What You Need to Know About Advertising on Baidu in English?

Baidu is China’s foremost search engine, and, as such, it plays a decisive role in how well your business might fare in the country. Since the Chinese government has banned foreign search engines, you can only hope to reach the million-plus internet users in China through Baidu and its regional competitors such as Shenma and Haosu. Of these, Baidu has a nearly 95% control of the Chinese search marketing space. Moreover, Baidu has been actively working to help overcome the language barriers that stump most foreign companies wishing to expand their business operations in China.

In 2013, Baidu announced its decision to launch an English language version of its PPC management platform, Baidu Tuiguang. With this step, they have attempted to make search engine marketing in China more convenient for foreign-based companies. While the majority of Chinese prefer to use their own language online, a growing number of people in the country do understand and speak English. A new company, without the budget for developing Chinese language content, can get a start by advertising on Baidu in English and targeting these people.

If you’ve decided to get your business foothold in China by using English for your Baidu search engine marketing, here are a few things you should know:

You will need to pick the right keywords

Picking the right keywords is incredibly essential for raising your online profile on Baidu. It will help your products and services to appear in organic searches and make your brand stand out and become more recognizable.

Baidu’s advanced search services offer users the usual options of text inputs and visual searches, as well as additional ones like voice searches with AI and augmented reality.  To take full advantage of these advanced features, you will need to research, find, and use the right keywords that can work across the board. Since the keywords won’t be just for text inputs, you should pick ones that will be easy to pronounce and hear. Also, you will need to research and use the keywords that are most common for the types of products and services you are offering.

Make sure though that you are using keywords that Chinese users input in their searches rather than direct translations of Chinese words. Translated words or phrases may differ from search terms that people who don’t speak English use, and might result in search errors. Instead of directing people to your website to see your products and services, you might inadvertently end up sending them elsewhere.

You will need to create high-quality advertising content

When you advertise on Baidu in English, your target audience is likely to be from the highly-educated, affluent section of the Chinese people, mainly from the Tier-1 or Tier-2 cities. To appeal to these English-speaking customers, your marketing campaigns need to be sophisticated and varied. You can incorporate a mix of advertising banners, images, texts, and videos. The content should be well-written, creatively designed, and professionally produced.

If the content is well-done, it may even transcend language barriers and also appeal to Chinese people who don’t speak English. You will get more views for your advertisements, increased traffic to your website, and you may even build up a following with the English non-speaking public.

You will need to team up with a native Chinese speaker

Even if you are advertising on Baidu in English to Chinese English speakers, the people who don’t speak English can also come across your campaigns. They may use automated language translators to read your advertising copy, and, unfortunately, these translators cannot guarantee 100% reliable translation. They might get the context wrong and miss out on nuances entirely. And, instead of imparting what you mean to say, the copy might end up stating something else that could turn out to be laughable or even offensive.

As that could potentially have a detrimental effect on your brand, it might be best to hire someone with native level language skills to go through your advertising copy.  You can ask them to translate as accurately as possible and use those instead of the automated ones.

For the long term, though, it will make more business sense to work with a reputable, China-focused marketing agency.

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