What Is Youku and How To Use It To Promote Your Brand in China?

There’s no doubt that some of the most connected people in the world today are the Chinese.  The Chinese consumer relies on the internet for almost everything that they do. They love their social media and streaming platforms. For this reason, whoever is the most visible online will get many business opportunities. 

Enter Youku China or what is more popularly known in the west as Chinese YouTube. Yes, almost every platform that’s dominating the world in the west has a counterpart in China and the citizens patronize their services at an astounding rate.

So, if you’re on the outside looking in as a business investor or brand and are trying to get your company going within the borders of the dragon of the east, it’s high time you familiarize yourself with Youku and take advantage of it to boost your reputation. 

What is Youku and how can it help you get your products in front of your ideal client? Let’s find out!

What Is Youku?

So, Youku vs YouTube. Youku is China’s YouTube and that says quite a lot already about how it works. Like YouTube, it’s also a video-sharing platform, but Youku has taken that concept to a whole different level. Youku’s user-generated video content is comprised of a diverse mix of original shows as well as long-form content that caters to various demographics.

YouTube may have recently released original content through premium subscription but Youku has been doing the same business model for a long while, and their shows are very famous and well-viewed in China. 

As far as YouTube’s content is concerned, it’s safe to say that they may not be as popular to their target audience as that of Youku’s. You have not heard of any YouTube originals winning or getting nominated for an Emmy recently, right? Or maybe even going viral.  Well, it’s different for Youku for this platform is dominating as far as video content viewership and popularity are concerned.

They are in partnership with more than 1,500 licensed networks each backed by their own following proving that if you want to reach the Chinese audience, it is the platform to go for. 

What Are the Main Features of Youku?

Let’s talk about the qualities of Youku and how they may help your brand get a boost.

  • First of all, ads in Youku cannot be skipped. So, if you invest in advertising on the platform, you can be sure that your product will get seen and won’t just be skipped in a heartbeat with your message unheard.  Youku also is a video platform but it’s got a laser focus on e-commerce above everything else. That changes things up a lot, doesn’t it? 
  • Second, Youku also differs from YouTube in a way that it focuses on movies and TV shows and longer content as opposed to the latter focusing more on shorter video content, especially with the recent emergence of YouTube Shorts. 
  • Finally, another feature of Youku is that it focuses heavily on the Chinese market rather than the world at large. It’s the Chinese consumer’s needs and wants above all else. If you want to grow your roots in the Chinese market, Youku is the video platform to utilize. 

You’ll also be glad to know that ads take up about 80% of the platform’s earnings. So, they’d know how to work with just about any type of business. Play your cards right and you’ll thrive. 

What Are the Steps to Creating a Youku Account for Your Brand?

  • You may register for a Youku account easily. It’s the same as creating a YouTube account to then start uploading your own videos.
  • You just need to go to the site and start the registration process. Create a Username and Password and enter a Nickname to then create your channel.
  • As far as advertising on the platform is concerned, you may contact the Youku team directly for that. Advertising on Youku costs RMB¥0.3 to RMB¥140 CPM. You may also contact them via email at hzgy@service.alibaba.com for partnership deals. 

Video marketing and why register a Dayuhao account?

Dayuhao is a new browser that combines the best of UC browsers and Ali Entertainment. With the videos and text/images indexed on DaYuHao, your content will be distributed through multiple video apps such as Youku, Tudou, and UC thus getting more exposure

How To Effectively Market Your Brand on Youku? 

Types of Ads on Youku

The best way to market your brand on Youku is to be well-versed in the different types of ads that they offer and take full advantage of them.

Pre-roll Ads

The first type of ad and most definitely the most popular one is the pre-roll ad. As the name implies your ad is displayed before the video starts and this is the ad that cannot be skipped so it’s the type that most businesses would want to avail. Pre-roll ads are naturally more expensive than the rest of the ads on the platform. 

Post-roll Ads

Post-roll ads are the advertisement that users see at the end of the video. These ads are naturally more affordable than pre-roll ads and they can be skipped by users. It’s the same thing with mid-roll ads which interrupts the video in the middle of it. They may also be skipped and act like that of a TV commercial. Also, pause ads are ads that populate your screen whenever you hit pause. These ads will be on display up until you’ve hit the play button again to resume your video. 

Banner Ads

Lastly, you may also take a look at using banner ads. Banners ads are displayed either at the top, middle, or bottom of the screen. Your payment for a banner ad would depend on where it is placed on the screen. 

These are the most affordable of all ads on Youku. 

Demographic Targeting 

Note that one significant weakness of the advertisement algorithm of Youku is that the platform has lacking targeting options. That means that if you put up an ad on Youku, then virtually everyone using the platform will see your ad. 

This weakness is due to the fact that Youku still does not have an effective algorithm to track user preferences. 

If your focus is more on creating brand awareness and you have a more broad target demographic, then your ads could still perform well on Youku. If you’re after a more niche audience, though, it may be best to look elsewhere. 

Multi-screen Advertising

One other aspect of Youku advertising that you may take advantage of for your brand is to go for multi-screen advertising. This is one enticing option for businesses since they know that online users today are always on the go. 

Remember that a lot of users buy products using their phones too, and it’s quite easy for consumers to purchase your products immediately after seeing them advertised on Youku. 

Bilibili vs Youku

Youku, iQiyi, and QQ Video boast the top three contenders for the largest video-sharing site/app in the country. But Bilibili has got what it takes to challenge these giants and also takes a significant chunk of the market.

  • Bilibili has a lot of user-generated content, while Youku relies more on licensed content.
  • Bilibili is geared towards a young audience, while Youku tends to have a broader appeal.

Bilibili is slightly different in the way that it is a youth-oriented video-sharing site/app. It operates similarly to Youku and YouTube too, but its community culture is what differentiates it from these platforms. Bilibili is more geared towards millennials, with a focus on anime, manga, and game-related content. It also has a stronger emphasis on user interaction and community-building features than Youku. Youku is more mainstream than Bilibili and has a larger selection of traditional Chinese content. It’s also been around for longer than Bilibili, so it has a bigger library of videos overall.

A specific feature called Danmu (meaning “bullet chat”) refers to the real-time commentary done by users on the videos. Users can see comments on the video sliding from right to left.  Danmu helps foster a good sense of community, interactivity, and belongingness with the platform’s young users. 

A Glimpse at the Future of youku and video marketing

With YouTube also joining the virtual reality fray, you can expect that Youku will also do the same. Youku currently adds over 1,000 VR videos to its platform daily. By now, the VR revolution is just undeniable. 

As a brand, VR ads should be something that you should seriously consider in order to be ahead of the pack. The platform may still offer limited ad types on VR but sooner rather than later they will have every type available for businesses to utilize.

Video marketing is booming in China and is only going to continue to grow in popularity. This is because video content is a great way to connect with Chinese consumers and engage them in a more personal way than other forms of marketing.

Businesses that want to capitalize on the growth of video marketing in China should consider creating videos that are tailored specifically to the Chinese market. This means making sure that your videos are relevant, interesting, and engaging for Chinese viewers. And don’t forget to use popular Chinese social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat to share your videos with as many people as possible!


Youku & the Futur of Video Market in China

Video content is here to stay and if you need concrete evidence, just take a look into the success of Douyin/TikTok – another brand that started in China. Consumers and most especially Chinese consumers are streaming video content at an unprecedented scale. Youku is a great platform for you to utilize and get your brand right in front of your target audience.

Want to know if Youku Marketing for you?

Let’s schedule a free consultation to discuss your project for China! drop you request here

1 comment

  • Justin Owyoung


    I am interested in advertising on Youku for my clothing client, Fear of God. Please let me know who I can connect with on China’s broader advertising opportunities!

Leave your comment