4 ways to succeed in marketing to Chinese online shopper audiences with Baidu PPC

For Western e-commerce businesses ready to sell their products to the Chinese market, mastery of Chinese digital channels is essential for success. Marketing overseas to Chinese online shopper audiences requires in-depth knowledge and a high degree of expertise to see measurable ROI, and Google, Facebook and Twitter simply aren’t available in China. With Chinese social media being highly advanced and sophisticated, Baidu PPC is a core marketing channel that must be factored into a comprehensive e-commerce sales and marketing plan in China.

What should Western e-commerce businesses know about Baidu PPC?

To market effectively to Chinese online shoppers, Western e-commerce brands must position their product offerings within their target market’s digital spaces of choice. Western brands without a close familiarity with Chinese marketing can struggle when the potential market is so large, diverse and regionalised: this is where a specialist Chinese marketing agency can help. This is particularly the case when seeking to master Baidu PPC. Here are some key facts:

– Baidu is vast and effectively the Chinese equivalent to Google, fulfilling a largely similar function.
– Baidu holds around 70 percent of China’s search engine market and offers Q&A, wikipedia, music, games, bookings and other services alongside its core search facility.
– Baidu has an audience of more than 600 million users and 650,000 paying business customers who use its advertising function.
– Baidu offers analytics tool for online campaigns, but its code is largely incompatible with Google Analytics. Baidu’s own version – Baidu Tongji – does offer comparable functionality, but only in Mandarin. It is integrated with Baidu PPC (Tuiguang) and, for a fee, offers upgraded features for richer analysis.
– Baidu’s primary market is still desktop, but 30 percent of the platform’s PPC revenue is now from mobile searches. Western brands must therefore ensure that their advertising campaigns in China are optimised for mobile.
– Content searches are familiar, but 10 percent are linked to commodity price searches, which reflects a high business user base. This should be of particular interest to B2B Western e-commerce brands when it comes to placing and targeting PPC adverts.

How can Western e-commerce businesses master Baidu PPC?

Effective marketing to Chinese online shopper audiences requires a carefully conceived strategy backed up with excellent tactical delivery. To get to grips with Baidu PPC, Western e-commerce brands must prioritise these four things:

1. Understand Chinese cross-border online shoppers

Marketing to Chinese online shoppers means developing a deep understanding of their values, wants and needs – bearing in mind that the country now has the largest middle-class population in the world. But with a population of over 1.37 billion people, it is vital to recognise that there are multiple means of segmenting Chinese buyer audiences to truly understand diverse buyer persona groups and to be able to position marketing messages and products effectively.

Again, this degree of local knowledge is hard-earned and requires a deep understanding of regionalism, language differences, Chinese values, economic factors, cultural differences, politics and the other contextual elements that comprise this rapidly-growing, sophisticated and heavily digitised economic power. Equally, Western marketers must understand that Chinese online buyers respond to different kinds of marketing than their Western counterparts. Examples of this include the use of KOLs and the popularity of short videos.

2. Build a dedicated Chinese website and landing page(s) for Baidu PPC campaigns

A successful Baidu PPC campaign relies on a strong Chinese optimised website. Some Western brands make the mistake of simply translating their existing English website content into Mandarin Chinese, but this simply will not work when it comes to engaging and resonating with Chinese online buyers. Chinese online shoppers are engaged by targeted brand stories and unique experiences. Context is also key for this audience, and regular, engaging and high-quality content needs to be used, fun and entertaining.

Don’t forget mobile either. China has 753 million online users by Dec 2017 and 97.5% of these users access the internet via mobile devices (Source: China Internet Network Information Center, Jan 2018)

3. Baidu PPC account setup

Unfortunately, it is undeniably more complicated to set up a Baidu PPC account as a Western business than it is to create the equivalent on Google. The Chinese government recently tightened up its online advertising regulations and Baidu followed suit. The application process includes submitting legal documentation for Baidu’s review and approval, carrying out a local government official website search, providing a financial proof and making the relevant payment. A Chinese marketing agency can vastly smooth out the process for you and prevent delays by applying local knowledge and translation.

4. Run Baidu PPC campaigns to drive traffic and generate sales

Remember that your adverts should be in Mandarin Chinese as Baidu is designed to target Chinese online shoppers. You can, in theory, use English language adverts, but the resulting bounce rate is likely to be very high. Remember too that, although your Chinese language website doesn’t need to be hosted in China, it must be possible to open in China and load quickly. A slow-loading website can negatively impact your campaign. It is also valuable to have your adverts and websites user-tested by Chinese consumers to gain valuable user feedback pre-launch.

Find out more

Market Me China offers Western brands access to the local expertise, skill sets and knowledge needed to succeed in Chinese marketing. Our team of marketing specialists have rich expertise in Baidu PPC and other on and offline channels, and can help Western brands to craft effective marketing strategies that deliver the conversions that they need without delay or wasted resources.

Contact us for a no obligation chat about how we can help your brand reach attractive new Chinese audiences. Whether you wish to take your e-commerce brand into the Chinese market for the first time, or already have a presence which you wish to extend, strengthen or reposition, we offer the specialist and flexible support that you need for measurable results.