Youku is a prominent video-sharing platform in China, often referred to as “China’s YouTube”. Launched in 2006, it quickly gained popularity and became one of the largest online video platforms in the country. Youku allows users to upload, share, and view a wide variety of content, including movies, TV shows, user-generated videos, and more.
As a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, Youku benefits from a vast user base and extensive resources, making it an essential platform for businesses and content creators aiming to tap into the Chinese market.
The purpose of this guide is to provide foreign brands with a comprehensive understanding of Youku and the strategies to successfully enter and navigate the Chinese market. It aims to assist businesses in tailoring their content and marketing approaches to the Chinese equivalent of Youtube to resonate with and reach local Chinese audiences and comply with local regulations.
Youku and China’s Online Video Landscape
In a country where international social media are blocked, Youku is very appreciated by users. Chinese people are really addicted to online video and streaming service platforms. They love to watch and share videos on their favorite social media. It’s one of the most frequent online activities of Chinese users.
According to Statista during the spring of 2023, Chinese internet users devoted approximately 16 hours per person per month to online video consumption on average. China boasted an impressive figure of more than 780 million active monthly internet users engaging in online video content consumption.
Youku accounts for about 423 million users in December 2022, taking the spot as one of the biggest online video companies in China.
China’s Online Video Consumption Trends
China has witnessed a significant surge in online video consumption in recent years. The country’s tech-savvy population, improving internet infrastructure, and the widespread adoption of smartphones have contributed to this trend. Notably, short-form videos and live streaming have gained immense popularity, reflecting the preferences of modern Chinese audiences who seek convenient and engaging content.
Additionally, Chinese consumers exhibit a strong appetite for diverse content genres, such as entertainment, lifestyle, travel, and education. Understanding these consumption trends is vital for foreign brands seeking to create content that resonates with the Chinese audience on Youku. In the Chinese social media ranking, Youku is in the top 3 online video platforms.
Registering and Creating a Brand Channel on Youku
To establish a presence on Youku, foreign brands need to register and create an official brand channel. This process involves providing necessary documentation and verifying the brand’s identity.
Youku offers user-friendly registration procedures, and brands should ensure that all information provided is accurate and complete. Creating a compelling brand channel profile, including relevant branding elements and a clear description of the brand’s offerings, can leave a positive impression on potential viewers and followers.
Different Account Types and Benefits
Youku offers various account types with different features and benefits to cater to different business needs. These may include standard accounts, VIP accounts, and partner accounts. Foreign brands should explore the different account types and carefully assess the associated benefits and costs.
VIP accounts, for example, may offer priority access to certain features and promotional opportunities, while partner accounts may provide additional monetization options and support from Youku’s team. Choosing the most suitable account type based on the brand’s objectives and budget is crucial for maximizing the platform’s potential.
Content Distribution Agreements
Content distribution agreements are essential for foreign brands aiming to share their content on Youku. These agreements outline the terms and conditions for distributing the brand’s videos on the platform. Negotiating fair and mutually beneficial agreements is crucial for safeguarding the brand’s interests and ensuring that it can leverage Youku’s extensive user base effectively.
Content distribution agreements may cover licensing terms, revenue-sharing models (if applicable), exclusivity, content usage rights, and performance metrics. Engaging legal experts with experience in the Chinese market can be beneficial in navigating negotiations and ensuring that the agreements comply with local laws
How to Promote Your Brand on Youku?
Identifying Target Audience and Market Segments
To achieve success on Youku and effectively enter the Chinese apps market, foreign brands must identify their target audience and relevant market segments. China’s vast population is diverse, with varying demographics, interests, and preferences. Conducting in-depth market research and analysis can help businesses understand their potential consumers, their behaviors, and what content appeals to them the most.
By segmenting the market based on factors such as age, location, interests, and socio-economic status, brands can tailor their content and marketing strategies to better connect with specific groups. Identifying the right target audience and market segments will enable foreign brands to create content that is not only culturally relevant but also meets the demands and expectations of their desired viewers, thus increasing the likelihood of success on Youku and in China’s highly competitive digital landscape.
Market Research and Localization
Before entering the Chinese market on Youku, foreign brands must conduct comprehensive market research to gain insights into the competitive landscape and the demand for their products or services. This research should include an analysis of key competitors, their content strategies, and their performance on Youku.
Understanding the preferences and behaviors of the target audience is crucial in identifying content gaps and opportunities. Through in-depth research, brands can identify unique selling points, differentiate their content offerings, and tailor their strategies to effectively stand out in the competitive Chinese market.
Adapting Content for the Chinese Audience
Localization is a key factor for success on Youku and in the Chinese market. Foreign brands should adapt their content to resonate with the Chinese audience’s cultural norms, values, and preferences. This includes translating content into Chinese, but it goes beyond just language. Content should be culturally relevant, avoiding any sensitive or controversial topics.
Additionally, incorporating elements of Chinese culture and traditions can further engage the audience. Adapting content to align with Chinese trends and pop culture references can also enhance its appeal. Emphasizing user-generated content and interactive elements can foster a sense of community and encourage user participation.
If you have to know one thing about the Chinese market it’s that content is king. In China, contrary to other countries, content is really important. Content has to be rich, high quality, and specific. Chinese people spend a lot of time looking for information about all topics. Before buying something they will enquire online to be sure. Due to all the scandals, Chinese consumers need to be reassured.
So, unlike Youtube where most of the videos are created by amateurs, on Youku you have a lot of professionals and a lot of professionally produced videos licensed for the platform. That’s why you have a lot of movies and TV shows on the platform. In China, the viewing rate is more important on the Internet than on TV. That explains why Youku is so popular and is synonymous with quality in the Chinese mind.
This aspect highlights one important thing for you. Advertise on Youku can give a good image of your brand because you are linked to the quality of the support and because it’s a media platform with a lot of traffic.
However, in China, TV is controlled by the government that’s why the viewing rate is not very good, and young consumers just boycott TV.
Collaborating with Local Influencers and Content Creators
Leveraging the influence of local influencers and content creators can significantly boost a foreign brand’s presence on Youku. Influencers, known as Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in China, have a substantial following and can help promote and endorse products or services effectively.
Partnering with relevant KOLs allows brands to tap into their established audience base, thus expanding their reach and credibility. Content collaborations with popular local creators can also help generate engaging and shareable content that resonates with the Chinese audience.
When selecting influencers and content creators, it is vital to align their values and image with the brand’s identity for authentic and impactful collaboration.
You can use Youku in a different manner to promote your brand. There are different types of Youku ads, including:
Your ad is displayed before the start of the video to the user. In this way, Youku ads operate similarly to Youtube ones.
They are less expensive than pre-roll ads because users can skip your ad. The ad is displayed at the end of the video.
It can be displayed at the bottom, at the top, or at the middle of the page.
Mid-page banner ads
Ads are displayed in the middle of the page. Users need to scroll down to see your ad.
Bottom banner ads
The cheapest ads but not sure of the most effective. Users have to scroll all the pages until the bottom to find your Advertising.
You have very different manners to touch your consumers. You can find the type of ad which matches the best with your needs and your budget.
Integrating Social Media Marketing and Cross-Platform Promotion
Integrating social media marketing with the Youku content strategy is vital for expanding the brand’s reach beyond the platform. Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo play a significant role in shaping online conversations, and brands should actively share their Youku content on these platforms to engage with a broader audience.
Additionally, cross-platform promotion with other popular video-sharing platforms in China, such as Tencent Video and iQiyi, can further increase exposure and capture a diverse viewership.
Interacting with the Audience
Active engagement is vital for building a strong rapport with the Youku audience. Brands should proactively respond to comments and feedback, demonstrating attentiveness and appreciation. Engaging in discussions and valuing user opinions fosters a positive brand image and encourages loyalty.
To cultivate a loyal fan base, brands should offer exclusive content and incentives like contests and giveaways. Encouraging user-generated content and using branded hashtags strengthens the community and enhances audience participation. Regularly expressing appreciation and celebrating milestones further promotes a sense of belonging.
Handling negative feedback professionally is crucial for maintaining a positive brand reputation on Youku. Promptly addressing complaints with empathy and providing solutions shows transparency and commitment to customer satisfaction. Having a crisis management plan ready allows brands to swiftly address unforeseen challenges.
By actively engaging, nurturing a loyal community, and addressing feedback with care, foreign brands can create a positive and interactive presence on Youku. Meaningful connections with the audience build loyalty, helping brands thrive in China’s competitive digital landscape.
Exploring Partnerships with Other Youku Features
Youku offers a diverse Alibaba ecosystem of features and services beyond its core video-sharing platform. Foreign brands should explore potential partnerships with these features to expand their reach and engagement on Youku.
For instance, collaborating with Youku’s sister platforms, such as Tudou or Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, can offer cross-promotional opportunities and access to a broader audience. Additionally, exploring advertising and sponsorship opportunities within Youku’s ecosystem can further enhance brand visibility and recognition.
Participating in Youku’s Special Events and Campaigns
Youku frequently hosts special events, campaigns, and contests to engage its audience and promote specific themes or initiatives. Participating in these events can be highly beneficial for foreign brands looking to build brand awareness and connect with the Chinese audience.
Joining relevant campaigns and incorporating them into the brand’s content strategy can generate excitement and boost viewership. Brands can also create their own unique campaigns in collaboration with Youku, leveraging the platform’s promotional support to maximize impact.
Partner with Us to Reach Millions of Chinese Consumers on Youku!
Youku, as China’s leading video-sharing platform, holds immense significance for foreign brands looking to establish a successful presence in the Chinese market. With a massive and engaged user base, Youku offers a unique opportunity to reach a diverse audience and connect with millions of potential customers.
Leveraging Youku’s extensive resources, content diversity, and popularity, foreign brands can elevate their brand recognition, foster customer engagement, and unlock unparalleled growth prospects in China’s digital landscape.
As a specialized agency well-versed in the nuances of China’s digital market and Youku’s platform, we are committed to assisting foreign brands in navigating the complexities of entering and thriving in the Chinese market.
From registering and creating a brand channel to crafting engaging content and leveraging advertising strategies, our agency offers comprehensive support to help brands establish a strong foothold on Youku.
By collaborating with our agency, foreign brands can seize the abundant opportunities that Youku and China’s digital landscape have to offer and achieve sustainable growth and success in this vibrant market.
Our agency is here to provide tailored solutions and expert guidance, enabling them to unlock their full potential on Youku and flourish in the dynamic and promising Chinese market. Contact us today to explore how we can propel your brand’s growth and success in China. Let us be your trusted partner in this exciting endeavor!