Digital Advertising in China


Digital Advertising in China - When to Put on and Take off a Mask

W4 | W4 / September 30, 2021

With the tremendous expansion of China’s internet and mobile usage, there are more online advertising opportunities for intentional businesses. Before entering this fast-growing and constantly evolving market, it is crucial to make a dynamic strategy that adapts to changes.

China has issued new regulations on mobile app advertisement abuse to minimize aggressive and misleading pop-up advertisements. Building a strategy for marketing in China, take into account, that less obvious and intrusive ads are gaining popularity while the function of digitized traditional format (e.g. web banner) is yet to be replaced.

Table of Content
  1. Display advertising in China
    1.1. Weibo ads
  2. Native advertising in China
    2.1. Baidu in-feed ads
    2.2. WeChat ads

Display advertising in China

You are likely to see a vivid full-screen ad upon opening a Chinese app. This is an example of display ads, which are image, text, or video-based ads prominently placed on websites or mobile apps. Just like ads displayed on billboards and buses, you will easily spot when you walk on the street, this format is designed to capture viewers’ attention, as a traditional yet effective way to increase brand awareness and generate clicks.

Weibo ads

  • You may advertise on the opening page (brand takeover) so that your ad will appear as soon as users tap open their Weibo app. You can either showcase a static image or a video, which will be linked to the web page of your campaign. Because it covers the entire screen, this format is on the pricier side and works better if your brand is more established and works with a celebrity spokesperson.
  • Another type of Weibo display ads is search result ad. Based on the keywords users are searching, Weibo displays your account, hashtag, or the banner linked to your landing page on top of the search results. Thus, this is a more targeting approach that increases conversion.

Native advertising in China

Native ads are consistent with the visual design of the platform and viewers’ interests to manifest and feel like natural content. Unlike display advertising, native ads are supposed to be blended in with the overall experience. Informing and engaging target audience, this form of content-based advertisement is widely used on various Chinese social media and news platforms for driving traffic. Common examples are paid search results and sponsored social media posts.

Baidu in-feed ads

Baidu allows you to insert ads in the feeds of the Baidu app, Baidu Tieba (online communities) app, and Baidu homepage on mobile browsers. You want to be creative with the content of your ads and use high-quality images to maximize the result. This form of advertising is important because Baidu tracks users’ online behavior accurately - from their search terms, what sites they visit, to what products they want to buy. By analyzing this information, Baidu will help you place ads smartly and target the right audience.

WeChat ads

1. WeChat Moments

Similar to a friend’s post, the advertisement will be placed in the users’ Moments feed based on their personal settings including operating system, location, and interests. What is so unique and fun about these is that users can comment, like, or even interact with the ads. They also work on a network basis, meaning if one user interacts with an ad, their WeChat contacts will likely see the same ad in their timeline.

2. WeChat article

WeChat official account users are allowed to place banner ads in their article posts. These banners are featured in the middle or on the bottom of an official account article like a part of it, each will redirect viewers to the internal or external page, such as another official account, a store, or a landing page of a campaign.

As the ecosystems of Chinese digital platforms become more sophisticated, more alternative advertising options, e.g. live-streaming ads and sponsored videos, are presented to companies. If you want to kick-start your journey of advertising in China on the most popular platforms, feel free to contact us for more information!

Tags: China Marketing

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Sarah Wilhelm
Sarah Wilhelm
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