Little Red Book new feature: “guaranteed” exposure for sponsored content

Shilin Song China Digital News, Red/Xiaohongshu Marketing

In early April 2022, Red/Xiaohongshu launched a new marketing feature, “performance optimization mode” (in Chinese: 优效模式) for sponsored content. The tool ensures that the sponsored content performance surpasses 80% of the KOL’s recent posts and guarantees a baseline impression for your collaboration campaigns.

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Why do we need Performance Optimization Mode for Xiaohongshu marketing?

Except for the user’s spontaneous search, the performance of a post on Red/Xiaohongshu highly depends on the recommendation algorithm. Therefore, even a top-tier influencer’s performance can fluctuate from time to time. The reason is that Red is a UGC platform where people value genuine sharing and reviews. Sometimes, official sponsored content might not perform as well as expected. 

Working with Red influencers is common for domestic and international brands operating in China. If the influencer’s post is organic or through seeding, meaning not an official sponsored content, you can use “Shutiao” (in Chinese: 薯条) to boost the post. However, for specific regulated industries such as supplements, cosmetic medicine, or other functional products, it’s better to go through Red’s official influencer collaboration platform “Dandelion / Pugongying” (in Chinese: 蒲公英) and make it a sponsored content. This is to avoid being judged as an “illegal advertisement” without notifying the platform. For a sponsored post, you cannot use Shutiao to push it, so this is when “performance optimization mode” becomes relevant. 

Red / Xiaohongshu sponsored content china marketing

How does it work?

You can select “performance optimization mode” when booking the KOL collaboration through the official Dandelion platform. 

Within 15 days after publication, Red will help boost the content until it reaches 80% of the system’s estimated exposure. The KOL’s recent performance determines the estimated impressions in the system. (source: Ebrun)

In a word, you cannot decide the target impression, but the platform will guarantee that your sponsored post reaches the average level of the selected KOL. According to the same source, 70% of the influencers present on Dandelion platform already have this function active. (source same as above)

How much does it cost?

The price for using “performance optimization mode” will be 20% of the KOL’s quotation. For example, if the KOL’s quotation is 5k USD, the commission to be paid to Red will be 1k USD. Without the performance optimization mode, the standard platform commission will be 10% which is 500 USD.

Is it worth trying?

This feature ensures sufficient exposure during important branding events such as IP Collaboration, Limited Edition Release, Rebranding, etc. However, it doesn’t ensure CTR, clicks, or engagement. If you want to guarantee a baseline impression for your sponsored content, “performance optimization mode” is a great tool to avoid failure. 

In the Dandelion platform, you can see the estimated impression before confirming the collaboration with the KOL. However, if the KOL’s recent performance is poor, this feature will not do the magic and turn it into gold. 

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