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The NBH Guide: What is the success behind Bilibili and How can it be a tool for online marketing?
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We have seen it before, when a platform becomes big it does not take long before it becomes very big. A rapidly booming platform that we need to observe is Bilibili, especially if you want to understand the China e-landscape and even more important if you want to do business in China. Because, how important is it to be visible on social media in China?

Yes, you are right, just as important as it is in the West.

However, as we know there is a range of platforms available for social media marketing in China, Bilibili is one of them.

The online video market in China has long been dominated by three companies: Youku (owned by Alibaba), iQiyi (owned by Baidu), and QQ Video (owned by Tencent). Now Bilibili is up for the challenge, the hype is big both by users and marketers.

NBH will guide you through the story of Bilibili, its innovative features, who’s using Bilibili, and how to use it as a marketing tool?

What is the story behind Bilibili?

You may think of Bilibili as a “new” platform in China, but their story dates back to 2009.

Bilibili, also mentioned as “B-site” or “B-station” (B站), started as a niche platform for the ACG community (“Animation, Comics and Games”). The platform was regarded as a heaven for youth subculture and anime fans. However, in recent years the users aged up and the content has become more diversified.

The founder of Bilibili, Xu Yi (徐逸), on the internet known as “bishi”, started with creating the website mikufans.cn, a website regarding to the ACG community. 2010, Xu Yi relaunched the website into Bilibli and managed the operation of Bilibili, Chen Rui (陈睿) in 2014, became the CEO and Chairman of the Board.

The two biggest internet companies in China are Tencent and Alibaba. These two giants are traditionally competitors, but Bilibili managed to capture investment from both companies. Alibaba has 12.6% ownership and Tencent has 6.8%.

Bilibil started as a niche platform for the ACG community
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New Innovative takes and features

Since its creation in 2009, Bilibili has gone from an ACG content platform and grown into having a wider online video community. Nowadays the content is ranging from anime, music, games, movies, to fashion, lifestyle, science, and technology, etc.

Many people compare Bilibili with YouTube, there is similarities, but Bilibili has features and a unique community that distinguishes it from many other similar platforms. 

One of these features is “Danmu (弹幕)” or “bullet chat”. Danmus are comments that appears directly on the video screen, like floating live comments while watching. Danmus is very popular and likable by the younger generation, Millennials, and Gen-Zers. Danmus creates a stronger feeling of belonging and sharing.

Danmu or bullet chat showcase
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Another feature is that the users have the option to use B Coins (硬币) and Shells (贝壳), a digital currency that is unique for the platform. It can be used to tip and support creators and brands. This feature adds an alternative to “Likes” and “Favorite”. In this way, Bilibili has created its own innovative ecosystem, that results in engaging content and dedication from its users. 

Bilibili has an innovative business model that creates quality content, organic reach, and high returns on marketing investment.

Who is using Bilibili?

According to QuestMobile TRUTH 2018, Bilibili was listed to be the most favorite App used by young Chinese people under the age of 24. Statistics from iiMedia Research 2021, show that the platform has 202 million monthly active users, 86% of them is under the age of 35 years old. The average time spent by the users is more than 80 min per day, which generates 4.7 billion interactions per month.

The platform also has an almost equal attraction to both male and female users.

Bilibili has become the birthplace of the younger generation’s popular culture and this generation is also becoming the engine of domestic consumption growth.

How to market your business on Bilibili?

There are different ways to market your brand through Bilibili, NBH will list the two most common: 

KOLs

Bilibili is mainly a KOL ecosystem and most branding goes through collaboration with KOLs, as an example only 504 brands have their own brand page on the platform. There are mainly different ways to work with KOLs: 

  1. Yaoyue (邀约), meaning “invite”. Brands collaborate with KOLs and inserts e-commerce links through their video content. This can drive sales-driven traffic directly to e-stores such as Tmall and JD. Brand can measure the clicks and sales from each campaign.  
  2. Xuanshang (悬赏), meaning “reward”, can be explained as a collaboration through a multi-brand e-commerce catalogue. Brand can upload their products that they want to promote and KOLs can voluntarily choose to collaborate and get a commission.

Bilibili advertising

Depending on your campaign or product, Bilibilii offers different ad placements. It can for example be “Splash Screen Ads”, ads that appear when the user opens the app.

“Feed Ads”, encourages users to follow brand accounts, download App or drive users to a landing page. The ad can be shown as an image or video with a promoted “ad” icon.

Biliblii has a creative audience with creative content. Content should therefore be planned carefully and think quality over quantity.

Quality content demo of Bilibili
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One good example of quality content, is Fendi’s “Peekaboo Bar” that illustrated a comic for their campaign. The brand was looking to reach Chinas Gen-Z.

To succeed with your branding at Bilibilii, there is a need to engage and interact with the community. Successful marketing on Bilibili requires you to think a bit outside of the box in order to stand out.

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