Top HK and China KOLs and trends ranked

SERMO has launched its fourth annual Influencer Index – its analysis of the top digital influencers and “ones-to-watch” in 18 markets worldwide, including Hong Kong and China. This years’ index focuses on the audience behind each influencer by adding a new layer of analysis: audience demographic data – who each influencer actually talks to, where their followers are located and what their interests are.

The report also includes eight global influencer marketing trends to watch out for this year – including the increasing importance of Instagram Stories for reaching under 25s, WeChat mini-programs driving sales, and the rise of male influencers.

Top 10 luxury lifestyle influencers in Hong Kong

HK top influencers

Tanya Hughes, president of SERMO Communications, commented, “This is the new gold standard in influencer marketing, just as readership data is crucial for media title selection. Visibility on audience data allows us to have a more accurate view on influencers’ brand fit (and goes beyond vanity metrics such as large follower and engagement numbers). Analysis of this data, as you’ll see from the report, busts assumption and presents content creation and collaboration opportunities that can make campaigns work harder.”

Top 10 luxury lifestyle influencers in China

CH Top influencers


The 2018 Index updates the network’s global and local rankings of influencers using its proprietary 70:30 digital influence algorithm - 70% data (an influencer’s total audience reach) + 30% human judgement (a score based on SERMO agencies’ experiences of the influencers’ professionalism, creativity and peer influence). According to the press release, SERMO partners use this algorithm when designing bespoke influencer marketing campaigns for clients at both local and global levels. SERMO has partnered with influencer relationship management technology provider Traackr again for the data element of the index.

Top 8 influencer trends to watch

1. Audience First

It’s easy to make assumptions about influencers’ audiences just from looking at their content and lifestyle, but not all is what it seems. For instance, 82% of UK style influencer Jim Chapman’s 9.1 million strong audience are teenage beauty-obsessed girls because he’s married to beauty vlogger Tanya Burr), and the majority of Netherlands-based Negin Mirsalehi’s audience are located in the US. At the same time, many influencers have multi-territory audiences which can be a plus for brands. But in China, India, the Middle East and Poland, a high percentage of top influencers’ followings are more concentrated locally than in other markets. So global brands working in those markets need to operate both a local and global approach to influencer identification.

2. Mad for micro

Engagement rates of top-ter influencers is starting to diminish - posts are becoming saturated by brand endorsement and even conflictng messaging as they cash in on their celebrity status. But this is being balanced by brands’ increasing willingness to work with micro-influencers.

3. A blended approach

While micro-influencers gain ground, top-tier influencers have near celebrity status in most markets. With the help of agents, they’re cashing in on event appearances, book deals, product lines, and more. Global brands seeking global reach understand the importance of taking a layered
approach to their influencer marketing
 that includes stars and micro-influencers alike.

4. Min-e-commerce lessons from China

In China, a growing number of WeChat influencers are developing their
own e-commerce ‘mini-programs’ to drive sales via their content. Mini-programs are powerful sub-apps within WeChat that enable e-commerce, coupons, and other ‘experiences’ - something Instagram and other Western platorms are yet to integrate

5. Spotlight on Stories

Instagram’s Stories has become a key marketng channel for reaching those under the age of 25 – according to Instagram, this audience spend an average of 32 minutes a day consuming this ephemeral content. Over half of Instagram’s 500 million daily actve users are now watching Stories.

6. Blogging off

In Germany and Ireland, blogs are still important for spreading brand messages, but in all other SERMO markets finding influencers who blog regularly is becoming harder as their focus has shifed to social. Long-form online and blog content are out of fashion.

7. Make-up artists get personal on Instagram

More and more professional make-up artists are turning their hand to Instagram. They share beauty hacks, perform live masterclasses and show you how to get favourite celebrity and runway looks – all with the professional expertise and experience many influencers can only dream of.

8. Here come the boys

The social media industry flips the gender pay gap on its head, with female influencers commanding higher fees than men. But in fashion, grooming, food, comedy and lifestyle – male influencers are on the rise. There are double the number of men in our global top 18 vs 2017 – they now make up 20%.