Last Updated on February 5, 2024
Weibo is among the largest Chinese social media platforms next to WeChat. With its high engagement rate and massive 600 million user base, the platform serves as an excellent place for quick and efficient promotion.
In this Weibo Advertising Guide, we’ll discuss the platform’s different paid ads and explore effective strategies for your brand to engage with Chinese internet users more effectively.
What are the Weibo ad types?
1. Fan Headlines (Fěnsī tóutiáo – 粉丝头条)
This format is the most commonly seen and used among all Weibo ads. Utilizing Fan Headline for posts on Weibo works similarly to Fan Tunnel. The only difference is that Fan Headline Ads directs the campaign to existing followers. It’ll also only appear on top of news feeds for a maximum of 24 hours.
Fan headlines target Chinese consumers who are already following your official account and their mutual Weibo friends, so these formats are often reported to have a significantly higher re-sharing potential.
The designated Weibo post integrated with this format often attracts more engagement than others. Utilizing a fan headline for accounts also extends audience reach and helps garner potential followers.
Advertisers can use Fan Headlines for posts or accounts. Either way, it’s an effective and straightforward Weibo advertising format to utilize when collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders or top influencers in your niche.
2. Fan Tunnel (Fěnsī tōng –粉丝通)
Despite its low cost, it does a decent job of launching targeted ads to help creative campaigns reach the right audience.
Advertisers can use this paid advertising format to boost Weibo posts or get their official accounts promoted. They can select a specific target audience based on gender, age, location, device and interests.
After setting up the Weibo post, it’ll appear on users’ feeds. Campaigns can be implemented for up to 7 days, depending on your business objectives and budgets. However, Weibo users can only see it once, and it won’t be repeated on their news feeds.
Unlike other Weibo ads, this format allows your campaign to reach non-followers feeds. It means that your target audience doesn’t have to be existing followers of your Weibo account as long as they share the same interests, age, location, gender, and other metrics you set for the ads.
Tunnels are priced according to CPM (cost per mile) – starting at 5RMB per 1,000 views – or CPE (cost per engagement) – which begins at 0.5RMB per engagement and increases at increments of 0.1RMB.
3. Fan Connect Ads
Fan Connects are more accurate and advanced in targeting Weibo users than Fan Headlines. When using this format in your advertising strategy, your campaign primarily focuses on enhancing interaction between account holders and existing followers.
It allows for more direct and personalized engagement, while Fan Headline Ads are geared more towards content promotion and increasing visibility.
When advertising on Weibo using this ad format, brands can craft personalized messaging, interactive Q&A sessions, or other forms of engagement that create a more intimate connection with their target users.
While Fan Headline for accounts can push paid posts to the top of followers’ feeds or even to users who don’t follow them, Fan Connects do a better job building a loyal fanbase by providing exclusive content, direct responses to fan queries, and tailored messages.
4. Display Advertisements
Typically, display advertisements on this social media channel appear as traditional single-image sponsored posts. You’ll see them on the Weibo search engine promotion area and regular user news feed.
Weibo display ad redirecting to a WeChat mini program
These paid ads are also a common sight on the Weibo homepage. They come in various dimensions, often as banner ads, which you can link directly to an account when clicked.
Through Weibo display ads, you can lead your potential consumers to the brand’s virtual storefront by adding a link to the promotional content. Remember that external links from e-commerce platforms like Taobao and JD.com are no longer supported on any Weibo post.
5. News Feed Ads
In-feed Ads often come in the form of Weibo posts. You can set it with an image, product link, or followers’ news feed, depending on your paid advertising needs.
These Weibo ads are often mistaken as similar to a Fan Headline, but these formats appear in between regular feed posts and not the top.
Weibo newsfeed ad redirecting to a lead collection form
Many Weibo users who are not keen on viewing advertisements may scroll past a display ad or fan headline simply because they’re on top of the feed. Since Feed Ads appear along with organic posts, the chances of these creative campaigns being seen by Chinese consumers are higher.
6. Destination Page Ads
As opposed to feed ads, destination pages are displayed in full-screen format. These paid ads can be paired with static images or short videos showcasing your brand story, product, or services.
Links can also be incorporated into these formats, prompting Weibo users to visit a product page or official brand account.
Weibo destination page ad redirecting to a WeChat mini program
As soon as these ads appear on the screen, Weibo accounts can skip the promotional content. However, since they only last five to ten seconds, many users just wait for them to finish.
Unlike other Weibo advertising formats, these are visually-centered posts. So, it’s worth noting that the amount of text you can insert into the content is limited. Because of this, we recommend using these ads for moving or video promotions.
7. Search Page Ads
Weibo offers a built-in search function, where user searches can range from accounts, posts, pages, stores and more.
Through this feature, launching a Weibo search engine promotion for your brand became possible. Like Google Adwords and Baidu PPC, this Chinese social media platform provides keyword-based results ads.
It means that a brand account or post associated with a Weibo search engine promotion can rank on top of the results based on particular terms or keywords assigned to it.
Weibo search ad redirecting to live streaming replay
Search engine marketers should note that the price range of these paid ads may vary depending on how competitive the chosen keywords are or how many of your industry competitors are bidding for them.
How Much Does It Cost To Advertise on Weibo?
Advertising on Weibo starts with a deposit fee for brand promotion, typically around $1,499. The display ads cost approximately $0.04, which can vary depending on the ad’s targeting options and type.
Compared to WeChat advertising and other top social media platforms, launching Weibo display ads is relatively cheaper. For instance, with just $15, you can reach a possible audience of about 10,000.
The most economical Weibo advertising cost is around 5 RMB for 1000 ad views. This pricing structure makes the platform a cost-effective choice for brands looking to advertise in the Chinese market. However, remember that these expenses may vary based on your chosen format and duration.
Bidding Methods for Weibo Advertising Campaigns
Advertisers must execute bidding methods when advertising on Weibo, depending on their selected format. For search-based ads, the popularity and competition for specific keywords often influence bids.
For fan funnels and fan headlines, the quality of the ad content, as evaluated by Weibo, is also considered. Higher quality content can lead to winning bids at lower prices.
Advertisers set a maximum bid amount, and bids are placed automatically. It’s essential to set a daily budget, which, when reached, causes Weibo to halt all advertising for that day. You can opt for the ‘bid suggestion’ feature in the backend settings to align the campaign to your Weibo marketing strategy.
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Weibo For Your Advertising Campaigns
1. Access to a Diverse & Much Larger Target Audience
Demographics is one of the considerations when crafting a Weibo marketing strategy. As of recent reports, this social media platform garnered 605 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 260 million daily active users (DAUs).
Around 95% of these Weibo users browse the platform through mobile phones. On top of that, this extensive and highly engaged user base provides a rich ground for foreign brands to connect with a diverse and massive audience.
You’ll also notice that Weibo’s user base is noticeably younger, with approximately 76% of users below 30. Like it or not, this demographic is crucial for brands aiming to connect with younger consumers. They are also often trendsetters and early adopters of new products and services.
Engaging with these Chinese customers can be particularly beneficial for companies seeking long-term customer loyalty and brand reputation.
Age distribution of Weibo users in the Chinese market 2022 (Source: Statista)
2. Effective Use of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
Weibo is an ideal platform for leveraging influencer marketing. With the strong influence of KOLs, international brands can effectively use these influencers to gain trust and credibility among Chinese audiences.
KOLs can communicate brand messages through various formats like sponsored content and honest product reviews, resonating with an audience that values authentic experiences.
3. Wide Range of System Campaigns & Advertising Formats
As mentioned, Weibo provides targeted campaigns like news feed ad, fan headline, fan tunnel, and more, each serving different online marketing purposes. Apart from these options, advertisers can opt to launch system campaigns like Lucky Roulette and Flash Sales, which are more effective in engaging users and promoting products.
This Chinese social media platform also facilitates a content collection campaign that leverages user-generated content. You can utilize UGC to amplify your marketing strategy and build trust around a new brand in the China market.
Weibo system campaign menu
4. Advanced Analytics and Trend Insights
Once you launch your paid advertising posts on Weibo, you can access the platform’s built-in Data Center to view post insights and real-time account data. It also includes the trending topics brands must watch out for to maintain relevance and credibility in their industry.
Through this data-driven approach, new marketers can make informed decisions and optimize their content and advertising strategies according to their audience’s behavior and needs.
Best Weibo Advertising Strategy For Foreign Brands
● Free Trial Campaign
Offering free trials or samples is a strategic approach to gaining consumer trust and engagement. In a market that highly values product quality, integrating free samples as a reward for social media engagement allows consumers to experience new products firsthand.
This strategy also opens up opportunities for gathering reviews and feedback, which are essential for understanding the local market’s needs and preferences.
SDG’s Work with Lil-Lets: Weibo Lucky Draw Campaign
● Flash Sales Campaign
Flash Sales are particularly effective for e-commerce and O2O (Online-to-Offline) businesses. They create a sense of urgency, encouraging users to make quick purchasing decisions.
These campaigns can generate buzz and drive significant traffic, especially when the mechanics are kept simple with a short event duration.
● Live-streaming Tools
Utilizing Weibo’s live-streaming tools can be highly influential. This feature enables real-time interaction with subscribers and appeals to Gen Z consumers. You can utilize this feature to launch product demonstrations, events, or engaging content depending on your advertising goals.
● Social Search Optimization
With Weibo’s posts being indexed by local search engines like Baidu, optimizing your content for search engines can significantly boost visibility. Using industry-related keywords and terms can help your content rank higher and attract more traffic.
How To Open An Account On Sina Weibo
Opening an account on Weibo, especially for foreign businesses, involves a strict process that ensures compliance with the platform’s requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the steps for your reference:
● Businesses Registered in China
For businesses registered in China, the first step is to gather all necessary documentation, including the business license and all related information. Scanned copies of the business license and any additional certificates are also required.
Businesses must write a short introduction in Chinese and provide contact details. The registration process involves going to Weibo’s official sign-up page (www.weibo.com/signup/signup.php), choosing ‘Official registration’, and submitting the documents for verification.
The verification typically takes around five working days, and maintaining an official account costs 300RMB annually.
● Businesses Registered Outside of China
Businesses not registered in China face a more complex registration process with a higher fee, usually between $800 and $1,200.
The necessary documents include business registration and license, application and authorization letters, a purchase order form, a business representative’s business card, an official website URL, a detailed introduction of the business’s products or services, and contact information.
After submission, the verification takes about six weeks. It is recommended to contact Weibo directly during this stage or to utilize a third-party service to ensure all requirements are met.
● VIP Accounts
Businesses can upgrade to a VIP account for an additional fee of $17 per month. This type of account provides several benefits, such as the ability to pin a post at the top of the account page, change the cover image, and edit posts after publication.
● Advertising Access
Once the account is set up and verified, businesses can access all advertising features through Weibo’s back-end.
It involves logging into the account, navigating to the account settings, and locating the advertising section. There are also dedicated portals, such as tui.weibo.com and developers.biz.weibo.com, for those seeking more design, function, and customization.
What is the best time to post on Weibo?
The optimal time to post on Weibo is between 6 PM and 11 PM. While some research indicates a high volume of business posts between 2 PM and 3 PM, these hours typically show lower engagement as many users are at work and less able to check their phones. Therefore, when users are more likely to be free and active on their devices, posting in the evening can result in better engagement for your content.
How do I get more followers on Sina Weibo?
To gain more followers on Sina Weibo, you can utilize KOL collaborations with online personalities who have a large follower base. You can also take advantage of Weibo advertising options like display advertisements and search engine promotion or launch online campaigns with incentives for participation.
Is Weibo still popular in China?
Moreover, Weibo appeals mainly to the younger demographic, with its popularity being more significant among people under 30.
Your Trusted Weibo Advertising Partner in the Chinese Market!
With its massive user base, diverse audience, and dynamic engagement features, Weibo stands as a crucial advertising platform for brand visibility and consumer engagement. However, launching promotional campaigns on this app requires more than a creative flair.
This gap in understanding the local nuances and consumer habits in China can affect the effectiveness of marketing strategies on Weibo.
Sekkei Digital Group can help you raise the right questions, scope your needs, define your KPIs and adopt the right Weibo advertising approach to achieve the desired results. Contact us today, and let’s start working together!