Commercial live streaming – also known as live shopping – soared to a remarkable $13 billion in revenue in 2022 in Southeast Asia. And no single player is better positioned to harness this trend than TikTok Shop, as this type of social commerce has been core to its user experience from day one. TikTok Shop is revolutionising the way consumers buy – transforming casual scrolling into instant “buy now” opportunities.
In light of this burgeoning trend, our team embarked on a mission to uncover the best practices for brands to master live streaming on TikTok Shop. In a series of 4 articles, starting with this one, we will explore various best practices based on research from Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines – 3 of the platform’s fastest growing markets.
TikTok Shop livestreams allow brands to showcase their products in real-time, engaging viewers with live demonstrations, answering queries, and offering exclusive deals. They offer a dynamic, interactive platform where brands can create real-time rapport with customers. They are also delivered along with a set of highly engaging real-time metrics, as outlined in the screenshot below.
5 things that the best TikTok live streaming presenters do to drive engagement
For the first post in this series, our analysts observed 100 brand live streaming sessions in Thailand, breaking down the 5 prevailing ‘mantras‘ that define best-in-class presenter characteristics. While there’s a diverse spectrum of presenter attributes, our post zeros in on those winning tactics that we observed most frequently in our research.
#1: Clear call-to-action (CTA): undeniable influence improving conversion on TikTok Shop
The predominant best practice for presenters is urging their audience towards actions through CTAs. Impressively, 90% of the observed streams had presenters frequently motivating their viewers to do any of a number of things – from simply liking or sharing the livestream, to making purchases while the discounts were still live. However, it is imperative to recognise that not all CTAs are created equal. Are your CTAs visually captivating? Do they instill a sense of immediate action? Are they geared towards sales or broader engagement?
Take a look at this compelling CTA from Oppo. Even though the clip is in Thai, you can clearly see the presenter is strongly encouraging sales:
The host doesn’t merely mention discounts. Instead, they contrast the original price with the newly slashed rate, amplifying the deal’s attractiveness. They stress the exclusivity of live stream prices, kindling urgency to spur immediate buying decisions.
Key Metrics: Click-Through Rate (CTR) / Conversion Rate
#2: Interaction with viewers: fosters engagement and stickiness
Interactivity dramatically enhances audience engagement and stickiness in live streams. When presenters directly engage with viewers — whether by responding to comments, addressing questions, or running real-time polls — they create a sense of intimacy. Such direct interactions not only bridge the virtual divide but also boost consumer trust and confidence, making them more likely to stay engaged and trust the brand. In our observations, 85% of the presenters prioritised this interactivity, actively acknowledging comments and answering queries.
The presenter isn’t merely reactive; she’s proactively attuned to consumer activities, including recent purchases. She elevates their engagement further by personally shouting out and warmly welcoming repeat customers to the stream.
Behind the scenes, a seamless dance unfolds. A moderator (a person who helps the presenter from behind the camera) liaises with the presenters, relaying live comments, highlighting specific products, and promptly verifying product details. This streamlined coordination means presenters can stay fully immersed with their audience, devoid of any device-driven distractions. The result? A profoundly interactive and consumer-oriented live shopping odyssey.
Key Metric: Speed of comment response time
#3 Hosts as product experts: product mastery is non-negotiable
Shoppers today seek genuine product insights. Hence, presenters must share personal usage experiences and offer detailed product information and clear guidance. Their in-depth understanding will make them ready to tackle intricate queries real-time and foster consumer trust. The presenters’ ability to explain the purpose/benefits and differences between various products, also enables consumers to make educated choices. 80% of the videos that we analysed featured such adept hosts, who were able to project themselves as ‘experts’ due to their proficiency in fielding specific inquiries.
Demonstrating a solid grasp over their product assortment, the presenter offers custom solutions to cater to individual consumer challenges. Their personal affinity for the products is clear, amplifying their credibility while clarifying benefits and functionality. Evocative sensory descriptors about the creams application style further paint a clearer picture, making it easier for consumers to make purchase decisions.
Key Metric: Number of answered/unanswered queries
#4 Brand and presenter synergy: alignment between brand ethos and presenter bolsters consumer confidence
It is essential for the presenter not just to showcase products but also to echo the brand’s positioning through their appearance, setting, and demeanor. Such alignment can create a deeper connection with the target audience, making the brand more relatable and authentic. We found 70% of videos exemplify this aesthetic alignment.
The presenter epitomises the brand’s emphasis on beauty and skincare, both in appearance and presentation. The background exhibits a clean look, employing a green screen with pastel colors and prominently featuring the brand name.
Key Metric: Percentage of repeat viewers
#5: Unleashing seller theatrics: differentiation through entertainment value
A mix of entertainment and shopping gives the live stream a unique flare. The best presenters infuse energy, humour, and anecdotes, fostering engagement beyond just interest in the product. Such theatrics provide brands an opportunity to truly ride on the ‘shoppertainment’ wave that TikTok Shop is leading. In our analysis, 55% of the videos showcased hosts blending humour and vibrancy, highlighting an opportunity to train presenters and harness the untapped potential to improve sales.
The presenter seamlessly integrates entertainment with product demonstrations (by playing music through speakers), engaging viewers and enhancing the experience.
Key Metrics: Emoji reaction analysis / Viewer engagement
The road ahead for brands:
If you are a brand looking to capitalise on TikTok Shop, you need to treat it not merely as a sales channel but as a vibrant stage for consumer engagement and branding. Invest in training your presenters and ensure they merge product mastery with entertainment flair. Prioritise genuine interactions with viewers to foster loyalty. Consistently analyse your viewership and engagement data to fine tune your approach. In the confluence of entertainment and shopping lies an opportunity not just to transact, but to transform the shopping experience.
Lookout for what’s coming next in our brand live streaming content series: a deep dive into the time windows, product split and discount patterns. Stay tuned to elevate your brand’s livestream game!
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