Carol Huang
May 5, 2020

China video site Bilibili raises profile with Youth Day video

Bilibili purposely made an ‘old-fashioned’ video and distributed it via traditional TV to expand awareness beyond its youthful existing user base.

Bilibili, a Nasdaq-listed Chinese video site, raised its brand awareness with a stirring Youth Day video that attracted more than 7 million views in a few days.

Although the video itself is not innovative—it simply shows a Chinese actor making a speech that compliments and encourages young people—the message clearly resonated. Significantly, the video generated a large number of shares beyond Bilibili’s existing user base. The platform’s main users are members of Generation-Z, who like its comics and 'bullet screens' (real-time comments that fly across the screen). But the company decided to expand its influence among older audiences by choosing a traditional style and traditional distribution channels for the video, according to a Bilibili spokesperson. The brand first aired the video on China Central Television and several state-backed Chinese media.

Interestingly, Bilibili's current users hardly forwarded the ‘old-fashioned’ video; most shares were by people who never watch Bilibili. Thus the video has conveyed a clear message to investors and advertisers (the older generation, which holds the money) that Bilibili owns the audience of the future.

Chinese PR agency SG Group produced the video, while the idea was initiated by the Bilibili in-house team.

The four-minute video was later uploaded on various platforms and hit 3 million views within several hours on Bilibili, with more than 50,000 real-time comments. On Tencent’s WeChat platform, the video attracted almost 6 million views in 10 hours’ time. The video got 19,000 forwards on Chinese social media Weibo with more than 1.7 million views.

Bilibili was founded in 2013 and listed on Nasdaq in 2018. It has about 1.3 billion monthly active users in China by the end of 2019, and 8.8 million of them are paying members.

The platform has been working to broaden its user base for some time, starting in 2017 amid the boom of comic viewers and user-generated content. Bilibili started to allocate more traffic volume to professional user-generated videos in 2018 and gave cash rewards to more than 220,000 video bloggers.

“Bilibili wants to spread the idea of social responsibility,” said Bilibili’s marketing manager Yang Liang. “This marketing is a beginning, we have several campaign projects in progress.”

For those who are interested, here is a version of the video with English subtitles, translated by Bilibili user Jonhnathan_Tang.

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