In April 2015, the Chinese microblogging site Weibo welcomed in a new advertising system that allowed corporate users to finally advertise on the site. According to Wang Yajuan, vice president of marketing, the site will shift its advertising focus away from banner ads and other display ads and instead focus on more interactive ads.
“Our aim is to allow advertisers to retain loyal customers through interactive forms of ads and help them to directly drive sales, not just selling advertising space,” Wang told an interviewer from ShanghiDaily.com
What this change means for advertisers is that they know have a reliable Chinese blogging platform – better known as the Twitter of China – that help businesses market their products and services to Chinese citizens. Wang stated in her interview that the top industry sectors on Weibo are consumer products, automobiles and financial services. This change will usher in new advertisers and open up a plethora of new opportunities.
Planning to expand your business through Weibo Advertising? Not sure how to get started? Here is a complete guide to Weibo advertising and its amazing benefits that can boost your business.
WHY ADVERTISE ON WEIBO?
Not everyone is familiar with the microblogging platform, so let’s go back to basics. Weibo, as previously stated, is a lot like Twitter where people can post messages and follow each other. Previously called Sina Weibo, Weibo developed an advertising platform similar to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets in 2013 called Fen Si Tong. That platform is now expanding.
So what does the lay of Weibo’s land look like? Here is a breakdown of their users and activity, compiled by Digital Marketing Stats/Strategy/Gadgets:
- 600 million users
- 176 million active users per month
- 50.1 percent male users, 49.9 percent female users
- 82 percent of Weibo users shop online
- 70 percent use the mobile app to access Weibo
Clearly, there is a huge market here, and for businesses looking to expand your business outreach, Weibo marketing might just be the gateway. Weibo Corp, ADS, has since gone public in the US stock exchange and is available for purchase. With Weibo’s limitless possibilities, you should be clear with your business promotion goals for Weibo.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL ON WEIBO?
Weibo has become a popular digital marketing and communication platform in China. Being termed as China’s Twitter, it relies on microblogging technology. Weibo offers different ways to advertise on its platform with better outreach and high engagement to new audiences in China.
When it comes to why and how to advertise on Weibo, you should be very clear with your intended goal. Creating an official account and creating a follower base won’t help if you do not have a clear vision. If you want to ensure good ROI, then you should combine marketing with other important factors like visibility, branding, reputation building and a proper sales infrastructure.
Weibo marketing actually plays an important role in increasing your online sales in China. Being a powerful social connector, it works in combination as social-commerce platform. This allows you to have a fair chance to be active with sales and branding, and engaging with the consumer’s prospects and comments.
This microblogging platform offers different advertising options for users. These options can be highly beneficial for new brands who are looking for quick marketing results.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT ADVERTISING OPTIONS?
In total, there are four kinds of Weibo Advertising strategies for better online marketing. These are:
Weibo Search Engine Promotion
Weibo serves as a smart platform with its inbuilt search function that enables browsing accounts, fan pages, and posts. Weibo Marketing offers an effective way to boost visibility to users making target keyword searches. Indeed, it is the best platform to boost quality traffic on your account. Weibo Search Engine Promotion focuses on increasing your account visibility.
When it comes to Weibo advertising cost, its pricing depends upon the popularity and the competitiveness of the keywords you are using for promotions. When users hit the search bar, your account will be displayed on the top list result page.
The major benefit you get is that when the search results highlight hot topics and trending news, your account will be seen alongside them. This will increase your account’s visibility and reputation.
These is an interesting option with Weibo advertising that focus on targeting existing followers and their connections. Here, your post or account will be highlighted at the top news feed of your followers and their other relevant connections. It helps in re-sharing of the content and boosts your visibility among the followers.
As a popular headline, it will tap into the connected accounts of your followers on Weibo. Also, such posts are not seen or ignored as spam in China. Fan Headlines help in targeting followers and their connections, which attract other followers in greater numbers.
Despite being a traditional method in online marketing, display adverts are still effective. They come with various dimensions depending on the web and mobile version. When the user clicks on the ad, they are directed to the advertising homepage.
With Weibo, you get a targeted approach with selected keywords for more visibility on user searches. It also allows you to display adverts on other featured accounts to increase advertising.
Fan Tunneling in Weibo is the best way to reach new customers and followers in large numbers. With this Weibo advertising strategy, you can either promote a single post or your account. It is similar to a Fan Headline, which appears on top of the news feed on the user’s account.
This method is very effective for new brands when they lack followers. It focuses on the whole Weibo community and not only on your existing followers.
Now after reading the different advertising options with Weibo, you should be clear about its benefits. Now you can check our quick guide on how to advertise on Weibo to get you started.
HOW TO ADVERTISE ON WEIBO
Weibo’s users often treat it like a news source, and they’re used to seeing the most recent news and updates at the top of their newsfeeds. Like Twitter’s Promoted Posts, posts on Fen Si Tong will be situated at the top, at least near it, of user’s newsfeeds. You will be able to promote a post for seven days (basically how long before the post is no longer considered newsworthy) and that same post will only be shown once to each users.
Weibo recommends that advertisers promote multiple posts at a time to ensure that their posts reach maximum exposure among Weibo users and that the content remains fresh.
You will also be able to target different users, just as you would on Facebook or Twitter. You can group them by age, geographical location, interest and even platform or device, meaning iPhone users or Android users specifically. You can also go after certain hashtags and tags that users are interacting with to target those who are interacting with certain keywords.
To charge users, Fen Si Tong determines the cost based on the exposure of the ad and the number of interactions as stated in the Weibo reports, including clicked links, favoured posts, new followers and favourites. To stop yourself from overspending, you can set a daily budget. Once your budget limit is reached for the day, Weibo will stop your advertising services until the next day.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH WEIBO?
As a user you must be wondering how to set up a Weibo account? Weibo verifies its business users accounts before they get access to Fensi Tong for advertising.
First, you need to submit a copy of your business license and complete an application to Weibo itself. The staff members will then go over the application and further verify your business. Once they have decided to allow your account, you will see a blue V next to your account name, which will assure Weibo users that your account has gone through the proper verification process.
After this is done, you will need to contact Weibo directly so that they may set up your account from the backend. In some locations, such as North America, companies cannot actually sign up with Weibo and must use an authorised dealer to get their accounts up and advertising.
For anyone looking to reach into the Chinese marketplace, Weibo might just be the answer. As so many Weibo users are buying products online, your business could find a new niche market among the thousands of Weibo users. Higher education institutions including Monash University already have verified Weibo accounts and are bringing their brand to a new audience.
What about Weibo advertising is still confusing to you? If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Share your thoughts in the comments section.