Bilibili commonly called B-站 (B-station) is THE growing Platform for China’s Gen Z that Brands shouldn’t miss. While China’s online video market seems to be dominated by Youku (owned by Alibaba), iQiyi (owned by Baidu), and QQ Video (owned by Tencent) and short-form videos attract most of the attention these days, Bilibili is overlooked in these conversations. However, it’s one of the fastest-growing social platforms in China, with a vibrating community among China’s Generation Z which brands can’t afford to ignore. This article is dedicated to providing you with everything necessary to learn about this special platform. Here are the top Marketing strategies used by brands on this Chinese social media/video App.
Chinese Netizens consume video online en masse
Before we get started with Bilibili, we would like to give you some data on the Chinese internet audio and video market for context.
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The number of internet audio and video users in China is on the rise – reaching 944 million in December 2020, an increase of +40 million people from summer 2021. Videos users now cover more than 95% of the Chinese internet users population.
Short video registered the biggest growth and is the most consumed type of video reaching 83% of the Chinese internet population; while other videos format and live streaming account for +70% and +60%.
The internet audio and video industry saw a 32% revenue increase in 2020 compare to 2019 recording an astonishing 600 billion yuan in revenue.
Another interesting trend of the Chinese internet audio and video market is the rise in users paying for this type of content (as we will see with Bilibili) with more than 45% of users paying. Among these users, 60% are born after 1990.
With this context in mind, let’s jump into Bilibili, its specificities, and why we think it’s a video app you should keep an eye on.
Bilibili: What is it and why should you pay attention to it?
Bilibili started out in 2009 and, is China’s biggest anime streaming site, as well as one of the country’s biggest video-sharing sites. The Shanghai-based company markets itself as the online home for fans of ACG: Anime, comics, and gaming. The company provides a platform for China’s Millennials and Generation Z to both watches pre-made content or create their own entertainment videos.
Bilibili’s difference lies in its ability to create a highly sticky community in the niche market of the ACG culture. Thanks to its fast growth of users, the company has expanded into a lot of new categories including advertising, mobile gaming, and e-commerce.
Bilibili was originally inspired by the Japanese otaku video site Niconico. With 100 million daily active users and IPO whispers, Bilibili now dwarfs both Niconico and its older Chinese competitor, ACFun, in size.
Here are some Interesting data about Bilibili:
- Number MAU: 237 Million (2021), this number is forecasted to reached 400 millions by 2023
- Number of MAU on mobile: 220 Million (2021- up by almost 49% compare to 2020)
- Bilibili Paying users: about 20.9 million (2021) or an increase of +60% compare to 2020
- Gross Profit: Q2 2021 RMB4,495.3 million or an increase of 64% compare to Q2 2020
- More than 80% of Bilibili’s users are aged under 35.
Learn more about Bilibili recent growth and monetization
Why brands shouldn’t miss Bilibili for marketing campaigns to target young Chinese?
Bilibili has an engaged and connected user community
The site has a very loyal customer base with active communities focused around specific niches like this one for ACG (animation, cartoon/graphic novel).
Why are the platform users so engaged?
- Users are young and dynamic China’s Gen Z
More than 80% of users are labeled as Gen Z, the generation born between 1990 and 2009. The average age of current users on Bilibili is 21 years old and the average age of newly registered users is 19.8 years old, most of whom are people living in the second-tier cities and below.
Bilibili’s power to draw a large number of China’s Generation Z should thrill brands who want to engage China’s emerging young consumers. All of this is encouraging for brands with an interest in China’s Generation Z consumer, and even more so when considering the engagement of Bilibili’s users.
Away from anime and gaming, Bilibili also hosts sections devoted to beauty, fashion, entertainment, advertising, and digital. Users love live streaming about these subjects on Bilibili, creating opportunities for brands to work with popular KOLs who are active on the platform.
Whatever field a brand is in, there’s probably a way to leverage strong content culture on Bilibili for customer acquisition and engagement.
- Quality (user-generated) content
Bilibili is a unique video platform that offers both mainstream and non-mainstream anime, as well as original documentaries and other niches gendra. The wide range of content on offer from this site makes it stand out among rival sites for uploading videos in comparison with others
This is partly because Bilibili is less invested in creating original anime than the likes of Youku and Tencent. In fact, UGV (high-quality video) created by uploaders accounted for 89% of the total broadcasting volume of the Bilibili Platform, while the number of active uploaders and upload numbers increased by 143% and 148% respectively (end of 2018).
As a result, Bilibili is able to license a richer variety of anime than its competitors, which China’s Generation Z users love.
The high quality of the content is the core part of Bilibili and the main reason its users base is loyal but also pushes them to be premium users.
- Strict membership rules ensure passionate and knowledgeable members
Currently, the Bilibili Platform is the only large-scale video-sharing platform in China with strict access standards.
If a new user wants to register as an official member, they need to complete a 100-question quiz with questions that range from company history to Japanese manga artists.
Although such a strict access system limits the growth of the overall user volume, it largely guarantees the quality of Bilibili users.
These high-end users have improved the dynamics of the Bilibili-Platform community culture, which is reflected vividly in the usage time and retention rate of Bilibili users.
- “danmu” – a highly interactive same-screen social experience
Bilibili’s most recognizable feature is its 弹幕 (danmu — “bullet comments” — a loanword from Japanese), a user conversation system originally invented for Niconico where time-synced comments are overlaid directly on top of the video as it plays.
The danmu system creates a vividly social watching experience comparable to sitting in a rowdy movie theater: during pivotal moments in a video, reactions wash over the video in a dense tidal wave, often covering up the source material entirely.
People go to Bilibili for the community as much as the videos themselves. It gives Bilibili an edge because users say they feel like they’re watching their favorite shows with friends.
What’s more, Bilibili’s danmu are cumulative over time. Danmu is time-synced and attached to the video itself, meaning that the echoes of previous viewers’ reactions are always accessible, as if everyone were watching at the same time.
On Bilibili, the danmu system means that social conversations around video are not just a second screen experience — they are on the same screen and always attached to the video.
Bilibili Marketing Features
Bilibili Company & Brand Accounts
If you are planning on using the platform to upload and promote your video content then should not be afraid of having your own certified account on the app. A verified account will help with visibility and help you stand out from other accounts possibly using your brand name. The steps are relatively simple but only companies from a limited amount of countries (East-Asia/USA) are allowed to do so and some industries will require more documentation.
There are two types of verification possible and each gets a specific badge:
- Influenceurs: Open to account with at least 100K followers. The benefits are the following: Your account has more visibility and your videos are recommended more as well, better chances of getting partnerships with brands, access to advertising/monetization tools (Zhuanche)
- Business: Your content gets more visibility, you also get access to zhuanche and can get better patnerships.
B站 Live Streaming & Kols
In addition to broadcasting, Bilibili also offers live streaming services similar to Twitch that enables users the option of communicating with KOLs and KOCs. This function is a great way for content creators to reach their audiences in an interactive manner.
Kols and content creators on Bilibili are called Up Host and generate most of the content on the app. Content that is also referred by professional ads PUGV for “Professional Users Generated Video”.
Collaboration with the B-station Up Host is similar to what you would find on Youtube for instance. It can be a sponsored segment, a review video, a products placement, and so on.
Marketers with a focused target audience can utilize the Bilibili app to find fans that they would not have been able to previously.
Sparkle, a brand/creator matchmaking tools
Bilibili Sparkle (Huahuo in Chinese) is a matchmaking service for content creators and advertisers to help them reach the right audience launched in the summer of 2020. The platform was initially an internal tool of Bilibili, but now it’s open to everyone including brands who can find smart pricing recommendations from influencers or data analytics on KOL followers and their engagement and so on.
The number of brands on the Sparkle platform has increased by 2050% from 2020 to 2021. In terms of GMV (Gross Margin Revenue), the top five industries are beauty products, food & beverage retail, digital 3C, e-commerce, and mobile games. From summer 2020 to Summer 2021, the platform recorded more than 3000 orders from more than 1000 brands in 27 different industries.
Another indicator of the popularity of Sparkle with brands is the re-investment rate. Indeed, 75% of brands that used Sparkle for the first time, went back to it, meaning their expectations were met.
Similar to the number of brands on Sparkle, the number of content creators recorded a 770% years on years growth. The recently released report by Guosheng Securities estimated that in May 2021, there were about 10000 content creators on Sparkle.
B-Station Native Ads
Just like any monetized platform, Bilibili offers selections of paid ads to brands and companies. (Read more about Paid advertising in China)
Caracteristics of Paids Ads on b-station:
- CPC (Cost Per Click) bidding,
- CTR (CLick throught rate) prediction
- PC resources are by CPM (Cost Per Million) bidding
- CPT advertising space
Types of Paids ads:
- News Feed Ads: Usually display on the video feed page, they can be of 3 different formats: a small picture, a large picture, or 3 pictures. The 3 format comes with a 5 to 18 characters title and a description (2-10 words).
- Native Banner Ads: You’ll find them on the home page and playing pages. Banner ads on the home page come in 4 different size ratio (440x220px/ 640x400px/ 260x1500px / 116x96px). On the playing page only two size available (359x200px/468x60px) and can be displayed on top right side of the video and right under the video.
- OGV (Occupationally Generated Video): it’s the most expensive options of the bunch for paid advertising on bilibili. OVG are produced and released by bilbili and can be sponsored by brands. Companies sponsoring the app original content will be listed under this content. Great way to gain exposure, but not given to every companies because of its price.
Paid advertising on Bilibili is more cost-effective than other Chinese social media apps but the targeting options are also more limited. If your company operates in the education, snacks & food, cosmetics, photography, lifestyle industries we can only recommend you to give it a try.
Brands now can sell on Bilibili
Use the commodities column and scroll through the different items available to buy on the app.
On April 3rd of 2019, Bilibili launched its own e-commerce mini-programs which can be used to sell goods. This followed a big investment by Alibaba earlier the same year. In addition to scanning through App, users can enter mini-programs through active links of some uploaders’ posts. Bilibili platform does not design a special entrance for mini-programs on the Bilibili platform.
Besides, Bilibili has been collaborating with other big players in the E-commerce business to boost their development in this area. To tap Gen-Z users with an appetite for anime subculture, Taobao and Bilibili, cooperate to launch initiatives to better connect users, merchandise, and content creators on both platforms.
As part of the partnership, the Alibaba-owned online marketplace will introduce content creators from Bilibili to Taobao. They will join the more than 1.6 million writers and influencers currently on the site, who produce promotional content, such as blog posts and live streams about everything from apparel to furniture.
Taobao will also help the Shanghai-based streaming site commercialize its intellectual property assets, including its official mascots, virtual idols, original documentaries, and anime content.
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