China’s leading short video platform Douyin is reported to launch its official digital marketing matching service for key opinion leaders (KOL) and businesses: the Star Map Platform (星图平台).

With the platform, KOLs and business owners asking and offering similar prices for a marketing project will be matched. However, details of the Star Map Platform have not yet been revealed.

This is not Douyin’s innovation. Kuaishou, one of Douyin’s rivals, already has a deal taking (接单) function available for KOLs. Additionally, China’s Twitter-like Weibo also has a Mini Task (微任务) function.

With Weibo’s Mini Task, in which the price and bidding system’s operational details are relatively transparent, the actual price offering and bidding take place on WeiQ, the new media marketing platform.

On WeiQ, a KOL can either explicitly show an expected reward price to directly receive requests from business owners, or only show their Weibo accounts and negotiate with potential deal seekers who are interested in the content the KOLs produces.

If Douyin’s Star Map Platform is similar to WeiQ’s business matching mechanism, the platform will gradually build up a market-oriented video streaming space where supply and demand will actively facilitate correct matches. Douyin’s video and commercial marketing ecosystem, in turn, will see a new shift and increased potential.

According to an article circulated among local media, one metric for measuring a KOL’s cooperation price is the number of fans. One fan, as a calculation base, is valued at RMB 0.03. Any extra influence can incur a higher bidding price. Wang Xiaoqiang, a KOL on Douyin, is rumored to expect an average market price of RMB 80,000 ($ 11875.3) for a 15-second video cooperation, thanks to his 1.37 million fans.

However, Wang’s case will not be a norm once the Star Map Platform is launched. Actual sales performance, clearer industry segments, and increasing numbers of KOLs entering the field with clear commercial expectations will gradually lead the market to a standardized one.

Meanwhile, the Star Map Platform is likely to offer brands and business owners more flexible options.

On July 12, global luxury brand Chanel launched its first official video account on Douyin. The account displays promotion videos for Chanel’s watches, whose prices range from RMB 40,000 to RMB 1.08 million. The brand, leveraging Douyin’s 150 million domestic daily active users, received around 50,000 likes per video. Compared to some local KOLs’ 100,000 + likes and Chanel’s reputation among Chinese millennial consumers, the luxury brand hasn’t got all it expected.

With the Star Map Platform, Chanel and other brands will be able to reach out to KOL partners who will optimize the marketing with the best negotiable price.

On July 16, Douyin announced that it has 500 million monthly active users globally. In June, the video platform’s domestic monthly active user hit 300 million. The major user group that contributes to over 40% of Douyin’s total users are now young people between 24 and 30 years old.

Runhua Zhao is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Connect with her via email:

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