The best ways to master Baidu PPC for B2B marketing

For Western B2B businesses looking to market their brands in China, digital channels are an obvious primary route for reaching this huge, increasingly sophisticated and connected audience. Baidu is the equivalent of Google in China, with around 70 per cent of the internet search market. It also offers a hugely powerful PPC platform for Western B2B businesses and will be a priority for any successful Chinese marketing campaign. In fact, master Baidu PPC for B2B marketing and you will deliver your conversions and digital goals – with your overall sales growing as a result.

Key things to know about Baidu

As well as being China’s biggest search engine, Baidu operates a range of hugely successful digital platforms, including Baidu Music, Baidu Space (social networking), Baidu Yi (OS), Baidu Games, Baidu Maps and even Qunar, which is its own booking service. When you consider that its name translates into English as ‘countless’, its power and scope really does hit home.

The power of Baidu PPC advertising

For Western businesses, Baidu’s primary attraction lies in its online advertising reach. Baidu PPC for B2B marketing has a potential total audience of 600 million users with advanced options for targeting, segmentation and campaign management. It’s important to note however that more than 650,000 companies already pay to use Baidu PPC for B2B marketing campaigns, so Western businesses looking to maximise their budget, conversions and ROI need to be as strategic as possible in order to stand out from the crowd.

How to succeed with Baidu PPC

There are various steps to consider and each approach will depend on the business and its unique features. However, all businesses wanting to succeed with Baidu PPC for B2B marketing must:

Set up a Baidu PPC account

For Western businesses, a fairly drawn out administrative process is in place. For example, you must submit a copy of your business licence (a government-issued company registration certificate), a link to a valid government website where company information can be viewed and a copy of financial documentation alongside other administrative documents if required. To speed things up, avoid errors and genuinely avoid wasting precious time and a limited marketing budget, many Western B2B businesses prefer to use the services of a specialist Chinese marketing agency to manage the process for them.

Prepare your Chinese website

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it! If you want to succeed at Chinese marketing, then it’s vital to optimise your website for your target Chinese audience. Ideally, for Western B2B brands, this will usually mean creating a standalone Chinese website or digital platform with content that corresponds to the target reader’s interests and which provides genuine, localised value. If this isn’t feasible, then a quality translation option must be provided – and in simplified Chinese, which Baidu’s algorithm prefers. There is no point in investing heavily in Baidu PPC if your landing pages are not optimised for your traffic. With this in mind, Chinese B2B customer journeys must also be assessed – ideally with market testing – and refined before the launch of your online advertising campaign with Baidu. And don’t forget the rise of Chinese mobile payments either! Chinese people are rapidly embracing mobile payment systems, and Western businesses may want to integrate an appropriate platform to facilitate sales.

Arrange local hosting

The Chinese website is recommended to be hosted within mainland China if you have a Chinese business licence. If you don’t, it isis recommended to get the Chinese website hosted in Hong Kong to ensure that it performs well. Chinese customers have high expectations when it comes to user experience, so a fast loading speed is vital. By way of example, imagine if your UK hosted website took more than 10 seconds to load in China. Exactly how many Chinese customers would you expect to have the patience needed to wait for your site to open after clicking on your Baidu advert? Very few!

Remember to optimise for mobile

Baidu’s primary means of access is still a desktop computer – but mobile searches are now getting more and more traffic. With this in mind, you must optimise your campaign landing pages and website so that they operate faultlessly across mobile browsers and operating systems.

Plan your keywords

It’s easy to lose sight of the basics when dealing with the complexities of modern Chinese search marketing! Western B2B brands will need a carefully planned keyword research plan that will allow their website to be found for relevant searches. The competitive nature of Baidu also means that a high degree of knowledge and strategy should be applied here, to find keywords that are likely to rank you favourably, without putting your brand (and budget!) immediately up against bigger players. It’s also good practice to place your most important keywords at the start of your content pieces to assist Baidu’s search bots with their rankings. Don’t forget those meta and image tags either; Baidu still relies on them for accurate SERP ranking.

Get your content right

The Chinese business audience differs from Western business audiences in many ways – including values, practices, traditions, customs and so forth. What a Western business reader might find engaging, may not work immediately with a Chinese business reader. Again, localised and expert Chinese marketing insight will ensure that your content hits the mark and results in the desired conversions.

Target, target, target!

With such a vast user base on Baidu (and with 10 per cent of searches relating to commodity prices, a healthy proportion of these will be B2B users), it’s vital to accurately segment your target audience. This can be a complex task and will benefit from in-depth market knowledge.

Watch out for pitfalls

Advanced knowledge of how Baidu works is essential to stay ahead of the game. For example, although you can promote an English website or landing page on Baidu, it isn’t recommended that you do so. Why? Because the bounce rate will be extremely high. Your campaign performance will be far better if you promote a Chinese website or landing page.

Evidence your results

Get your strategy and execution right for your Chinese B2B advertising campaign on Baidu and you will see positive results. The platform offers its own analytics platform, called Baidu Tongji (Baidu Analytics). This allows PPC customers to measure progress and goals and to manage their campaigns online, adjusting them where required to optimise results. However, this feature is only available in Mandarin. Consequently, many Western businesses use a Chinese marketing agency to manage their Baidu Tuiguang (PPC advertising) and Baidu Tongji analytics programme as one continuous service package.

Here to help your business succeed

Ready to incorporate Baidu PPC into your B2B marketing strategy? Contact the experts at Market Me China today, and see the results that you want, faster. Our team of Chinese marketing experts work with Western companies of all sizes and across all industries to provide the insight, skills and knowledge required to master Baidu PPC for B2B marketing and other on and offline channels. Whatever your marketing objectives, we can support you to achieve them, with analytics to evidence your conversions and ROI. Contact us today for a no obligation chat about your needs and we will be delighted to assist.