How is Baidu transforming the ad landscape?

Until now, paid advertising and organic search have remained separate. However, the latest updates from Baidu are beginning to blur the lines between the two, allowing advertisers to deliver a more integrated experience for users.

This article will explore the latest updates from Baidu, how they are transforming the advertising landscape for marketing and how it may affect user experience.

Intuitive ad layouts

The latest update from Baidu has allowed for a more intuitive layout, specifically on desktop, which delivers ads and organic search as a complete overview. For Baidu, this change makes their service highly attractive to advertisers as they can now place their ads in front of potential customers, more intuitively. However, this will also result in Baidu users being exposed to more direct advertisements – which they may not want.

baidu advertising

The growth of Baidu

In 2015, the infamous scandal of Wei Zexi resulted in Baidu reducing their ad space from eleven to four ads per search results page. Baidu has since recovered, now covering up to six ads per results page, and is continuing to grow its advertising options for its commercial partners.

Whilst the approach of mixing paid ads and organic search results was introduced on mobile search more than two years ago, Baidu’s latest update has made this available on desktop too. And with research suggesting 75% of users don’t scroll past the first page of their results, Baidu’s move to enhance search results on the desktop will provide advertisers with the opportunity to deliver higher click-through rates for their ads. Users, however, will see a higher volume of ads per search, which, for some might damage their overall experience.

New ad format

In addition to the update to desktop search, Baidu has also introduced a new ad format, which expands viewable results users can see. The expanded screen is able to showcase a wider range of images and descriptions, which advertisers can leverage to significantly improve their ad performance.

baidu advertising

Increasing revenue streams

Baidu’s 2019 annual report suggests that revenue from marketing streams – including both auction-based paid search and native in-feed ads – account for 72% of the group’s revenue stream. And with the continual updates to Baidu’s advertising options particularly, to search results on desktop, there is potential for this to rise incrementally.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Whilst the updates to Baidu is somewhat minimal, they are likely to result in cheaper click-through-rates for advertisers.

To better capitalise on the updates we are seeing on Baidu, advertisers need to ensure they are adopting the appropriate ad extensions for their campaigns. It’s important to bear in mind that there are 37 extensions to choose from, therefore, comprehensive testing is vital for ensuring the combination of extensions you are choosing will deliver the best outcomes for your ad.

Nevertheless, whilst these updates to Baidu might seem like a step back from an SEO perspective, it is far from it. Don’t forget, Baidu continues to lean heavily towards delivering organic search results to its users on mobile. However, these organic results do favour Baidu’s own products such as Baidu Baike (an equivalent of Wikipedia), Baidu Baijia (Baidu’s own content distribution ecosystem) and Baidu’s own video channel.

With Baidu’s algorithms geared towards recognising search intent based on keywords, particularly on mobile search, your ads will only be prioritised when the keyword shows strong purchase intent. So, more than ever, you will need to integrate your organic and paid search strategy, ensuring they work parallel to one another in order to maximise your SEM result on Baidu.

To find out more about advertising on Baidu or about Croud’s China marketing services, get in touch.

by Ada Luo
5 August 2020



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