Digital Advertising in China: Key Strategies and Best Practices

It’s no secret that the Chinese market has grown exponentially over the years. With its digital ad spending reaching a projection of over $173 billion for 2023, the country’s online advertising landscape remains the second-largest in the world. Effective marketing strategies and practices have become increasingly crucial for brands that want to stand out, especially now that many entrepreneurs are rushing to utilize the Chinese advertising market. In this article, let’s explore the foundations of digital advertising in China and some helpful tips on choosing the best strategies to attract Chinese consumers into patronizing your brand.


How Does Digital Advertising Work in China?

Like the rest of the world, the growth of online advertising within the Chinese market attributes to continuous urbanization and digitalization. And as online ads continue to dominate the field, traditional advertising in China is increasingly losing its edge in the country’s market landscape.

According to Insider Intelligence, 81.5% of total media ad spending in China for 2022 falls under online advertising.  Compared to other countries, their market heavily relies on digital advertising campaign options to captivate the Chinese audience.

China also has a high margin difference from the UK, with the latter only placing second in rank with a total ad spending of 77.2% for online campaigns.

Although paid advertising in China is increasingly popular, it doesn’t automatically mean that Chinese consumers will flock to your product or services. Here are some factors foreign companies should consider, especially when crafting the brand’s digital marketing plans:

  1. Cultural Considerations in Content Creation

If you want to have successful advertising campaigns in the China market, you must be mindful of the nuances and preferences within the Chinese culture. Your adverts should include crucial values like harmony, collectivism, and respect for authority to gain the favor of your targeted audience.

  1. Messaging and Visuals that Align with Chinese Values

No matter what advertising method you do when marketing in China, your visual and copy representations should empower core values like family, tradition, and honor.

You must do your homework and determine which symbols, colors, and narratives you should use in your digital marketing strategy to appeal to the general Chinese consumers.

  1. Targeting Options and Ad Formats Available in China

To learn how to advertise in China, you must get familiar with the country’s targeting options, including demographics, interests, behavior, and location. You must also decide between various ad formats such as display ads, video ads, native ads, and more to capture the attention of their target audience.


What are the rules for paid advertising in China?

  • Compliance requirements for advertising campaigns

Adhering to advertising regulations is mandatory in the Chinese market. Advertisers must comply with necessary content laws, industry-specific rules, and consumer protection guidelines to avoid penalties or messy legal issues.

  • Best practices for navigating regulatory challenges

Staying informed about the latest online advertising policies can be crucial, especially if you want to navigate the regulatory landscape successfully. You should work with reputable local partners, maintain transparency in their messaging, and seek legal guidance as soon as complex issues arise.

Your compliance continues even after obtaining a Chinese business license. Remember that each Chinese social media platform and advertising channel in your marketing strategy implements different regulations.


Current State of Digital Advertising in China

With video advertising gaining a market volume of $51.26 billion in 2022, many experts predict that most digital ad spending will focus more on the mobile medium by 2026. Nevertheless, e-commerce still ranks number one among advertising products, with 46.5% of overall marketers still relying on it as part of their marketing strategy in China.

Meanwhile, short video advertising is gradually gaining popularity at 16.6%, followed by news ads at 16.6%.

As online advertising expands in different mediums, Chinese users have become more comfortable shopping virtually. If the adverts answer their typical questions about a product or service, they can make quick purchasing decisions.

Here are the details you should include in your campaigns before adding them to your ad spending budget:

  • Product or service price
  • Information about warranties
  • Product or service specifications
  • Applied technical standards

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise in China ?

Knowing the budget allocation range for each advertising medium is a huge part of learning how to advertise in China. Whether you’re focusing on mobile advertising or banner ads, it’s important to note that not all digital channels offer the same prices and formats.

For example, Baidu’s PPC advertising (Pay-Per-Click) starts with a pre-paid top-up cost of USD 1,000. Meanwhile, social media platforms like Douyin provide marketers with video advertising formats that cost around $10 per CPM.

Read along as we discuss each advertising channel with its corresponding ad spending range.


Top Channels for Advertising in China

  1. Advertising with Baidu

  • What is Baidu used for in China?

Baidu is the dominant search engine used by Chinese people, so it’s no surprise that it has a massive user base. Because of its vast potential audience, entrepreneurs and business owners deem it an excellent choice for advertising in China.

  • Can you advertise on Baidu?

Yes, you can advertise on this platform. You can utilize Baidu Brand Zone to customize your brand’s promotion by incorporating logos, taglines, images, and even videos in your marketing materials.

Furthermore, the Brand Zone provides targeted advertising options, allowing brands to refine their audience segmentation based on demographics, interests, and search intent.

  • What is Baidu PPC?

Baidu Pay-per-Click (PPC) is an advertising model within the platform that allows brands to display targeted ads on search engine results pages.

Through this, marketers can pay for specific keywords related to their business.  Their advertisements will appear when users search for those keywords, increasing the likelihood of attracting high-quality website traffic.

  • How do I run ads on Baidu?

To run ads on Baidu, you must create an account on Baidu Tuiguang, select relevant keywords, set bidding strategies, and optimize your campaigns. These steps ensure better ad placements, increased visibility, and improved advertising performance within the platform.

  • What type of ad is Baidu?

Some typical advertising formats you’ll encounter on Baidu include text ads, banner ads, image ads, rich media adverts, and video ads.

These formats allow advertisers to showcase their products or services in a visually appealing and highly engaging method to capture the attention of Baidu’s massive user base.


Baidu types of ads

Baidu ads’ formats


  • How much is Baidu advertising cost?

Baidu’s paid advertising in China requires a minimum credit deposit of $1,000. However, you can expect your average ad spending can reach up to $3000, depending on the formats you choose.

If you advertise in Baidu using the Brand Zone features, it’ll typically take your adverts to the top SERP position. It’ll also cost around 1,500 USD monthly.


  1. Advertising with WeChat

  • What is WeChat used for in China?

Besides being an excellent medium for social media advertising and marketing, WeChat is a nifty app widely used in mainland China for messaging, social networking, and more. It offers various features and services, including Moments (a social feed), official accounts, mini-programs (in-app applications), and more.

  • Can you advertise on WeChat?

Yes, WeChat offers mobile advertising opportunities, allowing businesses to reach their audience on mobile devices. With WeChat’s massive user base and its all-in-one functionality, mobile advertising became every brand’s method of connecting with users on the platform. At the same time, they engage with various features and services.

  • How do I run ads on WeChat?

First, you’ll need to create an Official Account, which acts as your brand’s presence on the platform. After setting it up, you can choose from various ad types, like Moments or Mini Program ads, depending on your brand’s objectives.

Then, you’ll define your target audience and budget to ensure your ads reach the right people within your indicated budget range.

  • What format are WeChat ads?

Moments Ads are one of the popular formats when advertising in WeChat. It allows your ad to appear in users’ Moments feed. Through this, you can create visually appealing and engaging content with images, videos, and text to promote your product or services.

You can also leverage WeChat’s Mini Programs platform to deliver ads within lightweight applications. Other formats you can consider when advertising in China using this app are Official Account Ads and banner ads, which will help you achieve your advertising goals.


WeChat types of ads

WeChat ads’ formats


  • How much is WeChat advertising cost?

The cost of advertising on WeChat can vary depending on several factors, including the ad format, targeting options, competition, and campaign objectives. Typically, the platform requires a minimum deposit of 50,000 RMB (Chinese Yuan) or over $7000 for advertisers to start running ads.


  1. Advertising with Douyin

  • What is Douyin used for in China?

As everyone knows, Douyin or TikTok is a short-form video platform that allows users to create and share engaging videos. Its popularity may have reached worldwide, but it originated in mainland China.

  • Can you advertise on Douyin?

Yes, businesses in China can promote their products and services on Douyin to reach their intended audience effectively. Douyin offers various advertising options, allowing companies to create engaging ad campaigns that lead potential customers to their brand’s landing page.

  • How do I run ads on Douyin?

You need to create an official Douyin advertising account and go through the verification process. After that, choose the ad type that suits your advertising and marketing goals, such as in-feed ads, brand takeover ads, or hashtag challenges.

From there, you can set their targeting options, such as demographics, interests, and location.

  • What format are Douyin ads?

The platform provides a range of formats to suit different advertising and marketing objectives. These include in-feed ads seamlessly integrated into the content feed, brand takeover ads for maximum visibility, and hashtag challenge ads to promote user-generated content and engagement.


Douyin types of ads

Douyin ads’ formats


  • How much is Douyin advertising cost?

The price range for Douyin ads depends on the cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) model. Typically, advert placements start at $10 per CPM. However, it’ll still vary according to the competitiveness of your brand’s niche.


  1. Advertising with Weibo

  • What is Weibo used for in China?

Weibo is a microblogging platform where users can post short messages, share photos and videos, follow celebrities, engage in discussions, and stay updated with news and trending topics. With millions of active users, Weibo has become integral to online advertising in China.

  • Can you advertise on Weibo?

Yes, Weibo offers advertising opportunities for businesses to reach their intended audience. You can leverage Weibo’s advertising platform to promote products, services, or brands to a large user base.

With its extensive reach and user engagement, Weibo provides a valuable platform for you to raise awareness, drive traffic, and engage with their target customers.

  • How do I run ads on Weibo?

First, you must register an account on Weibo’s advertising platform. Once done, choose from various formats. You should define your targeting options based on intended demographics, interests, and behaviors to ensure better results.

  • What format are Weibo ads?

In Weibo, you can design your adverts in different formats, like display ads, promoted posts, and topic ads. Unlike other platforms, most of its content flourishes using native advertising techniques.


Weibo types of ads

Weibo ads’ formats


  • How much is Weibo advertising cost?

Weibo runs with a bidding system, allowing advertisers to set their budget and bids for clicks or impressions. Depending on your chosen ad types, the price can range from $15 to $3000.


  1. XiaoHongshu

  • What is XiaoHongshu used for in China?

As a social commerce app in China, XiaoHongshu serves as a hub for users to discover and share product reviews, recommendations, and shopping experiences.

  • Can you advertise on XiaoHongshu?

Yes, businesses in China can do paid promotions on XiaoHongshu to tap into its engaged user base. Advertising on XiaoHongshu allows brands to reach their targeted audience within the Chinese market and increase brand visibility.

  • How do I run ads on XiaoHongshu?

Typically, brands have to collaborate with influencers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) who have a significant following on the platform. You can also consider native advertising options, such as sponsored posts or branded content.

  • What format are XiaoHongshu ads?

As previously stated, this platform’s most common advert format is influencer collaborations. XiaoHongshu also offers native content placements if advertisers want their adverts integrated into the user’s feed.


Xiaohongshu types of ads

Xiaohongshu ads’ formats


  • How much is XiaoHongshu advertising cost?

The total cost you’ll incur when advertising in China using XiaoHongshu depends on the chosen ad format, the reach, and the influence of the selected influencers. Collaborating with top-tier KOLs with at least 500,000 followers can range from $4000 to $14000. 


Tips on How to Do Digital Marketing in China

  • Conducting market research and audience analysis

Before launching digital marketing in China, you must conduct thorough market research and understand the intended audience. You should understand the demographics, consumer behavior, cultural nuances, and preferences specific to the Chinese market.

You can tailor your strategies effectively by gaining insights into the local market dynamics and audience characteristics.

  • Defining advertising objectives and goals

Whether the goal is to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales, having well-defined objectives will be helpful when executing marketing efforts.

You should set measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your digital marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

  • Selecting the most effective advertising channels and mediums

The China online advertising sphere provides businesses with diverse mediums to promote their products and services. Because of this, it’s crucial to choose ones that align with your intended audience, budget, and advertising goals.


Leveraging Influencer Marketing in China

Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy in China, where social media influencers have significant sway over consumer opinions and purchasing decisions. Forming partnerships with KOLs whose audience aligns with your intended market can help amplify your brand’s reach and credibility.


Optimizing Search Engine Advertising

If you want to get a hold of the search engine market in China, you must advertise in Baidu. You must understand its algorithms and user behavior to integrate your campaigns properly. On top of that, you must tailor SEO strategies specifically for the Chinese market for better organic search rankings and visibility.

You can also consider paid search advertising on platforms like Baidu allows businesses to target specific keywords and demographics, maximizing their visibility to potential customers.


Harnessing the Potential of Social Media Advertising

Launching advertisements in China means entering the landscape of popular social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin. You can leverage their interactive features by crafting compelling and shareable content.

To understand your audience better, you can utilize social listening tools and data analytics to monitor conversations, track campaign performance, and optimize strategies based on real-time insights.


Measuring and Analyzing Advertising Performance

When measuring the success of your China advertising campaigns, you can look at key metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

You can also keep tracking mechanisms and analyzing data specific to the Chinese market to determine actionable insights for campaign optimization and spotting areas of improvement. Continuously refining strategies based on data-driven insights can help achieve better results over time.



In the ever-evolving digital landscape in China, your brand must adopt effective advertising strategies that consider cultural sensitivities and legal regulations. Besides that, don’t forget to leverage popular platforms and embrace the power of influencer marketing, search engine optimization, and social media advertising.

If you’re having trouble understanding the unique dynamics of the Chinese market, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us help you unlock the immense potential of your brand.

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