Earnings Down, Viewer Numbers Up: October Growth, Insights and Income Report

While earnings were slightly down this month, followers continued increasing rapidly at a rate of approx. 2.4k a day, hitting 200k on Oct 24th (whoo!).

Overview:

To be honest, as much as I enjoy live streaming, October was a bit challenging for me. It’s difficult to constantly come up with new topics and it’s hard to discuss a topic in depth because there are always so many viewers coming in and out. Sometimes I have just finished discussing a topic and then someone new will come in and ask about the same exact topic. The biggest downfall of Momo is the inability to save your live streams. This would help because I could just tell people to go back and watch the replay instead of answering the same questions over and over.

So why don’t I just ignore them? New viewers will typically ask a lot of basic questions that are really boring to answer, but I still need to answer because if I ignore them they will be much less likely to follow me. Viewers crave engagement.

This month Momo added a new feature that helps a bit with this problem. The live streaming host can now write a banner message that streams across the top of the page. It’s very useful because I can put in some of my basic personal info like where I’m from and where I live so that people don’t ask those questions as often. Unfortunately, for some reason it only streams across the page every 5 minutes or so which makes it much less helpful than it could be.

CIEE Presentation:

The highlight of October was an interactive presentation that I gave at the CIEE study abroad program at Peking University. I introduced the Chinese live streaming industry and then the students joined me for about 45 minutes of live streaming followed by some Q&A. While many of the students were camera shy, both them and my audience had a great time interacting with each other.

Prepping for the live stream

It was difficult for many of the students to visualize what live streaming was actually like, so turning on the camera and giving them a chance to experience it themselves helped a lot. Many of them were surprised by how quickly viewers flocked to watch the stream and how many comments were flying across the screen.

The live stream put on on the overhead projector so that students could read all the comments and view the gifts

So now I’ll move on to what you’ve all been waiting for…

The Numbers:

New Followers: 66,052

Total Number of Followers: 216,835

Average viewers during morning live stream: 30,743

Average viewers during night live stream: 22,864

Earnings before tax: 28,206 rmb ($4,162 USD)

Earnings after Chinese income tax: approx. 22,212 rmb ($3,221 USD)

Trends:

  • Still growing rapidly at a rate of about 2.4k new followers a day
  • Earnings were down a bit this month; partly because of a few slow days and partly because I had to take a couple extra days off. The unfortunate thing about live streaming is that it is definitely not a passive income model. No live streaming = no money. I had hoped that earnings would increase as followers increased but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I predict that November’s earnings will probably be similar and I’m very curious to see what will happen in December (see upcoming plans below for more thoughts on this).
  • Besides total number of views, another important metric is the number of viewers watching my streams simultaneously. If this number increases a lot but the overall number of viewers only increase slightly, that indicates that the audience is more engaged and people are watching my live stream for a longer length of time. At the end of October, I saw a sharp increase in these numbers. Previously I would have 1,500–2,000 people watching at any given time, but now I’m finding that number has doubled and I often have between 3,000–4,000.
  • I also noticed that my photo posts are getting higher engagement, especially those that feature my hometown or my family (see below).
Recent post from Oct 28th about snow in my hometown has already received 1.8k likes, 713 comments and 24,823 views.
Post from mid-October about fall hiking in Upstate New York has received 1.3k likes, 541 comments and 39,512 views.
This throwback post about my Dad’s visit to China two years ago was popular with 1.1k likes, 442 comments and 46,046 views.

Upcoming Plans:

Many of my viewers are really looking forward to my trip to the U.S. in December and I am excited to introduce a wider variety of content to my audience. This trip will serve as an experiment to see how my audience reacts to more travel/lifestyle content as opposed to purely conversational live streaming. I plan to show them around my hometown as well as interview some friends and family.

I am curious to see if the change in schedule will negatively impact earnings. I tend to make more money from my lunchtime live streams than my evening ones. However, due to the time difference, when I am in the U.S. I will be streaming at night China time (morning/noon EST).

Additional thoughts: Why aren’t other foreigners live streaming on Momo?

I’m curious why there aren’t more people taking advantage of this awesome opportunity. Momo has quite a few foreign users, but I have only seen two other foreigners live stream, a German guy and a Russian girl. He only live streamed for about a week or so and now he doesn’t seem to be active. The girl has been on the platform for a while, longer than I have actually. She has an amazing singing voice, which viewers really love, but her following is not growing as rapidly as mine because she is not consistent. Some weeks she live streams a lot, some weeks not at all. Also she doesn’t appear to try to do any other type of content.

Once or twice I have had other foreigners mention in comments that they thought about live streaming but that they feel like they would get bored easily and annoyed by all of the repetitive questions and comments. Recently I had a foreigner say that he could not sign up because he needed a Chinese ID card, so I’m not sure if maybe the policies have changed or if he just didn’t look carefully enough. I’ll have to look into it more.

All in all, I’m really surprised that I have not seen more foreigners live streaming on Momo. Their loss!

And again…what about Meipai?

Last month I said I would start do to more live streaming on Meipai, but after several live streams with less-than-impressive numbers I decided to stop streaming on Meipai for now. With my limited time and energy, it seems best to focus my effort on Momo. I still hope to grow my Meipai audience in the future, but that will have to wait until I am back in the U.S.

Meipai users are different than Momo users. They are more demanding when it comes to content. I tried having some conversational English classes but I was having trouble getting the same level of traction that I had before. Part of the reason is that I usually do Momo in the evenings so the only time I had available for Meipai was during the afternoon when there are less users online. I know that Meipai users are very interested in life abroad so I will wait until I am in the U.S. to re-start my efforts on that platform.

Yet another month has flown by, hope you enjoyed this month’s insights and please let me know if you have any questions!

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