Double 11 (aka Single’s Day) is no longer dominated by Alibaba — instead, the world’s largest online shopping festival is now an intrinsic part of the entire China digital ecosystem. It’s a period many brands look to each year to win big. But competition is fierce! The actual task of driving traffic to your platform during major sales events like Double 11 requires a strategic and multi-faceted approach.
Different platforms play unique roles in contributing to the frenzy, leveraging their strengths to attract users and boost sales. Understanding which platforms will be best for your brand and industry is crucial to success.
In this post we’ll break down how different platforms drive traffic and give you a set of guidelines for crafting an effective Double 11 strategy as well as highlight some specific examples of brands who did Double 11 right in the past few years. Buckle up! It’s a long post, but you’ll want to save this one 👇🏼
First, let’s take a look at some examples from brands of different categories and how they’ve leveraged the different China social media and e-commerce platforms to generate a buzz, provide unique and catchy deals or discounts and drive sales.
The brand announced their Double 11 event on October 24 last year under the theme of Buy What You Need – simply and straight. In addition to their Tmall store, Bananain also launched pre-sales on their WeChat mini program and from their Douyin store.
From October 24 to October 31, consumers who purchased products were able to snag the Double 11 special price in advance. In addition, the brand also promised to randomly pick one lucky person in the WeChat comment area to help her/him pay for all the items in the shopping cart (not exceeding 2,000 yuan).
On Xiaohongshu, the brand released multiple event previews in the form of videos + pictures and text, and also leveraged micro-influencers to conduct product seeding (产品种草) to raise awareness and encourage sales.
Thanks to the multi-dimensional joint efforts of brand officials, influencers, and live-stream sales, during Double 11 in 2022, the brand’s self-heating thermal underwear achieved sales of USD 7.694 million (unit price 238 yuan, sales of 236,000 pieces). The brand’s total sales during the 2022 Double 11 period achieved a year-on-year increase of 30.05%. [s]
The brand published a pre-Double 11 WeChat article on October 24, listing the festival hero products and corresponding Taobao links, and invited fans to leave messages in the comment area to win Double 11 gift packs.
On October 25, a preview of the brand’s upcoming Taobao Live was released, listing all discounted products and preferential information of its 27 brands to build momentum for Double Eleven.
On Xiaohongshu, the brand not only released a tailored “Double 11 Shopping Guide”, but also launched exclusive gift-giving activities on the platform, such as “Participate in a limited-time lottery and win a trial of a facial mask” and “Search for keywords and win 2,000 surprise gift boxes”. These activities further enhanced the festive atmosphere.
In terms of influencer cooperation, mega hosts such as Li Jiaqi (who’s since been followed by a bit of controversy) did warm-up up events highlighting products according to beauty categories. Many other beauty influencers prepared “Double 11 must-buy lists” in advance to help fans get the best deals.
On Douyin the brand launched warm-up content pre-Double 11, inviting fans to pay a deposit in advance to confirm the discount. In addition they cooperated with influencers on the platform to promote guidance on “what is worth buying”. [s] [s]
Three Squirrels (三只松鼠)
The brand published WeChat articles on October 24 and October 31 about their upcoming Double 11 campaign. In addition to announcing the discounted prices of special products in advance, Three Squirrels also guided fans to become members to win extra discounts, peripheral gifts and participate in lucky draws (iPhone, headphones, etc.). They encouraged interaction by offering 10 lucky fans who commented on the WeChat article the opportunity to receive a free nut gift pack.
On Xiaohongshu, in addition to the official Double 11 announcement of discounts on November 4, two health care brands, Little Bear Appliances (小熊电器) and Wugu Mill (五谷磨房), launched joint, limited-edition gift packs, as well as a giant Three Squirrels snack pack weighing 3 kilograms! This attracted fans to spontaneously share pictures and texts on the platform of the crazy offering.
The brand actively participated in promotional activities in multiple live-stream rooms (including on Douyin) and provided fans with further discounts. Three Squirrels achieved a total sales of over USD 136.668 million on Tmall and JD platforms during Double 11 last year. [s] [s]
Travel & Hospitality
High-end five-star hotels such as The Puli (璞丽酒店) and InterContinental (洲际酒店) often choose to publish Double 11 event information from their WeChat public accounts.
Hotels or smaller luxury resorts targeting young consumers, such as Disney hotels (迪士尼酒店), will choose to publish their activities on Xiaohongshu and invite influencers to participate in the promotion.
At the same time, there are also many influencers or KOCs active on travel apps. The official account of the travel app itself is also the main channel for promoting Double 11 activities. [s]
Data resource: mktindex.com / Tmall / syntun.com
Now that we’ve covered some detailed examples, how can you put a plan into action on the right channels?
Social media plays a critical role in driving e-commerce conversions, and many social media platforms in China actually have their own in-app e-commerce functions. So which social media platforms should you use, and how? Let’s cover some of the big ones:
Use WeChat to engage VIP customers with exclusive Double 11 deals and personalized promotions. Create VIP-only content and leverage the WeChat Pay feature for seamless transactions during the event.
Weibo is ideal for creating buzz around your Double 11 promotions. Run teaser campaigns, host countdown events, and collaborate with celebrities and KOLs to build anticipation. Share timely updates and engage with users in real-time.
Leverage Xiaohongshu for detailed product recommendations, reviews, and lifestyle content that cater specifically to Double 11 shoppers. Collaborate with influencers to showcase your Double 11 deals and encourage user-generated content related to your promotions.
Douyin is perfect for creating engaging, short-form videos that highlight your Double 11 deals. Consider live-streaming your promotions and collaborating with influencers to boost visibility during the event.
Connect with the younger, tech-savvy audience on Bilibili by creating content that resonates with their interests and Double 11 deals. Partner with content creators who specialize in your niche.
Target users in smaller cities and rural areas through Kuaishou. Use live-streaming and other interactive features to engage a broader audience and promote your Double 11 promotions effectively.
While the majority of social media platforms have their own e-commerce solutions, we can’t ignore where the bulk of transactions will take place during Double 11 — e-commerce platforms. Let’s take a look at how the biggest e-commerce platforms can be leveraged to drive sales during Double 11:
Tmall and Taobao are exceptional for running large-scale promotions and discounts. These platforms are ideal for brand stores and official flagship stores. Consider creating eye-catching product listings, running flash sales, and collaborating with influencers and KOLs to boost credibility. Live-streaming is popular on these platforms, allowing brands to showcase products in real-time and engage with potential buyers. On these e-commerce giants, optimize your product listings for Double 11. Create high-quality product images, set competitive prices, and highlight special promotions and discounts. Make use of the platform’s multifunctional components to enhance the shopping experience.
JD.com is known for quality and reliability. It’s suitable for brands that prioritize quality and authenticity. Showcase your Double 11 deals and quality products on the platform. Offer exclusive discounts to JD Plus members and make use of JD.com’s efficient logistics for timely deliveries.
Pinduoduo is known for its group-buying model, making it perfect for offering discounts and encouraging bulk purchases. On this platform, focus on encouraging group buying and offering discounts to drive bulk purchases during Double 11. Collaborate with KOLs or micro-influencers to promote your products. Use the platform’s interactive features to engage users and encourage them to share deals.
Now that you’ve become familiar with the different platforms and strategies to leverage each one, you’re nearly on your way to crafting an effective Double 11 strategy! Last, but not least, here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind as you plan, execute and evaluate your China Double 11 campaigns:
1) Define Your Goals
Are you looking to generate massive sales? Or just brand awareness? This will impact the type of discounts you offer, whether or not you work with a big name influencer or many micro-influencers. Identify what your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be, such as conversion rates, click-through rates, or social media engagement metrics.
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2) Platform Selection
Data shows that the large platforms such as Alibaba’s Tmall and Tencent’s JD — while still posting impressive numbers, are showing signs of giving up their piece of the pie to other e-commerce players.
In terms of comprehensive e-commerce platforms, Tmall maintains its leading position with a share of 62.6%, followed closely by JD.com at 27.1%, and PDD securing the third position with 6.7%. Other platforms collectively account for 3.6% of the market.
Choose the platform that best suits your target audience and product category, and consider using a combination of platforms to reach a wider audience while focusing on channels that can directly convert sales, such as Taobao Live, Douyin Live, Xiaohongshu Live, etc.
3) Content Planning
Double 11 doesn’t just start in November! Judging from last year’s Double 11 calendar, the pre-sale period on Kuaishou began on October 13. Both JD.com and PDD started on October 20, Tmall and Douyin started from October 24. In 2022 the main event period ran from the end of October to November 11, with a 48-hour return period on November 12 and 13.
During this three-week campaign period, make sure you use a mix of promotional and informational content to tap into social media trends and keep users interested. Determine which content drives awareness, followers, and conversions by tracking performance closely. If you plan for live-stream sales, develop a content plan that includes the products you’ll showcase, promotions, and special offers. Create a script or outline to ensure a structured and engaging livestream.
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4) Creative Assets
During Double 11, consumers are inundated with a deluge of information. Thus, the ability to convey essential information quickly is paramount.
Brand promotion content should optimize product listings on e-commerce platforms like Tmall and Taobao. This entails providing high-quality images, competitive prices, and emphasizing special promotions, discounts, and limited-time offers.
Leveraging the platform’s multifunctional components is also key to enriching the shopping experience. For instance, integrating dynamic effects like unboxing gifts on Xiaohongshu can be very attractive.
Additionally, the design of product packaging plays a vital role in triggering user-generated content. Eye-catching packaging for Double 11, including limited gift boxes co-branded with other brands or the launch of new products endorsed by celebrities on the eve of Double 11, can significantly enhance the event’s popularity.
5) Influencer Collaborations and Paid Advertising
During Double Eleven, influencer collaborations are typically concentrated in the event’s warm-up period, with a subsequent shift towards user-generated content (UGC). Partnering with high-impact influencers and publishing shopping guide videos (e.g., what to buy, how to get the best deals) garners the most attention and engagement. Additionally, leverage the official channels of each collaborator, including live-streaming hosts, co-branded brands, member communities, and more, to build momentum for the event.
In fiercely competitive industries like beauty, fashion, food, and appliances, brands should consider allocating budgets for paid advertising. This may involve social media advertising, search engine marketing (SEM), or in-platform promotions to enhance visibility. Utilize targeted advertising strategies to reach your specific audience effectively.
6) Crisis Management & Post-Event Evaluation
No one desires a brand crisis during Double 11. With the immense spotlight on this event, any product issues or inappropriate remarks can swiftly escalate, causing significant harm to your brand’s reputation. It’s wise to proactively prepare for potential problems or crises, such as technical glitches or negative feedback, and have a response plan in place to address them promptly.
Furthermore, consistently assess your performance against KPIs and gather feedback from your customers. Utilize these insights to refine your strategy for future sales campaigns. If your results are notably positive, consider creating a poster or article to celebrate with your loyal fan base. This presents a valuable opportunity to fortify the emotional connection and enhance your brand image.
Double 11 has the power to skyrocket your brand — however, it isn’t the end-all-be-all of your China marketing strategy. Approach this period with the appropriate goals, mindset and planning. Winning on Double 11 starts with measuring your successes and failures throughout the entire year. By understanding your audience behavior, and what type of content drives which type of results, you’ll be able to craft a promotion strategy that makes sense for the longevity of your brand in China.
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