As the luxury industry discusses Snapchat’s marketing possibilities and, more recently, Instagram’s latest filter feature, brands looking toward the China market are facing a completely different short video industry. It’s one that has witnessed rapid development thanks to the popularity of smartphones and upgraded communication networks in China.
In March this year, Kuaishou, a popular short video app, was on the receiving end of a US$350 million investment from Tencent, and Alibaba put RMB 2 billion toward the transformation of Tudou from a large, formerly popular online video platform to a short video community. Also, Yixia Technology, owner of Miaopai and Xiaokaxiu, both popular short video apps in China, has already spent RMB 2 billion to encourage short video content creators and producers by building several video creation bases and providing professional studios.
Short videos are perfect for young, tech savvy consumers who take their phone with them everywhere and use it to access social media or to fill in short breaks in the day between other activities.
But which short video apps are the most popular in China? Who are the viewers of these short videos? How can brands market to them? What should brands take into consideration when launching short video campaigns?
China’s short video apps
Similar to short video platforms like Viddy and Instagram, there are numerous short video platforms and apps in China where users can record real-time short videos and share them with friends. As for users, there were 153 million regularly watching China’s short videos in 2016. This is estimated to reach 242 million by 2017, an increase of 58.2 percent.
CIWEEK, an internet content magazine, released a list of their top 10 short video apps in China in the first half year in 2016 and Kuaishou, Miaopai, and Meipai were the most popular.
Of these, there are actually two types of short video platform in China:
1. Comprehensive platforms: professional short video platforms
These platforms, such as Meipai, Miaopai, and Xiaokaxiu, provide a one-stop user experience. Users can use various shooting tools, effect settings, and formats while filming or editing a video. They also offer a community for users to share their videos with friends. Short videos uploaded on those platforms can also be shared with WeChat friends, WeChat Moments, and Weibo.
2. Content recommendation: news apps
These platforms, such as Toutiao, NetEase, Tencent News, and Yidian Zixun, focus on suggesting popular or professional short videos. These platforms were originally news-based and mass communication oriented. They have millions of viewers and short videos recommended on these platforms can get huge amounts of traffic.
Who are the viewers?
The main users of China’s short video apps are young. Most of them belong to the post-90s generation. According to a report published in March 2017 by JIGUANG, a big data provider, users ages 16 to 25 make up 39.7 percent of the total, while users aged 26-35 are at 33.3 percent. Meanwhile, over half of the users are female, making them 69.4 percent of the total number of users.
In terms of regions, 66.9 percent of the total come from third-tier and below third-tier cities in China. The top 3 provinces for viewer numbers are Guangdong, Henan, and Shandong.
How are brands using short video?
Short video is becoming a new favorite marketing tool for brands for several reasons. Short videos can be used for various types of promotional materials, such as product reviews, product seeding, promoting brand culture and more. With interesting and meaningful content, short videos can deliver specific brand messages to a target audience while avoiding the annoyance that longer videos may cause. The production cycle of short videos is quick with great flexibility, which works well with brands’ marketing plans and budgets. Through audience interactions with short videos, brands can better understand their preferences, rapidly improve their user experience, and come up with effective marketing plans quickly. Integrated campaigns launched on short video platforms can be creative and diverse.