⟵  back to blog

How Bilibili Went from a Gamer’s Paradise to a Hot Marketing Opportunity for Auto Companies to Reach Consumers

Most social media platforms make signing up as easy as possible. It’s a race to grow more users who, in turn, attract more investment, high-quality creators, and ad buys. But not Bilibili. This Chinese video platform makes joining more difficult than passing a driving test (OK – maybe that’s true for only some us).

Bilibili — more than any other platform — doubles down on the concepts of “niche” and “community driven” — and the strategy is creating an appealing ecosystem!

Bilibili homepage

Let’s take a look at what makes Bilibili such a unique platform, and a hot marketing opportunity, especially for brands with a niche audience, like automakers.

Long (video) story short…

Bilibili, founded in 2009, started out as a haven for AGC fans (anime, gaming and comics) who would flock to the platform to watch their favorite shows. This was how the video platform began differentiating itself from other commonly used Chinese video platforms such as iQiyi, Youku and Tencent.

Users can upload long-form video content (maximum length 10 hours) to the platform, identifying videos as self-made, or re-uploaded. A user must then select a category tag for the video and add a description.

You might be thinking… “so isn’t this just a YouTube for gamers?”

Not quite.

While Bilibili has some similarities with YouTube, there are several features which make it particularly unique, and have fostered a user base attractive across a diverse range of categories.

Today, Bilibili is home to a range of sub-cultures, ranging from AGC, to fashion, beauty, drama, dance, DIY and more.

Bloggers create content dedicated to a variety of different topics

So what makes it so unique!?

100-question sign up

Remember when we mentioned most social media platforms make it as easy as possible to sign up? Imagine this — to join Bilibili you’ll need to complete a 100 question test to become a part of the user community and answer at least 60 of the questions correctly! 

That’s right, study up folks!

Currently anyone with a mainland China phone number can register a Bilibili account, but to be able to interact with videos (see and leave floating comments) you’ll need to pass the test and be an official member.

If you are unable to pass the test, you can also use an invitation code shared by an existing user whose account level is beyond LV5 (these codes can be purchased with community coins on the platform).

Questions test your knowledge on community guidelines and even content related to ACG

What does this lengthy and involved sign-up process achieve? User stickiness.

Source: Bilibili Investor Presentation, June 2023

While Bilibili may not be the fastest-growing platform, it has a high retention rate — around 80% over a 12-month period.

Users are committed to the platform, and actively interested in the topics they are following. Bilibili works in a similar way to Douyin (TikTok) in that its AI-driven algorithm will push relevant content to users based on interest and content popularity.

On average, users are spending 96 minutes per day using Bilibili.  

Sources: Statista, China Internet Watch, Walk the Chat

It’s not just high-quality users on the platform, content is held to a high standard as well.

Bilibili encourages several different types of content generation on the platform:

Story mode

PUG videos (professional user-generated videos)

Live Broadcast

OGV (Occupationally generated videos)

PUG videos are among the most popular on the platform and account for 93% of total video views!

Another reason Bilibili is so unique is because of its highly interactive features

Danmu, (弹幕) “floating comments,” originating from Japanese anime culture, has become a defining characteristic of Bilibili and a feature that makes the platform particularly interactive and more importantly — creates a strong ‘community’ feeling.

Those Bilibili users who have passed the registration test can see & leave floating comments — one of Bilibili’s most unique features

While watching videos users can add comments which will show up across the screen. This real-time interaction is great for creators who can get immediate feedback on their content. In addition, it builds on a characteristic of gaming culture — creating a sense of community through live, virtual interaction.

So who exactly are Bilibili users today, and why is that relevant for auto brands?

Let’s take a closer look…

Most of Bilibili’s 205 million official members (remember, those who have passed that 100-question test!) are age 35 and below.

Source: Statista

Now you might be thinking… but aren’t 24 year old’s a bit young to be buying cars? Not in China where Gen Z are a significant driving force in consumption.

Check out the growth of car buyers when it comes to Chinese Gen Z.

Sources: ChinaDaily, China-Digital, Statista

When it comes to Bilibili, we can see a growing amount of interest among users for car-related content.

Source: Zhihu

So, how should auto brands be thinking about a strategy for Bilibili?

Content types:

Currently, we can find that the content of automobiles is mainly divided into 3 categories:


The most effective way to grow on Bilibili will be to work with content creators — keep in mind those who create PUG videos are getting the majority of views on the platform!

Here are some inspiring case studies.

Cadillac X “New Car Unboxing Officer” column

Results: 200 million+ exposure on the whole network

Campaign: Cadillac creates a car unboxing show through 5 different UP owners, and releases the brand’s new model LYRIQ on Bilibili [s]

Watch the video here
Audi x 灵笼 2020

Views: 1.09 million

Likes: 69,000

Share: 11,000

Danmu (floating comments): more than 3,000

Audi collaborated with Bilibili’s animation series “Ling Cage: Incarnation”. This is Audi’s first time breaking its rather serious image there to attract the young generation of car owners.

It did so by seamlessly incorporating a souped-up version of its futuristic AL: Trail concept car in a branded short within an episode of the hit animation series. Not long after, Audi announced that Bai Yueke, the character seen driving the AI: Trail, would become the brand’s first virtual Audi owner.

Hot on the trail was an Audi-backed short film for Christmas which featured Bai Yuekui, once again driving the AI: Trail through the post-apocalyptic dystopian universe of “Ling Cage” as she sets out to mark the year-end holiday in the only way she can. But as she stops to place presents at a memorial site, the bleak ruins that surround her morph into an effervescent city brimming with festive cheer, and she receives a fabulous Christmas present: the reappearance of a special someone along with a brand new Audi 3 Sportback.

Watch the video here
Lynk x 泠鸢 2021

Views: 610k+

Likes: 54k+

Forward: 3k+

Danmu (floating comments): 1k+

In addition to comic IP, virtual idols are also the general trend in the past two years, especially on Bilibili. Lynk & Co cooperated with the virtual up blogger “泠鸢” — who boasts more than 3 million fans on the platform — and released an original song “Decision, Let’s Go!”.

The song does not include any lyrics emphasizing the brand, yet the sunny and positive emotions conveyed by the whole song inspire viewers to hold a positive image of the brand.

Watch the video here

We can’t wait to see more innovative content from auto brands on Bilibili! And did you know… KAWO has just added Bilibili integration to our social media management platform!

Now you can plan, schedule, track and analyze Bilibili content together with your other China social media channels in one seamless, easy-to-use platform. 🤓

Reach out to us to schedule a demo today!

⟵  back to blog