Advertising in the Middle Kingdom: Google vs Baidu

google vs baiduDespite Google’s stranglehold on being the largest search engine in the World, China is another conversation altogether. What a surprising number of people still fail to recognize is that after being censored in 2010 in China, local search engines have dominated the market to the point of rendering Google a non-factor there.

Baidu continues its reign at the top with an estimated 76% of the market as of March 2017 according to StatCounter (we did not separate for mobile vs desktop). Shenma (translated to English meaning ‘what?’) comes in at 8.8%, and Haosou (pronounced ‘how so’) at 7.9%, and Sogou (pronounced ‘so go’) in at 3.3%. Where’s Google you ask? Sitting at a paltry 1.8% of the market. So, if you’re going to start advertising on the web in China, you’re going to need to get educated on how an engine like Baidu differs from West’s giant Google.

Baidu Advertising

As the search engine market leader, Baidu generates almost 99% of its revenue from web advertising. Baidu displays its advertisements through its own websites as well as affiliates. Companies can advertise using P4P and PPC. P4P (Pay For Placement) offers premium ad placements to increase view rates vs the more commonly known PPC (Pay Per Click) in the West. Companies will pay Baidu to display their advertisements when the specific keywords are searched.

Google Advertising

Google, on the other hand, generates its income from a variety of sources. A large chunk of the revenue comes from YouTube Video Technology and Android Systems, as well as revenue generated from web advertising using AdWords and AdSense. AdWords is an online advertising service where companies pay to display their advertisements once the specific keywords are searched. AdSense is an advertising placement service where companies pay to display their advertisements on different websites or other resources on Google.

Baidu and Google paid advertising services are very different. Baidu differs greatly when it comes to web advertising management from a company’s perspective. In order to set up a Baidu PPC account, an organization will need to pay 6000 RMB ($900 USD) and acquire an lCP license.

Also, Baidu has an ad format called the “Brand Zone”, which works on a cost per time model; it allows advertisers to purchase keywords related to brands or products (trademark) – and own the SERPs for those terms. It is an expensive option, but allows brands to dominate the search results with an array of different media, as well as coverage on Baidu’s video, image, and news platforms. On Google’s side, an ad may not be that catching compared to Baidu in terms of the rich media site links; however, Google has a healthier balance between Paid Search and Organic Search.

Beijing-based Web Presence In China (WPIC) is an independent, full service digital marketing and IT development agency. WPIC helps businesses setup and manage Baidu advertising. Having over 13 years of on the ground experience in the China digital sector, the firm has worked with over 300 global companies and leads a team of 120 people between their global offices. WPIC supports China and the greater APAC region in digital and IT solutions.