Bilibili is THE growing Platform for China’s Gen Z Brands shouldn’t miss. Here are top Marketing strategies used by brands on this new social media App.
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, a vibrating community among China’s Generation Z which brand can’t afford to ignore.
This article is dedicated to providing you with everything necessary to know about this special platform.
What is Bilibili?
Bilibili, started out in 2009, 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 watch pre-made contents or create their own entertainment videos.
BILI’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 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.
How fast is Bilibili growing?
Bilibili has seen a strong growth of its revenue over the past year, from 0.8 to 1.4 billion RMB (a 58% YOY growth rate).
Monthly Active Users (MAUs) are also growing at a steady pace of 31% YOY, reaching more than 100 million as of Q1 2019.
But the strongest metric for Bilibili is their growth of paying users. The number of paying users grew from 2.5 to 5.7 million between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019: a 132% increase YOY.
Why brands shouldn’t miss Bilibili for marketing campaigns to target young Chinese?
1. Bilibili has an engaged and connected user community
The data shows that in the fourth quarter of 2018, the average monthly active users of Bilibili Platform reached 92.8 million, 79.5 million of whom were mobile users, increased by 29% and 37% respectively over the same period of the previous year.
Among them, the average daily use of users increased by 5 minutes as much as 78 minutes over the same period of the previous year.
In terms of the retention rate of users, according to the prospectus issued by Bilibili Platform in March 2018, the retention rate of official members in the twelfth month exceeded 79%.
- Quality user-generated content
Bilibili stands out from rival platforms because it’s able to offer a wider range of content, including both mainstream and non-mainstream anime.
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 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 users loyalty, which is the biggest competitiveness of the Bilibili Platform.
- 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 new users want 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 are 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.
2. 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 the anime and gaming, Bilibili also hosts sections devoted to beauty, fashion, entertainment, advertising and digital.
Users love livestreaming 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.
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.
Bilibili e-commerce mini-program
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. (see social Media trends 2019)
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.
Bilibili Virtual store on Taobao
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