We’re looking at yet another market, following our analysis of influencer marketing in Singapore, that is small in size but packs a big punch.
Hong Kong has one of the most thriving economies in the world, and is known as a hub for international trade and investment. As a highly-urbanized market, it comes as no surprise that internet user penetration rate stands at 91%, according to data from Hootsuite and We Are Social, with a mobile phone connection rate at 181% versus the total population.
With that being said, Hong Kong presents marketers with a unique opportunity to reach a cosmopolitan audience through influencer marketing, with high active social media user numbers (78% penetration rate, or 5.80 million users) still sporting growth (4% year-on-year increase).
Looking at social media platforms with the most active users in Hong Kong, Facebook comes up tops, closely followed by YouTube, with Instagram and Twitter lagging behind. Messaging apps make up the other half of the top eight most-used social mediums in Hong Kong.
What does social media influencer and KOL marketing look like in Hong Kong? Social influencers are social media users who have built an engaged follower base on social media, be it on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform. These users have the ability to influence their followers to make certain decisions or actions by communicating specific call-to-actions or producing content around a specific topic.
Another term commonly used in Hong Kong is key opinion leaders, or KOLs. There is a slight difference in that KOLs have perceived authority over a certain area, gained from their direct experience or professional qualifications. In this same vein, KOLs can become social influencers, social influencers can become KOLs.
If we’re looking at Hong Kong’s social influencers in general, they can be categorised into the following: end-users (100-1,000 followers), nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers), micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers), macro-influencers (50,000-200,000 followers) and top stars (200,000 followers and above), or as shown in the pyramid below.
The most popular categories of social influencers for influencer marketing are nano-influencers and micro-influencers, but the effectiveness of macro-influencers and top stars in Hong Kong should not be discounted due to their unparalleled reach and owned-brand power.
For marketers looking to run influencer marketing campaigns in Hong Kong, a mixture of social influencers or KOLs using the hero, hub, hygiene content model has proven effective across a variety of industries - particularly for business-to-consumer brands.
How does influencer marketing stack up for marketers in Hong Kong? Based on data obtained from campaigns run on the CastingAsia platform in the past year, the business verticals that have performed the best for influencer marketing in Hong Kong are FMCG, gadgets and travel & attractions, with finance and delivery also standing out.
Content from social influencers and KOLs that drove the most user clicks were those that either had clear descriptions and benefits of a certain offering, or included a solution to a specific problem many of an influencer’s followers were facing. Visuals also tended to include more information about the product, rather than just an in-your-face product placement.
Our advice for marketers looking to run influencer marketing campaigns in Hong Kong is to provide clear instructions for how influencers should handle the campaign, and also clear descriptions about the product or offering and how it solves a real need of consumers, so that social influencers can better communicate (or advocate) this to their followers.
Social influencers and KOLs in Hong Kong Based on data from the CastingAsia platform, the largest social influencer verticals in Hong Kong are fashion & lifestyle, beauty and travel. Additionally, fast-growing influencer verticals include food & drink, arts & entertainment and fitness & health influencers.
Instagram emerged as the platform of choice for influencers, followed by Facebook - but YouTube does not fall that much behind for social influencers in Hong Kong. Also, in terms of engagement rate sweet spots for Hong Kong, social influencers with followers in the 1,000 to 14,000 range, with another subsection consisting of influencers with 30,000 to 50,000 followers.
In terms of clicks to landing pages, interestingly, nano-influencers drew more clicks from their followers compared to micro-influencers, with click rates ranging from 25-35% for nano-influencers, compared to 5-14% for micro-influencers.
With the above observations, it is no wonder that marketers in Hong Kong are leveraging on micro-influencers and macro-influencers to drive awareness around a certain offering, and leveraging on nano-influencers to drive consumer action on a grassroots level.
Influencer marketing trends
Attribution, attribution and attribution One of the biggest trends we’re seeing is the rise of attribution of influencer marketing to business results. Marketers in Hong Kong have quickly jumped on influencer marketing platforms like CastingAsia to track their influencer marketing activities to customer action, be it through clicks or actions on a site.
This has also caused specific shifts in how influencers create content - providing more information and discourse on why their followers should take on a certain action, and in some cases, build true advocacy with a certain brand. Apart from using influencer marketing platforms to run attributable influencer marketing campaigns, marketers will also need to start building long-term brand relationships with influencers to drive greater resonance with an influencer’s audience.
Diversification of platforms Apart from social influencers and KOLs moving to platforms like YouTube, Patreon is another that has caught the attention of certain groups of social media influencers. Patreon enables influencers and content creators to run a subscription content service, and provide “exclusive” content to subscribers. Over the coming months, we will continue to see more diversification of social media platforms, as consumer usage evolves.
A greater focus on Instagram The Facebook family is going strong in Hong Kong, with Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram ranking in the top 4 most-used social platforms in Hong Kong. However, Instagram usage lags somewhat behind Facebook, but that might soon change.
Influencers are spending more time creating content for Instagram TV, providing longer-form content on this platform for their followers. We’re also seeing brands turning their focus towards influencer marketing campaigns on Instagram in Hong Kong, with Facebook being used as a platform in Hong Kong to spread information and news. It will also be interesting to see how Instagram’s newest feature, Reels, will pan out in Hong Kong.
AnyMind Group’s offerings for influencer marketing in Hong Kong At AnyMind Group, we’ve built out a comprehensive array of offerings to ensure marketers in Hong Kong and Asia can run effective and scalable influencer marketing activities.
The CastingAsia platform is an end-to-end self-serve influencer marketing platform that enables marketers to discover influencers, and activate, manage and track influencer marketing campaigns in Hong Kong and across the region. Apart from the usual engagement metrics, the platform can also track clicks and user acquisitions from influencer marketing campaigns.
Additionally, brands can also tap on CastingAsia’s brand SNS analytics functions to understand the impact of influencer marketing campaigns on their social media platforms, perform competitor, keyword and follower analysis (and match similar follower demographics of a brand to those of influencers).
Marketers can also utilize the expertise of local influencer marketing experts situated in Hong Kong and across Asia to develop local and regional influencer marketing strategies.
At the same time, the CastingAsia Creators Network is an Asia-wide influencer network that was launched by AnyMind Group, providing influencers with relevant resources and solutions for further growth. This has been supplemented by acquisitions of influencer networks in Thailand and Japan, providing additional influencers to the CastingAsia Creators Network.
The most recent offering in this space is AnyMind D2C for influencers, where influencers can easily ideate and produce their own brands and products, build up e-commerce and logistics capabilities. Additionally, AnyMind Group will cover costs for influencers that span ideation and planning, the sourcing and procurement of suppliers through AnyFactory, production of samples and the setting up of e-commerce capabilities.
Round-ups from other markets • Social media influencer marketing in Indonesia • Social media influencer marketing in Japan • Social media influencer marketing in Vietnam • Social media influencer marketing in Thailand • Social media influencer marketing in the Philippines • Social media influencer marketing in Singapore
If you’re keen to learn more or find out how you can run effective influencer marketing in Hong Kong or across Asia, please feel free to reach out to us.