Cost of Advertising in China – CPM, CPC Benchmarks [Chinese Paid Search]

cost of advertising in China
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    Top international brands are heading east.

    In fact, more and more of the world’s most well-known brands are realizing the true opportunity of digital marketing in China. So, it’s no surprise that companies like Finland-based Amer Sports are being acquired by Chinese corporations.

    arcteryx china pivot
    Source: Jing Daily

    If you’re considering taking your first steps into the world of digital advertising in China, there’s a lot you need to know. 

    It’s not quite as simple as transferring the strategy you use with western consumers to Chinese platforms – far from it, in fact.

    With annual budgets for international brands standing at around $100,000 on the lower end of the scale, it’s also not a cheap exercise. That said, having access to a marketplace of over a billion people is something all brands can appreciate.

    So, how much does it cost to advertise in china? 

    Let’s analyze some of the most popular digital marketing platforms – including WeChat, Weibo, Baidu, Douyin, and Toutiao – to find out.

    The cost of advertising on WeChat

    WeChat is the most popular messaging service in China, with over 1 billion monthly active users in 2018 alone. The service offers a combination of messaging, social media, and payment services, and offers a comprehensive advertising platform for brands.

    wechat advertising benchmark cpc cpm

    WeChat currently offers the following campaign types:

    • WeChat Moments. The most popular campaign types, WeChat Moments are ads which appear in a user’s timeline.
    • WeChat Display Ads can appear anywhere in the app, usually as ad banners.
    • WeChat Mini Program Ads will only appear within dedicated “Mini Programs” or “Mini Games”, which are essentially apps which run inside of WeChat itself.

    Next, the cost to get started advertising on WeChat is as follows:

    • WeChat Official Account setup cost is $149
    • WeChat Display Ads setup cost is $149 with a minimum top-up amount of $799.

    Also, in terms of KPIs and conversion costs for WeChat, advertisers will be looking at:

    • WeChat Moments CPM / OCPM average 30 – 600 RMB.
    • WeChat Official Account CPC average 2.5 – 3.5 RMB.  

    Learn more about getting started with WeChat advertising.

    The cost of advertising on Weibo

    Weibo, sometimes referred to as the “Chinese Twitter” is a micro-blogging platform and one of the most popular social media destinations in China. 

    As of 2018, Weibo boasted over 445 million monthly active users, making it a prime opportunity for brands looking to tap into large, socially engaged audiences.

    weibo advertising benchmark cpc cpm

    The following campaign types are currently available on Weibo:

    • Fan Headline is an ad placed at the top of your followers’ and connections’ timelines for 24 hours.
    • Fan Tunnel is the same as a Fan Headline, except that it targets all of Weibo rather than just your followers.
    • Display Ads are classic banner-style ads which can appear in places like the ‘Explore’ section. 
    • Weibo Search Engine ads are the same as any search ad, appearing among the results for specific keyword searches. 

    For brands to start advertising on Weibo, the average setup cost is $1499 with a minimum top-up of $1499

    Finally, the average cost for key performance metrics on Weibo is as follows:

    • Average CPM / OCPM is 10 RMB.

    The cost of advertising on Baidu

    One of the largest internet companies in the world, Baidu’s core service is a search engine, similar to Google in the west. 

    The service was founded two decades ago in January 2000. It has grown to offer 57 different web services, including Baidu Maps, Baidu Baike (similar to Wikipedia), and Baidu Wangpan (cloud storage services similar to Dropbox). In fact, Baidu is the second-largest search engine in the world (no prizes for guessing the first) and accounts for over 75% of the Chinese search market.

    baidu advertising benchmark cpc cpm

    Baidu advertisers can currently take advantage of the following campaign types:

    • Search Ads are classic PPC ads, similar to Google’s offering. 
    • Display Ads are, again, similar to the Google Display Network of banner-style ads.
    • In-Feed Ads appear similarly to sponsored posts on Instagram, blending seamlessly with organic content in user feeds. 
    • Baidu Brand Zone ads are similar to Search Ads, except that only one brand can appear for a specific keyword per search. 

    To get started advertising on Baidu, the setup cost for both Baidu Search Ads and Baidu Display Ads is $299, with a minimum top-up cost of $950.

    Finally, the average cost for key metrics on Baidu is as follows:

    • Baidu Search Ads average CPM / OCPM is 7 – 70 RMB. Average CPC is 2 – 9 RMB.
    • Baidu Display Ads average CPM / OCPM is 3 – 9 RMB. Average CPC is 0.3 – 0.6 RMB.

    Learn more about advertising on Baidu with our beginner’s guide.

    The cost of advertising on Douyin

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware of the TikTok phenomenon. The micro-video sharing app began life as Douyin back in 2016 before being renamed “TikTok” for international markets. In fact, Douyin has now become the number one short video app in China with a daily active user base of 400 million people.  

    douyin advertising benchmark cpc cpm

    Advertisers on Douyin can take advantage of the following campaign types:

    • Open Screen Advertising is a style of ad which ‘takes over’ the entire screen when a user opens the app. 
    • Integrated Feed Advertising appears blended with organic content within user feeds.
    • Sticker Advertising appears as “sticker” overlays within user videos. This ad type appears when users are selecting stickers, giving them the chance to pick your brand organically. 
    • Influencer Marketing, as the name suggests, refers to working with “Key Opinion Leaders” (KOLs) to produce sponsored content on Douyin. 

    To start advertising on Douyin, the average setup cost is $249 with a minimum top-up of $7999.

    The average cost for key metrics on Douyin is:

    • Average CPM / OCPM is 15 – 20 RMB.
    • Average CPC is 1 – 2 RMB.

    Also, Douyin offers two types of CPA metrics:

    • Average App Download CPA is 20 RMB.
    • Average Leads Generation CPA is 150 – 1000 RMB. 

    Learn more about Douyin with our dedicated beginner’s guide.

    The cost of advertising on Toutiao

    Toutiao, also known as Jinri Toutiao, is a Chinese news-focused content platform. 

    Similar to platforms like Google News in the west, Toutiao uses advanced algorithms and machine learning to show users news stories and headlines they’ll be most interested in. In terms of audience, advertisers can tap into a daily active user base of 120 million people across China.

    toutiao advertising benchmark cpc cpm

    In addition, Toutiao currently offers the following campaign types:

    • Feed Ads appear among the news feeds of users, and allow brands to leverage images, videos, or carousels.
    • Full Cover Open Ads fill up the entire screen, giving brands an opportunity to make maximum impact with their ads.

    Also, the average setup cost for advertising on Toutiao is $249 with a minimum top-up amount of $7999.

    Finally, in terms of key average performance metrics cost, brands are looking at the following:

    • Average CPM/OCPM is 6 – 12 RMB.
    • Average CPC is 0.5 RMB.

    Find out more about advertising on Toutiao with our beginner’s guide. 

    Ready to start advertising in China? We can help

    Now that you’re familiar with the options – and the cost of advertising in China, isn’t it time you tried it out?

    With, you don’t need to waste time managing each Chinese advertising channel individually. In fact, it’s all managed on our dedicated platform. How’s that for simplicity?

    Want to know more? Sign up for a free trial today and discover the true potential of the Chinese market. 

    Looking to get started in China? is one of the easiest ways to get started with advertising on 10+ channels in China. Run campaigns on multiple platforms from a single dashboard to reach your target audience. Create a free account to get started.
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