In the past, Internet tools such as Baidu and WeChat were popular with the product concept of “use it and go”. Now, this concept is being abandoned, including Didi, Dingding, Ctrip, BOSS direct hire and other tools. When users come, don’t worry about leaving, and content is their magic weapon to keep people.
Recently, Beijing’s Didi Express is gradually installing a display screen, mostly behind the co-pilot’s chair. Usually, the display is in a black screen with the word Didi Express on it. After clicking it, you can enter the homepage and you can see the variety show. , Life, music, film and television and other content, it is reported that these content are from Didi’s self-made.
Earlier, Dingding launched a low-key online look at the function. You can enter it from the bottom navigation bar “My”. After you click in, there are three columns: follow, recommendation, and circle. Recommendations are like subscription numbers. Circles are like a circle of friends. It is reported that, DingTalk is inviting excellent content producers to settle in, mainly in the workplace and education and learning.
Since last year, Ctrip has also been cultivating content. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the “Ctrip Community” will be revised and launched; in January 2021, the private domain operating product “Planet” will be launched; at the end of March, the “tourism marketing hub” strategy will be released, hoping to help Ctrip build a content information flow around platform users , Third-party service providers build private domain traffic pools, and then use content marketing and distribution to convert traffic into orders.
Also in 2020, BOSS directly hires the online content community function, called “YiYi”. The content is mainly user-initiated creation, mainly including recruitment, interview skills and other pan-workplace content. Earlier, Liepin also had its own content community called “Discovery.” At that time Liepin wanted to be a career development platform, not just looking for a job, but also hoping to have in-depth content that will allow job seekers to be promoted in addition to job hunting. .
In fact, since 2015, the development trend of tool apps towards socialization, content and service has become more and more obvious. To this day, adding content modules to tool apps seems to have become a “commonality”. If you are more careful, you will find that most of the tool apps in mobile phones have quietly launched content, including WiFi master keys, and apps such as China Merchants Bank.
QuestMobile data shows that the average monthly MAU of the entire network in 2020 is 1.155 billion, from 1.145 billion at the beginning of the year to 1.158 billion in December, a net increase of 13.03 million, and the average monthly growth rate is only 1.7%. In the meantime, even though MAU once increased to April 1.164 billion, but then it fluctuated and fell back. This shows that the mobile Internet market in 2021 has fully entered the era of stock.
Under the game of traffic, even though tool apps are proud of being product-driven, they have to get involved in content operations. After all, a real problem is facing them: where users consume content, where is the traffic, and where is the duration. , And having the flow and duration means mastering the initiative of commercialization.
Taobao put forward the direction of “contentization” in 2016, but did not do a good job. The current content flow is mainly concentrated in the hands of Tencent and ByteDance, which has formed a major constraint on the development of Taobao. In the eyes of other people, they will worry that they are also in a similar predicament, so almost all tools and products have accelerated the process of content.
Guo Fanli, the research director of CIC Consulting, once told the media that there are two main reasons for the gradual trend of tool-based platform content. The interactivity between platforms can provide users with a better experience, thereby enhancing user stickiness; on the other hand, it can attract traffic and lay the foundation for the development of tool-based advertising services. Although there are many content platforms now, different platforms and scenarios are different, and the role of content will be different. It is necessary for tool platforms to make content.
After the growth reaches the bottleneck, only by continuously enriching content, tool apps can attract users to retain and increase the length of stay, and then explore the diversified realization possibilities of value-added services, e-commerce, live broadcast, and advertising at the commercial level.
For tool applications, it seems that with content, tools are no longer tools, but larger platforms and ecology. This is an important part of the evolution of Internet tools. WeChat is the best example.
“Content is king” used to be the competition slogan of traditional media, but now it has become a true portrayal of the Internet. Pure tool applications, even if they are glorious for a while, will gradually fade, such as Baidu and Alipay. Only by integrating the modules of the content and the original genes of the product can the next step of evolution be completed. However, this road is not easy to follow.
Drops do cross-border content
as a network of about cart software, content and pieces do cross-border, it is still very surprising. According to industry insiders, Didi is trying to use on-board screens and self-made skits to seize the traffic entrance, in order to revitalize the entire traffic system, user system and content system, and become a larger ecological empire.
In 2019, Didi installed on-board screens on some express trains in Shanghai. There are entries on the screens such as “My Itinerary, Video Entertainment, Must-Eat List, and Popular Recommendations”. The screen is installed behind the passenger seat and supports touch screens. Screen operation.
A few months later, Beijing Lilicheng Media Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Didi, was established. The operating entity of Didi Chuxing “Beijing Xiaoju Technology Co., Ltd.” invested 10 million yuan as the major shareholder, holding 100% of the shares. The business scope of Lilicheng Media includes TV series production, performance management, film distribution, etc. It wants to broadcast content such as self-made variety shows and skits on Didi’s car screen.
Regarding why he chose to enter the grand entertainment track, Lilicheng once responded, “Based on the unique service scenarios of online car-hailing, we hope to provide passengers with high-quality audio-visual entertainment content including variety shows, so as to enhance passengers’ travel experience and make The itinerary is more fun. In addition to exploring in-vehicle media, Lilicheng is also exploring content production, including entertainment content that meets the in-vehicle scenes, and cooperation with external high-quality content parties.” Since then, Didi no longer does content. It’s a slogan, but a real practice.
Before the establishment of Lilicheng, Didi and Xiaoguo Culture jointly launched a self-made talk show variety show “Shooting Didi”, which was composed of product and service manager led by Liu Qing and several talk show actors. The passenger representatives “vomited each other,” which was called the Didi version of the “Tucao Conference”. For Didi, who was caught up in public opinion at the time, it received a lot of praise. This also allowed Didi’s management to intuitively see the value of good content for the first time.
One month after the establishment of Lilicheng, Lilicheng and iQiyi jointly produced a variety show “Let’s Go, Master! “online. This is a talent show for online ride-hailing drivers. The registration and viewing entrances are set up in the taxi interface of the Didi APP. Each period of the show lasts about 1 hour. Produced by the class team Canxing, the program format is also similar to “China’s Got Talent Show”.
Lilicheng also co-produced a short drama “Dream!” with Douyin and other companies. “Jingjing” was first broadcast on the Douyin platform, and the second round was broadcast on Didi’s car screen; “The Field of Hope” co-produced with Mango TV was broadcast on Mango TV.
The form of Didi’s self-made content has expanded from variety shows to short dramas, and the demand for talents is also increasing. It is understood that this year, Lilicheng began to increase its recruitment efforts, recruiting people in the film and television content circle, and will have a deeper move in the content direction.
The scale of the “tool man” Didi is actually very large, but the huge traffic base and user base cannot bring Didi the real scale effect, because Didi still faces extremely serious problems, and all tool apps are The common problem facing the user: In addition to opening the APP when they need to use it, the user will not spend too much time on the APP. Didi’s so-called scale is based on the passive demand of users to take taxis and ride shared bicycles, rather than out of active demand for Didi.
what does this mean? Taking data from July 2020 as an example, Didi’s monthly life is 400 million, which is about the same size as Kuaishou and slightly lower than Douyin, but Didi’s advertising revenue based on Yuehuo is much lower than Douyin and Kuaishou.
Due to business restrictions, Didi’s advertising revenue only has screen ads, implant ads, and business cooperation, which cannot evolve new gameplay. If Didi cannot find a new gameplay to increase the stickiness of the APP itself and settle down its own user scale, then Didi can only continue to watch its huge monthly life but cannot realize it better.
A person familiar with the matter once said, “The business model that Lilicheng wants to achieve is to make more content to attract more traffic. With traffic, it can better attract investment and add advertising.” All content needs a terminal carrier. The current car screen is exactly what Didi wants to establish its own traffic portal.
On November 16, 2020, Didi and BYD officially released the world’s first customized online car-hailing Dl. The first batch of vehicles has been put into trial operation on the roads of Changsha, and it is planned to be rolled out to the whole country one after another. The annual output is expected to exceed 100,000 units. This online car-hailing car is equipped with a large car entertainment screen behind the front seats. Once it is promoted to the whole country, the number of car screens will rise rapidly.
At the same time, Didi also began to install displays on the express train. According to a driver, the express train must be installed for free, and the content is updated online from the background. “There has been installed a few weeks, the passenger experience is also good, because want to see, do not want to see nor influence.”
Content is the way the tool
more than a bit, almost all of the tools of the Internet companies are involved in the content.
In fact, in the evolutionary theory of tool apps, content is always an inevitable link. Only companies that hold both traffic portals and data resources have the right to speak.
This theory of evolution can be traced back to the source. Tool Internet companies have become more interested in content creation, starting from the summer of nine years ago.
In August 2012, a news application called “Today’s Toutiao” was launched. In the same month of the same year, WeChat also launched its own content public platform. Later, these two products subverted the way people consume content from the production and distribution ends, and also allowed other Internet companies that are hungry for traffic to witness how content is equated with traffic.
After WeChat and Toutiao relied on content to reap a large amount of traffic dividends in the early stages of the mobile Internet, the tool applications that once emphasized users’ “use and go” can’t restrain the urge to enter the content.
According to a report by Tencent Technology, in 2017, Cheetah spent US$57 million to acquire News Republic, a French company with many news content copyrights, and launched live broadcast and game applications in the United States; UC browser was renamed “UC”, with the help of Alibaba Entertainment Baidu’s content system has become a “new media platform”; the QQ browser, which is also in the Tencent system, has also begun to distribute and push content. Baidu is also trying to jump out of search and use content to attract more traffic and set up the “Baijiahao” business.
To this day, there are still tool applications entering the content field.
For example, DingTalk is making its own subscription account. Click on the recommendation column of the “Look at” section of DingTalk, and you can see that many Dingding certified content accounts publish workplace-related content. Fang Yongxin, partner of Alibaba and head of Dingding’s education industry, once said that Dingding will not make content, but it can introduce content.
During the epidemic, in order to break through, Ctrip also decided to build a tool-based APP into a content platform, combined with the popular “live-streaming with goods”, launched a new IP travel live broadcast, and used content-enabled tool-based APP.
Ctrip believes that if you simply create a content-based platform, its essence is just a “skin-changing” version of the “little red book”. Doing so will not be able to take advantage of the OTA company’s own advantages, and it will also pull the company into an unfamiliar track. The irrelevant mature competitor was defeated. Only with content advantages and a complete supply chain can the tool-based APP be enabled by content, achieve high-frequency opening, and bring huge user stickiness to Ctrip.
In 2020, BOSS Direct Employment also launched the content community function, and the content is mainly created by users.
It is understood that at the time BOSS directly hired this community was mainly based on the particularity of the job hunting scene. Finding a job is a low-frequency matter. It is difficult for individuals to accumulate experience in dealing with various problems in the process, especially for job hunters who are new to the workplace. This is especially true for the readers. In the “You” section, users can share some experiences and thoughts, and help young users who are new to the workplace find some solutions to job hunting and work problems from the experience of others.
In addition to the above-mentioned companies, there are more tool apps that have tested the content field, and content seems to be the fate that tool apps cannot escape.
Can the tool do the content well?
Content can bring traffic and duration, which in turn brings benefits. Under this set of rules, the final competition of Internet companies will evolve into a competition for user time. Whoever can own the user’s time has the future.
According to QuestMobile data, during the Spring Festival holidays in the past two years, mobile social networking, short videos, mobile games and online videos accounted for most of the user’s time, and the total usage time ratio was as high as 71.5%. Among them, the growth of short video is the most obvious, and the daily usage time of Douyin per capita has reached 101.5 minutes. In other words, there is no user time without content.
Tool apps are product-driven. As long as they can capture user pain points and launch corresponding functions, plus strong promotion, users can be acquired. At the same time, tool apps have to face another embarrassing fact: pure tool apps After acquiring hundreds of millions of users, not many have grown into giants, because the business model is too single, and the user stickiness is too low, almost all of them “use it and go.”
In the evolutionary theory of tool apps, “retaining users” is the most important point.
The user’s demand for tool apps is a strong demand, but most users lose the reason to stay after solving the problem with the tool apps, which causes the user’s long use time to become the biggest pain point of the tool apps. Adding content to tool apps can effectively extend user stay time and increase user stickiness.
An early institutional investor, Yu Yi, said that generally tool companies with mature core businesses will expand new revenue space by expanding content businesses that collaborate with their main businesses. “But what they do cannot be called content. In fact, It’s just an advertising space.” Yu Yi said.
This also reveals another purpose of content for tool apps.
The profit model of tool applications is very simple, one is to pay for APP functions, and the other is to rely on advertising. However, due to the short stay time of users, the advertising effect is often unsatisfactory, and the brand launch price is also difficult to increase. This is why Didi has the same monthly life as Kuaishou and Douyin, but the advertising revenue is different.
Cheetah Global Think Tank has analyzed that after the tool APP accesses the content, thanks to the rich and colorful monetization model of the content itself, different content can expand different scenarios for the tool and build a richer advertising space.
First of all, when the content is presented as an information stream, it can increase the number of native ads; when adjacent content is of the same type and style, the hidden ads will get a higher conversion rate. Secondly, when the user reads the content, the corresponding data tags are also formed, which is of great benefit to the accurate placement of user portraits and advertisements. Third, the content resonates emotionally with users, allowing users to change their cold impression of the tool and have a stronger sense of identity with the brand advertising placed on the tool.
But not all tool platforms can be content.
Yu Yi believes that there are many difficulties faced by pure tool apps without content foundation, such as content copyright issues, content personalized recommendation technology, etc. It is not a day’s work to establish these, and tool companies need to measure their own energy. First, do a good job in the main business and ensure that the core business has a certain profitability, and then consider expanding other businesses. Don’t make a profit for profit.
“On the other hand, the content of tool applications must be highly related to the main business. The extension of the content must meet the needs of users and consumption scenarios. It is best to form an ecological closed loop, otherwise it may be self-defeating and cause user loss.” Yu Yi Said.
Contentization can allow tool apps to see more and more possibilities in the future, but this is not a panacea. How to use content to complete the transition from a tool platform to a larger ecosystem is a problem that all tool apps need to think about.