Similar to the negative effects felt by companies when Google and Facebook change their algorithms, I was hit pretty hard this month as Momo made changes to their system. In November I gained less than half the number of new followers I did in October, earned approx. 8,000 rmb ($1,160 USD) less (pre-tax), and saw a significant drop off in viewers.
The month started off well with viewer numbers similar to October with about 30,000 viewers per live stream. The average number of new followers was down a bit from 2,400 new followers a day in October to about 1,700 new followers a day, however, I felt like this was understandable because I have already been on the platform for a while and I thought growth might be leveling out. Then starting around the 14th and 15th of November my numbers started dropping dramatically with only an average of 17,000 viewers in my morning live streams, 14,000 viewers in my night time live streams, and only about 660 new followers a day. You can take a look at this month’s numbers below:
New Followers: 30,447
Total Number of Followers: 247,282
Average viewers during morning live stream: 22,369
Average viewers during night live stream: 19,202
Earnings before tax: 20,718 rmb ($3,009 USD)
Earnings after Chinese income tax: approx. 16,000 rmb ($2,318 USD) *won’t have exact number until I receive payment in late Nov.
Why did this occur? I’ve come up with several possible factors.
- From November 1st– 21st Momo held a contest to see which live streamers could earn the most. Right around the last week of the contest is when my viewer numbers went down, leading me to believe that Momo was promoting the live streamers who were leading in the competition and this hurt the reach of those who were no longer participating in the competition. (Yes, I was out of the competition early on because I am not very good at convincing my audience to give me gifts.)
- I have also been told by the agent who recruited me that Momo was focusing on promoting new live streamers this month which hurt my reach as well.
- My content is getting boring. I know that. Many of my long time followers aren’t interested in watching because the content is always the same. Hopefully that will change next month when I am back in the U.S. and I can get a lot of my older viewers back.
- I have not been actively developing relationships with my following outside of livestreaming which. This past month I have been lazy when it comes to answering messages and comments and I have not joined in conversations in my groups as much as I should. Doing this is crucial because it gives people more opportunities to interact with me and receive personal attention. If I speak with them their loyalty will increase and they will feel appreciated. In turn, they will be more likely to come watch my live streams. I have recognized this problem and have already started to spend more time each day answering messages.
- New paid promotion feature on Momo. Now people can pay to push their livestream to other users in hopes of gaining more viewers. I haven’t tried it, I don’t think it would be cost effective for me, but for a small live streamer who has just started out it could be a very useful tool. I include it here on this list because obviously if people are paying to play and I’m not, that’s going to have some effect on my visibility.
While several of these causes were unpredictable and out of my control, there are still some things that ARE in my control. So let’s talk about what can be done.
I need to stop taking it for granted that the platform will promote me. I need to expect that the algorithm will be working against me and do what’s in my power to promote myself and increase viewer numbers on my own. I can do this by:
- Providing new and interesting content. I will be doing this next month with my trip home to the U.S. I’m a bit nervous to see how my audience reacts to new format and content, but it should go well considering that they have been asking me daily when I will be going home and if I can live stream from the U.S.
- Developing stronger relationships with my followers.
- During my live stream constantly ask viewers to share my live stream. Similar to reposting or sharing an article online, I can reach a new audience by asking my audience to share my stream. I need to make the ask more often as many people will not think to share it on their own.
I also need to diversify and start developing following on other live streaming platforms. I have mentioned Meipai in the past and I plan to live stream on Meipai during my trip home. I would also like to develop a following on the platform Huajiao and plan on live streaming on that app while I’m in the U.S. as well. This platform is a new app developed solely for mobile live streaming and is similar to Yingke. I am choosing Huajiao over Yingke because I feel like it is easier for new hosts to be found on Huajiao.
You’re probably thinking, what?! Live streaming on 3 platforms, isn’t that a bit much? I’m afraid it will be too, but let’s just wait and see. I’m considering streaming on two platforms simultaneously, but I’m not sure if that will work or not.
December is going to be a huge experimental month for me and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to report on in next month’s report. Let’s hope it’s all good news!!