As most will know, a huge proportion of all non-EU UG students that come to study in the UK originate from China (35% in 2018/19), and the number of students making the journey from Asia to the UK has only increased in the past few years.
Marketing to students in China represents a unique opportunity in terms of reach, but it also comes with its own obstacles; due to media censorship laws, conventional advertising platforms such as Google and Facebook are rendered ineffective in Chinese markets.
So the question is: how can you reach that highly-valuable target audience in their homeland when there are substantial barriers to penetrating the Chinese digital wall?
Bilibili is (one of) your answer(s) (Find more in our Think Innovation report coming soon). This Chinese platform is fast becoming the Gen Z answer to YouTube in mainland China.
Currently, it’s one of the most popular video streaming platforms, especially among young people. But it is best known for its ‘bullet subtitles 弹幕’; text-based commentaries overlaid on their videos in real-time. These subtitles encourage secondary user-generated content creation, which in turn boosts engagement and user ‘stickiness’ on the platform. And the language used in the videos has an impact too; Bilibili has been the birthplace of many Gen Z Chinese buzzwords, so it’s not just where the conversation is happening - it is the conversation.
As of May 2020, the platform has 172.4 million monthly active users and 50.8 million daily active users, with 85% of these aged between 16 and 30 and 66% in the 18 to 24 age group. A typical streamer, on average, watches 16 videos and spends around 95 minutes streaming content on the platform every day. And with hyper-engaged, highly-relevant audiences like these, Bilibili is definitely one to watch for savvy student marketers.
Bilibili offers biddable media buying with different bidding options for static image, GIF and video ad formats across a variety of different placements. Overseas advertisers are also able to utilise its in-platform landing pages where there isn’t the capacity to host content in mainland China, which is key for running a successful, accessible digital campaign.
We’ve seen many advertisers across the education sector capitalising on this emerging and highly relevant opportunity, including the top overseas education agent and the tech giant NetEase for its online education platform. Many are already seeing fantastic, cost-effective results. These case studies (found in Think Innovation) indicate that the platform is highly successful at driving results when given a medium-to-large sized advertising budget.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can reach the China student market with these innovative solutions, get in touch with our Chinese marketing specialists for guidance and strategy.