Bilibili vs YouTube: For Marketers

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GAB Team

Introduction to Bilibili and Youtube

In the ever-expanding universe of digital marketing, two stellar platforms have emerged as front-runners in the video content race: Bilibili and YouTube. These platforms, while serving the universal need for video content, cater to vastly different audiences and offer unique opportunities for marketers. In this article, we’ll dive into Bilibili vs YouTube. We will discuss marketing on Bilibili, and explore Bilibili vs Youtube similarities & differences.

Bilibili, often hailed as the ‘YouTube of China’, has carved out a niche with its unique community culture and user-generated content. YouTube, a global giant, continues to dominate video content consumption with its diverse content and massive user base.

As we navigate through this guide, we will uncover the distinct features, user demographics, marketing opportunities, and challenges of Bilibili and YouTube. Whether you’re strategizing for a global audience or targeting the dynamic Chinese market, this guide will equip you with the insights needed to leverage these platforms effectively.

Bilibili and YouTube: Platform Overviews

In the dynamic realm of online content sharing, Bilibili and YouTube stand out as two prominent platforms that have redefined the way users engage with multimedia content.

This overview will delve into the distinctive features and key attributes of Bilibili and YouTube, shedding light on their unique contributions to the ever-evolving world of online media.

What is Bilibili?

The 'YouTube of China

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.

Audience and Growth: Primarily attracting a younger demographic, Bilibili has seen a rapid growth in its user base, expanding its content scope to include lifestyle, education, and even e-sports.

Unique Features: Known for its real-time commenting system, where users’ comments float across the screen, Bilibili offers an interactive and communal viewing experience that resonates with its audience.

What is YouTube?

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.

Audience and Reach: With over 2 billion logged-in monthly users, YouTube’s audience is incredibly diverse, cutting across various age groups, interests, and geographical locations.

Diverse Monetization Options: YouTube offers multiple monetization options for content creators, including ad revenues, channel memberships, and the Super Chat feature in live streams.

User Demographics and Content Preferences

Understanding the audience demographics and content preferences of Bilibili and YouTube is crucial for marketers aiming to craft impactful strategies. Here’s a comparative look at both platforms:

Bilibili: Young and Niche-Focused

  • Youthful User Base: Bilibili primarily attracts a younger demographic, with a significant portion of its users being under 30. This group is tech-savvy, trend-conscious, and highly engaged in community interaction.
  • Content Preferences: Bilibili’s audience favors content related to anime, comics, gaming, and lifestyle. Over time, the platform has also seen a rise in educational and vlog-style content, catering to the diverse interests of its growing user base.
  • Community Engagement: The platform’s unique commenting feature creates a lively and interactive environment, encouraging higher engagement rates, especially for content that resonates with youth culture.

YouTube: Diverse and Broad-Ranging

  • Global and Varied Audience: YouTube’s audience spans across all age groups, making it one of the most diverse platforms. It appeals to a global audience with varied interests.
  • Content Spectrum: From DIY tutorials, educational content, to entertainment and vlogs, YouTube’s content spectrum is vast. This diversity offers marketers a broad canvas to target various audience segments.
  • Engagement Patterns: YouTube users engage with content through likes, comments, and shares. The platform’s algorithm also plays a significant role in content visibility and user engagement.


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.

YouTube Platform

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.

Marketing on Bilibili

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 Marketing

Marketing Opportunities on Bilibili

Bilibili, with its unique user base and content style, presents distinct marketing opportunities. Understanding how to tap into this platform’s potential can open doors to a highly engaged and niche audience. Here’s an exploration of the key marketing opportunities on Bilibili:

Leveraging Niche Content Communities

  • Community-Focused Marketing: Bilibili’s strength lies in its content communities. Marketers can leverage these niche groups by creating or sponsoring content that resonates with specific interests, such as gaming, anime, or lifestyle.
  • Collaboration with Content Creators: Partnering with popular content creators on Bilibili, known as ‘Uploaders’, can be a highly effective way to engage with the platform’s audience. These collaborations should feel authentic and align with the uploader’s style and audience preferences.

Interactive and Engaging Content Formats

  • Bilibili’s Unique Commenting System: The real-time commenting feature, or ‘danmu’, is a hallmark of Bilibili. Creating content that encourages interactive ‘danmu’ can significantly boost engagement.
  • Video Contests and Challenges: Hosting contests or challenges that invite user participation can be an excellent way to generate buzz and encourage content creation around your brand.

Tailored Advertising Strategies

  • Native Advertising: Bilibili offers native advertising options that can be seamlessly integrated into content, making them less intrusive and more engaging for viewers.
  • Sponsored Content and Branded Channels: Developing sponsored content series or creating a branded channel on Bilibili can help in establishing a long-term presence and loyalty among users.

Case Study: Successful Brand Engagement

Example: In 2023, Adidas launched a successful brand engagement campaign on Bilibili, a popular Chinese video sharing platform. Targeting the platform’s young, trend-focused demographic, Adidas created a series of interactive videos featuring local influencers showcasing their sports and streetwear collections.

They integrated gamified elements such as quizzes and challenges, encouraging user participation and content creation. The campaign also leveraged Bilibili’s unique “bullet comment” feature, allowing real-time viewer comments to stream across the screen, creating a dynamic and engaging user experience.

This approach resonated with Bilibili’s community, resulting in a significant increase in brand awareness and a 30% surge in online sales.

Understanding and leveraging the unique aspects of Bilibili can lead to successful marketing campaigns that resonate with the platform’s youthful and niche audience. By focusing on community engagement and interactive content, marketers can effectively capture the attention of Bilibili users.

Marketing Opportunities on YouTube

YouTube’s global reach and diverse content make it a versatile platform for marketers. From small businesses to large corporations, YouTube offers a plethora of opportunities to connect with audiences. Here’s how marketers can maximize their impact on YouTube:

Broad Audience Reach and Targeting

  • Global Platform: YouTube’s vast user base allows marketers to reach a global audience, making it ideal for brands aiming for wide exposure.
  • Advanced Targeting Options: With Google’s sophisticated targeting capabilities, marketers can precisely target their audience based on interests, demographics, and viewing habits.

Diverse Content Strategies

  • Engaging Video Content: High-quality, engaging video content is key to success on YouTube. This includes tutorials, product reviews, behind-the-scenes, and storytelling videos that resonate with your target audience.
  • YouTube Live: Live streaming on YouTube can be used for product launches, Q&A sessions, and real-time engagement, offering a unique way to connect with viewers.

YouTube Advertising

  • Varied Ad Formats: YouTube provides various ad formats including skippable and non-skippable video ads, bumper ads, and display ads, offering flexibility in how you present your brand.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborating with YouTube influencers can amplify your brand’s message. Influencers with a large and engaged following can drive awareness and credibility.

Leveraging YouTube Analytics

  • Data-Driven Strategies: YouTube’s analytics provide deep insights into viewer behavior and video performance. Marketers can use this data to refine their content strategy and improve engagement.

Case Study: A Successful YouTube Campaign


In 2022, Nike launched a highly successful YouTube campaign called “Just Do It: Dreams”. The campaign featured a series of inspiring short films starring athletes from diverse backgrounds, sharing their personal stories of perseverance and triumph.

Nike utilized YouTube’s wide reach to target a global audience, integrating interactive elements like shoppable links directly in the videos. They also employed targeted advertising and collaborated with popular YouTube influencers for wider reach.

The result was a significant increase in brand engagement and visibility, with a 40% rise in website traffic and a notable boost in social media mentions, solidifying Nike’s position as a motivational lifestyle brand.

Marketing on YouTube offers the advantage of reaching a diverse audience with creative and engaging content. The key is to craft compelling videos, utilize the platform’s robust advertising tools, and leverage data analytics for informed decision-making.

Advertising Models and ROI on Bilibili vs YouTube

When it comes to advertising on Bilibili and YouTube, each platform offers unique models that cater to different marketing needs. Understanding these models and their potential return on investment (ROI) is crucial for marketers to allocate resources effectively.

Bilibili’s Advertising Model

  • Native and Integrated Advertising: Bilibili’s advertising is deeply integrated into its content, often in the form of sponsored videos or product placements within popular content, resonating with its community-focused audience.
  • Interactive Ad Formats: The platform’s unique interactive features, like bullet comments (danmu), offer innovative ways for advertisers to engage viewers.
  • ROI Considerations: Measuring ROI on Bilibili can be more nuanced, focusing on engagement metrics and brand integration within the community rather than direct sales.

YouTube’s Advertising Model

  • Diverse Ad Formats: YouTube offers a range of ad formats from pre-roll and mid-roll video ads to banner ads, catering to a wide range of marketing objectives.
  • Targeted Advertising: Leveraging Google’s advertising network, YouTube allows for highly targeted campaigns, which can lead to higher conversion rates and a more measurable ROI.
  • Measuring ROI: On YouTube, ROI is often measured in terms of views, click-through rates, and conversions, providing a clearer picture of the effectiveness of advertising spend.

Comparative Analysis

  • Audience Engagement vs Broad Reach: Bilibili’s model is more about integrating into the community and engaging a niche audience, while YouTube provides a broader reach with more direct targeting options.
  • Brand Building vs Direct Marketing: Advertising on Bilibili is often more suited for long-term brand building within a specific community, whereas YouTube can be leveraged for both brand building and direct response marketing.


Understanding the distinct advertising models of Bilibili and YouTube helps in crafting platform-specific strategies that align with marketing objectives and maximize ROI. Marketers need to consider their target audience, campaign goals, and content nature to choose the right platform and advertising model.

Challenges and Limitations in Marketing on Bilibili and YouTube

Navigating the marketing landscapes of Bilibili and YouTube can come with unique challenges and limitations. Understanding these hurdles and how to overcome them is crucial for successful marketing campaigns on these platforms.

Challenges on Bilibili

  • Navigating Cultural Nuances: Bilibili’s audience is deeply rooted in specific cultural niches. Marketers need to be acutely aware of these nuances to avoid missteps in content and communication.
  • Content Authenticity: The Bilibili community values authenticity and originality. Marketing content that is overly promotional or not in line with community interests may not be well received.
  • Solution Strategies: Engage in thorough market research to understand cultural trends and preferences. Focus on creating authentic, high-quality content that aligns with user interests and community standards.

Challenges on YouTube

  • High Competition: With its vast global reach, YouTube is highly competitive. Standing out among millions of content creators and brands can be challenging.
  • Algorithm Dependence: Success on YouTube often hinges on understanding and leveraging its algorithm, which can be complex and ever-changing.
  • Solution Strategies: Develop unique and high-quality content that offers value to viewers. Utilize SEO best practices and stay updated on YouTube’s algorithm changes to optimize content visibility.

Overcoming Platform-Specific Limitations

  • Adapting to Platform Dynamics: Each platform has its own set of rules and user expectations. Adapting your marketing strategy to fit these dynamics is key.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Stay informed about platform updates and user trends. Be prepared to adjust your strategies in response to new developments and feedback.


Understanding and addressing the specific challenges of Bilibili and YouTube can lead to more effective and impactful marketing campaigns. Marketers must remain flexible and responsive to the dynamic nature of these platforms to succeed.

Future Trends: The Evolving Landscape of Video Marketing on Bilibili and YouTube

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of trends is crucial for marketers. Both Bilibili and YouTube are bound to undergo changes that will shape future marketing strategies. Let’s explore some of these emerging trends and how marketers can prepare for them.

Emerging Trends on Bilibili

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): As technology advances, expect to see more AR and VR content on Bilibili, offering immersive experiences for viewers.
  • Increased Brand Integration: Bilibili may see an increase in brand integration within user-generated content, blurring the lines between entertainment and marketing.
  • Preparation Strategies: Invest in AR/VR capabilities and explore creative ways for brand integration. Stay attuned to the platform’s content policies to navigate this integration effectively.

Emerging Trends on YouTube

  • Interactive Video Content: YouTube may expand its interactive video features, allowing viewers to make choices that influence the video’s storyline or outcome.
  • Rise of Educational and How-To Content: With the growing trend of self-learning, educational content is likely to see a surge on YouTube.
  • Preparation Strategies: Embrace new interactive video tools to create engaging content. Focus on creating educational content that provides real value to viewers.

Cross-Platform Trends

  • Increased Focus on Mobile Optimization: With the continued rise in mobile viewing, optimizing content for mobile devices will become even more crucial.
  • Leveraging AI for Personalization: Both platforms are likely to use AI more extensively to offer personalized content recommendations to viewers.
  • Preparation Strategies: Ensure all content is mobile-friendly and consider how AI can be used to improve content delivery and audience targeting.


By understanding and preparing for these future trends, marketers can position themselves to take full advantage of the evolving landscapes of Bilibili and YouTube. Keeping a finger on the pulse of these changes will enable brands to stay relevant and competitive in the dynamic world of video marketing.

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 Digital Marketing Agency

When it comes to navigating the complex world of Bilibili marketing, GAB China stands out as a premier Chinese digital 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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