Marketingblatt - Marketing Blog



W4 | W4 / September 29, 2022

The emerging platform Bilibili is a must for companies that want to be noticed in the Middle Kingdom. "A picture is worth a thousand words" - this saying is absolutely apt. Visual media have become enormously important in our digitalisation and social media-driven times, especially in recent years. Users increasingly prefer media that focus on the visual. With popular video platforms such as YouTube or TikTok, video content has become an absolute must for companies if they want to reach Generation Z and Generation Y (Millennials). Companies that focus on the Chinese market in this regard should look to BiliBili, China's YouTube. It is one of the leading and constantly growing platforms for online entertainment and social interaction in China and offers many attractive features and opportunities for companies to present themselves in the Middle Kingdom.

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Table of contents

  1. What is Bilibili?    
    1.1. History of Bilibili    
    1.2. How does Bilibili work from the user's perspective?  
  2. Bilibili in the context of digital marketing    
    2.1. Bilibili as an effective marketing tool    
    2.2. Use of Bilibili by companies  
  3. Bilibili vs. YouTube: Differences in marketing  
  4. Bilibili for businesses    
    4.1. How companies can use Bilibili effectively for marketing   
    4.2. Introduction of a corporate account on Bilibili
  5. Future of Bilibili    
    5.1. Future trends on Bilibili and their impact on marketing    
    5.2. Potential of Bilibili in the global marketing landscape  
  6. Conclusion

What is Bilibili?

Bilibili is a very popular Chinese online platform that specialises in entertainment content such as animations, comics, games, videos and streaming. The platform has become a staple for many users in China in terms of online entertainment and social interaction. Especially among younger target groups (such as Gen Z & Y), it has become an indispensable part of everyday life for many Chinese.


Image source: Screenshot Bilibili homepage

History of Bilibili

In 2009, Bilibili was founded by avid anime fan Xu Yi. The platform was originally intended as a website for anime and manga fans to discuss and share content. The website quickly became very popular and gained a growing user base. With expansion into other entertainment sectors such as comics and games, as well as the provision of classic content and livestreaming options for users from 2015 to 2017, there was a huge increase in user numbers. 

This was followed by an IPO in March 2018. This move, combined with the substantial capital raise, enabled accelerated growth and investment in technological innovation.

Between 2018 and 2021, Bilibili expanded its business model to generate revenue from advertising, premium subscriptions, virtual gifts and e-commerce.

In 2019, international expansion began. Bilibili spread a presence outside China, starting with the US, which has a large fan base for anime and gaming. At the same time, Bilibili consolidated its position as a major platform for entertainment, especially among young people in China. User numbers grew steadily - partly because the platform published exclusive content such as productions and collaborations with celebrities. The average number of monthly active users on Bilibili has increased significantly since 2019:


Source: Statista - Average number of monthly active users of Bilibili Inc. from Q1 2019 to Q1 2023.

How does Bilibili work from the user's point of view?

To create a user account, an active email address or telephone number must be available in order to verify the Bilibili account and receive notifications from the platform such as changed guidelines or similar. Furthermore, (as with almost every account creation) a secure password must be defined that meets Bilibili's security requirements. In addition, a unique user ID must be defined. Another important point: confirming the minimum age. Bilibili only allows users who have reached a certain minimum age. 
Once this basic information is collected and ready, the registration process can start via the website or in the Bilibili app. All one has to do is follow the platform's instructions. In addition, optional details such as the name or a profile picture can be added.

The variety of content on Bilibili:

  • Videos (e.g. vlogs, tutorials, music videos, travel videos, skits and much more)
  • Animations (create your own animations, e.g. clips, web series or animation episodes)
  • Comics and mangas (create and upload comics and mangas)
  • Live streams (broadcast live recordings, play games "live", community communication)
  • Music (upload your own music tracks and concerts)
  • Gaming (share gameplay videos, Let's Plays, tutorials and much more)
  • Art and creative (show artworks, drawings, design projects and other creative works)
  • Science and education (create and share science explanations, educational videos)
  • Reviews and analysis (create and share reviews of films, books, games and other products)

Bilibili in the context of digital marketing

Bilibili as an effective marketing tool

The popular platform offers a number of attractive marketing opportunities for businesses to effectively reach many users - especially in China.  
Considering BiliBili's impressive numbers in Q2 2023, businesses should definitely consider the platform in their marketing strategy for China.



Classic advertising and sponsoring are the most common marketing measures used by companies on the platform. For example, display ads such as news feed ads in various formats or banner ads as well as sponsoring content are possible. Product placements through cooperations with content creators or influencers are also a promising marketing strategy to promote products or services and reach as many followers as possible. A large and popular section of the platform is livestreaming, which companies can use for example in the form of product presentations and demonstrations. This enables direct interaction with (potential) customers and offers the possibility to answer questions directly.

Furthermore, according to the still highly topical motto "Content is King", the regular creation of own, relevant content can lead to a large follower or viewer community. In this way, companies can convey informative, entertaining or educational aspects of their brand or products. As China's "YouTube", companies' video content on the platform should be of high quality and meet the needs of the target audience. Publishing exclusive content on Bilibili can also be promising to attract users' attention and increase engagement. This can take the form of web series, animations or other special content, for example.

Bilibili is a platform that is very much designed for interaction – accordingly, interactive measures also lend themselves to this, such as hosting competitions or challenges where users can create and share content that is related to the company's brand or products. This is a real benefit for brand visibility. 

In addition, it is beneficial for brand awareness and image if a company actively participates in the discussions and forums of the Bilibili community. In this way, the company's expertise can be highlighted, visibility increased and a better understanding of the target group's needs developed. 
Bilibili also offers a lot of potential in terms of market research. Companies can use the popular platform to conduct market research in relation to an exciting target group between the ages of 18 and 35 and identify trends at an early stage.  

Probably one of the most attractive measures for companies is the integration of an online shop into the platform. With an e-commerce integration, you can sell products directly through Bilibili, offer users a seamless customer experience and effectively achieve your sales goals.

In all marketing activities on Bilibili, companies should always focus on authenticity and a good understanding of the users' needs. The platform's community is often very demanding and values honest as well as respectful interactions.

Use of Bilibili by companies 

The following is a classic advertisement from JD, China's largest online retailer.


Advertisements can be placed in various places on the platform. In this case, a smartphone is advertised directly under a video and before the comments and video recommendations. 
Large companies such as HP have already placed ads via Bilibili.

Bilibili vs. YouTube: Marketing differences 

The most obvious similarity between the two networks is that the platforms offer user-generated content (UGC). 
One of the most decisive differences at the moment is the target group of the networks. YouTube is currently more international than Bilibili. The Chinese video-sharing platform mainly focuses on Chinese GenZ users. But Bilibili's international expansion has already started and will continue to spread in the future. Initially, however, Bilibili is primarily interesting for companies that have their sights set on the Chinese market. 
Compared to YouTube, Bilibili takes an activating approach to bring brands and key opinion leaders (KOLs for short) together. The platform offers 2 particularly attractive functions for companies:

  1. Yaoyue: With this function, companies can start a cooperation with key opinion leaders or influencers via Huahuo, Bilibili's KOL platform. This could be realised, for example, in the form of a link placement in or under the uploader's video to a company's products.  
  2. Xuanshang: This term describes Bilibili's e-commerce catalogue, to which only users (KOLs) with a certain number of followers have access. In this catalogue, companies can offer products to promote, from which the KOLs can choose and receive a commission for an application. 

Another interesting feature that YouTube does not have, unlike Bilibili, are the so-called bullet comments, also known as Danmu. These real-time comments fly into the video frame and give viewers the feeling that they are not watching alone, but in a community. YouTube live chat comments merely appear at the edge of the video like ordinary comments.

Bilibili for businesses

How businesses can use Bilibili effectively for their marketing

First of all, companies can create a channel for creating and sharing content in the traditional way. If exciting, educational or entertaining content is offered on this channel, the visibility and awareness of the brand increases, for example through sharing. It is important to note that the content corresponds to the interests and needs of the target group. It should be taken into account, for example, that the users of Bilibili are usually younger than 35.


Quelle: – Investor presentation

The following marketing measures can be promising for companies on Bilibili:

  • Publishing licensed content: e.g. offering exclusive content or partnering with content creators.
  • Live streaming: to showcase products, hold Q&A sessions, broadcast events and interact with the community in real time
  • Traditional advertising: e.g. native ads, display ads and video ads
  • Community engagement: actively participating in the Bilibili community e.g. joining discussions or responding to comments
  • Providing useful content: e.g. creating tutorials, product reviews or informative content to demonstrate expertise and credibility
  • Influencer marketing: collaborating with bilibili influencers.
  • Data analysis and optimisation: measure and optimise marketing activities

Introduction of a company account on Bilibili 

In order to set up a business account on Bilibili, the business must of course be registered as a legal entity. This usually requires a VAT number to verify the business identity.
If this is not sufficient to verify the identity, a more detailed verification of the business data may be required to ensure that it is a legitimate business. 

The operator of the business account must ensure that Bilibili's usage guidelines and community guidelines are adhered to at all times. This means, for example, that care must be taken to ensure that intellectual property rights are respected. 
Questionable content must be avoided. For example, political content is undesirable on Bilibili and in the community. In short, care must be taken to only create and publish content that is relevant and interesting to the Bilibili community in order to be successful on the platform.

Future of Bilibili

Future trends on Bilibili and their marketing implications

Bilibili enjoys a special status among many users compared to other Chinese video platforms such as Douyin or Youku Tudou due to its anime and comic origins. This is also illustrated by the fact that the e-commerce giants Tencent and Alibaba are shareholders in the platform, although the companies each operate their own video platforms. 

Bilibili is actively recruiting content creators outside of China in order to become more international, attract international companies and become more commercially oriented.


Source: – Global Influencer Recruitment Program  

As a result, there is an influx of YouTubers who now also publish content on Bilibili. One example is the US musician, songwriter, filmmaker and web video producer Kurt Hugo Schneider.



Also expanding from YouTube to Bilibili is the internet presence of popular German sports and fitness influencer Pamela Reif.


Source: – Pamela Reif

So we can expect more international content creators and their followers on Bilibili in the future. The big topic of gaming is still dominant on the platform, but content on fitness, travel or food is catching up. The platform is therefore not only becoming more international, but also more thematically diverse. 

Bilibili's algorithm also stands out from other platforms. The so-called coins, which can be awarded to support content creators, are another special feature of the platform and will continue to play an important role in the future. Coins are much more meaningful than ordinary likes because there is only a certain quota of coins per user.

In order not to scare away users, the space for advertising content on the platform is still very limited. Companies should therefore still weigh up in the future whether a cooperation with content creators is not the more promising way compared to advertisements. This decision depends on the goals of the company, the industry as well as the target group and must be evaluated for the specific marketing goals.

Bilibili's potential in the global marketing landscape 

Bilibili has the potential to build on its impressive user base in China through international expansion. Gen Z is young, dynamic and internationally open-minded. Therefore, there is almost nothing standing in the way of the platform's global growth. Gen Z will grow with the platform or the platform will evolve according to the needs of its main target group. For example, AI (artificial intelligence) recommendations will be offered in conjunction with recommendations from real editors. Thus, the range of topics presented is much more extensive than is the case with other networks.


As the previous comments have made clear, Bilibili is a popular, growing platform in China that companies should definitely consider in their marketing in China. - The numbers speak for themselves! Bilibili is growing and will continue to become more attractive for companies in the future. Marketing on this interactive platform must of course be adapted to the special circumstances and the user community. Influencer marketing or cooperations with KOLs are particularly promising on Bilibili. 

Do you have questions about Bilibili or marketing in China in general?

If you need help with your marketing in China, contact our team of experts. We will support you throughout all your journey!

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