Baidu is the largest Chinese website in the world. Its Chinese language search engine serves China’s 618 million Internet users. It is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google.

Baidu is not used very much outside of Mainland China, but within the country Baidu had 60.5 per cent of the search engine market in December 2013.

It also tops the market share of page views in China with 63.1 per cent of pages viewed being through Baidu. It is without a doubt the major player in China and a go to source for Chinese netizens.

If you want to move into the Chinese market it is essential that you have an understanding of Baidu. One of the best ways to get exposure in China is by running a Baidu Pay Per Click advertising campaign. In fact there is a trend in increased spending on paid search marketing and Baidu is no exception to the rule.

So if you’re thinking about starting a Pay Per Click advertising campaign in China you’d have to think carefully about what strategy you’d use to move into this burgeoning market. Do you go it alone or do you work with a Chinese agency to push a successful Pay Per Click marketing drive?

There are a number of reasons why you’d want a Chinese agency to run a Baidu Pay Per Click search campaign for you. In this blog I intend to spell out these reasons and where possible I will give examples to illustrate the point made.

When trying to break into a foreign market one issue that has to be considered is the language barrier. Setting up a Baidu account involves talking to local agents and submitting various forms and details.

As well as this you need to have a Chinese language website, or at least some part of the website has to be in Chinese. At the very least you’d be expected to have some landing pages in Chinese if you wanted to run a successful campaign.

If you were to do this yourself there are a number of things you’d have to consider. First is the actual set-up of a Pay Per Click account. Then you have to have some analysis of your chosen market place. Next you need to consider your keywords (see below). Finally you’d need to learn Chinese language to communicate with customers and leads.

Using a Chinese agency not only in the set-up of a Pay Per Click account, but to help run the campaign covers all of the issues above.


So, if you intend to run a Baidu PPC campaign without the help of a Chinese agency would you be able to use English language keywords? In short, yes. However, it would be a waste of time in running your campaign in such a way as the search volumes for keywords not in Chinese are so low.

The main issue here is localising the language. Some words in English are not easily translated into Chinese language. It’s not as simple as identifying the keyword you’d use in your home country and then putting that keyword into a translator. The results could be horrendous.

Google translate is a useful tool, but it does not identify the nuances in Chinese language that an experienced translator working for a Chinese agency can do. A decent agency would use your keywords while understanding the subtleties of Chinese Internet users to find the best fit.


You don’t have any experience with using Baidu PPC, but you’ve used Google AdWords Pay Per Click ads and have run many successful campaigns in your home country. And as the Baidu Pay Per Click search engine is the “Chinese version of AdWords” you know what you’re doing. Wrong.

You may decide to find an English language page from Baidu and try to follow this process. But be warned; many of the features that you need to use are in Chinese. The keyword tool and the management website are also in Chinese. Baidu can help with this process, but you have to remember that they are not specialists at this. They want you to spend more money rather than help advise you to spend your money wisely.

There are many differences with the set-up process, some of which I’ve mentioned above, and also differences with the Baidu UI and editor platform. The differences are that the ‘content network’ and the ‘search marketing’ interfaces are separate in Baidu whereas in Google AdWords they are the same. When using Baidu you are able to set-up mobile landing pages, something you are unable to do in the Google AdWords UI.

Another major difference is that during the set-up process with Baidu your company information has to be verified. There is a cost to do this and lots of legal information has to be submitted. Google AdWords does not include this process when setting up an account and is just another example of something that using a Chinese agency would make easier.


Okay, so you’ve decided not to go it alone. But contacting a Chinese agency and having to deal with the time differences and other hassles has made you decide to use an agency in your home country.

Well, if you would like to have two middlemen and ultimately pay more to set-up a Baidu PPC account then this is a great idea. The agent you use in your home country will most likely find a Chinese agent who will then have to contact a Baidu reseller.

Baidu uses a network of resellers (agents) who help set-up accounts. The resellers work on a commission basis. No matter how you intend to set-up your Baidu PPC account you will have to use a local Baidu reseller. Using a Chinese agency at this stage may be seen as using a middleman, but the benefits far outweigh the costs and will be seen in the Pay Per Click results.

Another factor to take into account is the fact that some of the Baidu resellers also claim to act as marketing agencies. An agency in your home country, not knowing the local landscape well may use one of these ‘marketing agencies’.

Trying to cut costs by using one of these hybrid resellers is foolish though. The level of service is so low as to be unrecognisable from a western-style marketing agency that you’d have done business with previously.


The advantages of running a Baidu Pay Per Click advertising campaign are numerous. For a start you are entering a market of 618 million Internet users. Bear in mind that the amount of the population that use the Internet in China is only 46 per cent. This is compared to America where the penetration rate is around 80 per cent.

On top of this is the fact that of the 618 million Internet users 500 million are mobile Internet users and this is set to continue to grow. Baidu have the capability to set-up mobile landing pages meaning that this growing area is a possible target for your Pay Per Click marketing campaign.

As Baidu is the undisputed market leader in Mainland China there is also the advantage that most of the Internet users in China will use Baidu to search the Internet. You are dealing with a captive audience that use Pay Per Click search engines regularly.

If you are going to successfully run a Baidu PPC campaign then you must very carefully consider the language barrier and keywords that you use. Baidu does have English language help pages, but to use the service without the help of an agency you’d have to study Chinese language. Also it is vital that you research what keywords you will use because a direct translation does not give you the best results.

If you have experience of using Google AdWords this does not mean you’ll completely understand Baidu Pay Per Click search. The services have some differences that you would need to learn if you were to run a campaign independently without the help of a Chinese agency.

This brings me to my final point: why use a Chinese agency to help run a Baidu Pay Per Click marketing campaign for you? Like doing any business in a foreign market it is about understanding the local landscape.

Of course it is possible to move into a foreign country and use your previous business practices. But if you want to get the best Pay Per Click results on Baidu you first have to understand your market. This takes plenty of research and the results could go either way.

Working with a Chinese agency fills this knowledge gap for you. The experience a decent agency has in running Pay Per Click advertising campaigns, China to English translation services, targeting keywords and understanding the market is vital for you to move your brand into the Chinese market place. If you want to run a successful Baidu PPC campaign then working with a Chinese agency is the best way to succeed in achieving great Pay Per Click results.

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We’ll identify the potential obstacles hindering your expansion in China, and we’ll recommend the best course of action based on your individual needs.

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