Over the years, China has become one of the fastest-growing and promising markets in the world, which has also resulted from a massive digitalization of the Chinese market. Along with this new tech-savvy population, brands have understood the importance of using social media in order to interact more directly with customers. Conscious of the powerful impact Chinese social media could have on their sales and e-reputation, they are now using them as a major part of their paid (and organic) advertising campaigns. Boasting over 511 million monthly active users, Weibo is one of the most popular social media for advertising in China. When considering Paid Advertising in China, companies should have Sina Weibo in their minds.
Weibo: One of the Most Used Social Media in the World
What is Weibo?
Weibo (微博) is a micro-blogging platform that has been around since 2009, and it’s one of China’s biggest social media platforms. As its name indicates (“micro-blog), Weibo allows users to share their thoughts in short posts on any topic.
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This Sina Corporation app is an alternative way of sharing information with others who are not connected through traditional means like phone calls or emails, Weibo was designed specifically for mainland China. The goal of course is to engage as many people as possible, encouraging people to like, follow, comment, and share posts.
One way that weibo is tailoring itself towards advertising, more efficiently than it’s competitors, is through the use of interactivity. With an ever-growing number of users on China’s social media, Weibo is no longer just a way for people to keep in touch with their friends and family. Companies have realized that Weibo can also be a powerful tool for marketing and advertising – to the point that Weibo has now become one of the most important online marketing channels for Chinese businesses, with over 511 million monthly active users and 224 million daily users as of 2021.
Millennials constitute a substantial percentage of Weibo users, with 68% of users aged between 15-30 years old. So, it is important to take this into consideration when you defining your branding and marketing strategy on Weibo.
It is also important to know that Weibo is a highly animated and interactive community. Therefore, Chinese consumers will expect you to respond quickly and don’t only rely on paid ads to capture their attention. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are also very popular on Weibo; this could make an excellent way of advertising your brand’s products or services!
Weibo: A Powerful Tool in a Digitalized Society
What is your goal on Weibo?
When it comes to using Weibo, you need a clear goal. Creating an official account and building a follower base is nothing without a clear plan of what you might need and what you want. By using Weibo, you will need to combine branding, visibility, reputation, and a sales infrastructure to ensure you reach a long-term ROI (Return On Investment).
Weibo plays an important part in the sales process as consumers in China are always connected to the internet, looking at their smartphones all day long. The term ‘social e-commerce’ is a result of this phenomenon.
Chinese consumers expect a quality experience with brands on social networks in a stronger way than in western countries. You have to be active, not just by posting content on Weibo, but also by engaging with consumers and prospects via comments.
How does Weibo work?
In terms of its functionality, Weibo is akin to Twitter with micro-posts, hashtag functionality, and content/video links making up the majority of posted content.
In terms of advertising infrastructure, it is more akin to Facebook than any of its rivals and it is arguably a better platform for advertising than WeChat:
- Targeted and very specific so that users can be focused on your advertisement
- More cost-effective, with a lower minimum ad price than WeChat, it is recommended for A/B testing
- Weibo is an Open Network, which is better to expose your social account
You also have to take into account that Weibo benefits from a profitable partnership with Alibaba when it comes to e-commerce ads. However, if you were planning to advertise to non-Alibaba e-commerce apps, you should know that the app has been putting a limitation on that practice.
Introduction to Weibo Paid Ads
There are four main types of advertising on Sina Weibo, and it’s important to tailor a strategy for each, specifically based on budget, KPI expectations, and your activity sector.
Read about Weibo Paid Ads Generated Revenue
The destination page ad is the first thing Weibo users are going to see when opening the app. It is the best way to directly attract their attention by displaying your product on fullscreen. Most of the time, these ads are short entertaining videos of the product. It is also important to know that users can skip the ad, but as the video is short, many of them just look at it.
The destination page ad is often the first thing Weibo users are going to see when opening the app. It’s a great way to catch their attention by displaying your product on fullscreen with short and entertaining videos. And even if they can skip them, most Chinese netizens will just look at these ads anyway – simply because of how brief and easy-to-watch these types of videos usually are and as they are accustomed to seeing them in their daily lives.
Weibo Display Ads
Display ads are traditional but certainly still effective, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Display ads come in various dimensions on different pages. They are optimized for both the mobile and web versions (although mobile is predominantly used by the majority of the population).
When users click on the ads they are redirected to the advertiser’s homepage. Pricing depends on the page placement, size, and keyword association. You can contact us for more detailed information about that.
Weibo allows a targeted approach with keywords selected for visibility based on user searches, you can also feature displays on other relevant accounts that boast followers in the same niche.
Display ads are mainly put on the search page (in the discover section), on the Weibo homepage as well as on the side of the user’s news feeds (akin to Facebook Ads).
Weibo Feed Ads
Feed ads are common on Weibo and consist of paid posts that Brands can share with their followers. They often appear between a few posts of followed accounts, linking to products or services in the same way sponsored tweets do.
These feed ads allow brands to post links for certain items they want people to purchase through social media but also to boost their sales on e-commerce platforms.
Fan tunnels are the most targeted and clever way of reaching new customers. You can use this in order to promote either a specific post or simply just your account. This works like a ‘headline’, appearing at the top of their news feed so that they cannot miss it.
This type of Weibo ad is particularly effective to build your follower basis, therefore if you are a new brand in China or that you are just getting started on Weibo, that is the way to go. Fan Tunnels focus on the Weibo community, not just existing followers. It will put your content at the top of news feeds based on targeted audiences defined by age, gender, region, interests, and even device types.
You can specify the interests of followers and target other accounts for similar niches. You can select users who follow specific fashion news and fashion-related posts to be targeted for example.
In terms of budget, Fan Tunnels works with CPM (Cost Per Mille). The lowest price would be 5rmb for 1000 views.
Fan Headlines are an alternative option and focus on targeting your existing follower base and their connections. Like a tunnel, the post or account will appear at the top of followers’ news feeds as well as in relevant friends’ feeds – increasing re-sharing potential by 65% (1-3 posts shared on average per day).
With a headline, it also taps into follower’s friendships and connections on Weibo as well as categories of interest. The post will appear as “推广” (Promoted), or “热门” (hot) at the top of the feed. Promoted posts are not OTT in China and do not spoil the users’ social experience, it’s not seen as spam.
Fan Headlines are a complementary approach for building engagement as well as Fan Tunnels. Headlines target followers and their connections /networks so can also be a good tool for attracting followers in greater numbers.
Why should you advertise on Sina Weibo?
With Weibo being amongst the major social media platforms in China, it is undeniable that brands that want to gain exposure as well as build brand awareness in China should adapt their marketing strategy to Chinese consumers. By advertising on Weibo, brands have millions of potential consumers to reach, much more than traditional ads such as print ads for example. Moreover, it is important to know that the platform offers many different packages that you can add to your Weibo marketing campaigns such as social search engine promotion, KOL marketing, and display ads.
What are the benefits of using Sina Weibo paid ads?
It is important to take into consideration that the Chinese market is one of the most competitive in the world. Thus, both Chinese and foreign brands have to be creative and provide the best user experience possible in order to attract consumers. Weibo is not an exception to that, with an average organic post view which is around 10-15% – 15%.
Therefore, if you really want to attract a wider audience, as well as increase your follower base, you can use Weibo’s paid ads options.
- Sponsored Post: It allows you to promote your products to current followers and/or potential followers.
- Weibo Tasks: You will be able to pay other accounts to repost, which allows you to reach target audiences, as well as increase your visibility,
- Fensi Tong (粉丝通): It is the most well-known paid advertising option on Weibo. It allows you to have more specific targeting options, including interests, gender, location, and devices. You’ll be able to choose between CPM (cost per mille; 0.5CNY per thousand exposure) and CPC (cost per engagement; 0.5CNY per effective engagement).
Take note that many companies or organizations are often using this method of Fensitong, as well as paying well-known Weibo users (usually those with more than 1 million followers) to advertise their accounts and products.
What type of companies should use Weibo paid ads?
As you probably understand, these paid advertising on Weibo have a cost and are not affordable for every company. It can be interesting to use paid ads for both small companies such as startups but also for big international companies. In fact, it is interesting to directly increase and boost the audience of smaller companies, but at the same time, it is important to take note that Chinese consumers are kind of reluctant and cautious to purchase products from brands that they have never heard of. Thus, even if they see your ads, it is not given that they will reshare your posts. For bigger companies that already have a strong online presence, it can be extremely beneficial to use paid advertising as a way to reach your target audience faster.
Of course, these are generalities that do not apply to every company. If you want to know if you should particularly use paid ads to promote your business in China, you can contact us and explain your needs and situation. Our experts will then give you advice as well as tips to successfully advertise on Weibo according to your budget and needs.
Contact us to Advertise on Weibo
With China being one of the most promising markets for foreign companies, it is important to take into account that almost everyone in China is using social media on a daily basis. In this digitalized country, it is also important to develop its brand awareness and e-reputation of platforms such as Weibo. By using Weibo, you will not only be able to conquer a wide audience, but you will also be able to advertise your brand and products.
Collaborating with an agency specialized in the Chinese market is the best way to achieve your goal and increase your Return On Investment. As all companies are different, the marketing and advertising strategy must be tailored according to their needs and within their financial means. Proud of the success of the companies we have helped over the years, we know exactly the needs of each company and the strategies that must be tailored to them in order to get the best of the Chinese market. If you have any other questions on Weibo or about doing business in China, don’t hesitate to contact us directly, and we will reply to you within 24 hours.