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Digital Marketing 101 in China: Influencer Marketing and Baidu Marketing (Part 3/3)

5 min read

A good marketing campaign is often considered the key to success in China. However the marketing tools used in China can be very different to the tools used elsewhere in the world.

In this 3 part series we'll be covering industry secrets and best practices in digital marketing to help your business make a name for itself in China.

5. Influencer Marketing

  • What it's about

Word of mouth is considered reliable in China and internet users look up to Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and influencers to offer them opinions and advice on products and services. Although there are meetups, meetings and networking events to get in touch with industry experts, influencer marketing is still more prevalent on social media.

In his book, ‘The Tipping Point’, Malcolm Gladwell defines influencers as people who are experts in their field and can provide valuable insights on topics. An influencer’s reach is not limited to their number of followers. Instead influencers are often driven by credibility and the relationship the influencer shares with their followers.

For digital marketers, using an influencer to help market their product is an opportunity to not only directly connect with their consumers, it also paves the way for a higher rate of responsive customer feedback and customer interaction with the product.

  • Who Are The Popular Influencers?

Currently, this form of marketing is being used by the Lifestlye industry and is still in its nascent stage. A notable influencer is Li Yunchun who won a singing reality show ‘Supergirls’ and was roped in by fashion brand Givenchy as an influencer. Yunchun has around 3.6 million followers and an engagement rate of approximately 20,000 on each of her social media posts. Alternatively, actress Fan Bing Bing has over 50 endorsement deals.

However, brands are shifting to a new influencer marketing model wherein KOLs with more reach as far as impact is considered are being approached by brands.

  • Key Metrics For Choosing Influencers
  • Online Consumer Behaviour: Your marketing analyst can provide you with information on online consumer behaviours and preferences which will help to decide which online influencers suit you best depending on which market the influencer is most close to.
  • Deciding Factor: Part of the selection process companies go through when deciding which influencer to bring on board involves looking at how they communicate their social presence and brand value. How they view the overall industry and what kind of message they send across to consumers also plays a vital role in deciding influencers.
  • Tools To Use
  • Gentlemen Marketing Agency For KOL/Influencer strategy
  • Alarice For KOl marketing

6. Baidu Marketing

  • Ways To Do Baidu Marketing

Baidu has a major market size in terms of search engine in mainland China. 88.5% of internet users opt for Baidu for searching content of all types from texts to videos, ads as well as educational documents, and research papers amongst others. Baidu’s, Search Engine Results Page (SERP) had 65% of market share in 2015 in China. Although it is often called the Chinese counterpart of Google, there are specific differences.

Baidu is a monolith in the Chinese Internet but most importantly, Baidu can be used as a powerful marketing tool in China. Baidu has three types of digital marketing options: Search-Engine Optimization (SEO), Search-Engine Advertising or “Pay-Per-Click” (PPC), and Display Advertising.

  • SEO Tools In Baidu Marketing

SEO and PPC dominate the marketing strategy in Baidu whilst display advertising is usually used to boost search advertising performance.

It takes up to two weeks for the opening process of Baidu PPC. You may have to apply for a Chinese ICP license and host a website depending on your business. (For coordinating web caches ICP protocol is used. A web cache (or HTTP cache) is for temporary storage (caching) of web documents, such as HTML pages and images, to reduce bandwidth usage, server load, and perceived lag).

There are specific keywords of products which are used in SEO marketing to increase reach and visibility. SEO is considered to be more cost effective than PPC.

In terms of value for money SEO will often get more results than PPC given the same budget. SEO also costs less than PPC, however due to Baidu publishing its own content (such as Baidu News, Zhidao, etc) on the search page, SEO results may vary depending on the quality and content. SEO keeps the marketing campaign results for a long duration as compared to PPC, and Baidu also allows results to remain in it even after the SEO campaign is over.

In PPC ads stop once the PPC campaign is over. Unfortunately, for those who choose one format and get cold feet, it is difficult to change strategy from PPC to SEO. If there is more traffic for PPC instead of SEO, the cost of Baidu SEO marketing will go down and vice versa.

  • PPC Tools in Baidu Marketing

The performance of PPC usually exceeds other forms of digital marketing, because ads are shown to the right people at the right time. When a user makes a particular search, they are shown text ads from the companies with winning bids. Companies are charged when their ad is clicked. It is crucial to have a presence on Baidu -- companies not visible on Baidu might not be considered by the Chinese Internet users as credible.

Example of ads displayed on Baidu’s search results page.

  • Baidu Advertisement Indexing

Advertisements and websites indexed by Baidu will require to have an account in (simplified) mandarin. Baidu also requires a digital copy of your business registration certificate issued in your country. Advertisers have to deposit around 6500 RMB out of which 1500 RMB Baidu keeps as a setup fee and the rest is credited to the advertiser's account.

To get your website indexed by Baidu organically, it’s best to have Chinese-language content on your website, then get some links from other sites indexed by Baidu. URL submissions or other methods can be enhanced with Baidu’s webmaster tools platform (Chinese-language only).

  • Other Benefits of Marketing with Baidu
  • On the main column organic search results (without boost) are placed after ads. Up to 20 Chinese characters or 40 English characters are allowed in the Ad headline and the description text limit is up to to 100 Chinese characters or 200 English characters.
  • Baidu also accepts websites that are .coms or have a high visibility rate. Using the proper keywords in your page title and content is very important. Backlinks too, are highly important. Compared to Google, Baidu tends to place even more emphasis on fresh content, and on the homepage.
  • Baidu has a ‘Money Plant’ algorithm similar to Google’s ‘Penguin’ for link building & citations campaign to boost visibility.
  • Baidu marketing is also active on mobile, mandarin language content by adding few links from other sites indexed by Baidu will help your SEO.
  • On Baidu, social media linking is also used frequently for marketing purposes. There are ‘blacklisted’ words which should be avoided on Baidu as your site can be disallowed to function. HTML links are preferred as the content in Javascript format is not indexed.
  • Baidu also helps with transcoding of non-mobile website to help them loading faster. Because your content is hosted on Baidu’s servers, the process of transcoding is automatic.
  • A domain credibility system is used by Baidu that shows a level of trust on domains in their SERP snippet and ranking factor.
  • Baidu has a range of features and sites can apply for open widgets, submit their business address to allow their location to show up, create a page on Baike, purchase ‘brand zone’ Ads.
  • Baidu also does not favour duplicate content, a site with duplicate content may take more time to rebuild rankings. Measures are taking place to weed out content scrapping (duplication of website content through copy & paste, or picking duplicate content while running a program).
  • Tools To Use
  • Pacific Link- Website Analytics
  • Alarice-Raise Brand Awareness
  • Baidu has Tuiguang  keyword tool as well as Feng Yun Bang (Trends) to find out metrics on locations, search terms and target topics. 


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