How the Bilibili platform enriches the Gen Z lifestyle
Bilibili (referred as哔哩哔哩 in Chinese, also known as B Site) is one of the most popular video sharing platform in China, themed around animation, comics, and gaming (ACG) based in China, where users can submit, view, and add commentary subtitles on videos. The monthly active users (MAU) in 2019 Q1 reached 101.3mm, while the Mobile MAU in 2019 Q1 was 88.6mm and avg. daily time spent reached 81min. The popularity of this platform represents a ‘couch-potato’ type of Gen Z lifestyle in China, which originally was just a subculture but became dominant because of the rise of Bilibili.
On March 26th, a mini-program named “势能种草机-potential energy grass planter” was launched on the Bilibili platform. The main products in the mini-program are cosmetics sold by famous Bilibili celebrities. Bilibili uses Mini Programs after they have been executed by Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, and Toutiao. Recently, the Bilibili platform responded that the function is an upgraded version of the Bilibili e-commerce function, which is currently in the stage of internal testing. Without a doubt, Bilibili business collaboration in e-commerce is accelerating.
The new Bilibili E-commerce function
What is Bilibili’s E-commerce business？
On April 3, new Bilibili e-commerce mini-programs appeared on the platform. The personal dynamics of uploaders in the Bilibili platform can be realized by using the mini-program to sell goods.
The launch of the mini e-commerce program is a re-exploration of B-station in diversification, especially in commercial liquidity. Before that, the Bilibili platform has made many attempts in e-commerce, including premium membership. After Alibaba invested in Bilibili, it has made changes to its online marketing strategies. Its main focus shifts from user acquisition to E-commerce business, which becomes a more lucrative business in recent years because of the changing Gen-Z lifestyle that takes online shopping as one of their most popular pastimes.
Regarding the trial of Bilibili e-commerce mini program, the relevant Internet platform said:
“The main purpose of launching a mini E-commerce program is to guide Bilibili’s E-commerce business, but whether the ultimate effect can reach the expectation of Bilibili is not good enough to assert, at present, it can only be used as a supplement to Bilibili’s E-commerce business channel.”
One of the major reasons that Bilibili has lagged behind the E-commerce business industry than its competitors is closely related to its unique user groups. Bilibili platform has retained many loyal users and KOLs attached to its platform through its own influence. However, these users strongly oppose to the commercialization of Bilibili, but the acceptance of paid content is higher than other platforms.
How does the new Bilibili e-commerce function work？
In addition to scanning through App, users can enter mini-programs through active links of some uploaders release. Bilibili platform does not design a special entrance for mini-programs on the Bilibili platform.
The previous Bilibili E-commerce business startegies
Before the trial implementation of the mini-programs, Bilibili had taken several testings at E-commerce business. Back in 2018, Bilibili announced that it would encourage the uploaders to open their own E-commerce businesses. Contributors of Bilibili can open stores by clicking on the “commodities” column on the homepage to see the goods on sale. Most of the products sold are cosmetics and skin care products.
The purchase can be completed directly in the Bilibili platform without jumping to third-party sites like Taobao and will transform the fan economy into actual purchasing. Secondly, under the videos, there will be advertisements recommending the products of uploaders, which can also be purchased directly by clicking on the link. At the same time, there is a review area on the purchase page, on which users can post and comment freely.
Business Collaboration in E-commerce
Other than exploring on its own, Bilibili has been collaborating with other big players in the E-commerce business in order to lay the foundation for its further development.
In December 2018, Bilibili platform cooperated with Taobao, which promoted the high-quality native uploaders with millions of fans to accelerate their entries into Taobao and explore the realization form of “content + e-commerce.” In the future, on Taobao platform, uploaders will realize liquidity through joint product name, related peripheral derivatives development, and other ways that match their characteristics.
Before that, the Bilibili platform and Alibaba also have a brief history of cooperation. On Alibaba’s side, uploaders sign up to establish certified Taobao accounts, provide various e-commerce services support for Bilibili platforms.
Massive Bilibili user demand meets robust supply
Gen Z lifestyle represents the future trend of online entertainment in China
Bilibili is the leading subculture community in China with more than 7000 vertical interest circles. 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, which is sinking to the people below the second-tier cities.
Gen Z is contributing a lot to the future entertainment market, and ACG (animation, comics, games) are an essential part of it. Bilibili began to deepen the layout of the Gen Z industrial chain and continues to explore in the fields of animation, cartoons, electronic competition, and so on.
Content consumption promotes community construction. Bilibili platform will also bet its commercialized future on the consumption capacity of Gen Z.
Bilibili users: Highly engaged communities
Engaged and connected Bilibili users
In the fourth quarter of 2018, 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. The high quality of the content is the core part of Bilibili users loyalty, which is the biggest competitiveness of the Bilibili Platform.
How to make uploaders obtain stable and sustainable income is an important assurance to maintain the richness of UGC (User Generated Content) in the community. Starting from 2018, Bilibili has launched projects such as “Creative Incentive Plan,” “Creative Incentive Rookie Award” and “New Star Plan,” which provide official incentive bonuses to those high-quality uploaders and continue to support outstanding new uploaders.
More loyal Bilibili official members
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 last 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%.
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 based on quadratic ACG content.
Although such a strict access system limits the growth of the overall user volume, it largely guarantees the quality of Bilibili users. Most importantly, it protects the overall community environment of the Bilibili Platform. From the comprehensive performance of Bilibili user groups, these high-end users have improved the dynamics of the Bilibili-Platform community culture, which is reflected incisively and vividly in the use time and retention rate of Bilibili users.
Business & Live broadcasting: Core competitiveness of Bilibili
Bilibili games are the 3rd most popular video genre on the platform, while game-themed live broadcasting is also popular. The majority of gamers are directly converted from the game on the Bilibili platform, with which the users can pick and operate games they jointly developed and produced.
Bilibili live broadcasting: An extension of Bilibili’s diversified content platform.
Bilibili offers a wide array of content to satisfy Bilibili users’ growing demands in games and entertainment, such as Mobile Games, PC Games, Console Games, and E-sports.
In addition, the Bilibili platform gets a massive user base; the live broadcasting valid MAU increased from 7.5 mm in 18Q1 to 11.4 mm in 19Q1. Also, the users on the Bilibili platform demonstrates a high willingness to pay for happiness and appreciation, with live broadcasting quarterly paying users increased from 0.5m of 18Q 1 to 1.2mm of 19Q1.
Commercialization of Bilibili: Opportunities for foreign companies
In order to achieve success in China in a long term, it is crucial to grab the attention of Gen Z, the leading consumer group in China’s future entertainment industry.
For the video-sharing platforms in China, selling advertisements through traffic is the most mainstream way to make revenues at present, but it is also the most non-technical form of realization. Therefore, it is vital for each video platform to build its own ecology and to process the traffic in detail.
The Bilibili, as one of the most popular video-sharing platforms in China, its use of mini-programs, traffic liquidity, and third-party cooperation to explore commercialization are definitely worthy of observing and learning by foreign enterprises.
Author: Zichun LI
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