Last Updated on June 15, 2023
To launch a successful marketing campaign in China, it’s a no-brainer that brands must adapt to standard market nuances. One of the strategies that can help you do that is Baidu Ads. Besides SEO strategy, advertising tools can generate high-quality leads and promote brand awareness if appropriately implemented.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to set up a Baidu PPC advertising campaign, explain the restrictions, and highlight the ad display options you can use for your brand.
Baidu: The Google Of China
Chinese internet users have a wide range of search engines they can use daily, like Sogou, Shenma, and Haosou. However, the dominating option that most Chinese users prefer is the Baidu app.
Baidu started in January of 2000, but today, it covers approximately 72% of China’s search engine market share. Some reports claim that 95% of the country’s internet users name Baidu their top browser choice, with around 657 million monthly active users.
Before you decide to utilize a Baidu PPC advertising account for your business, here is some basic information you should know about this popular search engine:
What is Baidu used for?
You may not know, but Baidu is more than just a search engine that Chinese consumers can use to look for different web content. It also offers helpful features like search engine marketing (Baidu SEM), display ads, and other paid advertising tools that businesses can utilize, regardless if you’re a Chinese or foreign company looking to promote your product.
Besides having access to Baidu Ads Manager, brands can make a Chinese website via this interface. This app has everything you need for your brand’s landing page, from domain registration to hosting.
When launching a Baidu ad, you can expect it to be more geared toward mobile users. Given that the Chinese market has 1.03 billion smartphone users, Baidu’s mobile-centric services can drive traffic to your website and lead the brand to its target audience.
Is Baidu only for China?
While Baidu’s landing pages and services are predominantly centered around the Chinese audience, it’s accessible globally. The only catch is its international reach isn’t as massive as other Western search engines like Google.
Nevertheless, global users can still access its landing page, register for a Baidu account, and use Baidu interface features. All the Baidu search results pages will appear in simplified Chinese.
Baidu PPC Advertising in China
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the most common Baidu paid ads a brand can avail of, whereas DSP and Media Banner ads are used less frequently. One reason is that PPC ads are perceived differently on Baidu than on Google. Typically, Chinese consumers trust these ads more as they have become integral to the Baidu user experience.
The Baidu advertising market has been expanding rapidly, with bidding for brand keywords becoming extremely competitive. You must understand how the platform works to develop a successful Baidu Ads campaign.
Businesses utilizing Baidu PPC ads should focus on keyword research, ad relevance, compelling ad copy, and effective landing page optimization. Understanding the preferences and behaviors of the target audience and keeping up with the evolving trends in the China market can significantly contribute to the success of a Baidu Ads campaign.
If utilized effectively, Baidu paid advertising tools can enhance brand visibility, increase consumer engagement, and lead to sale conversions.
Baidu GRC Regulations for 2023
In 2021, Baidu announced that advertisers must host their landing pages on its domain directly. Through this regulation, brands must adhere to China’s Governance and Custody of Commercial Risk Control Platforms (GRC). This development will affect Baidu search results and in-feed ads.
Businesses that are listed companies, fortune 500 companies, have a well-known global brand, or have a reputable trademark will be exempt from these changes.
The regulations will see many industries switching over to Baidu’s landing page “Jimuyu” . It will prevent companies from redirecting traffic on URLs after the website has been approved with an ICP Chinese business license and by Baidu. These guidelines are effective immediately by the 30th of September 2021.
In 2023, the GRC regulations highlight four priorities brands must note if they want to enter the Chinese market by advertising on Baidu. Here’s a brief discussion about it:
- Business First Approach
Although adhering to these regulations is universally essential, each business must operate within its unique context, necessitating a customized approach. GRC rules aim to foster a culture of compliance and accountability, building a better relationship between Chinese customers and brands.
- Risk Management and Categorization
Whether you’re introducing an international or Chinese company into the China market, it’s crucial to prioritize legal obligations to minimize risk for the business in the long run. Before you start advertising in China, remember to strengthen your internal regulations so that it can stand against external threats.
- Alignment with Global Regulations
GRC isn’t a one-time project. So no matter what advertising platform you choose, your business must meet new regulations and industry standards based on evolving regulatory and economic landscapes worldwide.
- Integrate GRC and ESG Initiatives
These strategies focus on achieving specific goals and self-regulation, so aligning them together will positively contribute to the communities that businesses serve. It can bring significant value to a company by enhancing its brand reputation and future-proofing it against evolving regulations and expectations.
In the past year, several advertisers on the platform have appealed against Baidu’s mandatory ad requirements. In response, Baidu issued an extended list of industries that would be exempt from these measures:
- Real estate
- Commodity Trading
- Animal husbandry & fishery
- Internet services
- Social welfare
The industries mentioned must comply with Baidu’s GRC regulations. They gradually need to transition their domain over to Baidu and use the provided hosting templates that are available for different industries:
Restrictions When Advertising on Baidu
Like Google Ads, Baidu Ads undergo strict monitoring to maintain its high code of conduct. If you want your Baidu marketing strategy to play out, avoid using blacklisted terms in your paid ads, like exclusive, the best, number one, trustworthy, guaranteed, and top class.
Regardless if you’re advertising on Baidu or not, the Chinese government expects your brand to refrain from using these topics when launching your ad campaign:
On top of these, your Baidu campaigns must abide by the platform’s restrictive measures on advertisements. Here are the products and services Baidu does not allow on ads:
- Healthcare products
- Auction houses
- Franchise opportunities
- Sex products
Awareness of these prohibited areas is essential. If not, expect penalties placed on any violation of the Advertisement Law of the People’s Republic of China. Not complying with these regulations or any restrictions implemented by any advertising platform can result in revoking the business registration certificate and any medical-related license to operate.
How to Open Your Account in Baidu
Creating an account to advertise on Baidu is a straightforward process. To ensure a successful account setup, follow these steps:
- Visit Baidu’s advertising homepage:
You can access Baidu’s advertising homepage by entering the URL or searching for it on a web browser. Once you see the “Sign Up” button, click on it, and the page will redirect to a page where you can choose between creating an individual or a corporate account.
- Fill in your account information.
Depending on your selected account type, the platform will ask you for personal information like your name, email address, and phone number. Make sure to input the details accurately.
- Verify your account
You’ll receive a verification code from Baidu to your provided phone number. Use the code and enter it in the designated field to verify your account. This step ensures the security and authenticity of your account.
- Provide additional business information.
After the verification, you must add supplementary information about your business. You must accurately provide details like the company’s name, industry, and business license number.
- Set up your payment method.
Before you start advertising on Baidu, the platform will require advertisers to set up a payment method. You can choose between a credit card, bank transfer, or Alipay.
- Create your ad campaign.
After the setup and payment method verification, proceed to the below section for a more thorough method of verifying your PPC account and starting your ad campaign. It’s worth noting that Baidu offers several types of ads, including search ads, display ads, and programmatic ads.
Steps to Verify a Baidu PPC Account
To open a Baidu account, you must gather and send the required documents to Baidu for review. Here are the steps you will need to follow to get your account up and running:
Step 1: Provide your business license for your Baidu Ad account
Step 2: Localize your website to appear on Baidu organic search results
Step 3: Provide a screenshot of your website’s landing page
Step 4: Provide a screenshot showing your company on a government public listing
Step 5: Prepare your Business Bank Account Statement as proof
Step 6: Apply for your Baidu PPC account and submit the needed documents
Step 7: Sign the service contract for your Baidu PPC account
Step 8: Pay the initial fee for opening your Baidu PPC advertising account
What Are The Types of Baidu Ads Available?
As a leading search engine and advertising platform in China, Baidu offers diverse ad formats for businesses to reach their target audience effectively. Here are the types of Baidu ads available:
1. Search Ads
Paid Search Ads are at the top of Baidu’s search engine results page (SERP) when users search for specific keywords related to the advertiser’s products or services.
These Baidu paid ads typically contain text and can include extensions to provide additional information, such as phone numbers or site links. Search ads are highly relevant to user queries and can drive targeted traffic to the advertiser’s website.
2. Display Ads
You can use these advertising options to showcase your ads in a Baidu-listed agency partner. Typically, these popular websites and mobile apps utilize visual elements to capture users’ attention. Advertisers can target their display ads based on demographics, interests, and user behavior. Display ads can create brand awareness and generate interest.
3. Programmatic Ads
Advertising on Baidu also enables advertisers to automatically reach their target audience across a network of websites and mobile ads. Programmatic ads utilize advanced algorithms and real-time bidding to optimize ad placement and gain the most relevant users.
4. Native Ads
Besides appearing on search results pages, Baidu promotes ads through seamless integration within the content. Typically, Native Ads blend in with the surrounding editorial content, making them appear more natural and less intrusive. It aims to provide a non-disruptive user experience while promoting the advertiser’s products or services.
5. Baidu Brand Zone
This exclusive feature on Baidu aims to provide businesses with an engaging platform to showcase their products and services. It’ll help you secure the top spot in Baidu’s search results to increase visibility and customer engagement.
6. In-Feed Ads
This advertisement option makes your promoted content seamlessly integrated into the user’s newsfeed on the Baidu app. It closely resembles organic posts but boosts your products or services natively and engagingly.
7. Video Ads
You can display your ads on the Baidu video platform or other partner sites if your ads are in video formats. As an advertiser, you can choose between in-stream ads and out-stream ads to effectively convey their brand message and captivate viewers.
8. Maps Ads
This feature allows you to create location-based ads that appear within Baidu’s mapping services. Thanks to its configuration, brands can precisely target users based on their location and search query.
How to Run Your First Baidu PPC Ads Campaign
After successful Baidu account registration, creating a solid brand campaign is essential to achieve the best ROI. Having a clear account structure will ensure that your ads receive high-quality traffic that can generate leads.
Before anything else, log in to your new Baidu account through Baidu’s PPC advertising page (www2.baidu.com).
1. Find Search Ads Promotion
After logging in, you’ll see an account overview that provides information about various features. Simply click “Search Ads Promotion,” located on the left-hand side of the page, and it will take you directly to the relevant section where you can manage and optimize your search ad campaigns.
2. Preview your Account Structure
By exploring your account’s structure, you can familiarize yourself with the factors and settings available on this platform. It’ll help you assess and optimize your account according to your advertising goals and needs.
3. Develop A Baidu PPC Advertising Plan
After exploring your ad account, you can set up your campaign plan. Each user can create up to 100 campaigns, providing ample opportunities to promote your business effectively. Consider incorporating elements that reflect your business, products, or brand attributes when naming your ad plan.
4. Set Baidu PPC Campaign Bidding and Budget Price
Bidding for keywords for your brand is a crucial part of every Baidu advertising campaign. Through this, the highest bidder gets the highest ranking for their ad. Brands also receive quality scores for their campaign, which Baidu assigns on a rating scale of one to ten.
To get a high-ranking PPC advertising campaign, you must bid high and score well on the quality scores.
Choosing suitable bids is essential to advertise on Baidu in the long run. Otherwise, you will be overspending and receiving less traffic. Remember that developing the quality score will take time if you are just starting your campaign.
You can also assign your daily budget, giving Baidu an idea of how much you can spend to receive clicks on your ad. Through this, you can set maximum daily budgets for each Baidu paid advertising campaign on the “account level” tab section. After that, you must also configure a maximum CPC (click-per-cost) for each ad unit and manage your keyword bidding by setting a maximum CPC on your precise keywords.
5. Create Baidu Ads Group
Keywords are grouped in “ad groups” to simplify Baidu advertising campaigns. In this section, advertisers can organize and set up your campaigns.
You can create one campaign for phrase keywords, one for brand name keywords, and another for an exact product. Under each campaign, you can add “ad units” which contain one of your keywords.
6. Configure Ad Target Location and Duration
For this step, you must select the geolocation of your Baidu PPC advertising campaign. We recommended setting your paid ads to a specific province or city for better reach and results. The Baidu Ads Manager will automatically configure your adverts to “worldwide” if the particular area isn’t selected.
If you want the paid ads to only appear in Mainland China, you must uncheck “rest of the world,” “Hong Kong,” “Macau,” and “Taiwan” from the Baidu Ads Manager manually. You can choose what time and days you want your ad to run on Baidu. However, you cannot spread your budget across different times of the day.
7. Plan A Creative Content Strategy
Getting the basics right is crucial, so rather than just translating your ad copy, we recommend using experts inside the country or a trusted Baidu advertising agency so that you can localize your advertisements for Chinese audiences.
Baidu ads can contain a title, meta-description, and display promotional links. However, the title can be at least 50 Chinese characters, and the description cannot exceed 80. You can also add images if needed. It is advisable to analyze and update your ad copy occasionally, use ad customizers to align content with relevant user experience, and install test ad extensions to receive data analytics on your ads.
8. Utilize Baidu Analytics and Live Chat
Through the Baidu Ads Manager, you can link Baidu Analytics/ Baidu Tongji directly to your ad campaigns for free. The system is similar to Google Analytics. However, it’s worth noting that it has limited features in comparison.
To access Baidu Analytics, you must log into your Baidu PPC advertising account. From there, open a new tab and enter the URL: tongji.baidu.com. Your user details will be the same as your Baidu PPC account.
Here are the data and insights available in the account report:
- The campaign’s conversion rate.
- The conversion rate per ad unit.
- Conversation rate against each keyword.
- The daily number of conversions.
You can also activate live chat functions with Baidu Shangqiao, increasing the leads generated.
9. Results Analysis and Baidu PPC Advertising Campaign Adjustments
While it is unlikely to create a perfect campaign right from the start, analytical tools and continuous adjustments can significantly enhance your campaign’s success and achieve the highest possible conversion rate.
Analyzing the results of your Baidu PPC advertising campaigns is crucial to understanding how they are performing and identifying areas that require improvement. Fortunately, Baidu provides various analytical tools like Baidu Analytics and Baidu Tongji. These features offer valuable insights into metrics, including click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, keyword performance, and user behavior.
By regularly reviewing and analyzing these metrics, brands that advertise on Baidu can comprehensively understand campaign performance and identify areas for optimization.
Once you have collected the necessary data, making adjustments and optimizations to your Baidu PPC advertising campaign becomes more crucial. You must use these gained insights to refine the brand’s targeting strategies, adjust bidding techniques, refine ad copy, and optimize the landing page to improve overall campaign performance.
How to do Keyword Research for Baidu Ads
Finding the most suitable keywords for your brand is crucial for a successful campaign. Fortunately, Baidu advertising accounts can support small campaigns requiring around 100 keywords and more extensive advertisements with over 100,000 keywords. You can find keyword types with appropriate brand relevance and popularity based on your target audience’s search results inquiries.
You can also use Baidu’s keyword research tool called Keyword Planner. Some helpful metrics it provides are average daily search volume, average daily mobile search ads volume, the competition level for a keyword, and estimated top page bid cost and ad spend.
Baidu Keyword Planner interface
The Baidu Keyword Planner interface not only facilitates keyword discovery but also assists advertisers in understanding the potential impact and reach of their chosen keywords on specific web pages.
You can also enter a keyword, receive alternative suggestions, and find data for a combination of different keywords.
Baidu Advertising For Mobile
It’s not a secret that China has high mobile internet usage. It’s crucial to optimize brand landing pages for small screens. Your website should have a responsive design, so Baidu offers a unique solution called Jimuyu. It has built-in templates for creating H5 pages, mini-programs, and mini-sites. You can utilize this feature within the Baidu app and make mobile-optimized assets from scratch.
Baidu Tuiguang, Baidu TV & Baidu Brand Zone
One way to display your ads will be through Baidu Tuigang. It is a PPC advertising platform that works similarly to Google AdWords. Your ads will appear on the search engine results of Baidu and other websites directly linked with Baidu.
Baidu also accommodates video ads with Baidu TV. Here, advertisers can select which sites they want their video ads displayed. Alternatively, for heavily content-based ads, you can create Information feed ads that will appear on Baidu News and Baidu Forum.
Finally, consider using Baidu Brand Zone to increase the exposure of your brand or company. Brand Zone is a space to promote products, your brand image and message, and inform consumers of special offers. While Brand Zone ads have a fee of around $1,500 per month, your ad will be positioned at the top of SERP pages, ranking higher than competing ads.
Looking for Effective Baidu Ads Campaigns?
Navigating the complex Chinese digital landscape and running effective Baidu Advertising campaigns requires the expertise of a seasoned digital marketing agency. With 13 years of industry experience, Sekkei Studio can be your trusted partner to develop and execute successful digital strategies in China.
Our team of experts understands the intricacies of the Chinese market and Baidu’s advertising platform. Through proven methodologies, we can provide tailored solutions to optimize your brand’s visibility, attract relevant traffic, and drive conversions. Contact us today to achieve success using Baidu Ads in China.