Little Red Book: Analysis Report on User Operation Strategy

Editor’s lead: Nowadays, many people will look for evaluation stickers on various platforms before buying goods. With Xiaohongshu as the representative, there are many bloggers in Xiaohongshu, ranging from stars to amateurs. They often post on it to help people grow grass or pull weeds. Among many products, how does Little Red Book occupy a favorable market and attract many loyal users? The author of this paper analyzes the user operation strategy of Xiaohongshu. Let’s take a look.

1.1.1 field

Xiaohongshu is a social e-commerce platform that provides sharing, communication and purchase channels for young Internet users who like shopping and love life. Users can discover good things all over the world through the platform, browse the product strategies summarized by various experts, share their own experience on the use of products, and also complete online shopping in the e-commerce platform.

Xiaohongshu was founded on June 6, 2013, with the asymmetric shopping information of Haitao as the breakthrough point. Since there were no products with similar positioning in the market at the time of its establishment, Xiaohongshu became a dark horse at the beginning of its establishment, and the number of users has exceeded 15 million in just one year. By December 2020, the cumulative download volume of Xiaohongshu has exceeded 5.3 billion, and the number of users has exceeded 300 million.

1.1.2 product positioning

At the beginning of its establishment, Xiaohongshu was positioned as a tool-based product, mainly aiming at the basic shopping guide of overseas markets. Later, through deep cultivation of UGC shopping sharing community, it continued to integrate content community and e-commerce module, and developed into the world’s largest consumer word-of-mouth library and community e-commerce platform.

At present, Xiaohongshu officially defines Xiaohongshu APP as a lifestyle platform for young people. With "UGC Content Community" as the core, users can record their life, share their lifestyles and form interactions based on their interests through short videos, pictures and texts. They can also purchase high-quality goods from all over the world through the welfare agency with one click. It is an online shopping note sharing community and a platform for self-operated bonded warehouses.

1.2.1 Target users

1) User characteristics

From the user portrait data of iResearch, it can be seen that the proportion of female users of Xiaohongshu is close to 80%, and the number of male users is only 20%, which shows that the target users of Xiaohongshu are mainly women, and the community sharing and e-commerce model is more in line with the shopping habits and user characteristics of female users.

Judging from the age distribution of users, the main users of Xiaohongshu are young people under the age of 30, and users aged 31-35 also account for a certain proportion.

From the geographical distribution, the users of Xiaohongshu are mainly concentrated in the coastal areas with highly developed economy. Users in this area generally have high living standards, strong consumption power, pursue quality of life, and have certain demand for overseas shopping.

2) user portrait

User portraits can be roughly divided into the following categories:

  • Student groups: high school students and college students, born after 1995, are highly active, have enough time, pursue trends and fashions, are easily attracted by new things, and are willing to share and show their lives;
  • Workplace groups: white-collar workers and office workers, in first-tier cities such as Beishangguang, pursue quality of life, like to share their living conditions, like overseas shopping of beauty products, refer to KOL’s notes before shopping, and are willing to share their experiences after buying;
  • Online celebrity stars: KOL and stars in the vertical field, with certain social influence, spontaneously share beauty products or toiletries that grow grass every day through videos or notes, or cooperate with beauty brands to promote and gain income;
  • Merchants’ shops: shop operators such as youth hotels, online celebrity restaurants, cafes and bars, aged between 20 and 35, pursue fashion and hot spots, and are good at using the Internet for publicity and packaging.

1.2.2 Demand Scenario

  • Plenty of time, daily wandering, watching videos, notes, browsing the welfare club mall or other official flagship stores, watching the trend, killing time;
  • Purposeful browsing, planning to buy products, experience services or learning skills, reading and learning KOL’s notes and experiences;
  • Willing to share life, want to share new products purchased or new services experienced with social media, get appreciation and attention, and answer other users’ questions;
  • Want to buy genuine overseas products, but lack the time or ability to do overseas shopping, and intend to buy welfare agency products or other overseas flagship store products;
  • When preparing for cross-border/Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan tourism shopping, check the selected shopping notes of the destination, find the favorite overseas goods and form a list.

1.2.3 Core functions

The slogan "Mark My Life" of Xiaohongshu defines that the core function of the platform is the dissemination of tag notes-that is, the output of content culture. Users can record their life, share their lifestyles and form interactions based on their interests through short videos, pictures and texts.

E-commerce models such as welfare agencies and limited-time purchases are the closed loop to complete the business model, allowing users to have a better experience.

Main functional structure:

Main business logic:

The main business logic is divided into two sections: e-commerce mode and social mode, and other functions serve these two sections.

Social mode refers to that core users (content producers) publish notes and share consumption experience, while ordinary users recommend notes according to the algorithm set by the system according to behavior records, and at the same time, they can browse, like and collect notes, and after paying attention, both parties can have social interaction by private letter; E-commerce mode refers to that users browse their notes, plant grass for goods, make purchases through welfare agencies or other means, continue to publish notes after use, and conduct more "online sharing", thus forming a closed loop in business.

  • Time perspective: Xiaohongshu was established in 2013, and APP was launched at the end of 2013. It has been in operation for 7 years.
  • User’s perspective: the number of user downloads began to exceed 100 million in November 2017, and then the number of user downloads increased by nearly four times. Up to now, it has accumulated more than 5.9 billion times and the number of users has exceeded 300 million;
  • Product perspective: The latest version of Little Red Book is 6.81.1, which has been updated 4 times in the last 30 days and once in the last 7 days. Through continuous version iteration, the basic functions and core functions of the product are complete, and the platform is mainly based on content sharing. The content topics have covered various life fields such as fashion, skin care, make-up, food, travel, film and television, and the content range is getting wider and wider;
  • Operational perspective: the core business of Xiaohongshu is UGC content operation, which realizes the closed loop of user behavior through user operation and e-commerce operation;
  • Business perspective: profitable operation, constantly seeking ways to integrate with e-commerce, and has completed the D round of investment led by Alibaba.

Conclusion: Judging from the above, Xiaohongshu APP is in a mature stage.

According to the life cycle judgment of Xiaohongshu, the next report will focus on the analysis of household operation strategies in the initial stage, mature stage and mature stage.

In 2013, with the rapid development of mobile Internet and the large-scale use of smart phones, cross-border travel became a popular choice for travel, and consumers began to pay attention to the purchase of overseas goods. At the intersection of several trends, Xiaohongshu was established in Shanghai to meet the needs of users for cross-border shopping.

At that time, cross-border e-commerce was still in the blue ocean market. Xiaohongshu accurately captured the target users and user needs, focused on overseas shopping to share this blank market, accurately captured the pain points of people shopping overseas, and targeted women in first-tier cities who tended to shop in overseas markets, and gained the first batch of users.

4.1.1 Acquiring users

In October, 2013, the little red book shopping strategy based on PGC came into being. slogan is a basic shopping guide for entry-level users, covering 8 countries and several popular tourist destinations, including the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Users can download and read offline on the PC or iOS platform, and they have been downloaded 500,000 times in less than one month, which successfully attracted a group of young women with overseas shopping habits, which also proved the user’s demand for overseas shopping and accumulated the first batch of original users for Xiaohongshu APP.

4.1.2 Activate users

1) The "shopping guide" is transformed into a "sharing community", and high-quality UGC content enhances the social attributes of Xiaohongshu.

Considering that it is difficult for guide products to interact with users and become sticky, Xiaohongshu team launched APP V1.0 "Hong Kong Shopping Raiders APP" at the end of 2013.

By inviting experts from all fields and community promotion, women with overseas shopping habits are encouraged to share their shopping experiences on Xiaohongshu. By producing high-quality content through UGC, Xiaohongshu has accumulated a large number of middle-and high-income female users, and its stickiness has made a qualitative leap. More and more users are willing to exchange shopping experiences and have completed the acquisition and activation of early seed users.

In several version iterations, Xiaohongshu has continuously strengthened social functions and content publishing tools, effectively improving users’ participation and activity.

On the basis of high-quality content community, Xiaohongshu was upgraded from content community to "content+e-commerce" in October 2014, and the "welfare society" module was launched, and the business closed loop was finally formed. Xiaohongshu clarified the user’s needs and product development direction, and became a one-stop platform for e-commerce in women’s overseas shopping communities, from content planting to shopping mall ordering. slogan was changed to "find good things abroad".

2) The first global awards event, in which millions of users voted for good things from all over the world.

At the end of 2014, Xiaohongshu held the first global prize-winning activity. Within 20 days, 1.87 million people voted, which was very popular. The products and shops it launched once became the vane of outbound shopping.

This activity was all voted by users, attracting more people to participate in it through the most popular H5 method at present, and finally forming fashion list, makeup list, furniture list and other lists. The discussion heat of users in Xiaohongshu increased significantly, which brought high popularity and activity to Xiaohongshu, and also gained a number of new users for Xiaohongshu. Since then, global awards have been held for three consecutive years in 2015 and 2016, further expanding its influence.

For a product that has passed the initial stage, the core goal is to gain rapid user growth. Xiaohongshu has verified the user demand in the initial stage, and then began to attract more and more users through the update of product functions and the holding of creative activities, and quickly occupied the market, while slogan was changed to "a good thing in the world".

4.2.1 Get Users & Activate Users

1) "Fresh Meat Marketing for Anniversary Celebration" to gain new users-Fresh Meat Video, Fresh Meat Express and School Grass Express.

In the early stage of the 2015 anniversary, Xiaohongshu began to put on video advertisements for publicity. The content of the video was that a topless foreign male model showed Xiaohongshu’s slogan "Finding good things abroad" through the scene.

On the anniversary day, Xiaohongshu hired a group of foreign male models in SOHO, Shanghai, naked as customers to deliver the courier, and provided the "princess hug" benefits, which made the female users on the scene once boiling and accurately reached the target users. This activity brought 3 million new users and 50 million yuan in sales for Xiaohongshu. From the data point of view, the daily activities and new additions have doubled, which has successfully played a role in pulling new ones.

In September 2015, Xiaohongshu held a marketing campaign of "School Grass Express" in 12 universities in five cities across the country while the iron was hot, which once again set off a wave in the circle of female college students.

In the end, the "School Grass Express" event ended with 52.977 million exposures and 47,000 discussions, which successfully improved the overall popularity in the post-90 s circle. During the whole anniversary, Xiaohongshu APP ranked fourth in the total list of Apple App Stores, with 15 million users.

2) "Star Girl" Jelly Lin and other female stars and KOL settled in Xiaohongshu.

In April 2017, Little Red Book invited Jelly Lin, a "star girl", to officially settle in Little Red Book. Later, female stars such as Nana Ou-yang and Stephy and vertical KOL successively settled in Little Red Book.

First of all, the star itself has its own traffic. By entering the activity, it can increase the number of users and improve user retention; Secondly, the publication of life notes by stars will enable fans to see the daily life of the stars and narrow the distance between fans and stars. At the same time, the stars bring their own elements such as fashion, fashion and wearing, which can arouse the topic and effectively enhance the user’s activity. In addition, you can also use the fan effect of stars to promote some goods and improve profitability.

4.2.2 Retain users

1) Refined operation

At this stage, Xiaohongshu began to focus on the optimization of community functions, the page was revised many times, the product was iterated many times, and the recommendation algorithm was updated.

Based on the machine algorithm, Xiaohongshu will make personalized recommendations according to users’ interests and user portraits, and successfully achieve "content finding", which shows that Xiaohongshu team attaches great importance to users’ experiences and needs, and keeps more users with no clear browsing purpose through refined operation, which improves daily activity and user usage time.

In order to ensure users’ long-term retention, Xiaohongshu encourages users to publish, share, like, collect and comment, and sets up a ten-level user growth system. Each level corresponds to the task requirements of corresponding social attributes, and the completion of these tasks will grow to the next level, thus encouraging users to use little red books more.

In the process of upgrading and cracking down on monsters, users with creative ability are unconsciously encouraged to become new UGC, and more high-quality content is produced and spread on the platform, forming a positive circular incentive.

4.2.3 Transforming users

1) Red Friday

In November 2015, Xiaohongshu transplanted the "Black Friday" activity to China and launched the "Red Friday" promotion activity, which covered more than ten categories such as skin care and makeup. Selected overseas goods are less than 50% off, and all overseas direct mail goods are free of freight.

The gameplay is novel and the scene is strong, which paves the way for holiday promotion. Users can see the "Red Five" sign everywhere in the APP, and click to browse and buy their favorite products, which increases the daily activity of users and is also an important means to realize profit.

2) Three days and three nights between Hugh and Little Red Book.

In April, 2016, Xiaohongshu invited Hugh and planned the "Three Days and Three Nights between Hugh and Xiaohongshu" activity. Accurate artist matching+advertisement recording close to life, as well as the pre-heating of Weibo before going online, successfully created a wave of big topics on Weibo, which raised the popularity of Xiaohongshu to a higher level, and the new growth rate of users reached 100%.

This cooperation with Hugh once again accurately captured the female users of Little Red Book, and the label # Hugh Endorsed Little Red Book # created by fans on Weibo, which received more than 7 million readings.

At the same time, Xiaohongshu planned the promotion of the category of "Hugh Advertising with the same paragraph" of Welfare Society, and launched the activity of "Buy enough 699 to get the potato captain doll with the same paragraph in Hugh". The whole activity released the topic of quantity, guided the participation and dissemination of households, improved the activity of users and increased the sales of the mall, allowing users to experience all the charm of Little Red Book in a closed loop.

Through the operation in the growing period, Xiaohongshu has already had a large number of users and a relatively stable position, and established a brand image. The tonality of users has declined, and slogan has changed to "mark my life". At this stage, Xiaohongshu pays more attention to the operation of content communities, conducts thematic planning, and is guided by user activity, retention rate, commercial realization and user communication.

4.3.1 Activate users & keep users.

  • Idol Trainee & Creation 101

In January and April of 2018, with the expansion of the fan economy, Xiaohongshu sponsored two phenomenal variety shows, namely "Idol Trainee" and "Creation 101". The two top variety shows brought super high exposure to Xiaohongshu, and Xiaohongshu users entered the spurt growth stage.

In addition to oral broadcast, insertion and logo, Xiaohongshu also invited trainees to come to Xiaohongshu to release notes and open a voting channel in the APP. From the data point of view, the diversion effect of the program broadcast for three consecutive months is extremely obvious.

The audience of the two variety shows are actually potential users of Xiaohongshu, especially women. They are keen on star hotspots and fashion trends. Xiaohongshu successfully acquired these potential users through the precise variety show. These users are of high quality and high activity. They posted articles on Xiaohongshu to share their love beans and spit out the competition system, which improved the overall activity.

At the same time, posting and sharing in voting rules can increase the number of votes, which actually improves the activity and retention rate of users.

After the end of the activity, the trainees continued to use Xiaohongshu to record their lives and publish their daily lives, which continued to attract fans. Fans would like to praise and comment on the trainees’ notes and buy the goods planted by the trainees, which improved the activity and retention rate of Xiaohongshu.

4.3.2 User Transformation & User Communication

1) Differentiated e-commerce live broadcast

With the popularity of Taobao’s e-commerce live broadcast, Li Jiaqi, Viya and other anchors constantly set a record for the transaction amount, and Xiaohongshu also started to conduct e-commerce live broadcast, trying to get the latest traffic bonus of the platform on the live broadcast track.

In 2019, Xiaohongshu tested the e-commerce live broadcast, and the enterprise model student "Perfect Diary" made a new product debut in Xiaohongshu live broadcast. The new products were quickly snapped up, and the powder rose by 100,000 people one week after the live broadcast. In April 2020, the live broadcast was officially launched and began to be open to all creators in the platform.

The next day, Xiaohongshu announced the 3 billion traffic and targeted support plan on the second creator’s open day, hoping to normalize the live broadcast. Xiaohongshu, which has always emphasized style and quality, also pursues a differentiated live broadcast form. The live broadcast is based on the core advantage content notes, mainly sharing and chatting, and the atmosphere with goods is more inclined to emotional attributes.

On the one hand, it improves the user’s activity and conversion rate through live broadcast, realizing the realization of the platform, and on the other hand, it also realizes the retention of outstanding creators by realizing the realization.

2) "Creator 123 Plan"&"Campus Big Player"

In the past two years, Xiaohongshu has launched activities such as "Creator Open Day", "Creator 123 Plan" and "Campus Big Player" to carry out the "Million Creator Support Plan" for creators who love to share their lives, aiming to help content creators improve the quality of notes and productivity, hoping to cultivate and retain excellent content producers through various incentives, so that creators and content can release greater influence, precipitate private domain traffic for creators, and provide diversified commercialization roads.

At the same time, attract more users to join the little red book to complete the purpose of word-of-mouth communication.

After the above analysis, we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of Xiaohongshu from three aspects: content operation, activity operation and household operation.

In terms of content operation, high-quality UGC content dissemination and community communication are the key points of Xiaohongshu’s success.

At present, Xiaohongshu has tens of thousands of notes in various hot topics such as fashion, skin care, travel, fitness, food, film and television, etc. The note list page made by high-quality creators gives people the most direct beauty enjoyment through exquisite filters and designed photos or small videos.

Xiaohongshu guides topics according to hot spots and user preferences, and encourages users to discover new content. Users can browse and share their life experiences on Xiaohongshu, and at the same time, they can complete a one-stop shopping experience from planting grass to placing orders.

On the other hand, the presence of more and more stars and KOL makes all kinds of commercial implants and soft articles appear in Little Red Books. The original intention of content creators to publish notes is no longer good recommendation, but commercial promotion, so users gradually become cautious about notes and have some doubts about the authenticity of the content.

For ordinary content creators, many people are also worried that the massive admission of star KOL will change the positioning of "Little Red Book" in a subtle way, and the style will gradually become the trend of "showing off wealth", so creators and staff of Little Red Book need stricter control and more accurate algorithms in content review.

Xiaohongshu’s achievements are largely due to the creativity of the event. At present, Xiaohongshu has established two festivals of its own label-"6.6 Anniversary Celebration" and "Red Friday". In addition, the platform often combines hot spots or self-made hot spots to carry out creative activities marketing, such as fresh meat express and linkage draft variety show.

Both online and offline activities have been well received, and the daily activity and new registrations during the activities are more eye-catching. In the next step, Xiaohongshu will launch cross-border cooperation with tourism, and also look forward to the next explosion point created by Xiaohongshu.

In terms of user operation, the users of Xiaohongshu are mainly divided into two categories: content producers and ordinary users.

For ordinary users, Xiaohongshu has established a user growth rating system, encouraging users to share life fun, publish notes, and communicate socially in the platform to become creators and produce high-quality content, thus forming a virtuous circle;

For content producers, the creator training system of the platform allows users to continuously produce high-quality content, and at the same time, it brings huge traffic and hot spots to the platform, and then users can cooperate with brands to realize traffic realization, thus ensuring the operation of the platform.

Despite this, Xiaohongshu is still under pressure in user conversion, and creative activities can often bring short-term profits to the platform, but once the popularity passes, the sales volume of the platform will return to the previous level.

Although Xiaohongshu’s "community+e-commerce" model realizes the closed-loop of user behavior, its commercial realization is not satisfactory, and its popularity and reputation do not seem to match the market share. In the end, it is because users have not changed the shopping mode of "planting grass on Xiaohongshu and pulling grass on other platforms", especially the "fake goods" that broke out in recent years have had a certain impact on Xiaohongshu’s reputation.

At the same time, with the increasing number of competitors on the social e-commerce track in recent years, the market expansion space is limited, and many APPs with overlapping functions are gradually launched, such as Tik Tok and Aauto Quicker, which focus on short video socializing, Netease Koala Shopping, a community-based shopping app integrating sharing and shopping, etc. Their rise has caused a large-scale shift in users’ attention, which will make Xiaohongshu lose a group of users to a certain extent. How to complete traffic construction and user maintenance in the industry with many giants will be the focus of Xiaohongshu’s consideration.

Judging from the data in October 2020, Xiaohongshu ranked first in the dating APP section of iResearch data community, and the number of independent devices is still rising, which is in the leading position in the industry.

Little Red Book has gradually developed into a comprehensive platform of community+e-commerce from the initial PDF travel shopping strategy, with the number of users exceeding 300 million. The content of this "book" of Little Red Book has become richer and richer, and more and more users have written it.

As the first batch of community+e-commerce products, Xiaohongshu identified the target users at the beginning of the product, fully met the needs of users, and successfully realized the integration of two seemingly weak modules through marketing activities, realizing the logical self-consistency of the product and the closed loop of user behavior within the product.

  • The e-commerce industry is already in the Red Sea competition, and users don’t seem to buy the e-commerce platform of Xiaohongshu, and there is still much room for improvement in traffic liquidity;
  • Faced with the same type of content community or social e-commerce APP that is rising, how can Xiaohongshu maintain its position and maintain its relationship with users?

6.2.1 Strengthen the connection between content and e-commerce, and constantly explore the integration of content community and e-commerce platform.

Realize the intercommunication between seller’s comments and notes, place the product link at the appropriate place on the note page, or attach the sharing notes of star KOL to the product page to enhance the user’s impression and trust; Invite the official flagship store to settle in and improve the variety of goods.

On the basis of the original REDelivery international logistics system, a mature supply chain system and a perfect management system are established to support its e-commerce platform and ensure the authenticity of goods; At the same time, establish a supervision and audit mechanism, conduct regular spot checks, remove inferior products in time, and do a good job in after-sales service.

6.2.2 In terms of user maintenance, we should adhere to the tonality of the product itself and ensure the high quality of the core content.

Increase the reward function of high-quality content, give more direct ways to prove creative ability and get more economic encouragement for high-quality content; Establish a hot list of little red books similar to Weibo Hot Search and Zhihu Hot List, inform users of current trends, improve users’ immersion time, and thus increase users’ stickiness.

New user incentive mechanisms, such as daily sign-in reward, watching live broadcast time reward, shopping reward, sharing reward, etc., will enable users to get incentives not only from spiritual and emotional aspects, but also from material benefits, and these rewards can be used for cash deduction in e-commerce sectors such as welfare agencies, thus forming a cycle.

Xiaohongshu has developed from an unknown APP to a national-level software in just six years. Behind this is the creation and efforts of the founding team. "Three points rely on innovation and seven points rely on hard work." In the future, Xiaohongshu will provide more interesting community games to meet more needs of users, and expect Xiaohongshu to write his own wonderful.


This article was originally published by @ 京京京京京京京京京京京京京京京京 is a product manager. Reprinting is prohibited without permission.

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