A Beginner’s Guide to Advertising on Baidu

baidu advertising guide
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    Imagine being able to reach 195 million daily active users on a single app. 

    That’s the power of Baidu, China’s leading search engine! 

    China has 4 key players in the Search market, but Baidu completely dominates the space.

    Search engine market share in China

    Over the last couple of years, Baidu has shown no signs of slowing down with an impressive 20% year on year traffic growth.

    If you’re looking to understand how to get started with advertising on Baidu, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll also share what it takes to be successful on Baidu.

    In this post, you’ll learn:

    • Why should you advertise on Baidu?
    • What are your other digital marketing options in China?
    • Types of ads available on Baidu
    • What is the right ad type for your brand?
    • Basics of Baidu account set up
    • How to get started with Campaigns on Baidu
    • How much does it cost to advertise on Baidu?
    • Baidu account restrictions
    • How to run successful Baidu ads

    But first things first!

    Why advertise on Baidu?

    Baidu might be a huge marketing platform in China but it’s still relatively unknown in the west! So here are some reasons that make advertising on Baidu a no brainer for first-time international marketing campaigns.

    Baidu versus other search engines in China

    #1 Largest Chinese search engine in the world

    Being the search engine of choice for more than 95% of Chinese consumers, Baidu enjoys the loyalty of Chinese consumers.

    #2 High-income audience

    China’s new wave of consumers have the buying power and they are using it. Here’s an example to put things in perspective. Singles Day is the largest shopping holiday in China on November 11th. 

    Last year, the total Singles Day sales revenue was over $60 billion, or equivalent to the GDP of Costa Rica


    #3 Low cost, High return channel

    While there are several channels worth investing in, Baidu requires the lowest investment making it easy to get started without a lot of risks. With a good strategy, you can get a strong ROI on the channel.

    #4 Granular targeting

    With access to all their search data, Baidu knows a lot about Chinese consumers. Use this to your advantage with the powerful targeting features and reach your next customer.

    #5 New revenue stream

    As Google CPCs get higher and home markets get saturated, advertising on Baidu can help you unlock a whole new market and new revenue stream for your business.

    why advertise on baidu

    Looking to get started in China?

    AdChina.io 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.

    What are your other digital marketing options in China?

    Baidu is one of the top choices for brands kickstarting advertising in China. But it’s not your only option. The Chinese market has other leading platforms you could invest in based on your business goals.

    • News Info platforms: Widely used apps like Tencent and Toutiao that control 70% of the news info market
    • Search platforms: Baidu search and 360 are excellent for conversion
    • Social platforms: WeChat, Weibo, QQ and LinkedIn are all channels worth investing in for brand awareness
    • Video platforms: Channels like Douyin, the Chinese version of the short-form video app, Tiktok.

    Types of ads available on Baidu

    Baidu Search Ads

    Like Google search, Baidu PPC ads appear along with the search results and are available in various formats.

    Baidu Display Ads

    Display ads also operate similar to Google Display network placing your ads on websites that are part of its display network.

    Baidu In-Feed Ads

    One of the most popular formats, Baidu feed ads are a great way to build brand awareness in China. They are similar to sponsored posts on Instagram that blend your ads with organic content.

    Baidu Brand Zone

    Brand Zone ads are similar to search ads, but only 1 brand at a time will be displayed for certain keywords. They are a great way to dominate the search results for keywords relevant to your brand. This format is a lot more visual and can display your logo, link to your store, images and videos.

    Wondering which channels to use? Sign up for a free AdChina.io account and see which channels are available to you!

    Want to know which type of ad is right for your brand? Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

    Use in-feed Baidu Ads if:

    • Your brand is new or unknown in China
    • You want to reach a wide audience
    • You have a limited budget and want to keep costs down

    Use Baidu Search Ads if:

    • You already have brand awareness in China
    • You have a level of familiarity with your Chinese audience
    • Your budget is medium-high

    Use Baidu Display Ads if:

    • You want to use contextual targeting
    • You want to use text, image, flash and floating ads

    Use Baidu Brand Zone Ads if:

    • You are a globally well-known brand
    • Your budget is medium-high

    Basics of Baidu Account Set Up

    • Create an account: To get started, you first need to go to Baidu and create an account. The page is in Chinese but you can use the ‘Translate this Page’ option 
    • Complete phone verification: Many users get stuck here because you need a China number to complete the registration

    In case you don’t have a China phone number, there are a couple of workarounds that you can use to create an account.

    How to get started with Campaigns on Baidu 

    Unfortunately, this is where the similarity between Google and Baidu ads end. Creating a Baidu advertiser account yourself is an arduous process. 

    Some of the documents required to get started are:

    • A business licence
    • A screenshot of your homepage
    • A screenshot of your company information on a government website
    • Your business bank account statement

    There are two options to get set up once you have the documents ready:

    • set up directly with major Baidu branches such as Beijing and Shanghai
    • through a Baidu-listed agency partner
    steps to get started with adchina

    How much does it cost to advertise on Baidu?

    Baidu is one of the most cost-effective channels to advertise in China. The initial cost of getting started on Baidu can be from $1500 to $3000 based on your location. This includes a small fee for the initial set up charged by the channel and the rest of the amount is used for advertising. The average CPC varies greatly based on the industry but can start at about $0.5-$1.

    We share an in-depth look at cost of advertising in China here.

    Baidu Account Restrictions

    Advertising in China is highly regulated. You can’t advertise certain products, and the ad channels regularly update this list. Not adhering to these rules will get your account instantly banned. This is one of the reasons for using a product like AdChina.io that will ensure these rules are followed.

    • Some sectors need special approval such as – metal trading, pharmaceuticals, FX trading, VPN service, e-sim, and online gambling. 
    • Certain terms and phrases are blacklisted. They could be related to some industries or terms the platform has banned. There is no official list for this but as part of helping hundreds of customers, we go through enough ads to reduce the chance of using such words. We review and approve every ad before it goes live. 

    How to run successful Baidu ads

    Baidu advertising can open a whole new revenue stream for your business. But with China being so culturally different from the west, it’s important to adapt your messaging to make it appealing to the Chinese audience. Follow these best practices to run a successful campaign:

    1. Localize your landing page

    First-time advertisers often do the mistake of just translating their page via Google Translate. Localise with a native speaker to make your message tailored to the local audience. 

    2. Use the extensive targeting options

    With Baidu advertising, you get the benefit of getting as specific as you want with your targeting. 

    Here’s an example: if you’re an e-commerce website looking to sell in China, you can set up the following targeting.

    AdChina.io targeting

    3. Set the right goals for your campaigns

    As with any paid campaign, set the right KPIs based on your business objectives. Start with a test campaign and iterate as you go.

    AdChina.io reporting dashboard
    AdChina.io reporting dashboard


    More and more marketers are realizing the opportunities in reaching a market like China. Not just because of its size but also because the new wave of shoppers is looking for quality from the overseas market. We hope this post gives you a good overview to kickstart your first Baidu campaign. If you have any more questions, leave a comment below to let us know!

    AdChina.io has helped hundreds of brands reach the China market. To learn how we can help you get started with advertising on top channels hassle-free, create a free AdChina.io account today!

    Looking to establish your presence in China?

    AdChina.io is the #1 platform to get started with advertising in China. Our platform and team take care of everything from set up to running your campaigns for leading brands across the globe. Create a free AdChina.io account to get started.

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    This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. hi
      could please tell me how much does it cost to advertise on baidu? what is the minimum rate option?

      1. Hi Nasrin! The cost of getting started on Baidu can be from $1500 to $3000 based on your location. This includes a setup fee of $299 charged by Baidu and the rest can be used for advertising. If you want to get started, our team will be happy to assist you!

    2. Hi Seema,

      Could I know if it’s possible for foreign company without Chinese business entity to set-up Baidu account? And could you email me the breakdown? I’m offering PC games.

      1. Hi Benjamin! Thanks for writing in. Yes, it’s possible to set up a Baidu account without a Chinese business entity. I’ll get our sales team to reach out to you with more details.

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