Thought Leadership

Uncut Gems: Embracing the Charm and Success of Livestreaming and Shoppertainment


Jay Powell
SVP, Communications,
MMI Agency




At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders and social distancing drove hordes of Americans to their devices to connect with family and friends. It also helped fuel more online purchases that might typically have been made in-store. Cue the rise of shoppertainment – a phenomenon at the intersection of online shopping and influencer livestreaming that brands are eager to leverage, emboldened by the success live-streamers have found across Asia-Pacific.

As an integrated communications and media firm that has remained at the forefront of marketing innovation since inception, MMI is uniquely qualified to support brands through this latest evolution of commerce. After digging into performance data, examining industry reports, and speaking with brands and influencers, we have compiled a quick start guide to help your brand execute a winning influencer livestream campaign.

Shoppertainment in the digital age is the latest way brands utilize influencers to make the social shopping experience more entertaining and authentic. Shoppertainment rests on influencer livestreaming, which is often less polished than the slickly-produced shorts created by brands and influencers for official campaigns.  For leaders worried about brand safety and consistency across platforms, this imperfect content might be troubling. But Caroline Vazzana (@cvazzana), style influencer, says the imperfection of livestreaming is its charm.  “The beauty of going live is that not everything needs to be (or can be) perfect!”

At MMI, we love helping brands connect with their target audiences in new ways and across new platforms. If you’re planning to tap into growing trends that can positively impact your bottom line, like livestreaming, our influencer marketing team has the experience to support you..

Jay Powell

SVP, Communications, MMI Agency

Livestreams Sell Out the Digital Shelf in China

In 2020, the shoppertainment took off in China; two-thirds of Chinese consumers purchased products via livestreams that year. During Taobao’s 2021 Single’s Day, China’s unofficial shopping holiday that is four times larger than Black Friday in the U.S., China’s two most famous livestreaming stars sold a total of $3 billion worth of products via separate livestreaming sessions. The verticals driving this success in China are cosmetics, beauty products, fashion, and food.

Influencer livestreaming is gaining traction, as evidenced by increasing viewership and conversion rates. Per Bloomberg, social commerce is expected to accelerate over the next few years, with U.S. sales reaching $1.2 trillion by 2025.

Instagram and TikTok Take Center Stage

Initially a photography-focused app, Instagram now prioritizes video content to keep up with its competitors, most recently with the introduction of Instagram Live Shopping. MMI facilitated a collaboration between a large skin care brand and beauty and lifestyle influencers Paola Matute (@paox33) and Melody Acevedo (@melodyslife) to promote holiday season self-care products via Instagram Live. 44% of Instagram users shop Lives weekly, making them an effective way to place your product directly in front of consumers.

Brands are also finding success on “the QVC for Gen Z,” TikTok Live, whose “Top LIVEs” category makes it easy for live content to be discovered by users on the platform. MMI executed a TikTok Live on behalf of a major hair care brand, hosted by Vazzana, to promote an innovative new hair styling product line. Viewers chatted with Caroline during the session and posed questions that she answered live, creating an interactive environment for viewers. Click-through rate to the brand’s product page exceeded campaign expectations.

Influencers can seamlessly livestream beyond social channels via a brand’s website by incorporating livestream shopping platforms like buywith and talkshoplive. This allows the audience to shop directly on the e-commerce site, along with the influencer, in real time, removing path-to-purchase friction, increasing engagement and boosting conversions. Large brands and publishers who are already livestreaming shoppable content across these platforms include Walmart, Buzzfeed and Hearst.

Best Practices for Lively Livestreaming

The world of influencer livestreaming can be daunting to brands that are accustomed to controlling every aspect of influencer content development. MMI’s philosophy for content creation is to give influencers “freedom within a framework” to do what they do best and create content they know their followers will engage. MMI compiled this list of tips to consider as you craft your influencer livestreaming strategy.

Go with the platform where your audience spends the most time..

Meet your audience where it’s already engaged to maximize the reach and life cycle of your content.

Go with someone your audience trusts.

87% of Instagram users say influencers have inspired them to make a purchase. Collaborate with an influencer your audience already looks to for advice to drive conversions.

Go with someone you trust.

Identify creators you’ve worked with in the past who will understand the nuances of your brand as well as the required FTC and platform-specific disclosure policies.

Go with the content format your audience engages with most.

Examine past organic social and influencer campaign performance to determine the content type(s) with which your audience is more likely to interact.

Go with the platform where your audience spends the most time..

Meet your audience where it’s already engaged to maximize the reach and life cycle of your content.

Livestreaming, shoppertainment, and social commerce are new domains for today’s brands. To drive results, they will need to get comfortable with leaning on influencers and ceding creative control where necessary. We’ve found, though, that the best collaborations occur when influencers are given the freedom to create what works for their audiences. Acevedo affirms that the resulting livestream “feels authentic, yet informative for the audience.” When you’re ready to see influencer livestreaming work magic for your brand, MMI’s influencer marketing team is here to support you every step of the way.

See how MMI helps brands break through the noise and stand out here.

MMI Agency is a modern brand lab where performance meets possibility. Our mission is to inspire action by combining our end-to-end approach to reaching consumers with our tenacity for data.



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