Bilibili 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.
Why brands shouldn’t miss Bilibili for marketing campaigns to target young Chinese?
1. 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 Markeing Features
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.
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.
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.
Brands now can sell on Bilibili
On April 3, new Bilibili e-commerce mini-programs appeared on the platform. The uploaders in the Bilibili platform can use the mini-program to sell goods.
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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