If you are trying to expand globally, you should pay close attention to the Chinese market. China has the most Internet users with 731 million. While the opportunities for digital marketing are bigger than almost anywhere in the world, it remains an elusive target for many global brands.
Chinese Internet users have very different and country-specific habits, particularly in how they navigate online. Baidu is the main search engine in China, accounting for over three quarters of search engine revenue, followed by Google China with only 10%, and Sogou with 8%.
Baidu grants you access to around 555 million users, while Google China will only reach around 75 million users. This dominance makes a well-planned strategy for Baidu an essential part of a global brand’s success in the Chinese market.
A Different Landscape Online
The Chinese market is a complex one to crack, in part due to “The Great Firewall of China”. China heavily regulates content on the Internet; 2 million people are employed to censor and monitor what is and isn’t accessible.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are “China-proofed” before they can be open to the public. Consequently, China has its own version of social media and websites that are deemed acceptable for public use. Incoming companies must go through a great deal of red tape in order to be seen on the Chinese Internet.
Baidu is a search engine, and therefore the primary way to be successful on Baidu is to purchase large, expensive ads. Brands like Mercedes-Benz, Sephora and Hennessey have seen great success with huge, hard-to-miss ads on Baidu.
But, before you can advertise on Baidu, you must go through the certification process. To properly prepare for Baidu certification, be sure to:
- Translate all business certificates into Chinese Simplified
- Take note of all company information on all government websites
- Include an official company seal on all documents (these are extremely valuable in China)
- Localize your website for the Chinese consumer
Running a Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign on Baidu
To successfully run a PPC Campaign on Baidu, you should know these key terms and platforms of Baidu:
- Baidu Verification: This verification puts a symbol on your ads to let Internet users know that your website is credible.
- Baidu Tongji: This is Baidu’s analytics platform. It allows companies to track each individual user’s navigation of the company website and much more.
- Baidu Tuiguang: This is Baidu’s pay per click program.
- Baidu Wangmeng: This is Baidu’s display network.
Can Baidu Rise To The Top?
Baidu has an aggressive expansion plan, with a goal of acquiring 50% of the world’s market by 2020. And they may be successful. After all, they already have the largest and most difficult market in their pocket.
To achieve their ambitious goals, Baidu is currently building what is projected to be the world’s largest and most powerful computer cluster or Artificial Intelligence (AI). If successful, it will be 100 times more powerful than Google Brain (Google’s AI). Andrew Ng, who founded Google Brain, is assisting Baidu in the making of its AI.
Despite difficulties entering Japan in 2015 Baidu is still working on its global expansion plan, with an eye towards Southeast Asia, South America, and Arabic-speaking regions.
Baidu is a site to look out for. Currently, it’s the gateway to Chinese Internet users, but it could soon be a more global player. Google is the dominant force in the international market for now. But if all goes as planned with Baidu, it could soon give Google a run for its money.