Why is PPC advertising decentralized in China?

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I believe you may use google as your main search engine and when you are looking for a specific brand or product you may receive results comprising product reviews and the product page on distinct storefronts. What I have just written seems pretty obvious, however have you ever imagined a situation where Google don’t want to display results from many selected storefronts? That’s what happens in China due to the competition between the Chinese tech giants, the different platforms don’t interact with each other, once they don’t want to promote a product from their main competitors.

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In this article we explain and compare how paid Ads in Baidu search differs from Taobao Express and what you should consider before starting your campaign.

PPC Account Structure

From a first sight it’s easily to be misunderstood that Baidu PPC and Taobao Express share same features and functions since their account structure are identical. However, if you take a closer look, they differ from each other in each separate level.

At Campaign and Ad Group levels, Baidu offers more refined settings when compared to Taobao, such as avoiding “Negative Keywords” which protects your Campaign or Ad Group from appearing on certain negative search results. By contrast, Taobao Express doesn’t have this feature.

When considering Ad Groups, you need to follow a set of different rules when naming your groups on Baidu and Taobao Express. It’s recommended that you name the Ad Group by different attributes (product/price/application etc.) on Baidu, and on Taobao you should name your Ad Group by product category.

Regarding keywords, Taobao Express offers a more powerful keyword expansion feature. You can bid on the keyword, as you do on Baidu, but the platform also has a keyword pack feature which works as a competitor product keyword cluster customized by yourself or a “selling point” based A.I. The platform will dynamically adjust this keyword cluster according to latest trend. However, Taobao Express has a drawback when comparing its Match type setting to Baidu, because it doesn’t have “Phrase Match” and only works with Broad and Exact.


Targeting and Insights


Both Baidu PPC and Taobao Express have basic demographic (gender/age etc.) and interest/industry targeting, but the additional targeting options on the two platforms diverge. Taobao Express allows targeting by Consumption (based on platform transaction data).

When it comes to retargeting, Baidu PPC beats Taobao Express, once it provides an audience exclusion feature, which doesn’t show ads to the excluded audience (like audience who have already become your customers). However, Taobao also has its unique targeting feature based on customer behavior towards products or stores, like people who have “Liked” your products, “Favorited” your store, “Viewed” products in the same category from other stores etc. Such targeting options are beyond Baidu.


Remarketing targeting options


Moreover, Taobao offers pre-set audience based on big data for you to target, which is called Damo Dashboard targeting. The pre-set audience group covers customers sharing similar purchase behavior, for example, customers who place large orders only on Single’s Day.

Damo Dashboard targeting options


Difference in Bidding and Fee Collection


Baidu PPC offers two bidding mode: CPC and oCPC. CPC is the traditional mode; you pay for each click, and the price doesn’t exceed the bidding price for any particular keyword.

oCPC is a new bidding mode, a smarter mode based on machine learning technology. When turned on, Baidu accumulate data and learn the attributes for high conversion audience groups, it then seeks out other audience sharing the same attributes and dynamically adjust your bidding price to get more ad exposure to this certain audience. By doing this you reach a more precise group at a better optimized price, resulting in getting more conversions with reasonable cost.

Taobao Express is not as developed in this field since it offers solely CPC bidding. It does offer an A.I. bidding mode but it’s hardly used due to its poor performance in boosting conversions/sales. In this aspect, to run a successful Taobao Express campaign, it’s better to have an experienced and dedicated specialist to manage the bidding, in order to do the targeting and continuously optimize the ROI.

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