Friday Forum – We bring the hottest questions from the Chinese Social & Digital space to our brightest minds.

How will live-streaming platforms profit on the fans now when “tipping” is blocked?

Caster Xu
Associate Account Manager / We Are Social


Turning virtual gifts into real ones and selling them to fans might be another way for platforms to leveraging the fanbase. Fans are more willing to pay for products when it is introduced by live-streamers. So, live streamers can launch fan-exclusive products and sell directly on the live-streaming platforms; all designed according to the fans’ preferences, from packaging to logo. On the one hand, such actions will reinforce the loyalty of fans, and on the other hand, it can help the platform to drive more profit.

Reece Xiang
Senior Account Executive / We Are Social


We're seeing several cases where teenagers have used their parents' money to spend on live-streamers, that's why restrictions on tipping are positive. However, I think the majority of the tipping is still done by other people than teenagers. Regardless, as the regulations on live-streaming platforms are becoming stricter these days; to retain more users and compete for private domain traffic, I see two possible future trends of live-streaming. Firstly, we'll see new technologies that offer unique and interesting live-streaming experiences to enhance the level of interaction. Secondly, the content will become richer with the introduction of entertainment shows and directed/scripted productions.

Savy Liu
Creative Group Head / We Are Social


The added restrictions for teenagers spending money on live-streaming is great news!
Even without the lucrative tipping, profiting on the fan traffic is still pretty easy, such as divert the users to Taobao, special promotions on related products, or even virtual products that you buy via e-commerce platforms instead of directly from the live-streaming. The mindset of live-streamers can evolve from ‘earning money from target audience’ to ‘earning money from merchants’ while building up your own brand through several verticals. 

Momo Man
Creative Group Head / We Are Social

如功能特权:个性点赞、特权礼物等 ;身份特权:会员标示、入场特效等;内容特权:观看指定付费内容等等方面的特权吸引观众。

Live-streamers and the live-stream platforms can leverage and benefit from the fanbase through value-added services in order to attract audience spending. For example, users who become VIP members can earn some privileges, such as personalized likes, unique gifts, customized member tags, and access to unique content produced by the live-streamer.

Emily Zhang
Copywriter / We Are Social


Live-streaming platforms can try attracting and retaining fans by learning from the model of popular talent shows where people are voting for their favorites. Similarly, the platforms can launch voting activities for the most popular live-streamers (weekly favorite, monthly favorite, annual favorite, etc). Naturally, fans will need to purchase exclusive tickets to be able to participate and contribute to their chosen live-streamers. Furthermore, partnering with more celebrities and influencers, engaging in more diverse live-streaming projects, and attracting different target audiences can also make live-streaming content more rich and interesting. And btw, it's a great move to restrict teenage tipping on live-streaming sessions!