While I am active on two live video platforms, Momo and Meipai, in this specific report I will only be discussing Momo. Over the past two months I’ve achieved incredible growth on the Momo platform and I am quite blown away.
Unfortunately, Momo doesn’t provide hosts with any viewer data so since the 13th of August I have started gathering my own data. Each time I broadcast, I record the viewer numbers, earnings and follower growth.
Since the middle of August I have upped the number of hours I do video each day and have created a stable and consistent schedule. Typically, I broadcast an average of two times a day (11:00 am -12:30 pm and 8:00 pm- 9:30 pm) for a total of approximately three hours per day. Due to my job there are usually 1-3 days a week were I can only do live video once a day and sometimes not at all. Outside of the actual live streaming I spend 30-60 minutes a day answering messages from followers and chatting in my follower groups. While 3-4 hours might seem like a lot time, it is not that bad when you consider that there is little to no preparation and absolutely no post production. If you consider a typical YouTube video, the producer will need to spend time to plan out the video, record the video and then edit the video, so it ends up evening out. Furthermore, because I am producing content consistently on a daily basis I am growing at a much faster rate than I was before.
- Tend to have more viewers and earnings during the morning session, possibly due to less competition with other hosts at that time
- During the daytime sessions viewers are more interested in discussing culture, news, travel etc. while night time viewers often ask me to sing or dance (which I don’t do!)
- While there are a large number of trolls any time I do live streaming, the night time sessions seem to have more trolls with sexual comments
- When I first started doing the evening sessions the viewer numbers were about half of the morning sessions but now that I have been doing nighttime sessions for a month and a half, the viewer numbers are now only slightly lower
New followers: approx. 50,000 new followers (started with around 20,000 and reached 71,288 by the end of the month
Total number of followers at end of month: 71,288
Average viewers during morning live stream: 23,156 (*note: I only have data for the second half of the month)
Average viewers during night live stream: 15,662 (*note: I only have data for the second half of the month)
Earnings before tax: 14,614.52 rmb ($2,190.54 USD)
Earnings after Chinese income tax: 11,510 rmb ($1,725.21 USD)
New followers: 79,133
Total number of followers at end of month: 150,421
Average viewers during morning live stream: 25,937
Average viewers during night live stream: 20,250
Earnings before tax: 32,331.68 rmb ($4,846.13 USD)
Earnings after Chinese income tax: 25,461 rmb ($3,757.27 USD)
I have been completely blown away with the growth over the past two months and I am still in shock that I can be earning this much money simply from live streaming. That being said, while it looks easy, it has taken a lot of dedication, commitment and patience on my part. Even when I am tired and not in the mood to sit in front of a camera and be barraged with questions and comments from 25,000 people, I do it anyway because I know that my audience is expecting me to be there. Even when there are very rude trolls saying obnoxious things to me I remain happy, calm and and confident and ignore them and focus on the viewers that really matter. Even when I get asked for the millionth time which country I come from and what do I think about XXX, I still answer, knowing that this might be the first time this person has ever gotten to speak to a foreigner in their entire life and by answering their questions and acknowledging them I am creating a true fan.
Furthermore, while it definitely helps that I am one of the only foreigners doing live streaming on this platform, I do not think it is just because I am a foreigner that I have been successful. Unlike the U.S. live streaming platforms where the success of a host is determined mainly by follower growth and engagement, on Chinese platforms you also need to take into account a host’s earnings. This makes live streaming more complex as hosts need to use tactics to encourage and motivate their audience to give them gifts. In order to increase my earnings, I have had to learn this skills, in Chinese nonetheless!
- On Momo a majority of my viewers are males in their 20s and 30s. Because Momo was originally a social networking app and has a reputation as a hook-up app, there can be a lot of rude sexual comments as well as a lot of people asking if I am single and if they can take me out on a date. Since I am, in fact, in a relationship and I do not want that to affect my live streaming, I ignore or deflect all questions and comments related to my personal relationship status and dating requests. Many of the smarter viewers pick up on this and assume that that must mean I am unavailable, while other more naïve viewers persist on asking me nonstop.
- Quite a lot of my viewers are Chinese people currently working and studying abroad as well as Chinese people who have previously lived abroad and are now back in China. They often speak English with me and are more worldly and knowledgeable. I like this kind of viewer! They enjoy my show because it reminds them of their time abroad, because we have some shared experiences and also because they enjoy making foreign friends.
- Another common type of viewer who is very different than the one above are the viewers from smaller cities in China who have never had, or seldom have the opportunity to speak with a foreigner. They are very excited to “become my friend” and often ask very mundane questions like “Do you like Chinese food?”, “Where have you traveled in China?” and “Which is better, the US or China?”
- Another type of viewers is those who want to practice their English skills. There is often a battle of comments during my broadcast between those who want me to speak English and those who want me to speak Chinese. I just tell them all to calm down and wait their turn and I will go back and forth between the two languages!
- Chinese audiences become very attached to hosts and see you as a friend. Even with 150,000+ followers they all seem to think it is possible for you to have a close personal relationship with each and every one of them. The more you can remember their names and their stories the happier they are.
Over the past few months I’ve been focused on growing the Momo platform and have been neglecting Meipai, however, with a different audience and different features, Meipai is an important platform and I would really like to grow my audience there as well. Now that I have established myself on Momo and am achieving steady growth, I have renewed my efforts on Meipai and have started doing live streaming sessions three days a week. Hopefully there will be significant growth during October and I will include Meipai in next month’s report.