Weibo Advertising Offers The Most Targeted Solutions
Sina Weibo now boasts over 350 million active monthly users, it is known as ‘China’s Twitter’ but is actually a far more effective platform in terms of advertising opportunity for foreign brands than its western counterpart.
It also eclipses WeChat in terms of potential exposure for your brand with a more wide-reaching set of advertising options. For intelligent, targeted marketing Weibo is the best option for brands in terms of ROI & focused exposure to the best market demographic.
Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce firm, now own approximately a third of Sina Weibo both highlighting and steam-lining advertising opportunities in the process. Expect Weibo to be an increasingly pivotal player in Chinese e-commerce with Alibaba’s influence.
Including a Weibo component to your marketing strategy is a great way to build a following, brand your business and engage directly with a large, active community of potential consumers in the most targeted way. Ultimately the goal is to drive conversions & sales.
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What is Your Goal on Weibo?
When it comes to Weibo you need a clear goal. Creating an official account and building a follower base amounts to nothing without a quality vision and content series.
With marketing, you 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 quintessentially social, the term ‘social-commerce’ is often banded around but it’s true.
Consumers expect this quality experience with brands on social networks in a way we don’t in western societies. You have to be active, not just in targeting quality Mandarin content but also engaging with consumers & prospects via comments.
What are the Different Advertising Options?
There are four main types of Weibo advertising to engage with on Sina Weibo, it’s important to tailor a strategy for each, specific brand based on budget, KPI expectations & their specific sector.
The main types of strategy to consider are:
- Display Adverts
- Weibo Search Engine Promotion
- Fan Headlines
- Fan Tunnel
Let’s explore these different options so you can decide what is best for your brand. Often a combination of these complementary approaches works best.
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 version (although mobile is pre-dominantly used).
When users click on the ads they are directed to an advertiser’s homepage. Pricing depends on page placement, size and keyword association.
Weibo allows for a targeted approach here 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 placed on the search page (in the discover section), on the Weibo homepage as well as on the side of user’s news feeds (akin to Facebook Ads).
A sample display ‘top of page’ ad in the ‘discover’ section of Weibo
Weibo Search Engine Promotion
Weibo (unlike WeChat) has an in-built. advanced search function that allows for browsing of accounts, posts & fan pages. This is a very effective way of pushing your account based on targeted keyword searches from users.
This is the best way to improve the quality of traffic to your account.
Whilst Display Ads are good for driving traffic to an external link (eg official website), Weibo search promotion focuses on increasing the visibility of your account itself.
Your account is a dynamic tool for user engagement with Weibo users accustomed to a strong brand presence on this platform.
When it comes to pricing it depends on the popularity and competitiveness of the keywords you are promoting on. Users will use the search bar and then encounter your account as a top listed search result.
The benefit is that the search results also bring up ‘hot topics/trending discussions’, your account will be seen in-line with this, it’s a great boost for both visibility and reputation.
Above you can see the search function with relevant search results shown
Fan tunnels are the most targeted and intelligent way of reaching new consumers & followers. You can use this to promote either a specific post or your account. It functions like a ‘headline’ that appears at the top of a user’s news feed.
Why so effective? For new brands that don’t already have a large following, this is the best way to build one, Fan Tunnels focus on the whole of the Weibo community, not just existing followers. It will place 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 & target other accounts for similar niches. You can select users who follow specific fashion news & fashion related posts to be targeted (for example).
Costs for Fan Tunnels is typically calculated in CPM (Cost Per Mille), pricing starts from 5 RMB per 1000 exposures.
A promoted post at the top of a users news feed by Volvo featuring a quality tag line & video
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 the news feed of followers & also their relevant connections. This increases the likelihood of re-sharing of content, an activity 65% of all Weibo users do on a daily basis (1-3 posts shared on average).
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.
Weibo Case Study
We Helped Lyon (the French City) to develop their awareness on Weibo http://weibo.com/onlylyon69
This campaign revolved around Fan Tunnel Posts, Audience Engagement + Quality Content Creation.
If you want to download our report about Social Media Marketing in China, just send us an email ([email protected])
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