Bilibili vs YouTube: For Marketers

Bilibili vs YouTube: For Marketers

Introduction to Bilibili and Youtube

The world is familiar with YouTube, but have you heard of Bilibili? YouTube is accessible globally, except for China where it is blocked. Bilibili, on the other hand, is China’s own YouTube alternative. So, which platform is better for marketing? In this article, we’ll dive into Bilibili vs YouTube. We will discuss marketing on Bilibili, and explore Bilibili vs Youtube similarities/  differences.

YouTube: The Global Video-Sharing Platform

YouTube was created in 2005 by former PayPal employees Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. The platform quickly gained millions of daily views, and by December 2005, it was already generating 2 million views per day. This rapid growth can be partially attributed to a specific Super Bowl Halftime incident that garnered a lot of attention. In its early days, YouTube faced several challenges, such as limited finances for broadband connections and potential litigation due to copyrighted material being uploaded to the platform. Google, recognizing the potential in YouTube, acquired it for $1.65 billion in stock, as its own video service, Google Video, was not gaining much traction.

Today, YouTube boasts 2.1 billion users worldwide, making it the leading video-sharing platform globally. It has adapted to the changing social media landscape by incorporating features like YouTube Shorts, which were inspired by the popularity of TikTok. YouTube Shorts quickly gained traction, surpassing 50 billion views per day in February 2023. YouTube generates $29.24 billion in ad revenues, representing 11.35% of Google’s total revenue. As of 2022, 52% of global marketers utilize YouTube for marketing purposes.

Bilibili: China’s Homegrown Video Platform

Founded in 2009 by Xu Yi, Bilibili is primarily known for its anime content and strong Gen Z user base. Initially created as a platform for anime-viewing and fandom communities but has since become a mainstream platform with a wide variety of content. With a 70% year-on-year growth, Bilibili reached 171 million monthly active users in December 2021, a 28.3% increase from December 2020. This growth can be attributed to the pandemic and the widespread use of smartphones in China. China boasts over one billion smartphone users in the country. Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, such as a $76.1 million net loss in Q1 2021, Bilibili continues to thrive. This is thanks in part to a $400 million investment from Sony. Sony currently holds a 4.98% stake in the company’s shares.



Similarities Between Bilibili and YouTube

Bilibili vs YouTube both share similarities. The use of user-generated content (UGC) being the most significant similarity. Both platforms support influencer marketing, allow creators to monetize channels. BiliBili has built in tools for brands to reach out to influencers. Bilibili marketing employs two e-commerce integration techniques:

Yaoyue (邀约) and Xuanshang (悬赏). Yaoyue, or “invite” in Chinese, lets brands collaborate with key opinion leaders (KOLs) or influencers through Huahuo (花火), Bilibili’s KOL selection platform. In a Yaoyue collaboration, KOLs place a product link under their video, directing viewers to the brand’s website, resembling YouTube brand partnerships.

Xuanshang, or “reward” in Chinese, is a Bilibili e-commerce catalog exclusive to KOLs with over 10k fans. Brands add products to the Xuanshang program, and KOLs select products to promote for a 20% to 50% commission. Products appear as a Danmu, icon, or link beneath the video.

Both platforms have unique creator names: YouTubers on YouTube and Up Zhu (Up主) on Bilibili, meaning “uploader.” They also enable user donations via features like YouTube’s Super Chat and Super Thanks.



Bilibili vs YouTube both feature educational content. Bilibili’s study videos gained popularity in 2018 and surged during pandemic induced lockdowns. By 2020’s end, over 100 million people studied on Bilibili. Similarly, YouTube’s educational community, StudyTube, gained traction with the #studywithme tag in 2017.

Differences Bilibili vs YouTube

While YouTube enjoys its status as the most popular video-sharing platform globally, Bilibili faces stiff competition from other Chinese platforms. iQiyi, Tencent Video, QQ Video, and Youku are all stiff competitors of Bilibili. Bilibili has a more hands-on approach to connecting brands and KOLs compared to YouTube, which does not directly intervene in the influencer-bran relationship.

Another difference is the audience reach. YouTube has over two billion users per year, while Bilibili mainly targets Chinese users. Bilibili also features Danmu (弹幕), or “bullet chat,” a live comment feature that appears directly on the screen, providing a sense of community and belonging. In contrast, YouTube’s live chat comments appear outside of the video, like regular comments.

Marketing on Bilibili: Speak the Lingo

To market successfully on Bilibili, you must understand the platform’s user demographics and interests. For instance, China Merchants Bank (CMB) created an anime-style short film to educate Gen Zers about fraud, attracting 6.6 million views. Similarly, Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall (天猫) frequently interacts with its Bilibili audience using emojis and internet slang through an account called I am Mall T T (我叫猫天天), akin to the clever tweets from fast-food chain Wendy’s.


Where to Start with Bilibili Marketing

To enter the Bilibili marketing scene more seamlessly, foreign brands can collaborate with KOLs. Two primary methods exist for this: interstitial ads and brand creative collabs. In an interstitial ad, a KOL incorporates your product or service into their video. While a creative collab involves a KOL using their brand and creativity to boost your brand value. Both of these techniques resemble how collaborations work on YouTube.
However, crafting a tailored strategy for Bilibili marketing is crucial, as many large brands have struggled to capture attention on the platform. For example, luxury fashion brand Dior boasts 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube but only 32,000 fans on Bilibili, with fewer than a thousand views per video and little to no comments. This lack of engagement stems from the brand’s highly- produced videos that don’t resonate with Bilibili’s user base.



Bilibili vs YouTube: Understanding China

In the Bilibili vs YouTube debate, both platforms present brands with unique opportunities to reach diverse audiences and grow their presence. To succeed, it’s crucial to understand each platform’s user demographics, content preferences, and monetization methods. Bilibili, focusing on the expanding Chinese market and catering to Gen Z, offers a more niche content selection. Bilibili is an ideal platform for marketing in China when building community and delivering educational content.

GAB China: The Premier Chinese Marketing Agency

When it comes to navigating the complex world of Bilibili marketing, GAB China stands out as a premier Chinese marketing agency. Offering expert insights and tailored strategies, GAB China helps brands harness the power of both platforms to achieve their marketing goals. By partnering with GAB China, brands can benefit from a team of skilled professionals who understand the nuances of each platform, ensuring their marketing efforts yield the best possible results. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your brand and reach new audiences; contact GAB China today and unlock the full potential of Chinese marketing.


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