Google Ads vs. Baidu Ads
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Google Ads vs. Baidu Ads (10 Key Comparison Points)

Almost everyone prefers Google Ads unless you are in China. There, you will have to make the best use of Baidu Ads to promote your brand.

When in Rome, be a Roman.

When in China, follow up with Baidu.

Google enjoys undisputed authority as the search engine Behemoth in most parts of the world. But, in China, Baidu has the top position.

Initially funded by Silicon valley enterprises, Baidu keeps growing rapidly. It has its own PPC segment, just like Google Ads. It’s a lucrative market, but you need to play by a set of different rules.

Let’s have a look at the key differences between Google and Baidu.

Market share in China

The Chinese Government bans Google. If you are familiar with Google products such as Google Ads, you need to rethink your strategy for China.

As of June 2021, Baidu controls 79.89% of the Chinese search engine market.

Google still has a meager market share of 2.43%. This is because some parts of Google are still accessible in China, but only through VPN.

Nevertheless, of late, China ensued a crackdown on VPN services trying to surpass the Great Firewall. This means whatever little market share Google has in China, it is still very unreliable.

The bottom line is that if you want to advertise in the Chinese market, Baidu remains the key option. 

Why would you want to be part of the Chinese market? Here’s why. The current domestic internet usage in China stands at around 940 million people!

Can you really afford to miss out on this huge market? No, you cannot. You need Baidu.

Opening an account

Opening a Google Ads account is very easy. On the other hand, opening a Baidu Ads account is complex.

So much so, you will need the services of an authorized agent. Here’s a basic checklist for Baidu account opening.

  • A fully accessible Chinese-optimized website
  • The URL of the website
  • A copy of your Business License
  • Your Certificate of Incorporation (COI)
  • Chinese-friendly payment options (e.g., UnionPay, Alipay)
  • A dedicated account manager speaking Mandarin
  • Dedicated Mandarin-speaking customer support
  • An account in the Baidu paid search platform
  • Company seal on your documents

You will have to justify your ad claims. This includes proof of patent and trade agreements. You may also have to furnish industry-specific permits.

For example, you may want to display ads in the finance segment. In that case, you will have to show valid proof for working in the Chinese financial market.

Focused on China

Google Ads is multilingual, but it cannot beat Baidu when it comes to the Chinese market.

The ad copy on Baidu should be original in the Mandarin language.  You cannot simply have an English ad copy and translate it into Chinese. Having a Chinese landing page is crucial for displaying the ad in Baidu.

You need to have an ad that tallies with the Chinese mindset. For example, a majority of Western users may think of ads as necessary distractions.

In China, people think of ads as perfectly normal. This is why in Google Ads, you can distinguish a paid website from an organic result. This line is very thin for Baidu, and paid results look very similar to organic results.

Special offers

A major aspect of Chinese online users is that people love special deals. So, you can expect a lot of discounted deals on Baidu PPC.

However, rules and regulations still apply. You need to specify clearly how great the deal is. All the information presented should be true and easy to follow.

It is unlikely for Google Ads to show a lot of special deals.

Restrictions apply

The Google Ads scenario is far more inclusive. Usually, certain restrictions may apply when it comes to image-based Google shopping ads. This is because you will have to adhere to Google’s image policies.

The ad policy on Baidu is stricter. You cannot display these ads.

  • Healthcare products, including medical instruments and pharmaceutical products
  • Medical treatment plans
  • Auction houses
  • Gambling-related ads
  • Franchise opportunities
  • Sex products

Other restrictions also apply. Here are a few instances. In alcohol-related ads, one cannot state that it is anxiety-reducing. Investment ads cannot commit any guarantee or risk-preservation unless the state provides it.

Influencers must actually use the products they advertise. Ads cannot be critical of official policies. All the data used in ads must be accurate and come from a legit source.

Campaign costs

Advertisers need to pay a minimum initial deposit of 5000 RMB for starting a PPC campaign on Baidu.

You can see the amount in your account balance. It amounts to approximately 773 USD.

Baidu currently does not support PayPal or Credit cards. The only way to pay is via wire transfer.

Google Ads does not require an initial deposit. It operates via the classic PPC model, where you pay only after a user clicks on the ad.

Here is a comparison of CPC between Google Ads and Baidu Ads. Baidu has a lower CPC.

Google AdsBaidu Ads
The Average CPC on Search Ads is $1- $2The Average CPC on Search Ads is 2-9 RMB (0.3 – 1.4 USD)
The Average CPC on Display Ads is $0.25-$0.80The Average CPC on Display Ads is 0.3 – 0.6 RMB (0.05 -0.09 USD)

Branding promotions

Baidu has a special paid ad privilege called the Baidu Brand Zone. Major brands can claim the top position in search results using this facility.

Do note that it is a costly initiative. Costs vary according to specific campaigns, but an average estimate pins it at about 16K USD per month. Google Ads does not have anything like this.

Features include:

  • Brand logo displayed
  • Official website link sticker
  • Images and video
  • Use of tabs
  • CTA button
  • Custom design and look
  • Link to the social media account

Types of ads

Google Ads and Baidu Ads have some major similarities but also a few differences. Baidu Tuigang is equivalent to Google PPC as it allows search ads and display ads just like Google.

Similar to video ads on YouTube, you have the feature called Baidu TV. Other types of Baidu Ads include:

  • ProTheme: Advertisers can display promotional links on specific websites, music players, and apps. It is available for Baidu Union members.
  • Pay for Placement (P4P): This allows priority placements in response to relevant searches.
  • Information feed ads: These ads come mixed up with organic content. Baidu displays the ads on products such as Baidu Forum, Baidu News, and more.

Negative Keywords

Baidu Ads only allows 100 negative keywords. This is much less than what you would get on Google Ads.

Advertisers need to be tactical in planning their campaigns on Baidu. You will need an agency to decode Baidu Analytics (in Mandarin) and formulate a successful ad strategy.

Ad copywriting

Unlike Google Ads, advertisers can only choose to write the first line of text in Baidu Ads. You can leave the second line empty.

Even if you write the second line, there’s no guarantee that Baidu will display it. Baidu decides on the text according to the relevancy of the ad.

Top-placed ads may display both lines, whereas ads displayed at the bottom usually only show one line of text.

Conclusion

As it stands, Baidu Ads is your only option if you want to approach the Chinese market. Google Ads is virtually non-existent in China, and Baidu holds the majority of the search engine market there. Done right, it can be a game-changer in your business growth.

However, if you still think you can run Google ads campaigns in the Chinese market, just contact me and I can help you with that…

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