Steps for Advertising on Baidu in English

Foreign businesses wishing to expand their operations in China and take advantage of the immense potential of the domestic market often come up against the twin stumbling blocks of language and culture. They may not have business executives and other personnel who are fluent in the language or knowledgeable about the culture, and may not have the time or the funds to provide them with the necessary training.

Doing business in China might seem unthinkable in such a scenario. After all, how are you going to promote your brand with PPC and SEM campaigns? How are you going to advertise to and engage with Chinese consumers?

There are options, however, fortunately. While the Chinese prefer using their own language online, an increasing number of them are fluent in English. And Baidu, which is the top-ranking and most used search engine in the country, now offers businesses an English version. After making the launch announcement in 2013, Baidu has worked hard to improve its English search engine with the use of sophisticated automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. You can pair it with Google Translate, Chrome browser, and other translation enabling services, and you are all set to reach out to even the non-English speakers in China.

Here are some steps to help you advertising on Baidu in English:

  1. Research the Market

While it can be tempting to just apply for a Baidu business account and take the plunge, it might be a good idea to do some ground research first. Review your business model and check how it would potentially work in the Chinese market. Is there a demand for your products and services? Can you create a market demand? Are there any local products and services that already have the market cornered and could give you a stiff competition? If you venture forth without adequate research, you could find yourself making an unfortunate exit soon like Home Depot, whose DIY offerings failed to resonate with the Chinese consumers.

  1. Get Chinese domain and hosting

Business websites with local hosting and Chinese domain extensions get preferential treatment on the Chinese internet. Your website will get a higher ranking on Baidu for your targeted keywords in their search engine results. Aside from the .cn ending, you will also do well to optimize the website speed. That will also ensure a higher ranking on Baidu.

  1. Select and Use the Right Keywords

Along with text inputs and visual search, Baidu’s search engine services make use of voice search with artificial intelligence and augmented reality search. That means, when you are researching keywords, you need to think of more than just text inputs. You should also think in terms of the spoken word and the right pronunciation. It might be a good idea to go with keywords that are not difficult to pronounce.

Additionally, look for keywords that people generally use when they search on Baidu for similar products and services. However, don’t translate directly into English from Chinese keywords and use those. English-speakers in China are not likely to input such keywords and they might be far different too from what the non-speakers type in. So, instead of directing everyone to your website, you might just end up achieving the opposite.

  1. Create Attention-Grabbing Content

The English-speaking Chinese will generally fall in the well-educated bracket and will typically be high-income earners with sophisticated lifestyles. If you want your products and services to appeal to such a milieu, you need to up the ante. You must come up with memorable advertising content—banners, images, videos, texts, and so on—that is suitably refined, creative, and infused with personality. If you can manage that, the language issues might even take a back seat and your advertising could attract the attention of even the non-English speakers.

  1. Work with Native Speakers

While the automated language translators generally do a good job, you want to be extra careful that embarrassing errors don’t mar your advertising copy. Automated translators, after all, won’t correct things like context and nuances. So, work with a professional digital agency and have knowledgeable native speakers to review your copy.

With these steps, get a competitive advantage in advertising on Baidu in English.