In this week’s article by China Gravy, your Baidu PPC agency, we take a deep dive into PPC advertising in China. That’s because Chinese search engine marketing (SEO, PPC) is a great way to promote your business in the Middle Kingdom.
Online advertising in China is slightly different from the rest of the world. That’s because Facebook and Google are not available and Chinese-specific platforms have emerged. Besides, Chinese consumers have their own preferences, and the Chinese market is setting more and more trends for the rest of the world.
So, let’s get started with PPC advertising in China.
Chinese Digital Marketing
As mentioned above, China marketing follows its own rhythm. For one, WeChat, Sina Weibo, and TikTok/Douyin are the Chinese social media sites of choice. Facebook is not accessible due to the Great Firewall of China.
Regarding user preferences, out of China’s more than 850 million internet users, 99% browse on mobile devices. They love to watch short videos (89% of online users), play games, shop, chat, and pay on the go.
In terms of Chinese search engines, Baidu has the largest market share with 70%, followed by Sogou (20%), Shenma (5%), and 360Search/Haosou (3%). Click here to read up on the six main differences between Baidu and Google in terms of SEO. Moreover, here is an in-depth article on the Chinese search engine Sogou.
SEO and PPC Advertising in China
Generally, SEM in China offers two options:
- SEO in China: search engine optimization (“free”)
- PPC in China: pay-per-click advertising (paid search)
Both methods aim at reaching the top positions on the search results pages of search engines. PPC campaigns are classical ads that you can bid on. You literally pay-per-click.
On the other hand, SEO means adjusting the content on your website (and work on backlinks, page speed, etc.) and online presence to improve the rank on search engines. That’s why marketers refer to it as “free” as it only costs the time you invest. Or if you hire an SEO agency for China, you need to pay their fee. Other than that, SEO creates no further cost.
PPC Advertising in China
As Baidu is the main search engine in China, we will focus on Baidu PPC in this section. It will help your business to increase its reach in the Middle Kingdom, acquire new leads, and build brand awareness.
To give you a general idea, Baidu ads work similarly to Google ads. You can set a budget, select your target audience, set keywords, create ads, and measure the results. However, there are certainly some differences.
1. Baidu PPC vs. Google Ads
Naturally, the algorithms of Baidu and Google are different. However, there are similarities when it comes to relevant parameters. The similarities of ads on both Google and Baidu search engines include current and relevant content, mobile optimization, quality links, and a logical website structure.
At the same time, note that the backend for Baidu PPC ads is well developed, is secure, and offers click-fraud protection. Just like Google, Baidu constantly adapts and improves its algorithm.
Now, how do you get started with PPC advertising in China? We’ll tell you how!
2. How to Open a Baidu PPC Account
First of all, keep in mind that a Baidu PPC account is different from a “regular” Baidu account. However, you cannot access Jimuyu from your regular Baidu account.
Opening a Baidu advertising account is somewhat complex and lengthy. Especially, if you are used to the quick setup of a Google Ads account. Besides, the process is only available in Chinese. But the good news is: it’s possible, even for non-Chinese companies.
- Get in touch with your local Baidu division. If your company doesn’t have an office in China yet, Baidu appoints a registered marketing agency. This agency will help you to open the Baidu PPC account. China Gravy is happy to assist you with this process.
- Provide your company name, industry, and website to Baidu/the agency for verification. Remember that China’s online regulation is rather strict. For example, advertising for gambling is prohibited. Besides, some industries are excluded from online advertising (PPC). For example, the financial sector, the pharma industry, and health products. Although, sometimes exceptions are possible with additional certificates/licenses.
- At this point, a Chinese website may also come with more advantages than an English one, although that’s no KO criteria – but we strongly suggest having the website in Chinese.
- After the first verification step, you are required to provide further documents for evaluation: your business registration certificate from your country of origin including Chinese translation and screenshots of your website. Baidu may ask you to adjust your website content to comply with China’s strict online rules.
- After Baidu receives all documents, it normally takes 2-4 weeks until a Baidu PPC account is approved. Keep in close contact with your Baidu representative to make sure that things are moving forward. And be patient. China Gravy is happy to take this burden off of your shoulders.
Read up on the most frequent questions on Baidu SEO and Baidu PPC here.
3. Keyword Research for China
As you know, the foundation of successful SEO and PPC is finding the ideal keywords for your niche. Focus on longtail keywords and buyer intent keywords. Keep in mind that voice search is a growing trend. Therefore, try to identify keywords that resemble spoken language rather than written search queries.
Finally, take a look at the CPC (cost-per-click) price to make sure you stay within your budget and have a chance of appearing with your ads. To research specific keywords you can use free tools like Baidu Keyword Planner, 5118, Chinaz, and Aizhan. Likewise, Google Ads Keyword Tool and SEMrush are also suitable for the Chinese market.
4. Ads Manager
5. Display Ad Network
6. Brand Zone
This product is exclusive to Baidu. It may be costly, but it provides an average CTR of 50%. Brand Zone includes your brand logo, company introduction, and tailored content.
As trademarks play a large role among Chinese consumers, in particular high-end quality brands, the Brand Zone in Baidu offers additional options to communicate your brand and its values.
Besides, rich media banners and videos make them more engaging and increase the CTR. They act as visual “stoppers” and grab the attention of online users, which are exposed to constant stimulation of digital input.
7. Baidu Analytics
Once the ads are up and running, monitor their performance. Then, adjust the ads and optimize the bids. You can also do A/B testing to improve your CTR rate. The average click-through rate (CTR) on Baidu is 1% compared to 0.2% on Google.
To analyze and improve your Baidu ads, you can use the official Baidu Tongji, which is similar to Google Analytics. You can create reports and statistics on your website traffic, get information about conversion rates, and more. You can basically create your own Baidu ranking tool.
But don’t confuse Baidu Tongji with the Baidu Webmaster Tool. This allows you to index your site and access SEO settings and analysis.
8. How to Build Landing Pages in Your Baidu Account for PPC Advertising in China
Many SEM experts consider an engaging landing page – after a user clicks on the Baidu ad – an integral part of the campaign. The online user is directed to your website or social media channel and typically finds a call-to-action through a special sales promotion or sign-up.
You can either create the landing page yourself or use Jimuyu (基 木鱼) – an app on the Baidu Ads manager. When creating landing pages yourself, make sure that the page is available in China without problems. This means, for example, no links to blocked sites and no Recaptcha for forms. Also, keep in mind that all content is optimized for the Chinese audience and that forms are not too long.
Discover how to quickly set up mini websites and landing pages, which load super-fast for Chinese users, and don’t need lengthy approval from the government.
What is Baidu’s Jimuyu?
Jimuyu (基木鱼) is a website builder within the Baidu PPC Account. B2B and B2C businesses can easily create fast-loading mini websites/landing pages, HTML5 sites, and mini-apps for their products and services.
Choose from more than 1,000 themes from various industries, blog sites, stores, app downloads, video streaming, and more. Easily run marketing tactics like PPC ads, track conversions, and analyze the results.
Advantages of Jimuyu for PPC Advertising in China
If you are promoting your products and services in China, you could simply use a landing page or mini-site on your own website, right? So, which advantages does a page offer, which is built with Jimuyu?
- No extra fees for setting up your landing pages
- Build a landing page easily and quickly with thousands of themes to choose from
- Faster content approval compared to a self-hosted site in China, where the government will check your content
- Super-fast loading time of the landing pages as they are hosted on Baidu servers in mainland China
- Can reduce the cost per conversion by 85%, according to Baidu
- Can increase the conversions by 118%, according to Baidu
- From our own experience, we can confirm that Jimuyu provides better overall performance as customer sites are typically hosted outside of mainland China and have a longer loading time, which makes Baidu PPC even more challenging, and the use of Jimuyu is basically a must.
Besides, if you don’t have a website or online presence in China yet and focus on selling your products and services via Chinese social media sites, the Jimuyu page builder also comes in handy.
How to Use the Jimuyu Page Builder for PPC Advertising in China
In this section, you will learn how to set up a Baidu PPC/advertising account, how to access Jimuyu, and how to navigate the page builder.
How to Access Jimuyu
- Go to the Baidu PPC Platform
- Click 账号登录 above the QR code (top right)
- Log in with your username and password
- Scroll down and click on Jimuyu (基木鱼)
Next, let’s look at how to use the Jimuyu page builder in practice. Once you have accessed Jimuyu, you can use this tool as follows.
1. Dashboard at the top
- Yesterday’s data: opens Ying Xiao Tong (Marketing Go), Baidu’s special marketing extension, in a new tab. View the performance of your Jimuyu landing pages, e.g. how many leads were generated.
- Real-time data: links to site analysis in the left menu; the Baidu PPC data for your pages are integrated here
2. Menu at the left
- My Site
- Choose a template, 1-page template, multi-page template
- Choose a Template
- Management for Mini-Apps
- Not relevant for regular landing pages
- Content Management
- Merchant Information: Edit your business information
- Articles: Create manual entries or upload information in bulk
- Products: Choose between manual entry or bulk upload
- Q&A: Enter the information manually or upload it in bulk
- My Resources Library
- Upload images to use for your landing pages, mini-apps, etc.
- Site Analysis
- Evaluates your landing page (quality check) and suggests improvements
- Speed Booster
- Ai Fan Fan (爱番番) IM messenger aka Baidu CRM
- A/B Testing
- Live Broadcast Management
- Account Settings:
- Add your mobile phone and email address to receive potential errors and health alerts
- Marketing Components
- Opens Ying Xiao Tong (Marketing Go) in a new tab
3. In the middle
- Baidu Ad News
4. At the bottom
- Four trending page templates
This brings us to the end of our introduction of the Jimuyu page builder as part of the Baidu PPC Account.
Congratulations! You have now gained valuable knowledge of the Jimuyu page builder to create customized landing pages and boost your business in China. Jimuyu can help you to create landing pages for the products and services you sell in China quickly and easily. Navigate around the Chinese content restrictions with ease, and create a fast-loading site with high conversion rates.
Jimuyu Landing Page Updates (Spring 2021)
As of spring 2021, there are two relevant updates for Jimuyu landing pages for Baidu PPC ads:
- In the past, Baidu PPC users only were able to create a mobile version (H5) landing page using the Jimuyu tool. Now, desktop landing pages can be developed using Jimuyu alongside mobile versions.
- Website URLs on Jimuyu landing pages of Baidu PPC ads must be approved by Baidu and must link to a website with an ICP License/Filing number. There are exceptions for Global Fortune 500 companies and governmental organizations. But don’t worry! Even if you’re not a Fortune 500 company, this update likely won’t affect you very much. That’s because Jimuyu landing pages normally are used for direct lead generation through forms and don’t require linking to further external sites.
So, what’s next?
PPC Advertising in China – The Takeaway
Digital marketing is a great way to start expanding into China with your business. PPC advertising in China is a fast and cost-effective way to increase your reach and leads, as well as to position your brand in the Middle Kingdom.
While PPC takes effect quicker than SEO, setting up a Baidu PPC account takes some time and effort. Chinese business consultants like China Gravy can help you with this process if you wish.
Baidu is the largest search engine in China. Therefore, appearing in the first positions on this site is important to increase your leads and sales in the Middle Kingdom.
Congratulations, you are now an expert on Baidu PPC advertising in China! Click here to skyrocket your business in China with China PPC. Make sure to ask for our FREE CONSULTATION!