It’s not a secret that Little Red Book (XiaoHongshu) is among the top Chinese social media platforms, with over 190 million monthly active users.
But did you know that many Chinese consumers consider this app a go-to source for discovering new product recommendations related to beauty, fashion, cosmetics, and luxury? Because of this demand, both local and international brands are eager to utilize Little Red Book for their advertising strategies.
If you’re interested in entering the Chinese market through XiaoHongshu ads, here are some insights and tips you must consider to maximize the reach and potential of your brand’s campaign.
What is Little Red Book?
Little Red Book (locally known as XiaoHongshu) is a social media app often referred to as the Chinese Instagram. It’s a popular go-to source to read product reviews, share lifestyle-related content, discover high-end brands, and learn tips about fashion and beauty.
Unlike other platforms focused on e-commerce and sales, Little Red Book strongly emphasises user experience and community. Thanks to this, new brands can gain traction within the app organically.
How does Little Red Book differ from other platforms?
Unlike most social media platforms and e-commerce sites in China, brands on Little Red Book thrive on user-generated content. Besides online shopping and browsing, Chinese users on this platform can share reviews and tips about specific products they’ve purchased within the app.
Little Red Book users can utilize the app’s social functions to post texts, pictures, short videos or even launch a live streaming session. These features drive engagement and discussions within the platform, making it easier for overseas products to gain recognition in the local market.
Xiaohongshu user-generated content: beauty products review post
Many platform users consider these word-of-mouth recommendations a factor when making purchasing decisions. Instead of traditional marketing tactics like celebrity endorsements and TV ads, modern online shoppers put more value on reviews from Key Opinion Leaders and other users.
Combined Social Media & E-Commerce Platform
Another defining feature of Little Red Book is its integration of both social media and e-commerce functions. Expert advertisers can quickly tell that it resembles Tmall and Weibo based on the features and tools available on the platform.
Although most popular content on the app comes from Xiaohongshu users and KOLs, a foreign company can establish its brand’s official account within the platform to increase brand awareness and reputation.
Like other e-commerce platforms, you can integrate these online store landing pages into advertising campaigns so XiaoHongShu users can buy your products without leaving the app.
Example of an ad redirecting to the product page on the brand’s store on Xiaohongshu
Foreign Brands Are Already in Little Red Book
Chinese consumers in Little Red Book are no strangers to foreign brand advertisements. In fact, many international businesses like Dior and Estée Lauder have already established their presence within Little Red Book.
Most active luxury brands on Xiaohongshu in China H1 2022 (Source: Statista)
Among the many brands utilizing XiaoHongShu, Lancôme tops the list for the most active international business. The company’s brand account posted around 1,963 notes in 2022, allowing it to garner over 6.5 million engagements from the platform’s active users. These rich audience interactions are a testament to the app’s compatibility with new and foreign brands in the market.
Who is the Little Red Book (XiaoHongshu) target audience?
Before you decide to advertise on Little Red Book, you must know which demographic you are targeting when crafting promotional campaigns. Given its social commerce elements and highly specific niche, it’s not surprising that it attracts a varied audience.
Female users indeed dominate this lifestyle-centric platform. However, over the years, over 30% of the app’s user base is covered by male users. Advertisers should also remember that half of Little Red Book’s consumers reside in China’s first- and second-tier cities, 72% of which are younger online shoppers born in the 1990s and 2000s.
And since XiaoHongShu thrives on sharing product experiences and reviews, you can expect advertising campaigns related to beauty and fashion to do well on the platforms. Beyond that, the app is also known for travel tip content that many Chinese travelers refer to before planning their trips.
Advertisements on Little Red Book: How Does It Work?
Open an Official Account on the Little Red Book App
Whether you’re trying to advertise on a social media or e-commerce platform, having an official account adds to your brand’s credibility, exposure, and sales in the long run. On top of that, it also gives you access to different advertising tools that a personal account won’t be able to utilize.
Brand account opening steps in Xiaohongshu backend
Here’s a quick rundown of the steps you need to follow:
- Create a regular account on the platform’s enterprise system.
- Provide business information, such as company name, logo, permit or license (proof of being a legal entity), and owner details.
- Review your application carefully before submitting it and paying the registration fee.
- Once approved, a contract will be sent for you to sign.
- You must complete their online training before accessing their advertising tools.
If you’re unsure how to proceed with these steps, working with a digital advertising agency with extensive industry experience in the Chinese market can be an efficient business solution.
Conduct Market Research & Craft High-Quality Content
While ad formats are meant to boost campaign performance, they won’t work if your content does not resonate with the local consumers using Little Red Book in their regular shopping ventures.
Before you advertise anything, our team suggests conducting a market study according to your brand’s niche. Through this method, you can identify how consumers in your industry make purchasing decisions and use the market survey data to improve your advertising strategies.
Social media is a popular marketing tool among local and global brands. You can use its prevalent usage to observe your competitors’ performance on the platform. By obtaining competitive intelligence, you can pick apart which advertising strategy works and which does not.
Don’t forget to add proper keywords to your brand’s promotional content. It may seem irrelevant to those unaware of SEO, but these search terms will make you more visible to your potential audience, especially in the e-commerce section of the app.
Choose Ad Formats for Your Promotional Campaign
If you want to elevate from word-of-mouth marketing in the RED app, the best way to do it is through paid advertising. These promotional tools are meant to drive traffic to your brand account or store and help the business gain more recognition among local users.
● News Feed Ads
This promotional content is similar to native ads because they blend well with the platform’s feeds users typically see on the Explore page. These adverts have accurate targeting options that allow brands to reach only relevant users.
You can advertise using this format in two ways: through post feeds or a video big card ad similar to a banner. Either way, both ad types have a CPM buying model and a frequency of three times daily.
Xiaohongshu Newsfeed ad redirecting to a WeChat mini program
● Pop-up Ads
If you want to promote your brand more creatively, another option you have is pop-up ads. The format of this content highly suits event promotions, partnerships, product launches, or fancy brand messaging.
True to its name, these advertising campaigns pop up upon opening the app or switching to another page. Advertisers can choose to display their promotions in full or non-full-screen format, as well as designate which landing page will be selected when the user clicks on the content.
The cost you’ll incur launching this ad depends on every 1000 impressions gained by the content and the format you choose. It can be a static picture, an interactive image, or a five-second video.
Xiaohongshu Pop-up Ad Upon App-opening (Source: Octoplus)
● Brand Zone
You may not know, but XiaoHongShu has an in-app brand search that regular platform users utilize to find what they want to buy or browse. Through brand zone ads, your landing page will appear on top of the platform search results when a specific industry-related keyword is entered.
These ads can be configured, allowing brands to switch landing pages between accounts, post content, official store page, or product section. It also comes in different formats, like display, banner, and multi-page tabs.
Xiaohongshu brand zone ad redirecting to a post and WeChat mini program
● Topic Ads
These highly targeted ads mainly come from the brand’s community features. It allows advertisers to create an exclusive topic to help potential audiences understand their offerings or convince them to buy a product.
For this ad type, you can select custom and hot topics. The aforementioned are often shown on the regular topics page through banners, videos, or lists. Meanwhile, the latter appears on the search results or the brand zone, where the impression is the highest.
● Sticker Ads
As we’re in the age of Gen Z shoppers, getting on with the trends is essential. Brands can create virtual sticker packs with their branding that users can use when posting reviews and comments about their products and services.
It’s a cost-effective advertising option, mainly because the price will depend on the in-app search volume. And since it’s a trendy marketing strategy, you can expect it to build positive attention around your brand.
Collaborate with Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) & Key Opinion Consumers (KOC) on XiaoHongShu
As previously stated, the social and e-commerce features of Little Red Book are what drive high engagement among users. However, among its large user base are also many influencers and industry professionals who can sway the purchasing decisions of their followers.
These internet personalities are more influential than local celebrities mainly because they offer a consumer perspective. Tapping into their dedicated fan base can help new brands reach the right audience, so it’s not a surprise many businesses are eager to launch KOL marketing campaigns with different content creators.
Before selecting a Key Opinion Leader for your advertising campaign, you must ensure that the influencer matches your niche and the message the brand is trying to convey to the audience. If not, you could be risking your business reputation.
It’s also worth noting that KOL campaigns require different budget ranges. Typically, it’ll depend on how big of a following their account has.
Launch a Brand Store on XiaoHongshu’s E-Commerce Platform
As XiaoHongShu is also an e-commerce app, consumers are accustomed to visiting the brand page of the products they intend to purchase. While it’s an excellent way to showcase the credibility of your business, virtual stores are only available for accounts with verified entities and have already reached 1,000 followers.
Creating a brand store is similar to the steps we indicated under the official account creation. You’ll also have to complete training modules before you can gain access to other advertising and management tools on the platform.
Advertising Regulations on the XiaoHongshu App
You must remember that XiaoHongshu is still part of the Chinese digital landscape with strict regulations on honest advertising methods. Local brands or not, your promotional content can’t include restricted terms like “the best” or “the most.”
Exaggerating what your products and services can offer is not encouraged nor allowed as part of the effort to prevent misleading consumers.
Your Little Red Book Advertising Partner in China!
Little Red Book is a social commerce platform driven by user-generated content, so it’s natural for new brands to doubt how effective advertising strategies are when launched in this app. However, with the growing user base and brand competitors in this landscape, it’s easy for your content to get lost in the crowd.
Don’t let these complexities hinder your brand’s success in XiaoHongShu! At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the subtleties inherent to the Chinese market – including consumer behaviors and the ever-evolving trends that shape it.
With our extensive expertise in this niche, we offer you the avenue to unlock your brand’s potential and secure a formidable position as a leading entity in the industry.
Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns, utilizing social platforms, or collaborating with relevant KOLs, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help you navigate the challenges of Little Red Book’s business scene.
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