Baidu SEM: A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Marketing

When it comes to marketing in China, the most success is seen in Baidu SEM, or search engine marketing on the national search engine platform, Baidu. And to understand that, you need a guide like this one, which will walk you through the best practices for working on your SEM campaign in China.


But first: what is SEM? This term refers to the advertising and marketing that comes directly from search engines. In North America and most of the world, the top place for SEM is through Google and, consequently, Google Adwords for SEM on that platform. That system forms the basis of any strategy that is used on Google and its various platforms, including Youtube. So you will see ads that use Google Adwords as sponsored search results and as ads in Youtube videos. But since China restricts access to Google, most marketers need to go through Baidu SEM for their marketing.


Baidu SEM works a little differently than Google and other major search engines around the world, but for the most part, it operates very similarly, mostly in three major ways: pay-per-click advertising, geo-targeting, and text and display ads. Here’s a breakdown of each:


Pay-per-click advertising: PPC advertising, as it is often called, is just what it sounds like. You set up a campaign where you agree to a certain amount of money based on the clicks the ad receives. This means you only pay if the ad is effective. The other side of it is that the keywords you can select are up for auction. So better keywords will be more money and likely lead to higher clicks.

Geo-targeting: While you may be thinking that geo-targeting isn’t relevant when you are going after a single market, that isn’t the case. Baidu SEM allows you to target areas quite specifically so that you can best advertise to the people in the area. After all, if your store is in Beijing, why advertise it to people in Dalian?

Text and display ads: These are the ads that you see as sponsored searches when you search in your favorite search engine. They operate the same way in Baidu SEM. They are also the ads that display as text on other Baidu services and apps, giving you better integration with China’s largest and most used search engine.



So how does Baidu SEM differ from other search engine marketing? That lies in access. Not only does Baidu restrict access to certain sites and content, but advertisers and companies must be vetted before being given full access to advertising. That is where hiring a professional and experienced Baidu SEM agency can help. With the right experts working on your campaign, you can ensure that you are making choices that are proven to work on Baidu, and that will give you more bang for your buck.



Westwin has years of experience working in Chinese digital marketing. We specialize in helping other countries move their work into China and see new heights of success. If you want to maximize your investment in Baidu SEM, then be sure to contact us today.


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