Though it’s not a household name in the United States yet, Huawei Mobile, a Chinese company, is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, and it’s looking to crack the $55 billion US smartphone market. This year at CES, it promoted the launch of the Mate 10 Pro, its newest smartphone, with the help of tech influencers.
While a host of prominent brands leveraged influencer marketing at CES 2018, Huawei Mobile stole the show through partnerships with the tech industry’s biggest and most well-known influencers. The power of influencer marketing may be just what Huawei needs to gain the trust of US consumers and break Samsung and Apple’s stronghold on the US market. Here, we’ll break down Huawei’s elaborate CES influencer marketing campaign.
In order to get the word out about its Mate 10 Pro, Huawei secured partnerships with three of the biggest tech influencers in existence: Judner Aura of UrAvgConsumer, Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips, and Jonathan Morrison of TLDToday.
All three are influencers known and respected for their deep knowledge of consumer tech products. Their YouTube channels are home to some of the most viewed smartphone, laptop, drone, headphone, and gaming equipment reviews of all time.
Since there are only a handful of macro-influencers in the technology sphere, partnering with three tech macro-influencers simultaneously is a feat that generates significant visibility in the industry.
Below, we’ll explore how Huawei enlisted UrAvgConsumer, Linus Tech Tips, and TLDToday in one of the largest influencer marketing campaigns of CES 2018.
Judner Aura of UrAvgConsumer is an American tech YouTuber with over 1.6 million subscribers. Some of his most popular videos to date have received over 1 million views each. Though YouTube is his primary platform, he also posts regularly on Instagram (190k followers), Facebook (45k followers), and Twitter (225k followers).
In order to promote Huawei’s presence at CES 2018 and the launch of the Mate 10 Pro, Judner created three sponsored Instagram posts, two sponsored Facebook posts (one of which was a Facebook Live), seven sponsored tweets, and a sponsored YouTube video. He also made an appearance at Huawei’s booth during the event.
In his sponsored YouTube video, titled “Huawei Mate Pro – REAL Day In The Life”, Judner puts the smartphone to the test by walking his viewers through a typical day and discussing its battery life, camera, charging speed and performance along the way. At the end of the video, he gives an overview of his day with the phone, in which he raves about the phone’s battery life and performance.
He also lists a few disadvantages of the phone such as its slightly slippery feel and minor issues with the camera’s exposure, adding a level of authenticity to the sponsorship. By commenting on a couple of areas for improvement, Judner maintains the transparency viewers expect from his reviews, while still strongly recommending the Huawei Mate Pro.
In one of his sponsored Instagram photos, Judner promotes his adjoining sponsored YouTube video and directs users to the link in his bio. In addition to raising awareness of the Mate 10 Pro amongst his Instagram followers through an aesthetically pleasing photo of the phone, his post drives consumers who are interested in learning more about the product to his in-depth YouTube video.
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Canadian influencer Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips is one of the biggest tech influencers of all time, with 5 million subscribers on YouTube and nearly 1 million followers combined across Facebook and Instagram. In 2015, he ranked 4th on Inc’s “30 Power Players In Tech” list and he continues to be a dominant force in the tech industry.
Linus posted to his Instagram channel consistently throughout CES 2018 in order to keep his audience informed about the hottest new technologies being showcased at the event. On the second day, he shared one sponsored Instagram selfie featuring Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro.
In the sponsored post, he holds up the phone and invites his followers to join him at Huawei Mobile’s CES booth, effectively increasing in-person engagement at the brand’s booth. His post also generated over 10,700 likes and comments, helping Huawei raise brand awareness amongst his tech-savvy Instagram followers.
Additionally, he created one sponsored Facebook Live featuring Huawei Mobile’s keynote speech. His post received 700x more views than Huawei’s own CES livestream video, helping the company broadly distribute the speech beyond physical attendees.
With over 2.3 million followers on YouTube and a combined reach of nearly 400,000 on Instagram and Facebook, Jonathan Morrison of TLDToday (“Techfast Lunch & Dinner”) is a top tech influencer. Jonathan provides a broad audience of consumers with topical tech reviews and tips.
As part of Huawei’s CES 2018 push, Jonathan shared two up-close visuals of the Mate 10 Pro. Both photos were taken at CES and showcase the phone’s shiny Leica glass back. Though the posts are both simple product placements, each post received over 10,000 likes and attracted comments about the phone’s “stunning” and “sexy” design, indication consumer approval.
Like Linus and Judner, Jonathan also shared a Facebook Live featuring Huawei’s CES presenter, further expanding the reach of the speech.
By securing endorsements from a several of the biggest tech influencers in the Western hemisphere, Huawei Mobile certainly made a splash at CES 2018. Huawei’s influencer marketing campaign successfully promoted its Mate 10 Pro to a broad audience and could be the catalyst for a successful US launch of the device.
However, controversy surrounding Huawei’s prospective deal with AT&T, which fell through just days before CES, may counteract the brand’s success with influencers. The CEO of Huawei went off script in his CES speech to address the issue, stating that “It’s a big loss for us, and also for carriers, but the bigger loss is for consumers, because consumers don’t have the best choice.”
At the very least, top tech influencers are stimulating positive discussion about the Huawei Mate 10 Pro and redirecting consumer attention from Huawei’s negative press coverage to the device’s specs. However, without a mobile partner to carry the phone in the US, Huawei’s investment in influencer marketing may not be enough to get US consumers on board.