Understanding the role of influencers on live streaming platforms: when tipping makes the difference

Liying Zhou, Fei Jin, Banggang Wu, Xiaodong Wang, Valerie Lynette Wang, Zhi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose – This study aims to examine if the participation of live-stream influencers (LSIs) affects tipping frequency on live streaming platforms, and further investigate the mediating and moderating mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach – Quasi-experiment and difference-in-differences models are used for data analysis. Propensity score matching is used to address potential unobservable endogeneity.

Findings – Real-time live streaming data reveal that LSIs’ participation significantly improves tipping frequency in live streaming rooms. Also, more users are attracted to the live streaming rooms and more users become active in participation. Additionally, the positive impact of LSIs’ participation is enhanced in the live streaming rooms with a greater number of relationship links between users.

Research limitations/implications – The findings clarify the new role of influencers and reveal the mechanisms on how LSIs benefit the platforms.

Practical implications – The findings offer novel insights into implementing influencer marketing to interactive social media platforms, by encouraging influencer participation, user relationship building and influencer network growth.

Originality/value – This study highlights the value of LSIs for interactive social media platforms in terms of organic growth, revenue generation and cost reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Early online date8 Aug 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 8 Aug 2022


  • live streaming
  • live-stream influencer
  • tipping frequency
  • social identity
  • quasi-experiment
  • platform


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