Bilibili’s Route Change: From AGC to Lifestyle Trends


On August 27th, Bilibili released its unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2020, showcasing some contrasting data. On one hand, it achieved 2.62 billion yuan in revenue in Q2, marking an increase of 70% year-on-year but, on the other hand, it also registered a net loss of 570 million yuan, an increase of 81% year-on-year.We can surmise that according to this data, Bilibili is showing growing momentum, without having breaking even yet, although we have reasons to believe that it will not be too far off.



Developing Towards New Directions

Looking back at the growth of Bilibili, most people have the same feeling: Bilibili has gradually transformed from an ACG (animation, comic, and games) cultural exchange community to a trendy cultural community for the younger generation.This also means that Bilibili has changed from ACG to a more life style-oriented, knowledge-based, and more diversified platform in terms of both content and users. This development seems inevitable, as such limitations to these kinds of platforms run the risk of competing with the quality and popularity of the current competitors in the market. However, as Bilibili is detaching from its original ACG culture, loyal users are increasingly expressing their disappointment with the new direction being taken, while hoping that Bilibili’s "powered by love" may not be just a slogan but a core value of the platform itself. As you can see, Bilibili’s increasing popularity comes at a cost, and these two opposing voices will likely accompany Bilibili’s transformation in the near future.                     


During the speech of CEO Chen Rui at the 11th anniversary of Bilibili on June 26th, 2020, he used three "changes" and three "constants" to respond to external questions about Bilibili. According to him, the biggest changes and constants of Bilibili are reflected through its users, uploaders and content.


The first is the increase in the number of users: according to the Q2 financial report, the active monthly users of Bilibili reached 172 million, an increase of 55% compared to the same period last year, but at the same time, user attributes remain the same. The average age of new users is around 21 years old, showing that the main force of users is still represented by the younger generation.




Secondly, the number of uploaders on Bilibili has also risen accordingly. The average monthly active uploaders increased by 123% year-on-year, but the increase did not affect the quality of the content produced on Bilibili, with an average monthly interaction between users and uploaders reaching 5.2 billion, which increased by 190% year on year.


In terms of content, there are now more types of creative content posted on Bilibili. If at the beginning the platform mostly focused on ACG culture, it now covers multiple fields such as music, dance, lifestyle, technology and games – even though the core content remains related to the ACG culture.In addition to this, its latest acquisitions in terms of copyright of original dramas and its unparalleled support of domestic animated content, Bilibili is placing itself far ahead from other domestic video platforms for the long run.



 A Triangular Closed Loop 

Bilibili is quite clearly following a closed loop composed of"users, uploaders, and content", and it has greatly benefited from it. The video content has a diversified classification, and each kind of content has its own stage within the platform. In fact, it’s not a secret that it attracts its users via rich and high-quality content and obtains a user group with high viscosity and a high sense of belonging. Interestingly, this loyal audience encourages uploaders to create more interactive videos and posts, thereby generating more high-quality content. Uploaders can also monetize the attention they get from videos through the creation incentive plan. – a plan to comprehensively evaluate original scripts created by uploaders and provide corresponding income. It is within this virtuous circle that Bilibili continues to expand.


Quality Marketing Platform

Based on the points mentioned so far, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in recent years Bilibili has become a battleground for major brand marketing initiatives. One of the main reasons is its free social integration function of "live commenting". Although more and more video platforms have also opened this function, the atmosphere of instantaneous communication on Bilibili is still extraordinary. It changes Bilibili from an ordinary video website to a place where people with the same hobbies can freely communicate and with the continuous increase of the younger generations’ consumption power, the "rejuvenation" of marketing has gradually become the norm. It is not difficult to understand why Bilibili is quickly becoming an important platform to implement marketing initiatives.


On Bilibili, many brands that have begun to produce video content related to everyday lifestyle or to expand the influence of their brands and products through cooperation with uploaders (who could fall within the KOCs category). There are many very successful examples, such as DingDing, who uploaded a funny video on Bilibili at the beginning of this year, and beauty brand Perfect Diary through its makeup reviews and tutorials, etc. However, it should be noted that Bilibili’s users have strong preferences for video content, and excessive marketing can easily become counterproductive, leading to users' detachment rather than attachment to the brand . Therefore, how to estimate the marketing scale on Bilibili is also a key element that brands need to pay attention to before launching marketing campaigns.

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