Baidu’s marketing centre regularly updates users about new services that they provide. These updates are always in Chinese and so can sometimes be missed by English language marketers.
In this blog post I want to introduce Baidu’s new service: Website Portrait (网站头像). At first the name seems rather obscure. Essentially it’s a company logo in front of the ad creative link in the search engine results pages (SERPs) on Baidu.
Website Portrait is the name that Baidu has given its new service available through Tuiguang. Tuiguang is Baidu’s version of Google Adwords.
Using Tuiguang it’s possible to see a company logo in front of the website link in the SERPs. The screenshot below shows what this looks like.
Using the keyword 机票 (air ticket), the first four results of the SERPs are all paid results. The top three all use the Website Portrait service. The top result is Ctrip, then Qunar and finally Air China. The fourth result does not have a Website Portrait, but is still a paid search result.
The idea behind this service from Baidu is to help enhance the click through rate (CTR) and also the conversion rate through Tuiguang. At this time, as this is a new service, there are no definitive statistics to show this. I’ll be sure to update when this information is available.
But it’s fair to say that a company logo at the beginning of the ad creative should add weight to the search results and can give web users a feeling of security, thus enhancing the CTR.
How does Website Portrait work?
First, you must have a Tuiguang account. Then, to get your company logo showing in the SERPs you must satisfy the following four conditions:
- Your Tuiguang account must be verified
- The Tuiguang results must show on the left hand side of the page. Results that show on the right side of the SERPs will not carry the Website Portrait
- The quality of the website that uses the Website Portrait must satisfy Baidu. The website’s search history on Baidu is a factor in this judgement. In general Baidu prefers websites with high search volumes.
- The website which the ads link to should be matched with the relevant logo. For example, if the Ctrip logo shows in the SERPs the link must go to the Ctrip site
The image that is used for the Website Portrait must be the same as the logo used in Baidu’s search history. If the images are different then Baidu will not show the Website Portrait on the SERPs.
If there isn’t an image of the Website Portrait in Baidu’s search history, then the logo won’t show up in the Tuiguang search results either.
What’s the cost?
The Tuiguang results are judged by Baidu’s system. The cost per click is the same as the cost per click set for the keyword that triggers the ad.
The Website Portrait does not change the cost per click. It’s just a way to positively influence the CTR by making the search results more familiar with searchers. Much as Google tried to do with the author portraits on their search results.
The value of the Website Portrait is to better satisfy the search experience of Baidu users. It’s more convenient for web users to find what they want in the Tuiguang search results.
The example above uses the keyword 酒店 (hotels). In the top four results in the SERPs, all the accounts have been verified. Therefore they are able to carry the Website Portrait.
The Tuiguang interface
The screenshot below shows how the company logo is added in the Tuiguang interface.
The example shows the Baidu logo alongside the link that a web user would click to see the search results.
The image can be a JPG, JPEG or PNG file. The file size can be no bigger than 500K. The image resolution has to be 16×16 pixels.
Ultimately it’s hoped that the addition of a company logo in the search results will enhance CTRs and conversion rates through Tuiguang.
It’s very well known that Chinese web users are much more likely to click through paid search results than western search engine users. Baidu hopes, and it’s very likely the case, that this extra feature in the SERPs will do just this: increase CTRs and conversion rates via Baidu’s pay per click services.