The biggest China BBS software provider Comsenz and online advertising research company iResearch released a report on China’s online community (mostly BBS sites, which are huge in China) this September, based on which and my own experience I’ll share some knowledge about one of the biggest Chinese online community – BBS forums.
By the end of June 2009, China BBS online community sites have reached on average 43.806 million unique visitors, having increased 63.8% compared to the same period in 2008.
Daily Average Time Spent on BBS Sites
- Above 8 hours: 13.8%
- 7-8 hours: 5%
- 6-7 hours: 4.7%
- 5-6 hours: 9.2%
- 4-5 hours: 11.4%
- 3-4 hours: 15%
- 2-3 hours: 17.3%
- 1-2 hours: 18.1%
- below 1 hour: 5.5%
Over 13.8% of people spend over one third of a day on BBS forum, 23.5% spend a quarter day on BBS sites, and almost half netizens spend over four hours on BBS sites. This indicates BBS in China is a highly engaging and interactive online media channel.
Popular Chinese BBS Activities
Wondering what Chinese netizens are doing on BBS? Replying posts, posting, and on-site search are the top three popular BBS activities.
- Replying post: 74.5%
- Posting: 68.2%
- On-site search: 56.7%
- Sharing pictures: 48%
- On-site messaging: 45.7%
- Polls: 45.3%
- Uploading attachments: 45%
- Changing avatar: 38.7%
- Sharing audit and video files: 29%
- Others: 0.3%
Which Posts Are Popular in Chinese BBS
For online marketers especially word-of-mouth marketers, it’s important to produce popular posts. These are nine factors that could help your post go viral:
- Compelling post title
- The number of reply posts
- The number of times being viewed
- Tagged as good posts
- Recent update
- Recommended by BBS board administrator
- Sticky posts
- Posted by BBS active members
- Posted by members with high forum rankings
Product Research at Chinese BBS websites
BBS forums are popular among Chinese netizens for doing product related research. Over 42.5% searchers had intent to buy and 38.8% interested in the product or service being searched. However, netizens don’t always trust what they find out about a product or service in online forums. There are the top 5 trust factors:
- Product or service descriptions
- Tagged as good post
- Sticky posts
If Chinese netizens trust what they find, over half would show their support by replying the original post. Over one third would share the compliments about the product offline with their friends and family members. Interestingly, over one fourth would even re-post it on other BBS forums.
If they don’t trust what they read, about 43.2% would share their different point of view by replying the post. 39% would do nothing; 24.8% share with family and friends; some show their criticism either by starting a new post or sharing via IM.
Chinese BBS is always a double sided sword for online marketers. Making good use of it can help you expand your product awareness more rapidly and effectively. And, having a defense strategy in place is always necessary in case of hostile participation by your competitors.