• Andrew Collins

Weibo isn’t dead, it’s growing faster than you think

Sina Weibo is alive and better than its ever been – here’s the proof.

Yesterday, Sina Weibo released its latest monthly active user (MAU) figures and its numbers have again continued to rise over the last 3 months to 282 million MAUs. That’s 9 straight quarters of growth over 30%.  Overall usage (engagement) on the platform has increased over 40% over this same period as well.  Other highlights included daily active users increasing by over 36% to 126 million and since 2013, enterprise accounts have gone from 430,000 accounts to over 1 million accounts in 2015.   The release also reported Sina Weibo’s revenue increasing to 927 million RMB with a portion coming from Sina Weibo advertising products, this was a 36% increase in revenue from Q1 to Q2 and a 246% increase from the same period last year.  This massive spike in revenue beat Wall Street estimates by over 50% and set an all-time record in revenue for a quarter.

These impressive results can be traced back to strategic technical decisions and a lack of competitiveness in the marketplace over the last few years.  Sina Weibo’s continued ability to innovate and create new features has been key to this increase in users.  Take live streaming for example, Sina Weibo recently opened up its API so that live streaming apps could be seamlessly embedded to users’ news feeds. This means that even Tencent’s owned Qi’e Live Streaming app can be viewed live on Sina Weibo, making accessibility for users on other platforms to share content on Sina Weibo easier than ever.  The other major advantage is the lack of real competitors in this space.  While we’ve seen some companies, such as NICE, Snow, or Weishi attempt to gain market share, there still seems to a minor monopoly for social media in China with Sina Weibo and WeChat holding the majority market.  We’ve still yet to see another major player that has gained considerable traction for brands to pursue and maintain consistent presences.  As a result, this only opens up new opportunities for the mature players to be at the forefront to release the majority of new features and technologies to gain even more market share.

Yes WeChat has 762 million MAUs. But that doesn’t mean you should no longer own a Weibo account. These two platforms coexist together. For brands, Weibo is still the number one platform for growing exposure.

While brands continue to value WeChat and its hefty MAU numbers, we’ve said it time and time again – WeChat is a closed network. Gaining visibility on WeChat takes time and owning an initial account is more for face value than actual value, especially for new brands.  WeChat is an instant messaging platform first and a content creator second.  Weibo, on the other hand, is a social media platform through-and-through and the first destination for internet users to consume news and information.  Comparatively, if a brand were to launch both accounts simultaneously, you’d reach 10 times the reach on Sina Weibo than you would on WeChat.

Frankly speaking, the notion that Weibo is dying could be one of the biggest miseducated statements over the last two years. In fact, Sina Weibo is more popular and valuable than ever before.

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