As an old topic, many social media companies emerged and achieved great success by doing business with KOL (Key Opinion Leader). With the rapid development of social media in the past years, KOLs have maintained fantastic chemistry with social media platforms. The types of KOL also gained variety, such as the internet celebrity, movie celebrity, we-media, vertical influencer, industrial experts, shopping guiders/buyers, etc. So, what is the next milestone? It seems to start the age of KOC (Key Opinion Consumer).


KOC in China

What is KOC?

Nowadays, the new term KOC (Key Opinion Consumer) has become a popular topic. But do they have the same meaning? Of course not. KOL and KOC have different roles, and the promotion intentions are disparate. After analyzing various experts’ perspectives, here is a general description of the advertising industry.

  • KOC=Long tail of the KOL, which has lesser influence impact
    KOC=Local business on social media (e.g., in China, it can be Wechat business or We distributor)
    KOC=Community influencers who accept CPS (Cost Per Sales, only receive the commission once a deal is closed)

In other words, KOC shows more loyalty and trust to the brand they present. As a result, they are the key contacts active on the internet and impact their followers to purchase.


What’s the difference between KOL and KOC?

  • Both of them are influential, and they can be business partners. KOC is a loyal fan of the specific brands themselves.
  • Advertisers invest amounts of budget on the KOL for promotion to drive traffic. However, KOC is almost the independent salesperson for the brand. They earn a commission based on mouth-to-mouth marketing among their fans.
  • KOL is responsible for promotion on the scale. Once you become their target audience, KOC focuses more on the operation side, such as sales and customer service.
  • KOL is B2B2C. KOL referral the products or services after the brand’s official launch to the public and delivers the messages to their fans based on the customized plan from brand companies. KOC is B2C2C. They are the only group of people who directly get the new product-release information from the companies. Then they are responsible for bringing these messages to their fans.


What Does KOC do?

Phillip Kotler, the father of modern marketing, emphasizes something new in his book “Marketing Revolution 4.0”. Customer loyalty is no longer determined solely by the purchase rate but by the number of loyal fans—for example, the retention rate, return rate, and active referral to their friends. The user experience known as 5A refers to Aware, Appeal, Ask, Act, Advocate. The “advocate” part, especially, can reflect the value of a qualified KOC.


Besides, they play an essential role in the customer life cycle. For example:

  • Pre-launch: Based on first-hand knowledge of the product from the brand, KOC can help collect prospects’ survey feedback, which can aid the brand in testing the market at a lower cost.
  • After-launch: In-depth market feedback is essential for the brand. KOC can help build brand trust among the market ASAP, increase the trending topic impact and achieve a higher conversion rate.
  • Product maturity stage: KOC needs to ensure exposure and continuous product trending.