Chinese Pay Per Click - Don't Forget Google
At NMG, I get a lot of emails from people looking for a Baidu pay per click (PPC) management service. That's great, Baidu has a great system and it's the most popular search engine in China. I would recommend it for many clients, but for some, I would actually recommend using Google first.
Let's assume you have a company that sells screws (luosi, 螺丝). Let's also assume you have a budget of only $500 per month. Now, for many professional pay per click managers, that sounds like peanuts, but for a small business that is taking it's first step into a foreign country, it could be a reasonable amount of money that can be risked.
Using Google's keyword tool, and Baidu's equivalent tools, we get the following data for the keyword "luosi."
|Estimated Monthly Search Volume||246,000||511,000|
|Estimated CPC (Cost per Click)||$0.74||$0.87|
|Monthly Expenditure with 1% CTR (Click-through Rate)||$1,820||$4,446|
First of all, Google has a lower cost per click in this case. That's reason enough to give Google a try, isn't it? It's not uncommon for Google to have a lower cost per click because of greater competition on Baidu.
Second, both search engines provide more than enough advertising given the budget. One of the reason's people often want to use Baidu is because it is the 'biggest search engine in China.' But what does that matter if your budget isn't large enough to make a difference? Baidu's greater search traffic is only valuable if you are going to spend enough to make use of it.
Finally, Baidu makes setting up an account more difficult than Google. Baidu charges a setup fee of 600 Yuan (about $88), while Google only charges $10. Baidu requires pre-payment of at least 5,000 Yuan (about $732), while Google doesn't require pre-payment. Baidu is more likely to put up a fuss about certain paperwork including who paid (is it the exact business that owns the account?) and the content of the site being advertised (do you have paperwork allowing you to publish the content on your website?).
If you have the budget, by all means, use Baidu for your Chinese pay per click campaign. If not, I'd advise at least considering using Google.
*Baidu's research tools are only available to Baidu account holders.