Basketball and football on one of China’s biggest social media platforms

NBA China is the latest organisation to announce a multi-year partnership with Weibo.  This will make the Chinese microblogging site NBA China’s officialsocial media platform.
We’ve had a closer look on Weibo at two of China’s biggest sports leagues – the  Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and the football Chinese Super League (CSL) – to see who’s making all the noise and to give you some check mark tips on how best to use this platform.

 The most read topics on Weibo

 CBA All-Star Weekend 2017 
Reads: 34.1m
football Start of the 2016-17 Chinese Super League season
Reads: 50.4m
Key CSL influencers on Weibo: China Football Report (1m+fans) and Super 24 Hours (14.3m fans read CSL topics they initiate).
check mark Big games and big names. Build content around your best moments and biggest influencers to engage and grow your audience.

 When is Weibo talking?  

 CBA is mentioned an average 12k times per day.
 The highest number of daily mentions (23.2k) happened on the final day of the regular season when all 20 teams were in action.
football CSL is mentioned an average 6k times per day.
football Their highest number of daily mentions (24.4k) surpassed the CBA, when reigning CSL champions, Guangzhou Evergrande, kicked off their league campaign with a 2-1 victory over Beijing Sinobo Guoan.
check mark No matter where you live or which social media platform you’re on – the magic of LIVE continues to drive the most engagement.  

 Who’s on Weibo? 

80% of CSL mentions and 60%of CBA mentions are by males.

 male80%  football  20%                  male60%    40%

 39%of CBA mentions are by people aged 19-24.
football 24% of CSL mentions are by people aged 19-24.


 As Guangdong Southern Tigerscruised into the Playoffs, 11% of all CBA mentions were from Guangdong. With Liaoning Flying Leopards also reaching the Playoffs, 8% of CBA mentions were from Liaoning.
check mark If you want winning engagement, pick a winning team!
Guangdonghas the largest number of Weibo users, followed by Jiangsuand Beijing. This confirms the wider trend that most Weibo users live along the Chinese coast.
football42% of CSL’s Weibo audience are aged 25-34 with 2x more people aged 35-50discussing CSL than CBA.
check markLeverage football to engage an older Chinese audience.
Geo-spread:15% of conversations about CSL take place in Shanghaiand Beijing, with 9%taking place in Guangdong– a city with two teams.

check markEven though China’s smallest cities are relatively big, social media engagement still follows the same rules of scale:  China’s biggest, most affluent cities have the most active users.

How is Weibo talking? 

Weibo’s Hot Topics provide a breakdown of industry-specific sub-categories, making it easy to look at current trends and hashtags and find the most popular content.
During Q3 to Q4 2016, live video views on Weibo increased by 124% as more brands, leagues and teams started to increase their video output to capitalise on China’s potential.
check mark Excessive and irrelevant content can hinder growth, so be sure to identify and capture various interest and behavioural data before creating your content strategy.

What have we learned?

Basketball and football generate huge fan engagement on Weibo and, as social media usage in China continues to grow, the importance of tapping into a fan base of over 640musers can’t be overstated.
There’s plenty of room for more sports to capitalise on Weibo, but the key to success, as always, is to understand your audience.
Without deep audience insights to guide your China strategy, you’ll run the risk of getting lost… and with the next three Olympic Games taking place in Asia, this isn’t a market you can afford to get lost in – or lose.
check mark Remember, what’s niche in China is major in many other markets.