Byte’s “Little Red Book” suddenly became popular in the United States, but it will not become the next overseas version of Douyin

On March 23 local time, TikTok CEO Zhou was questioned by Congress for 5 hours.

When the future of the overseas version of Douyin is uncertain, the number of users of another overseas app by ByteDance has skyrocketed.

It is called Lemon8, also known as Byte Edition Little Red Book.

Misfortunes and blessings depend on it, and TikTok's assists cannot be ruled out in this outing.

In February this year, Lemon8 was launched in the United States in a low-key manner. On March 28, it entered the Top 10 free list of the App Store in the United States. Before that, it had not even entered the top 200 .

Byte version of Little Red Book, briefly out of the circle

What kind of app is Lemon8?

It positions itself as a "lifestyle community," and when it enters the U.S. market, it also paints a portrait of an ideal creator: a 22- to 26-year-old woman in the New York or Los Angeles area who focuses on fashion or beauty.

Overseas users compared their familiar apps and understood Lemon8 as a hybrid of Instagram and Pinterest. In domestic reports, it was given the title of "Byte Edition Little Red Book".

Of course, the most important thing is how well the product itself is designed.

Lemon8's homepage information flow is somewhat similar to Douyin. On the left is "Following", that is, what the people you follow have posted, and on the right is "For you", which uses double-column text to guess what you like, including beauty makeup, photography , cute pets and other categories.

▲ Lemon8 Homepage.

The "Search" interface recommends a lot of hashtags to attract users to click. After entering a keyword in the search box, the result interface is a bit like Instagram. Both will recommend popular posts, related bloggers, hashtags, etc.

▲ Left one, middle Lemon8, right one Instagram.

When you post by yourself, you can use the app's own templates to add filters, text, stickers, hashtags, etc. to the pictures. Xiaohongshu also has a similar graphic template function.

▲ Left Lemon8, right Xiaohongshu.

A bit like everyone else, that's actually equivalent to being different.

Perhaps because Lemon8 has just started, there are many "hooks" buried inside the app that recommend you to follow creators, such as "Rising Stars" on the search interface, "Discover creators" on the notification interface, and "recommended" on the personal interface.

▲ Creator interface of Lemon8.

Lemon8's emphasis on creators is understandable, after all, these people are the source of living water for content.

Not only to set aside advertising space internally, but since February this year, Lemon8 has been contacting creators via emails and using real money to attract them to post. The email also mentioned what requirements a good Lemon8 post should meet.

These posting rules basically reflect Lemon8's own ideal community. These include:

  • The content should give more details, such as step by step makeup tutorials or recipes, emphasizing the strategic nature of the content;
  • The theme tag should be selected to match the content. You can’t choose whichever is more popular, and emphasize the verticality of the content;
  • The cover is best designed in a magazine style, with at least 3 to 7 high-definition photos, emphasizing the delicacy of the content;

The sense of déjà vu of the "Byte Edition Little Red Book" is even stronger.

However, there is still a difference in size between the two. The number of followers of the Lemon8 bloggers I have seen so far is not high, generally ranging from a few hundred to thousands. Even if it is a photography blogger with 16,000 fans, the number of likes for a post ranges from dozens to two or three hundred, and the comments are few. is a single digit.

It is easy to break the list and difficult to keep it. It is a fact that it once broke into the Top 10, and it is also a fact that the popularity has dropped. At noon on April 11th, Lemon8 ranked 33rd in the free app list in the US region, and dropped to 97th on April 14th.

Stand on the shoulders of TikTok

In fact, Lemon8 has been around for a long time.

In March 2020, it was first launched in Japan, and later expanded to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore. It was launched in the United States and the United Kingdom in February today in a low-key manner.

In 2022, Lemon8's global monthly active users will exceed 5 million. Until now, Japan is still Lemon8's largest market.

How special does Lemon8 look? Nor did it.

At least in the U.S. market, many people try TikTok because of its popularity, and they look forward to this little-known app, as Krishna Subramanian, the founder of the marketing company, said:

It's owned by ByteDance, which means the creators are giving it a chance.

Not only that, TikTok's traffic pool directly assisted Lemon8, and TikTok bloggers with hundreds of thousands of fans also advertised for it. As of April 1, videos related to Lemon8 had received more than 2.3 billion views on TikTok.

Even the official marketing company stepped on TikTok's shoulders to promote:

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, invites you to become a creator before Lemon8 officially enters the US market!

Looking back at the reasons why Lemon8 chose Japan as its first stop, it is actually very interesting.

First of all, Japan has well-developed beauty, clothing, and home furnishing industries, but lacks a community-based product that focuses on lifestyle and planting grass; second, ByteDance has gained popularity in Japan through short video products such as TikTok and Buzzvideo.

Lemon8 then entered Southeast Asia, where the tourism industry is developed, and the reasons are not bad.

In addition to TikTok's buff bonus, Lemon8's Xiaohongshu-like model is also favored.

In the domestic market, almost no app is more suitable for planting grass than Xiaohongshu.

On the one hand, Xiaohongshu focuses on lightly shared, easy-to-read short graphic content, and has the characteristics of strategies and guides.

On the other hand, it has quite high-quality search traffic. More and more users are searching for keywords in Xiaohongshu, and it even replaces Baidu as a "lifestyle search engine".

At present, the daily active users of Xiaohongshu are between 80 million and 100 million, and the user portraits are also outstanding: young, first- and second-tier cities, and willing to spend.

Similarly, Lemon8 also encourages users to "search" to find content other than their own.

In the App Store introduction , Lemon8 set aside a line specifically to say that popular content can be found by searching keywords. At the same time, in the posting guidelines for creators, Lemon8 hopes that the main text will have 100 to 300 words, and provide more useful information, echoing the short picture and text characteristics of Xiaohongshu.

However, how to commercialize Lemon8 in the end is still an unsolved problem. I wonder if it will learn from Xiaohongshu.

It was reported at the end of March that hundreds of American creators have joined Lemon8, and its plan for the American market is divided into three steps:

  • Main content accumulation in April;
  • In May, focus on increasing users and helping creators increase fans;
  • September focuses on monetization opportunities, helping creators make money from brand partnerships and other forms of advertising.

One of the Internet companies that are best at going overseas

Speaking of going overseas, TikTok can be regarded as an entertainment platform that has truly entered the global mainstream market. It has accumulated 150 million American users so far, and Lemon8 is hard to come by in a short time. Because of the success of TikTok, ByteDance is also known as one of the "Chinese Internet companies with the most global vision".

ByteDance’s official layout of globalization began in August 2015, when Toutiao’s overseas version of TopBuzz was officially launched. Today, ByteDance’s overseas products involve news, short videos, games, music, e-commerce, and office software. and many other fields.

Byte’s sea-going strategy probably has several characteristics.

Zhang Yiming once summarized the specific style of ByteDance's going overseas as "going overseas with technology, localized operations".

This can be understood as the adoption of a unified technical solution, such as an algorithm-based recommendation mechanism in product logic, localization in design, and huge investment in operations.

In terms of content and social products, ByteDance’s achievements are mainly concentrated in short video-related fields, including TikTok, BuzzVideo (overseas version of Watermelon Video), CapCut (overseas version of Clipping Video), Resso (music streaming products), etc. wait.

From these products, it can be seen that ByteDance attaches great importance to localization and operation.

CapCut, with more than 200 million monthly active users, provides a variety of templates, filters, music and visual effects to help users easily edit videos. In addition to continuing the function of clipping, CapCut has also launched functions suitable for different local markets. For Instagram , Facebook, YouTube content delivery templates.

BuzzVideo, which is popular with middle-aged men in the Japanese market, cooperates with Japanese head content companies to increase high-quality local content in vertical fields such as beauty, news, comedy, and cars.

The same is true for Lemon8. "White Whale Going to Sea" reported that no matter which market it is in, it will recruit local teams locally. Content operations and marketing managers are basically required positions, which is equivalent to handing over the task of connecting local users and creators to local employees. .

In contrast, Xiaohongshu is following a "global strategy for one product" in overseas markets, without making clear user divisions.

In addition to localization, ByteDance’s banknote capability blessing is also essential, including advertising, planning activities, cash incentives, etc., so as to attract users to settle in and add more UGC content.

In the past year, Lemon8 has delivered a total of 550,000 pieces of creative materials, among which words such as OOTD (wear today), lifestyle, winter, fashion, beauty, generation, and fashion have a relatively high appearance rate.

TikTok, the most successful case of going overseas, relies on heavy operations and large-scale investment to "make miracles hard." Whenever entering a new market, the recommendation positions of the app store, Facebook, Google and other high-traffic portals are a must.

To put it simply, the advantage of ByteDance is that it has accumulated a reputation and a large number of content producers through TikTok, and has more experience in localized products, and is willing to spend a lot of money on launching and operating. It's just that most of these products are media products, and even mainly revolve around short videos.

However, Xiaohongshu is a community-based product, and Lemon8 should also be a community-based product, which is more complex than media-based products like TikTok and requires more sophisticated operations.

After all, it's still early days for Lemon8 in the U.S. market, and the real test will come once the heavy promotion is over. In addition, TikTok’s experience came first, and geopolitics and the global structure are still uncontrollable factors for going overseas.

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