How to Reach Chinese Gen Z / Millennial Audience? Check out Bilibili.
Similar to YouTube, Bilibili is the website where users can upload their videos and live-stream. Shared content is either created by themselves or re-uploaded from other platforms. The platform's audience consists of over 77.5 million monthly active users and 2.5 million paying members.
The platform’s main differentiation point is the loyal and active community. In the early days, the platform focused in a niche market of Asian ACG (animation, cartoon, and gaming), which fostered a very sticky community.
In addition to uploading videos, Bilibili also offers live-streaming features, similar to Twitch. Users can live-stream their screens while playing video-games and chat with their viewers. Bilibili is famous for incorporating bullet screen in the videos and live-streams. It is the pioneer platform in using bullet screens in China, which is later followed by other platforms such as iQiyi and Youku.
Out of the registered Bilibili users, 76.24% of them were born in the 1990s. Most of the Bilibili users are under 30 years old and mainly are students and young professionals in Tier 1 cities. These users have extra disposable income for entertainment and extra time for recreation. They are receptive to new tides of cultures, especially Asian ACG (animation, cartoon, and game) cultures. As of January 2019, 52.03% of registered Bilibili users are male, and the percentage for female users is 47.97%. The ratio is almost one-to-one, which is very unique to a niche platform like Bilibili.
In the beginning stages of Bilibili, male users outnumbered female users because of the heavy focus on gaming content. Over the years, Bilibili has successfully diversified its content, from ACG to travel, fashion, beauty and much more.
Geographically, Bilibili users are concentrated in populated developed areas and Tier 1 cities. Think Guangdong, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, as well as cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Young people from these areas typically receive higher levels of education, enjoy higher incomes and have traveled abroad and been exposed to foreign cultures.
2. Bullet Screen Comments
Bullet screen, called as "danmu" in Chinese, is a layer of real-time comments from viewers to fly across the screen like bullets. Bullet screen plays on top of the video and synchronizes with it. Bullet-screen comments can be anything that is usually related to the contents of the video playing, and thus gives the viewers a sense of involvement in a conversation while watching the video.
Bilibili has done an outstanding job with turning the danmu from a mere technical feature to a community-fostering tool. All registered users are required to pass a 100-question test about danmu code of conduct and ACG trivia. Only after that they can upload content and share comments. This complicated on-boarding process seems wild, but it allows for a high-quality community of users who are on the forefronts of Chinese internet-culture.
Bilibili has a separate section for live broadcasting. It is similar to many other live platforms in China, and is closest to Twitch in the West. Interestingly, live broadcasting has never been the main branch of Bilibili’s profit. Even though we see an increasing percentage of revenue from broadcasting, it consists only 7.1% in 2017. In contrary, 83% of its revenue comes from mobile games in the same year.
4. Original Animation Content
Bilibili buys the copyrights from animation producers. Most of the animations are available to users for free, but those users who purchased the VIP membership can enjoy a timely release of the latest animations and access to animations that are available to VIP exclusively. There are no ads before, during or after the animation in Bilibili.
5. Mobile Gaming
Bilibili gets a significant amount of its revenue from mobile gaming. Two most successful games for Bilibili are Fate/Grand Order and Azur Lane. Unlike animations, that are released by Bilibili the company, video games are typically created and uploaded by individual uploaders. It is relatively easy for an uploader specialized in gaming to launch a business campaign for a game and receive a high number of views.
Bilibili makes its revenue from the online games through micro-transactions, where users can pay to advance in the game quicker and obtain loot-boxes with useful items.
6. Autotune remix
Autotune remix (“guichu“in Chinese) is an especially popular type of content on Bilibili. Chinese uploaders and video creators produce funny videos on current events and controversial personas. Cai Xukun, a Chinese female-like male singer and dancer, is one of the content-creators in this niche. Unlike other video platforms, Bilibili is notable for hosting the great number of funny autotune remixes because of its special users’ community made up of young people, who are looking for outlets to express their opinions on the modern events. This type of content is wildly popular on Bilibili and goes viral more often than other videos.
7. Forward + Lottery Feature
Since Bilibili Version 5.26.0 on mobile phones, the new function of lottery has was added to the app. It opens up an easy venue for companies to expose their brands in this platform. Uploaders can initiate lotteries, which usually require users to forward the link in order to participate in the activity. The best scenario of marketing still requires companies to make their lottery links to be forwarded by big uploaders, who are more effective in distributing the message.
Marketers can make great inroads in hitting a focused target audience through specialized KOL on the Bilibili app. Bilibili's active community that enjoys extra disposable income make the platform very attractive. You can think of Bilibili as a Millennial/ Gen Z Youtube of China. For a successful campaign, it should still be supplemented with other platforms.
ICONKOL can work with you to create a KOL marketing campaign using Bilibili to access Chinese Millennial / Gen Z audience.