9 Reasons To Use Baidu for SEM in China

I’ll be the first to admit it: I never thought Baidu would amount to anything. I thought it existed purely because Google left China back in 2010. But here we are in today – and Baidu has become a giant success with revenue around 3 billion in Q1 of 2015 alone. Does this mean that Baidu is going to challenge Google for search engine dominance any time soon? Not a chance. But it does mean that Baidu is an extremely strong platform for companies who want to connect with the growing Chinese market online. Here are 9 reasons to use Baidu for SEM in China:

1. Baidu Has 70% Market Share in China

According to China Internet Watch, Baidu has over 70% market share in China. Baidu does have competitors, but it’s safe to consider Baidu in the same way we consider Google: it is ubiquitous. When approaching the Chinese market, it makes sense to use the platform that everybody else is using, at least initially. Let’s put it this way, how many companies are running SEM advertising on Yahoo or Bing compared to Google? It’s the same situation for Baidu in China. Skip the rest.

Baidu for SEM because they have 70% market share

I feel confident in Baidu’s market share.

2. Baidu Reaches Over 700 Million Users

Forbes.com has said that China’s Internet users surpasses 700 million. It’s clear that China’s Internet is one of the fastest growing in the world. To put that in perspective, that’s more than double the entire population of the United States. Of course, we know that the population of China is still growing and if China reaches the same 85% saturation point that was reached in North America, that means there will soon be 1.2 billion Internet users in China.

3. 90% of China Uses Baidu

Based on this DMR report, Baidu dominates the search engine market in China. Let’s put it this way, Baidu is to China what Google is to the rest of the world. Imagine Google’s competitor, Yahoo, except take away from it the valuable sites that they own and operate, like Yahoo answers, Yahoo Finance, Flickr, and Tumblr. That is the competition to Baidu in China. What’s more, Baidu operates successful Chinese versions of almost all Google platforms you are familiar with.

Baidu for SEM because market saturation

I bet you thought Google had pretty good market position.

4. 600k+ Webpages Host Baidu Display Ads

E-consultancy.com has said that Baidu display ads are seen on 600k+ websites. On the Baidu Adwords platform, you can also run your PPC campaigns to run alongside the content of over 600,000 web-pages in China. While this isn’t exactly a one-to-one connection in the same way that SEM products are, for the right kind of product this advertising could really work well. For instance, clothing or cosmetics products could be placed well on a fashion blog.

5. Chinese Consumers Don’t Mind Online Ads

I know right. It sounds unbelievable but the landscape is very different in China as stated by Mobileadvertisingwatch.com. Although a significant number of people in the west ignore online advertisements regularly, reports indicate that Chinese consumers feel differently. In fact, 47 percent of Chinese consumers don’t mind be targeted daily for online advertising. That contrasts markedly with consumers in the UK (52 percent) and U.S. (56 percent) who prefer no targeted marketing at all. A market that actually welcomes advertising? Something to consider at least.

Baidu for SEM because Chinese consumers don't mind ads

Apparently Chinese consumers match this level of enthusiasm for advertising.

6. Chinese Users Even React Well to Ads

Clickz.com has come out with an interesting report that says Chinese Internet users actually react well to online ads. Most of us in the west can’t stand advertisements online. Although Google ads have improved dramatically in recent years, the spam-like appearance of a page with too many ads has forced many of us to completely avoid offending websites. While westerners have a tendency to be suspicious of anything that is paid for, the reverse is true in China – they believe that if brands are willing to pay, they must have something worth checking out.

7. There Are 6 Billion Search Queries on Baidu Per Day

People are searching in China in a serious way, according to this Nielson report. With over 6 billion queries per day on  Baidu, you can be sure that Chinese consumers are spending money online. In fact, according to a report by Nielson, they spend money on nearly everything: body wash (48%), toothpaste (42%), paper towels (37%), shampoo (37%) and laundry detergent (36%) are the top 5 most cited items which Chinese people buy online.

Baidu for SEM because 6 billion search queries

6 billion search queries per day? Pretty good.

8. Baidu is Ranked 4th Overall By Alexa

We can safely say that the west dominates the global Internet in every aspect from design to engineering. But even though we might scoff at imposters from time to time, we can’t argue with the numbers. In China, Baidu has the top ranked website, ranked 4th in the world over-all by Alexa. That’s a pretty big deal when you consider that nobody from the world outside China is using Baidu. What it lacks in innovation, it makes up for in popularity.

9. Baidu Has The Largest Reach of Any Medium

According to this report from Group M, Baidu trumps all other advertising mediums in China today. If ad spending statistics are any indication, and they are, then online advertising clearly has the largest reach in China. Internet ad spending in China had surpassed television spending for the first time by 2015, and it’s forecasted to take up 49.7% of the total ad spending in the near future. Specifically, mobile ads are expected to take center stage as smart phones move quickly to become the most used devices in China.

Baidu for SEM because it's got better reach than other mediums

That’s good because nobody in China is buying anything but online advertising.

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Kevin Li

Kevin Li

Project Manager at Richway New Media Technology
Kevin is a self confessed digital marketing geek who gives western companies visibility in China using platforms like Baidu, WeChat and many others.
Kevin Li
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