Bilibili (NASDAQ: BILI), also known as B站 (B Site) by its users, is one of the three most used video apps in China. Why is it different from the others? Its focus on entertainment, everyday activities and ACG contents (Anime, Comics & Gaming) makes it the best channel to target China Z Generation. But Bilibili doesn’t only offer video broadcasting. It also includes live streaming services, like hosting the likes of the 2020 New Year Gala online event, virtual idols concerts and influencers in CGI (computer generated images). Bilibili is also one of the few platforms, together with JD.com, to have been selected for the digital Yuan, the new Chinese digital currency expected to be quickly adopted by young Chinese citizens.
What can we learn from Bilibili about Chinese netizens?
Despite its strong focus on entertainment, Bilibili still remains a horizontal channel, like Youtube in the rest of the world, and its young audience is always hunger for funny and engaging contents. This characteristic makes Bilibili quite useful for scouting what younger segments of Chinese consumers associate with specific products or industries, and what kind of content they will expect from brands. For example, if we compare the search results of two booming sectors in China, like furniture (家具 in Chinese) and cosmetics (美妆in Chinese), we will see different results in terms of related queries, video genres and views.
From one side, videos related to furniture focus mostly on DIY repairs and maintenance in terms of numbers of uploads, rather than on showcasing furniture or home décor pieces. In this category, the most viewed videos usually take the shape of the Vlog (short for video blog) where the video maker (usually female) takes the audience on a “discovery tour” into her/his apartment, usually located in high-priced areas of the country, like downtown Shanghai for example.
On the other hand, searches for cosmetics and skin care products result in much more views overall, but in this case the video tutorials are the majority.
Should you consider Bilibili for your marketing strategy in China?
Long story short, if you plan on targeting young Chinese you should consider Bilibili as both a valuable communication channel and a great source of information. Bilibili is compatible with most Chinese social apps and has its own WeChat mini program (think about it as a mini app built within WeChat that improves the user experience), so users can easily share videos from Bilibili directly on WeChat groups and feeds. If a brand’s product line has a strong resonance with the target of this platform, the first step to take is always to open a verified account: much like for WeChat accounts, the verification makes you more credible in front of your consumers and gives your content a stronger protection over IP infringements, but it also opens the possibility for a deeper cooperation with Bilibili. Use this vantage point to listen to what your customers want to see and produce videos that can best align with their expectations. Finally, pair content creation with a Key Opinion Consumer campaign (a marketing word meaning “micro influencers”) to make your products stand out and help creating brand positioning in China, completing the foundations of your brand awareness strategy.
From that point you can start thinking about scaling up your marketing efforts and start preparing your business for generating sales through live streaming on other platforms, being careful not to stray too much from your starting audience.
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