Bilibili is a Chinese long-form video sharing platform that is quickly becoming an important channel for brands to reach the important Gen Z consumer base.
Launched in 2009, Bilibili initially gained popularity as a platform for animation, comics and games (AGC).
“The focus there was on producing something, as opposed to filming yourself in the very early days. Therefore, there was a lot of fanfiction online communities surrounding the platform,” explains Dr Crystal Abidin, associate professor and principal research fellow of Internet studies at Curtin University.
While the first instinct would be to compare it to YouTube, Bilibili has its own characteristics that make it distinctive, such as its live commenting function, also known as danmu – bullet curtain.
“If say, during a moment in the video, lots of people comment, you’re going to see that flood of comments on the screen itself overlaid over the video. Commenting and watching other people’s comments, is a very central part of consuming videos on Bilibili,” said Dr Crystal.
“If you were to compare Bilibili to other major international video sharing platforms like YouTube, their communal aspect, the commenting aspect, the licencing rights, all of that makes Bilibili stand out. That sense of community, the scale, the focus on comments, as opposed to you being an isolated user, that makes Bilibili really a lot more communal than what we think of in terms of YouTube.”
Additionally, the platform is known for high-quality content as it regulates and determines who join the platform as a creator.
“Anyone that wants to be a creator has to go through a really long 100-question quiz. They’re trying to keep people very creative, very high level in terms of fitting with their audience and with the community really on-trend young audience,” said Allie Rooke, brand strategist and founder of Clean Beauty Asia.
Beauty growth on Bilibili
In recent years, Bilibili has begun expanding from its niche to a broader audience and users can now find just about any other genre of content, from unboxing videos to make-up tutorials.
With Gen Z quickly becoming the main consumer force in China, it is no wonder the platform is now attracting brands the likes of beauty giants such as the L’Oréal Group, Estée Lauder Companies and Shiseido.
“Last year, the number of beauty brands that went on Bilibili went up by over 2,000%. That’s where it’s really changed. It’s gone from being very niche to now being a much more …….