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How to Win with China’s Short Videos in 2021

The consumption of short videos is continuing to rise. Both the number of users on short video platforms and the diversity of content on such platforms have reached a new high. Competition between these platforms has become fiercer than ever, not only in terms of the number of views, but also the investment spent by content creators. 

With so many different short video platforms out there, what are they and what do they do best? Read on this blog article to find out more about the characteristics of the 8 major short video platforms in China, namely Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, RED, Weibo Video, WeChat Video (微信视频号), Xigua Video (西瓜视频) and Haokan Video (好看视频). We will also be sharing 5 tips on how to win with short videos in China in 2021?

General overview of 8 short video platforms in China

With their high number of monthly active users and mainstream model of short videos, Douyin and Kuaishou are leaders in the field of short videos. Weibo and WeChat have separately launched their own video accounts, officially joining the competition in the short video market in the first half of 2020. The two social media giants have not made significant moves yet, but their potential in the field should not be underestimated. The number of active users on Xigua Video and Bilibili are rapidly increasing. The same goes for RED and Haokan Video as each platform is reaching over 50 million monthly active users.

Comparison table of 8 short video platforms
A comparison table of the 8 major short video platforms compiled by Alarice

Content characteristics and key development trends in 2020

1. Douyin 

Douyin has an enormous potential to create stars and celebrities. However, the scope of content can seem to be rather narrow. There is a problem of content homogeneity as the current content is very heavily focused on showcasing the goodness in life. Beauty and wellness are major types of content. In 2020, Douyin is eager to expand on its extent of commercialization and entertainment content offering.

2. Kuaishou

Authenticity is strongly emphasized in its content. Most of the high-ranked accounts are possessed by ordinary people. Interactions between content creators and fans, and demands on the quality of the content are relatively higher. From the platform’s effort in creating core KOLs, it is clear that Kuaishou is hoping to get more audience and a larger share of the market.

3. Bilibili

Their major content focus is on the interests of its users. In 2020, Bilibili is committed to incubate top-ranked content creators and to diversify its contents.

4. RED

Lifestyle is its core content category. In 2020, the platform has attempted to shift its focus from beauty to broader and more general content categories.

5. Weibo Video

They want to reduce the influences of stars and celebrities on the platform (去明星化). Weibo pays high attention to the vertical content of its short video clips and gives huge support to mid-ranked content creators.

6. Xigua Video

Short videos on this platform focus on platform characteristics. In 2020, Xigua is striving to acquire top content creators and expand the market share on knowledge-related content.

7. WeChat Video

They focus on friends and social networks of its users. Since 2020, it has attempted to integrate its new video functions into its original social media system.

8. Haokan Video

Al and personalization are the main focus on this platform, to give the best and most precise content recommendations to its users. In 2020, different strategy plans were introduced to increase the views of the platform.

You can check out our series of marketing guides for short video apps: Douyin Marketing Guide, Kuaishou Marketing Guide and RED Marketing Guide.

5 Tips to Make Short Videos Stand Out

Keep in mind to always create thumb-stopping and shareable short video content. In an increasingly competitive digital space, you need to cut through all the noise and directly grasp the attention of your audience. Read on to find out the following 5 tips to help you create the most effective short video content.

1. The golden 15 seconds

Viewers spend a very brief time to decide if they want to continue watching a video. Previous tests found that 15 seconds would be the golden length of short videos. Grasp your audience’s attention early on as reports show that human attention spans have decreased from 12 seconds to a mere 8 seconds. First impressions matter. It holds true when it comes to creating short video content. This is especially true considering the overall duration of your video is shorter, so each second of your “airtime” is more valuable than ever.

2. Include your brand content when the time is right

Do not include your brand product or service right at the beginning of your video as hard content of your brand often carries little to no meaning to your audience, especially when your brand or products are new to the market. Introduce your brand content only after you have shown how your brand products or services can benefit or make a difference for them. People are only going to buy into it if they believe in the brand. Placing brand content closer to the end of the short video will make it appear less salesy and also enhance conversion rates. 

3. Do not overlook the importance of CTA

Some argue the use of CTA would affect user experience. But this is far from the truth. Adding CTAs can help better serve your audience in reaching the kinds of information they are interested in. CTA also helps remove friction in moving the user down the sales funnel.

4. Livestream. Livestream. Livestream.

iResearch predicts that by the end of 2020, China will have 524 million online livestreaming users. This means 40% of Chinese people and 62% of the country’s internet users will be livestreamers. The total scale of China’s live streaming e-commerce industry reached RMB 433.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to double by the end of 2020. The importance of livestreaming in marketing has reached a new high. The sooner brands start to do livestreaming, the better. Livestreaming is not only a great way to directly interact with your audience, but also an efficient way to foster brand communication and PR.

5. The devil is in the detail

Pay attention to details to better serve your audience. A lot of us have perhaps watched short videos at work or at school and had to play it on mute. A survey conducted by Xinsight reported 43.5% of respondents mainly focus on the visuals of the short videos and would play such videos on mute. Strengthen the visuals of your short videos to make up for the shortcomings in the audio department. Add subtitles and on-screen info tabs to help your audience understand the message you intended to deliver. 

Get in touch with our team if you need help in planning your KOL marketing campaigns or social media marketing campaigns. You are also more than welcome to check out our FREE resources such as mini books, reports and webinars.

To get deeper insights into Chinese social media marketing and utilizing it to serve your business, join ChoZan, a training and resources platform for Chinese social media marketers.

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