A case study of Weibo

“Weibo.com Logo” by bfishadow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What is Weibo

Weibo (full name Sina Weibo) is a large broadcast social media and networking platform that shares brief real-time information through relationship-building information sharing, dissemination, and access between users through the following mechanism. Users can access it through the Internet and access it through a variety of mobile terminals such as computers and mobile phones and then share and interact with information instantly in text, pictures, videos, and other multimedia. Nowadays, with the rapid development of the Internet, people’s lives are becoming more and more fast-paced, and the information flow is dispersed more and more rapidly. Microblogging is a convenient and fast way of communicating with people, making them happy to record what is happening around them and share their opinions and ideas.


Three features  of Weibo


Weibo provides a convenient social platform for users to search and browse for information of interest to them as participants. At the same time, users are also creators who can post information for others to view and share. The content posted is more concise than traditional media and can be read in various formats such as videos, pictures, etc. Users can also access and publish information on their mobile phones via the internet quickly and timely. The instant messaging function of Weibois very powerful and can be updated instantly in places where there is a network, as long as there is a mobile phone, for example, when something unexpected happens that will attract a high level of social attention, you can publish information and the truth in a timely manner, reflecting the real-time nature, speed, and convenience of Weibo.

"my desire" by SoQ錫濛譙 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0







“my desire” by SoQ錫濛譙 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Weibo is extremely spreadable and fast and can be found on many mobile devices such as browsers and mobile apps. Because there are no requirements to be a Weibo user, anyone can participate in posting messages. Everyone can be a medium for spreading information, creating a huge network of communication. Weibo focuses on the content and impact of the information they disseminate and publish, while each person’s interests and topics are different, thus maintaining the independence of the information. Users are highly selective in their access to information and can categorize information according to their own interests and preferences. The more appealing the content, the more it will be seen and spread. Information can be shared quickly and easily through various platforms connected to the internet, and information can be released instantly at any time and from any location, far faster than many traditional media.


Everyone can edit and post content on Weibo, which treats ‘Shakespeare’ and ordinary people as the same, resulting in a huge amount of original content being produced. Everyone can be the creator and publisher of information, and everyone can participate in it. It is also extremely interactive, as people can post their own opinions or reply to other users’ comments under any Weibo to discuss it. Users can also like or relay content that they like so that more people see it.


Business model


“Be@rbrick Alife” by WindKoh is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Advertising on Weibo is similar to other social media such as Facebook. By collecting data and feedback from online users, it helps advertisers to identify their target audience. In addition to the opening screen, users can see different types of advertisements through several entrances at the bottom of the platform when opening the app. For example, there are advertisements on the home page for followers and recommendations, interspersed with content advertisements every few posts; advertisements in the banner, hot content and hot search lists in the discovery portal, and sometimes a new tab for brands in the video section. (Lu, 2020) While celebrity advertisements are basically about the brands they endorse or the products they promote, most KOL advertisements are original and feature product promotions. On Weibo, KOLs can broadcast live events and post content to their followers, which is also a very quick and easy way of marketing. There are two broad models of advertising on Weibo. The first is the video advertising model, which is the addition of advertising messages to existing video content. The second type of advertising is video content, where the video is turned into a mode of displaying advertising in a clearer, more intuitive, and vivid way. Weibo is constantly upgrading and updating its advertising content to bring more types of ads to users.

The huge number of active users

There are currently over 256 million monthly active users on Weibo, with each user following an average of 130 public accounts. (Wang, 2018) The large number of posts published on Weibo each day can create a lot of interaction which means more content can be exposed. Many companies can set up official Weibo accounts mainly for online promotion, PR, or recruitment. This can increase the market share of Weibo in online brand advertising and lead to profitable partnerships in the future. It is also possible to share traffic with third parties. By relying on their strong user base, they can profitably provide a large amount of valuable traffic to third-party websites for online commerce or online advertising.


Internet ecosystem and innovation


Trending is a feature and unique to Weibo, with a wide variety of topics on trending. In recent years people have become more and more concerned about social events. Weibo has also improved in response to this phenomenon. In contrast to the previous celebrity gossip, more and more social hotspots have started to come to the forefront of the money because the public’s account of what’s going on has changed. Social platforms need to collect, and process information about users can analyze their concerns and interests to publish the personalized content presentation. (Dijck et al., 2018) Online platforms do not simply facilitate civic engagement but enable the data and commodification of social relationships through collecting, algorithmic processing, and analyzing user data. (de Kloet et al., 2019) The mechanism for generating the trending is based on the real behavior of Weibo users, which is calculated to discover in real-time the hot content that is being widely followed within the Weibo platform and form a real-time list. The real-time hotness ranking is mainly generated by calculating the search volume of real users, interaction volume, reading volume, and other indicators.




“Panda Bei” by pattie7459 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


The content and structure of the posted entertainment topics are being improved to avoid over-entertaining content or a series of unnecessary arguments and abusive social behaviors among celebrity fans. (Huang, 2020) In recent years, Weibo has highlighted the positive aspects of trending, focusing on socially relevant events and topics with positive content. To change the stereotypical image, a series of de-entertainment behaviors have been carried out. Trending is updated instantly, sensitive and efficient, reflecting the interests of the general public all the time. It is an important channel for the public to discover hot topics, obtain information, and participate in discussions. Weibo is a highly inclusive and time-sensitive social platform where trending can be considered the “source of what’s new and hot,” reflecting the powerful public nature of Weibo trending.

As de Kloet et al. (2019) say, the platform metaphor is interesting in that it evokes the image of a podium, a stage inviting people to gather, to act, to work, and to express opinions and ideas, and this can be fully reflected in the role of Weibo as a social media. The most common model of participatory social media and online society is sharing. (John, 2016) Weibo provides a platform for the public to communicate on a civilian level, without any skills and without censorship or restrictions on what can be posted. Everyone can express their own opinions and feelings about any event and can comment and like subjectively on their own. It also increases the public’s desire to create and express themselves, turning everyone from a spectator into a participant giving a voice to the silent. The platform can achieve a level of user engagement to consolidate its position in the market and further increase its ability to be data-driven. (Mansell & Steinmueller, 2020) Weibo has broken the traditional media communication model by allowing information to be disseminated in a web-like format. It allows information to be disseminated in diverse ways, unlike the                                                         traditional media, which is only one to many.

“Panda Bao” by pattie7459 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


Reference list

de Kloet, J., Poell, T., Guohua, Z., & Yiu Fai, C. (2019). The platformization of Chinese Society: infrastructure, governance, and practice. Chinese Journal of Communication, 12(3), 249–256. https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2019.1644008

Dijck, V. J., Poell, T., & Waal, D. M. (2018). The Platform Society as a Contested Concept [E-book]. In The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World (pp. 5–32). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190889760.001.0001

Huang, V. (2020, April 27). Sentiment Analysis and Topic Trending Analysis with Weibo Data. Medium. https://medium.com/sfu-cspmp/sentiment-analysis-and-topic-trending-analysis-with-weibo-data-7ff75e178037

John, N. A. (2016). Sharing Economies [E-book]. In The Age of Sharing (1st ed., p. lviii–lxxvii). Polity.ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.sydney.edu.au

Lu, G. (2020, June 7). Six Business Models Built On Sina Weibo, Monetizing Microblog in China Sounds Easy. TechNode. https://technode.com/2011/05/06/six-business-models-built-on-sina-weibo-monetizing-microblog-in-china-sounds-easy/

Mansell, R., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2020). Economic Analysis of Platforms [E-book]. In Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics (Elgar Advanced Introductions) (pp. 35–54). Edward Elgar Pub.ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.sydney.edu.au

Wang, E. (2018, March 14). 7 key features for Weibo Marketing – Egbert Wang. Medium. https://medium.com/@aisanled/7-key-features-for-weibo-marketing-190886c3f3ee