Need to know: Lemon8
The video and photo sharing social media app is picking up some serious momentum. Here’s what marketers need to know.
If Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest got together and had a baby, that baby would be Lemon8.
The youth-focused app features a combination of user-generated videos and photos, with a familiar set up: a ‘For You’ feed offers algorithmic-based recommendations, and a ‘Following’ feed shows content from accounts people choose to follow. With TikTok parent company ByteDance behind the app, Lemon8 leverages a similar approach by offering personalised content recommendations that keep users engaged.
Lemon8 has been popular in China for some time, but only recently has it started to gain traction in the West. According to Axios, Lemon8 has been installed 17 million times globally since its launch in March 2020 – but it’s been installed in the U.S. 650,000 times in a week and a half (from 10 April 2023), sending it to the top of the lifestyle app charts on the App Store. It also has more than 5 million downloads in the Google Play Store.
What do marketers need to know?
Lemon8 is very much still in its infancy in Western markets, but there are some key areas brands can look out for when following the app’s progress.
Marketing Magazine describes the app as “combining the best features of several platforms, [Lemon8] achieves the aesthetic appeal of Pinterest and Instagram with the addictive qualities of TikTok.” Lemon8 is particularly relevant for content from lifestyle categories like fashion and beauty and offers editing tools for users to enhance their content – it’s much more polished than sister app TikTok. There has been some interesting push back to the app’s perfectly curated content.
According to Digiday, TikTokers Passion Williems (@passionwilliems), Natasha Mathurent (@natashascloset) and Gabrielle Victor (@gabivictorr) have a profile on the app. However – perhaps likely due to the lack of monetization options – activity from the big name creators is still limited, so micro-influencers have an opportunity to make their mark on the platform.
Brands are yet to establish a significant presence on the app. There are currently no built-in shopping features available, and no clear way for brands to monetize a presence. However, it’s easy to see how the app could follow a Pinterest or Instagram style approach to monetisation – particularly as more consumers are turning to social media over search for brand research (Digital 2023) and Lemon8 is perfectly set up for product discovery-style content.
A breakthrough social media app that gains serious traction in the long-term is rare, but it’s possible.
There’s a balance for brands between being an innovative early mover on a platform, and jumping in too quickly. At the moment, Lemon8 should be on brand and agency radars, particularly for those in lifestyle categories like fashion, beauty, homewares and fitness.
Right now we’d recommend tracking creator profiles and activity – who has a presence and what kind of content is getting traction. The New York Times recently reported that ByteDance is leveraging mid-tier influencers to hype up Lemon8 on TikTok, so we may well see more cross-promotional content in the near future. It’s also been reported, by Insider, that Lemon8 has established a team in New York to manage partnerships with creators as part of its expansion strategy.
Brands and creators should at least consider securing their usernames on the app. Lemon8 has its work cut out for them to steal users’ attention away from the established platforms – but with ByteDance’s track record, it has a chance of success.