% of Kuaishou users are female, 52% are male, and 70% are under the age of 30.
In fact, Gen Z users — those born between 1995 and 2002 — made up around 70% of published content on Kuaishou from July 2019 to June 2020.
This makes Kuaishou one of the best platforms to reach young people in China, particularly those who are interested in lifestyle topics, which represent almost 30% of all content on the platform.
Overall, Kuaishou users are:
- Young (under the age of 30)
- Evenly split between male and female
- E-commerce shoppers
- Interested in lifestyle content
- Located mostly in Tier 2 and 4 cities in China
And how do they spend their time on the platform?
The average Kuaishou user spends 60 minutes on the app each day, browsing and creating content. Over 19 million users have earned money on the platform, too, making it the ideal channel to build a KOL or KOC marketing strategy.
The most popular content category on Kuaishou is lifestyle content (29.8%), followed by:
- Girls/selfies (9.9%)
- Beauty (8.7%)
- Education (6.3%)
- Farming (5.9%)
- Anime (5.8%)
- Guys/selfies (5.2%)
- Food (4.1%)
- Talents (3.7%)
- Kids (3.3%)
- Skills (2.9%)
- Sports (2.5%)
- Games (2.5%)
- Pets (2.0%)
- Travel (0.8%)
What are the different account types on Kuaishou?
There are two account types on Kuaishou:
- Individual creator accounts
- Business accounts
Individual creator accounts can share and create content, interact with friends, and experience the platform as a standard, non-commercial user.
Business accounts, on the other hand, can be opened by brands to promote their products, raise brand awareness, and engage directly with fans.
There are various subcategories for organizations to register as on Kuaishou for marketing, including business, media, and government department accounts.
Business accounts can use the platform as standard users, but also have additional functions available, including e-commerce integrations and advertising features.
They can also be verified on Kuaishou, which places a ‘V’ logo next to their account name as a stamp of legitimacy and authority.
This is a great way for brands to grow their following on the platform, and also unlocks exclusive features, such as advertising discounts and growth recommendations.
How can international brands use Kuaishou?
Once you’ve registered and provided the necessary business documentation, there are a number of ways international brands can use Kuaishou:
To produce native content
With a business account, Kuaishou is the ideal channel in China to reach young users with native content. This means producing creative content (such as videos and livestreams) that engages users, and raises brand awareness on the platform.
The best native content will tap into what users on Kuaishou already enjoy. A brand’s goal, then, should be to turn a promotion or product placement into content that’s genuinely engaging or rewarding for its target audience.
Top ideas for native content on Kuaishou include:
- Participating in topic tags (or hashtags)
- Creating topic tags and encouraging UGC (user-generated-content)
- Running product giveaways to attract customers and KOCs
- Posting content that shows products in action
- Hosting live-streams that directly engage fans
To advertise on the platform
Kuaishou offers a wide range of paid advertising solutions to partnered brands.
These include display ads, newsfeed ads and discover ads, all of which can be in the form of short video clips or banners. These can be used to direct traffic to account profiles, specific videos or live-streams, games, external websites, and e-commerce stores.
Brands can also promote their own topic tags (or hashtags) on Kuaishou, which can lead to viral UGC that raises brand awareness among users.
Each advertising solution can be targeted to users according to their gender, age, location, interests, and behavior on the platform.
What’s more, KOL marketing on Kuaishou offers brands a very lucrative opportunity. During its November 6 shopping festival, for example, KOL Xinba generated more than $57 million in sales for partnered brands in just one day.
To build an effective KOL strategy for Kuaishou, you’ll need to:
- Partner up with a KOL relevant to your target consumer
- Select a KOL with a proven track record
- Provide direction
- Maximize exposure with paid marketing
- Analyze ROI
Check out our full guide on KOL marketing to learn more about building an influencer strategy in China that converts.
To boost e-commerce sales in China
Thanks to a number of new integrations, Kuaishou is fast becoming one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in China.
Take the recent partnership between Kuaishou and JD.com.
The two brands teamed up to launch a 24-hour special online shopping festival, which generated sales of over $200 million dollars in just one day.
They’ve also made it possible for users to buy JD products straight from the Kuaishou app, without having to leave it.
It’s innovations like these that make Kuaishou one of the hottest channels in China for e-commerce.
The best selling products on the app include:
- Running shoes
- Chinese noodles
- Laundry detergent
- Skincare products
- Water filters
- Massage chairs
- Technology (Huawei Honor V30, iPhone 11 Pro)
- Water heaters and air conditioners
To build an effective e-commerce strategy for Kuaishou, brands need to combine well-targeted products with marketing techniques that tick all the right boxes.
The most popular funnels on Kuaishou include:
- Live-streams with direct purchase links
- KOL collaborations
- In-app shopfronts
- Giveaway campaigns
- Product videos with direct purchase links
Kuaishou vs. Douyin — what’s the difference?
Now, you might be wondering where Douyin (or TikTok) fits into all of this.
After all, why would a brand choose Kuaishou over a similar channel that has more daily users?
Well, the fact is, although Douyin is more populated than Kuaishou, the latter offers more opportunities for brands looking to sell to users.
Let’s break it down.
Comparing the user-bases of Douyin and Kuaishou
Kuaishou has around 300 million daily active users, compared to Douyin’s 400 million.
The major difference in user-bases comes down to demography.
24% of Douyin users live in Tier 1 cities, versus only 10% of Kuaishou users, which is predominantly used by users in lower tiers. This has a huge impact on how both platforms work, and the opportunities they present to brands.
Kuaishou’s user-base, for example, is more engaged in social content, as they are from smaller communities and watch videos from their friends.
This is facilitated by the platform’s main ‘Discover’ page, which presents users with 40-50% of content from accounts they already follow. In comparison, Douyin’s feeds distribute content that is primarily (80-90%) from accounts that are popular and trending.
This difference makes the Kuaishou user-base more engaged and more likely to buy a product on the platform, as they trust it and view it as a community. As a result, Kuaishou has 5-10 times higher e-commerce conversion rates than on Douyin.
Higher e-commerce conversions are also the result of more live-streams on Kuaishou (50% vs. 25% of local content), where KOLs and brands can sell to users directly.
So, which is the right platform for you?
That will depend on your goals.
Kuaishou is better for direct e-commerce conversions, while Douyin is better for raising brand awareness and paid-for advertisements.
In most cases, a strategy for both platforms is advised. That way, you’ll benefit from the direct sales on Kuaishou, and grow from the added exposure on Douyin.
Is marketing on Kuaishou the future of reaching your audience in China?
It certainly looks that way — and for e-commerce brands, in particular, this could make the platform the biggest and most rewarding channel in China.
In September 2020, Kuaishou announced plans to:
- Help 100,000 brands achieve annual sales of $146,000 on the platform
- Train 10,000 live-streamers
- Host over 1 million e-commerce live-streams in a year
All of this — combined with the $460 investment in live-streaming infrastructure — suggests that Kuaishou is poised to dominate the live-streaming e-commerce market in China.
To keep ahead of the curve, sign up for a free AdChina.io account to see how we can help you make the most of it with our powerful, all-in-one advertising platform.