It also changed the dynamic between influencers and brands. On the one hand, the deep discounts that customers used to get through big influencers are unlikely to hold up if brands make live broadcast deals with smaller fans. And instead of relying on the huge reach of influencers, many brands are now building their own live streaming channels. “This may be good news for brands, as customers could go to their self-operated live sessions,” says Jialu Shan, a researcher at the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, “but certainly bad news for customers, because they can’t enjoy the cheap deals that only live players like Li and Viya can offer. “
The fate of key influencers is also a clear signal that live e-commerce cannot escape government scrutiny. “Well-known KOLs (key opinion leaders) have become a huge business and are now essential in e-commerce. But along with multi-million dollar pay days and high visibility, there there is a risk of microscopic scrutiny and a backlash from social media, “said Franklin Chu, CEO of Azoya International, a U.S. marketing firm that has worked with Austin Li in the past.
Along with tax liability and content censorship, live e-commerce influencers are also facing increasing regulations that hold them accountable for things like product quality control, properly reporting their sales numbers, and participation. of minors in live transfers. Since 2020, the government has released several regulatory documents addressing different aspects of the business, putting the industry under close surveillance.
Although influential people like Huang and Zhu have disappeared from the Internet, their marketing and business teams are struggling to stay in the industry. Both Huang’s and Zhu’s assistants have become influencers themselves. They say they are no longer involved with the companies that backed their former celebrity bosses, but Chinese media have reported that they follow virtually the same teams behind them.
If this tank-shaped ice cream appearance ends with Li’s career, so will his company, Meione. But no statement has yet been made by his team, technology platforms or the regulator, leaving a game of anxious waiting for millions of his fans. If you can get back to your daily live broadcasts, it’s not just your fans who will be happy: the salespeople and marketing agencies that have benefited from your popularity will join. “Azoya has worked with him successfully in the past and is likely to do so again, assuming there are no dramatic declines in his marketing effectiveness,” says Franklin Chu.