Search Engine Advertising in China Starts With Knowing the Market
Search engine advertising is an effective way to boost website traffic and generate leads – and, when done correctly, many have found it is the most effective way. Knowing the market well is the key to start a successful search engine advertising campaign. This is as true in the U.S. as it is in China. However, the tools used to execute search engine campaigns are different.
In China, Baidu search engine has Baidu Phoenix Nest Promotion, a paid advertising platform similar to Google Adwords. It includes search networks, display networks, and mobile DSP networks.
We will particularly talk about text search advertising today and discuss how to use some of the Phoenix Nest functions to optimize your search engine advertising for the China market.
As with Adwords, marketers using Baidu need to understand their target audience and industry, then build the account with clear account structure, well-organized keyword groups, and relevant ad creatives and landing pages. More so than AdWords, to pursue better Baidu search engine ad performance, marketers need to have deep insights and wide knowledge of the China market and integrate that information with a strong understanding of the target audience and platform. Let’s consider four ways Baidu Phoenix Nest allows for greater insights, strong targeting, and optimization solutions.
There are three types of location targeting available in Baidu Phoenix Nest. They can be used within a particular account or specific campaign.
China has been developing very fast in the past 30 years, and many cities have experienced unexpected economic growth. As the map shows, there are 33 providences in China and more than 600 cities. An understanding of these geographic categories and specific traits is essential to search engine advertising. B2B digital marketers need to leverage that knowledge to set accurate location targeting in their Baidu search engine campaigns.
A typical classification is the “tier system,” which has categorized the cities into 5 tiers. Different city tiers imply different consumer behaviors, income levels, and business opportunities. Tier 1 represents the most developed areas with the most affluent and sophisticated consumers. Tier 2 and 3 cities become increasingly attractive to the investors because the economy is growing there, while Tier 4 and 5 are less-developed small cities.
Another classification is coastal regions and inland/westwards. Typically, the cities/providences in the coastal regions are developed areas and inland cities are less developed.
Both classifications help marketers know where their target customers are and how to reach them. Compared to the Adwords location targeting, Baidu search engine advertising requires more thorough and strategic thinking when creating an account or adjusting campaign settings.
For example, most of the industrial or manufacturing companies are located in the coastal regions, and advanced technologies companies are located in tier 1 and 2 cities. With a deep understanding of the China market and where the majority of potential customers are located, marketers can better control their budget.
Region Radius Positioning
The second type of location targeting is Region Radius Positioning. It allows marketers to select a particular location on a map and establishes a radius of 5 to 50 kilometers. It is an excellent tool for companies interested in local search. Also, if marketers know potential prospects, they can even put in the prospect’s business address as the targeted location and deliver relevant campaigns to them.
Both of these location targeting methods allow marketers to set the bid adjustment with a ratio of 1 to 10 in order to increase the bids for a particular location. Meanwhile, while the campaigns are running, marketers can track the data and generate a geographic report, and then optimize accordingly.
Local Store Targeting
The third type of location targeting is more focused on local stores, like retail and restaurants, which is not very relevant to B2B marketing.
Most B2B marketers are very familiar with Adwords Scheduling. Baidu Phoenix Nest has a similar function that allows users to set targeted dates and times to run campaigns. For U.S. campaigns running in Adwords, three time zones need to be considered in campaign settings. Normally, B2B marketers start by scheduling a campaign from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time and then optimize based on results. However, there are different considerations in China and Baidu PPC scheduling. Although China is a country with vast territory, people across the country only use one time – Beijing Time.
Normally, people go to work from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. For campaigns with a limited budget, marketers can set the campaign to run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. without consideration of time zone.
In many cases, B2B marketers set campaigns to run on weekdays. However, some Chinese companies also work on the weekends, and, in many cases, there are leads coming in on the weekends with a lower CPL and visits with a longer page visit time and lower bounce rate. All of these metrics indicate a targeted audience is visiting the site. To capture these customers, we often suggest continuing branded campaigns seven days a week and running the other campaigns with a smaller budget.
Because Baidu does not have a function to set bid adjustments in the scheduling interface (Adwords does), a manual operation is needed to change the budget for the weekend. Normally, marketers could lower the budget on Friday afternoon, and increase it back to normal on Monday morning.
In September 2016, Baidu released a new setting function called people targeting. It helps identify search engine users’ interests and search behavior and then generates more clicks and qualified conversions by presenting the most relevant ads to those target people.
It covers 21 interests, including business service, travel, manufacturing/device, e-commerce, finance, etc. If a company’s targeted audience includes any of the above interests, marketers can set a targeted interest to engage them. In addition, marketers can target people who have been exposed to your competitors’ ads in advance through this setting. Marketers can customize the bids for both types of people targeting using a ratio of 1-10.
In China, people prefer direct and effective communication. While form submissions are common practice for lead generation in the U.S., leads as calls and QQ instant chat are more effective to the Chinese people. B2B marketers can include a phone number and QQ number in the ad creative or on landing pages to signal to potential customers that they can contact your business directly. Other options include using a call-extension to simplify the dial process for mobile users or inserting QQ tools onto the business site.
The data can be more accurate by using call-tracking third-party tools. But even if marketers don’t have that type of technical support, they can design an easy-read report to record each phone call and QQ. Then, you can ask the sales team to follow up.