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What is BIGO? Unlocking a Video Stream Giant

Short-form videos and live streaming have become increasingly popular in recent years, leading to intensified competition for viewers. BIGO stands out in this landscape with its variety of application products, namely Bigo Live, Likee, imo, among others.

Bigo Live has a global presence that caters to audiences in 22 languages across 150 countries. Likee is also found popular in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This extensive reach makes BIGO products ideal for marketers aiming to connect their brands with target audiences worldwide.

In this guide, we look at what makes Bigo Live and Likee special, exploring user trends and offering strategic insights for marketers to make the most out of this platform. Read on for more.

What is BIGO?

BIGO Technology (BIGO) is the technology company that owns BIGO LIVE, a global live-streaming platform, Likee, a short video creation platform, and other social apps. In 2019, BIGO was acquired by Joyy Inc., a leading live-streaming platform in China.

What is Bigo Live?

Bigo Live is a global live-streaming platform. Known for its diverse and culturally rich user community, Bigo Live continuously draws in content creators. The app also enriches its localized content across various categories through partnerships and activities to meet the unique social demands of users from different backgrounds. In addition, Bigo keeps innovating its product features to elevate both the quality and efficiency of the social experiences it provides to its users.

What is Likee?

Formerly known as “LIKE”, Likee is a global short video making and sharing platform that brings short videos, video effects, and live streaming in one user-friendly application. The platform provides personalized content recommendations to enable users to easily discover videos that cater to their interests, as well as a range of video effects and intuitive editing tools to encourage users to express themselves and connect with others who share similar interests.

What is imo?

Imo is a global instant messaging platform that provides audio and video communication services. It offers features such as international video calls, group calls, and document sharing to cater to both personal and business communication needs for users worldwide.

Who Uses BIGO?

Bigo Live

According to Joyy’s report, the number of average mobile monthly active users (MAUs) on Bigo Live has increased by 14.0% to 40.3 million as of the third quarter of 2023, while maintaining growth in its paying users.

This growth is observed across regions worldwide, with a YoY increase of 15.3% in the Middle East, 14.4% in Southeast Asia, and 12.9% in Europe. While Bigo offers a wide selection of content, the majority of its users prefer to watch gaming videos.


As of the third quarter of 2023, Likee has an average of 41.0 million MAUs on mobile, with male users constituting two-thirds. A majority of Likee’s users are aged between 18 and 34, with entertainment and e-commerce being the categories they are most interested in, followed by electronics and fitness.


imo’s user base primarily consists of males, who make up three-quarters of its total audience. The platform mainly appeals to a younger demographic, with 90% of its users aged between 18 and 34. These users typically show a keen interest in electronics and gaming, followed by interests in e-commerce and fitness.

What Do People Use BIGO for?

Bigo Live

Bigo offers a variety of live-streaming options catering to diverse user preferences. It lets users engage in various forms of live streaming, including standard live, multi-guest live, virtual live featuring 3D avatars, audio-only live, and gaming live streams from both mobile devices and computers.

The gaming channel is particularly popular on Bigo, where users can not only watch but also start their own live streams to showcase the gameplay. The platform fosters interaction between streamers and viewers through features such as comments, virtual gifts, and chat rooms.

Another unique feature is the live “PK”, a real-time competition where streamers battle in different categories, such as music, dance, or comedy. During the “battle,” viewers can participate by voting and sending in-app gifts to the streamer they support, and the streamer receiving the most gifts is declared the winner.

In addition to live streaming, Bigo also offers the video chat function. Users can enjoy private one-on-one video chats or join group video chats in the multi-guest mode, simplifying the process for users to connect with their friends and favorite hosts.


Many have compared Likee to TikTok, but Likee differentciates itself by offering a comprehensive suite of video creation and editing tools that go beyond basic functions to incorporate advanced AI and AR technologies, body recognition, and 4D effects.

For example, its body action recognition feature allows users to incorporate dynamic elements into their videos by capturing their gestures and movements, enabling them to create videos with dramatic effects, such as heroic entrances and the illusion of superpowers. Additionally, Likee provides an extensive music library with a wide selection of global tracks, allowing users to pick their ideal soundtrack for their creations.


As a messaging app, imo is primarily used for sending messages and making audio or video calls to friends and family. To ensure user privacy, imo introduced “SecretChat,” a feature ensuring conversations are end-to-end encrypted and automatically deleted once the chat session is exited. This feature also includes dissemination control functions to prevent copying, forwarding, and taking screenshots of private chats, providing users with enhanced security for private matters.

Additionally, imo has a “Story” function similar to SnapChat and Instagram, which allows users to share photos, videos, and text on their stories, and the stories will automatically disappear after 24 hours. Users can also customize their stories with stickers, filters, text overlays, and background music, to add a personal flair.

What Do Users Like About BIGO?

Bigo Live’s diverse community appeals to many of its users. Under its app review, one user praised its constant availability of streams for entertainment, as he emphasized that “It’s a 24/7 site that is there if you get bored. It’s a welcoming community full of life. ” This aspect of Bigo Live also makes it an ideal platform for users to connect with people from various parts of the world and share their interests with a broader audience.

Many users, like Justin Miller, regard Bigo as an effective “networking app,” valuing it for the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and foster friendships within this virtual community. Moreover, users appreciate Bigo Live for aspiring people to showcase and develop their talents. The platform’s virtual gifting system serves as an additional motivation to encourage users to display their talent. User Welsh Mumma commented that Bigo Live “helped build my confidence to the point I even love singing in the UK & Global Livehouse events.”

Just like Bigo users, Likee users appreciate the app for its ability to connect them with those who share similar interests. Additionally, its user-friendly interface is another appeal favored by many. Asya Siam shared her story and mentioned, “it’s very comfortable to use, post videos and it allows you to create magical videos with its features and effects.” Likee is also recognized for its parent control function, which is highly valued by parents concerned about their children’s getting addicted to short video platforms. More than 7,800 users resonates with Peytin George’s comment, as she indicated, “it’s a great way for children to adjust themselves to social media with accessible children safety locks.”

Users of imo particularly value its ease of use. As one user put, imo is “great for video chatting. [It] also works great for sending pics and videos through text, works better for that than my default messaging app.” Many users found this review relatable, and they also mentioned imo’s ability to let them maintain connections with family members regardless of distance.

How Does BIGO Generate Revenue?

BIGO (including Bigo Live, Likee, and imo) primarily generates revenue through its live streaming services, which accounted for 92.3% of its total net revenues by the end of 2022. As of Q3 2023, the total number of BIGO’s paying users reached 1.61 million, with the average revenue generated per paying user amounting to $253.4. According to Joyy’s annual report, BIGO categorizes its revenue streams into two main sections: live streaming and others.

The live-streaming revenue comes from the sale of virtual items within the channel. This includes virtual gifts and tips that viewers send to streamers during live broadcasts. BIGO would take a commission on these virtual transactions, and the rate varies depending on the item’s value.

The ‘other revenues’ section mainly refers to online advertising services. The platform collaborates with third-party advertising agencies to deliver ads, including displaying ads on BIGO’s platform and integrating promotions into the programs, shows, or other content available on the platform.

How to Market on BIGO?

Marketing on Likee

In-Feed Video Ads

These full-screen story-telling video ads are embedded in “Popular” & “For You” feeds, offering a native storytelling experience. They feature multiple clickable points that lead users to a designated landing page. These videos typically range from 5 to 30 seconds and will start playing automatically upon launching the app.


SuperView is a distinctive in-feed ad format on Likee that presents the brand’s story with visual immersion to enhance exposure and recognition. These full-screen and vertical videos typically last 10 to 60 seconds and will play automatically with sound when the app is launched. They are ideal for brand marketing activities, such as new product launches and discount promotions.

Hashtag Challenge

The hashtag challenge is an interactive campaign that encourages users to create content around a specific theme, thereby enhancing brand recognition and engagement. By inspiring users to generate diverse brand-related content, these challenges not only boost the brand’s visibility but also foster a community. It could be a good idea to invite influencers and industry professionals to participate in order to elevate the campaign’s appeal.

Branded Effect

These special effects are particularly appealing to users due to their fun and creative nature. They can put these effects on when creating videos, which helps enhance brand engagement and exposure.

Marketing on imo

Chat List & Audio

Imo integrates advertising into its audio call function, displaying ads directly within the target audience’s chat list and during audio calls. This approach not only piques user interest but also streamlines the promotion process and expands reach. The seamless blend of communication and advertising offers a rich source of traffic, enhancing ad effectiveness.

Story Stream & Story Feed

Imo offers a variety of creative formats for convenient brand messaging. Similar to Instagram’s Story feature, imo’s Story offers two types of advertising, story stream ads and story feed ads. Story stream ads appear when users are browsing stories. They are smoothly integrated into the stories, ensuring a smooth browsing experience with minimal disruption. The story feed ads appear when users exit the stories, capturing their final attention and leaving a reinforcing brand impression, without interrupting their experience.

Why Choosing Nativex for BIGO Marketing Means Success

BIGO’s global reach and diverse audience present significant marketing opportunities. If you’re looking to tap into BIGO’s platforms such as Bigo Live and Likee, partnering with Nativex can be your strategic advantage.

As an official Market Agency of BIGO Ads, our expertise spans strategic planning, creative customization, and influencer marketing. With tailored solutions that resonate with BIGO’s user base, Nativex can elevate your brand’s competitive edge in the international market.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with Nativex today to begin your next campaign.

Want to learn more about different social media app marketing in China? Take your pick from our “what is” series on Naver, LINE, Zhihu, Dianping, and Kuaishou. You can also keep your eye on the blog for more updates as they happen.

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